Archive for the ‘Personal Care’ Category

Day 82 – gDiapers


These attractive diapers come with inserts that can be flushed, composted, or tossed with no worries.  There is no plastic in these diapers.  Unlike plastic diapers which have a terrible environmental impact and, according to gDiapers, can last in landfills for 500 years, this eco-friendly diaper alternative is better for the environment. 

These diapers have earned Cradle-to-Cradle certification.  According to gDiapers’ website: “gDiapers have no elemental chlorine, no perfumes, no smell, no garbage and no guilt.”  They are the best of a cloth diaper and a disposable one.  Plus, I have priced them against good quality plastic diapers, and the price is comparable.

Calling all moms with little ones out there…please try them and tell me what you think!  I have no benefit save a fascinated curiosity and wonder.

Source: gDiapers website

Day 65 – Dusting Cloth

Eco Friendly, Reusable Dusting Cloth


Remember the old days when we used to use feather dusters?  Well, in recent years the concept of moving dust off of one surface and on to another while twitching your nose at the dust flying around everywhere in the air has evolved.  Now, we expect to use a cloth that actually attracts the dust.  The problem is that the highly marketed cloths are disposable. 

Disposable anything is bad for the environment and more expensive, too.  In the past, I have gone through an entire package of those disposable dusting cloths in one day.  Now, I use a cloth like the one pictured above.  You can buy them here: 

The way dust-attracting cloths work is that they create static.  If you look at a disposable dusting cloth, you will see strings of plastic woven through the cloth.  When wiped on a surface, they create static and pick up the dust.  Man-made cloths like the one pictured above act in a similar way.  These are easy on your furniture (sometimes the plastic strings can create fine scratches on wood furniture.)  I keep a couple of these on hand for dusting.  When they become soiled, I just wash them in my washing machine. 

If you have one of those dusting sweepers with the long handle, my experience is that these reusable cloths can be used with your sweeper in lieu of the disposable ones.  Depending on the model and the size of the cloth, they may not fit perfectly, but they have stayed on and have proven a useful replacement for me.

Day 63 – Spray Cleaners

Eco Friendly Cleaner

What if 1/4 of a teaspoon of a cleaner plus 2 cups of tap water could make an entire bottle of high-powered, eco-friendly, safer for your family and pets all-purpose cleaner?  Well, it can!  This is Basic H2 from Shaklee.  Here is a link: 

If you just want to dip your toe in the proverbial ocean of green cleaning, then this is your chance!  Order a bottle of Basic H2 concentrate and a pack of spray bottles.  This will keep you cleaning for a long time!  Why pay for extra packaging?  Why pay for shipping all that water?  Why pay for expensive commercial advertising?  You can go green, get clean, and save money all at once!

The most important thing, however, is that by using this product instead of traditional household cleaners you will keep cancer-causing toxins from polluting your home.  Breathe easier and try it.  it’s guaranteed, so you can send it back if you don’t like it.  Enjoy!

Day 25 – Use Real Towels

Cloth Hand Towel

How many paper towels and napkins (serviettes) do you use each week?  If you eliminate them (or at least drastically reduce using them), it will save you money and be better for the environment.

Paper is made from wood, so using fewer paper products will save trees.  However, also think about the packaging material and inks used to prepare that product for the market shelf.  The paper products that we purchase at my house include plastic packaging – even the more eco-friendly alternatives.  Consider also that the material used to make paper products is bleached which is a toxic chemical exposed to the workers and must be disposed of properly.  Finally, the carbon emissions of transporting those paper products to you add up quickly from getting the raw materials to the factory, transporting the goods to the store (or sometimes to a distribution center before going to the store), and you transporting the products home.

We use cloth towels whenever possible changing them out every day or two to keep them clean.  Instead of paper napkins we use color-coded cloth towels most of the time.  Some households that I know use a roll of paper towels every day.  One roll in our house lasts 3 to 4 months!

Day 22 – eKO Yoga Mat

eKO Yoga Mat by Manduka


What kind of yoga mat are you using?  Does it have foaming agents, plasticisers, and/or toxic softeners?  Is it biodegradable?  It took me a long time to find the eKO Yoga Mat bt Manduka, but now that I have one, I use it all the time without worrying about breathing in toxins while I’m trying to purify my breath. 

According to Manduka’s website, the eKO Yoga Mat is made from “non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber.”  It “contains no PVC or toxic plasticisers.”  Plus, it is biodegradable and they’ll send you a bag to recycle your old yoga mat if you’re replacing it with one of these. 

Yoga in general is great for calming your mind and balancing your body.  Hatha Yoga is basically stretching exercises designed as a preparation for meditation, but there is no religion infused in it.  It is great for waking up your body in the morning or calming it down after a long day.  I am relatively new to yoga and take classes at my local community center.  Try a class and don’t worry about the other people in the class and how limber they are or how you compare; yoga is not a performance or a competition.  It is so much about focusing on your mind and body that my perception is that people have to concentrate too much to pay attention to others in the class. 

Give yoga a chance, and try out this mat!  It is great! 

Source:  Manduka’s Website

Day 21 – The Antibacterial Myth

Bathroom - What IS Clean?

When you wash your hands, take a shower, or clean your house there are a lot of products that you might be using right now that are labeled “antibacterial.”  If you are trying to go green, you should stop using these products and find alternatives.

There is bacteria everywhere.  In Bill Bryson’s book A Short History of Nearly Everything, the author points out that bacteria cannot truly be killed by trying to eradicate them because they can live just about everywhere.  When we use antibacterial products, we are really only in the process of breeding stronger and stronger bacteria.  Did you ever notice that some products boast killing 99.9% of bacteria?  Well, it is my presumption that the last .1% continue breeding and become in a way immune to the chemicals until something even stronger is introduced.  The cycle continues.

Bacteria is needed for sewer and septic systems to work.  What breaks down the waste that goes down our sink, shower, and toilet drains?  That process relies on bacteria.  Using antibacterial soaps and cleansers and washing them away with the waste means that you are fighting the natural process of decomposition.  What is the solution on the other end of your pipes?  More chemicals!

So what are we to do?  Personally, I do not like germs.  However, I use safer, biodegradable cleansers and rarely contract communicable illnesses like the common cold and flu.  In fact, I get sick less often than other family members and my friends.  I wash my hands with a natural, biodegradable soap.  The key here is to really wash your hands and don’t just slap on some soap and do a quick rinse; really wash your hands!  For cleansers, I use a biodegradable product that is made of corn and coconut surfactants (the stuff that makes soap bubbly).  Surfactants like this don’t outright kill bacteria, but they do make the bacteria sick so that they wash off of your surfaces.

Read the labels of the soap and other cleaning products around your house.  If you have antibacterial products, consider other alternatives.  If you want to know what I use, click HERE.

Day 17 – Laundry

Shirts Eventually Become "Laundry"

Whether you do it yourself or have someone do it for you, we all have laundry.  So, how can you make this experience more green?  Here are some tips:

1.  Change your detergent.  Not all detergents are created equally and not all water goes into a sewer for purification.  Make sure that you’re using a biodegradable detergent that’s safe for the environment.  I personally use Shaklee’s Get Clean, one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, which you can order online here (regular or fragrance-free, and if you get the liquid don’t forget to order your reusable pump). 
2.  Wash cooler.  Using a lower temperature to wash your clothes reduces the energy needed to heat your water.
3.  Don’t use bleach!  Bleach is toxic for you, for the environment, and for the workers who make it.  Instead, use an oxygen-powered whitener like Shaklee’s Nature Bright.
4.  Air dry.  Save energy by air drying your clothes on a clothesline outside or by hanging your clothes in an open area indoors.
5.  Wash only full loads.  Do you really need that last towel washed, or can you wait for the next laundry day?  Think about it.
6.  Diminish your dependence on dry cleaning.  I incorporate clothing care requirements into my clothes shopping experiences.  If I can buy a machine-washable version, I’ll take a pass on the dry cleaning.
7.  Hang it up!  If you dry your clothes in a machine, hang up shirts and other items that might need ironing immediately after removing them from the dryer.  I do this even when the shirts are a little bit damp but still very warm.  Most of the time, this eliminates the need for ironing.  If your closet is so full that your clothes are getting crushed, it’s time to weed out old clothes in order to reduce the pressure on your hanging clothes and thus reduce the need for ironing later.
8.  Go HE.  If you’re in the market for a new washer and dryer, choose a high-efficiency (HE) version.
9.  Launder during off hours.  Even well-vented dryers and washing machines bring heat and humidity into your house.  Do your laundry at times when it won’t be a strain on your cooling system.
10.  Clean your machines.  Take the lint out of your lint trap in the dryer and out of the lint trap in your washer after every load.  When drying items that generate a lot of lint, I check the dryer half way through the drying time and empty the lint trap then, too.  Have a service professional come to your home and give your machines a tune-up now and then.  This will make your machines more efficient.

Please share with me any other green laundry tips that you have.

Day 8 – Alleviate Allergens

Bees Transfer Pollen from Flower to Flower

A couple of years ago, I was interviewed for an article that keeps popping up online through different sources.  The information is still timely today, so I thought I would share it with you.  Here is an excerpt.  You can view the entire article online at: 

Hilary Sopata, ASID, of Park Ridge, Ill.-based Interior Visions, Inc., suggests eliminating carpeting from a home’s interiors is a good start to ensuring dust mites and other allergens are left at the door.

“Carpeting off-gasses VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and can contribute to allergy irritations. They are the newest concern for people with allergic sensitivities. As a designer, I often have to carry pieces of carpeting or area rugs around in my car, and in that enclosed environment I’ve realized how toxic it really is because it has caused me many headaches,” said Sopata.

In my home, we don’t have wall to wall carpeting.  Instead, we have natural wood floors in most of the rooms with a non-toxic finish.  We use non-toxic, eco friendly cleaners that don’t spray harsh chemicals (VOCs) in the air, and we use fragrance free laundry detergent.  Also, we use filters on our windows and take off our shoes at the door so that we don’t track allergens inside. 

Generally, however, the air indoors is about 10 times more polluted than the air outdoors, according to the US EPA.  This is perhaps because of VOCs, harsh chemical cleaners, textile fibers, and other surprising sources including air fresheners and scented candles.

Day 2 – A New Toothbrush

Preserve Toothbrush by Recycline


My trek for an eco friendly toothbrush led me to this one.  I’ve been using this brand for over a year now, and I really like it.  The toothbrush handle is 100% recycled and made from recycled yogurt cups.  The bristles are made of new nylon.  Plus, the toothbrushes are made in the USA.  Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are from countries around the world, but from a practical standpoint the closer to your home an item is made, the fewer carbon emissions.  It gets even better, though!  When you’re finished using your toothbrush, you gather your and your family members’ toothbrushes, download a postage paid label from Recycline’s Preserve Products website, find a shipping envelope (perhaps reusing one someone sent you something in), and send it back to them.  They recycle it again and make it into new products.