These days, more and more people are turning to natural solutions for household cleaning, freshening and deodorizing. One of the hottest new natural products on the market today is zeolite, an all-natural substance that isn’t really new at all.
These natural, crystallized volcanic rock minerals comes from the earth and does an unparalleled job of absorbing toxins, mold and unpleasant odors.
In this article, we will describe zeolite rocks and powder and provide you with some smart ideas for putting these safe, thrifty, natural substances to use in your home. Read on to learn more.
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Brief Background Of Zeolite
The name originates from the Swedish mineralogist and chemist, Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, who discovered the nickel in 1751. He came up with the term zeolite after heating minerals using a blowpipe flame. It derives from a Greek word “zeo”, which means “to boil” and “lithos”, meaning stone.
Zeolite is made of ancient volcanic ash that has become crystallized with the passage of time and with exposure to alkaline water. Pre-existing rocks undergoing intense heat and pressure, becomes metamorphic rocks described with observable physical changes against its original form.
What Does Zeolite Look Like?
On the microscopic level, zeolite crystals possess complex lattice structure that resembles a honeycomb. The interconnecting channels of this structure are negatively charged, and inside of the channels are positive ions that draw in and capture odors, gases, mold, heavy metals and toxins.
There are actually over fifty different types of natural zeolite in existence in rock form. We will be focusing on the clinoptilolite (clino) group, which is the best for agricultural and home use. Also, zeolite clinoptilolite is especially good at absorbing ammonia, so it has many uses in terms of home and pet care. [source]
On the other hand, liquid zeolites does the same effect but wears a different form. Other liquid zeolite products claim to cure several types of cancer and reverse the effects of alzheimer disease. However, these still needs further study and testing from scientists.
Different zeolite supplements for both internal and external use exist in the market. However, scientists and researchers discourage this due to unproven effects and possible health hazards.
Clino is available in several sizes and forms. There are large chunks (rocks) that are about the size of common charcoal just like this zeolite rock from Newstone’s. Moreover, there is also a gravelly format that looks quite a bit like standard cat litter. It is also available in a powdered form.
Other Zeolite Rock Findings
Recently, researchers found a new zeolite species in Mont Saint-Hilaire quarry, Quebec in Canada. The Garronite-Na (Na6(Al6Si10O32)·7–10H2O), occurs in vugs in rock minerals called sodalite syenite. This new species of zeolite structure appears transparent to translucent, pale yellow in color, bearing white streaks.
Zeolite localities also exist in Isle of Skye in Scotland. Other species of mineral collection you can find in the island include: thomsonite, connelite, calcite, quartz and feldspar, and a lot more. Zeolite plates and mineral assemblage were also found in Prospect Park, New Jersey.
Diatomaceous earth makes another natural product with many household uses. Zeolite and diatomaceous earth differs in composition, characteristics, and some of their uses, although many would argue about which natural product works better.
How Effective Is Zeolite?
Zeolite rocks’ honeycomb structure allows the dry, odorless substance to absorb large amounts of gas molecules, moisture and chemicals. As a drying agent, it beats out other popular choices such as aluminum silicate and calcium aluminum silicate. This makes it an excellent choice for deodorizing and dehumidifying damp, dark areas such as basements. [source]
In addition to absorbing excess water and mold and mildew odors, natural zeolite is proven effective against heavy-hitters such as:
- Radioactive gases
- Bacterial odors
- Sulfur dioxide
That’s why it is used in serious contamination situations such as oil spills and nuclear accidents (e.g. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl).
As a drying agent, zeolite mineral is often mixed into construction stone and added to concrete. It can also be used as light weight, absorbent, non-toxic insulation. In Japan, it is a component of paper manufacturing.
How Can Zeolite Be Used In The Home?
You can use this long-lasting, natural product in your home, garage, car, barn and anywhere else moisture and odor may present problems. [source]
- Keep dark, damp areas dry and fresh. If you have a closet or basement that tend to get musty, put a paper bag full of zeolite rocks in the corner instead of a sack of charcoal. It will do a much better job of absorbing odors and moisture.
- Replace that box of baking soda in your fridge with a box or bowl of zeolite granules. It will absorb odors and keep humidity at optimum levels. This can save you about 12% in operating costs because good humidity levels mean more efficient functioning of your refrigerator.
- Deodorize your cat’s litter box. Add a couple of tablespoons of zeolite powder to the litter to help absorb odors and moisture. Because clino has a particular affinity for ammonia, it is especially effective at absorbing the smell of urine.
- Deodorize your carpet. Get rid of musty carpet odors or the smell of pet accidents by sprinkling your carpet with zeolite powder. Allow it to sit for a few hours and then vacuum it up with a shop vac. Take care not to use your regular household vacuum as the powder may be hard on the motor.
- Deodorize your dog. Give your dog a dry shampoo with zeolite powder. Just sprinkle this powder it over Fido’s coat, ruffle it in with your fingertips and let it sit for half an hour or so before brushing vigorously.
- Combat trash can odors. Keep a few zeolite rocks in the bottom of your trash can to absorb moisture and undesirable odors.
- Combat tobacco smoke odors. Zeolite granules can be mixed into the sand or litter smokers use to stub out their cigarettes in smoking areas to help cut down on odor. Rooms where smokers have been can also be deodorized by hanging packs of zeolite or setting out bowls of zeolite rocks or granules in the area to help absorb the smell and the toxins left behind by tobacco smoke.
- Avoid musty odors in stored items. Add a packet of zeolite granules or a few zeolite rocks to boxes of out-of-season clothes and bedding. This will help keep the items dry and prevent the development of mildew and musty odors. Keep a bag of zeolite in your storage unit to help keep stored furnishings and other items dry and fresh.
- Neutralize under-sink odors. The cabinets under your sink and other low cupboards and cabinets may develop a musty smell. Keep a bowl of zeolite rocks or granules in the back of these cabinets to absorb moisture and prevent mold.
- Keep your shoes fresh. When you take off your running or training shoes, drop a zeolite rock in to absorb moisture and odor. Also, when you put away off-season shoes and boots, include a packet of zeolite granules or powder or a rock to keep them dry and mildew free until you need them again.
- Protect your leather goods. Leather jackets, boots, saddles and other leather goods can be ruined by dampness and mildew. Store them is a safe, dry place and prevent the accumulation of moisture and mildew by stashing a bag or bowl of zeolite along with them.
- Avoid a musty odor in your car. Toss a few zeolite rocks under the seat of your car to keep the air fresh and absorb excess moisture in the carpet during wet weather.
- Keep fruit fresh longer. It’s best to keep most types of fruit in a basket in the open air. Good air circulation helps prevent moldy spots. To keep your fruit even fresher for even longer, put a handful of zeolite stones or granules in the bottom of the basket. Next, lay a paper towel or a cotton cloth over them and then put your fruit on top. The zeolite will absorb excess moisture and the gasses given off by the fruit as it ripens. TIP: Turn and reposition your fruit at least once a day to prevent pressure points, which turn into bruises and become moldy spots.
- Reduce ammonia in aquarium water. There are a number of types of clinoptilolite zeolite prepared just for aquarium use. You can get loose granules to mix with your gravel and/or with your filtration medium. Also, you can also get packets of granules to place inside filters. Moreover, get an ammonia reducer product that is prepared for the type of aquarium you keep (fresh or salt water). [source]
Recharge Your Zeolite And Use It Over And Over!
Not only is zeolite affordable to purchase, it is incredibly thrifty to use because you can refresh it and use it again and again indefinitely. To do this, you simply set it outside on a bright, sunny day and allow the sunshine and fresh air to carry away the smells and contaminants the minerals absorbed. For best results, you should leave your zeolite outdoors for two or three days in direct sunlight.
If you are using a product that is pre-packaged in a “breather bag”, you will want to hang it up so that it can get good air and sun contact on all sides. Turn it a couple of times a day to get direct sunlight and fresh air on all sides if you can’t hang it.
If you are using loose stones or granules in a sack or bowl, lay them out on a tray or tabletop outside to get good sun and air exposure.
For an aquarium product, if you are using loose stones or gravel, rinse them with hot water and allow them to dry in the sunshine for a few days before replacing them in your aquarium filtration system.
On dark, dreary days you can refresh your product in the oven. If your granules are pre-packaged in a plastic breather bag, just lay the bag on the oven rack for about an hour to allow the heat to circulate through it. Also, do not exceed a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit or you will end up with a melted bag.
If you have loose stones or granules, just spread them on a cookie sheet and bake them for an hour or two. Moreover, loose zeolite can withstand very high temperatures (over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit) but 200 degrees should be adequate!
How Often Does Zeolite Need To Be Recharged?
Frequency of refreshing varies depending on how you are using the product and how severe the odor or contamination problem is. For musty closets, basements and attics, you could probably get away with waiting two or three months.
In a heavily used smoking room, you might want to rotate fresh zeolite into the room once a week or every few days.
In your aquarium, you would want to use fresh zeolite every time you change your filtration medium.
Use your own judgment. If you begin to notice an odor problem, you’ll want to refresh your zeolite. It’s a good idea to keep extra on hand so that you can simply put in a fresh packet, bag or bowl and take the used product away to freshen up.
Natural Zeolite: A Smart, Affordable Odor Control Solution
It’s easy to see that this clean, affordable crystallized minerals can be put to a great deal of good use in and around your home. The fact that it is chemical free and completely safe to use makes it especially attractive to people with kids, pets and/or chemical sensitivity. Finally, as a buy-it-once and buy-it-right product, it makes zeolite a thrifty and attractive deodorizing alternative.