Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bio-degradable Sponges

I'm sure I've said this before, but I'm constantly looking at the things I throw away and always ask myself, can I recycle or re-use this, or is there an alternative? I'm so glad I found the product line Twist. They make natural, bio-degradable cleaning products so when you're done with them, you can toss them in your yard waste bin and they won't contribute to the increasing waste in our land-fills.

I bought the "Naked sponge" which works really great and keeps suds at their maximum lifespan. I also bought the "Loofah scrubby" which has a sponge on the inside and poofs up when you get it wet. It works great as well, and the natural fibers have held together well. I found them at Metropolitan Market, I'm sure they sell the same product line at other similar stores. Like most natural products, they were a couple more bucks than the non-biodegradable options, but I think it's worth it. If you don't, then I have some suggestions on how to extend the life of your kitchen scrubby sponges and bacteria free.
  • First, always rinse it well after each use, and keep it hanging on some type of rack to help it dry quickly so avoid bacteria growth.
  • To kill any bacteria, you can boil it for 10 minutes. I've also heard that you can microwave it for a few minutes, but watch it- I read 5 minutes was a good time to follow, but my sponge ended up burning so I had to throw it away.

Monday, July 19, 2010

And you thought you knew how to recycle...

I was over at my sister's house the other weekend and went to toss something in her recycle bin when I found a few things in it that couldn't be recycled. I then went to throw something away in her trash and found something that could be recycled! I admit, my family knows me as a recycle nut, and I'm not afraid to point things like this out to them. Thinking about the things I see in the trash at my work, and talking about recycling with my sister, I thought that a post on recycling might help a few people out!

The number one thing I recommend is using the recycle guide that the city sends to you. I seriously have it on my fridge so if I'm not sure about something, I can take a quick glance at it. A pdf version of what I have can be found here.

  • Aluminum cans, glass bottles, paper
  • Cardboard- it drives me crazy how people at work don't recycle their frozen food containers!!!
  • Plastic bottles and tubs (except for #7)- this includes shampoo, lotion, toiletry type things.
  • Plastic grocery store bags- BUT they must be collected into a big ball of bags. You can't just throw one in- single bags can get caught in machinery.
  • Aluminum foil- but it should be clean of food residue.
  • Milk cartons
  • Lids- 3 inches or wider. Smaller lids and caps can be recycled at Aveda stores
Don't Recycle!
  • Chips bags
  • Food storage plastic bags (ziplock, bread, produce)
  • Paper towels
  • Batteries (SEE BELOW)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Styrofoam (SEE BELOW)
  • Paint cans
  • Oil bottles (engine)
  • Vegetables & fruits (cooked and raw!)
  • Breads, pasta, dairy/cheese
  • Meat/fish/bones/beans
  • Paper towels, napkins, plates
  • Compost-able to go coffee cups
  • Lint, hair, dirt, pet food
  • Basically- if you can eat it, you can compost it!
Don't Compost!
  • Non-food items
  • Poop (human and non)
  • Take-out cartons lined with plastic
Many homes and apartment buildings in Seattle are now required to provide a yard waste bin that you can put your compost-ables in. One thing my sister brought up was how it's gross how they have to dump their food waste straight into the bin. There are corn based "plastic" bags that you can line garbage cans or counter top canisters with to make it a less messy process. I either use a big paper bag from the grocery store if I know I'm going to have a lot of waste to collect for the week, or I'll use my counter top canister and line it with a BioBag. I found mine at Bartell's. They come in small and large garbage can sizes.

Going one step further, just think when you're throwing something away- can I recycle or compost this? I loooooove going to the recycle center in Tacoma, it's so much better than the main one in Seattle. They recycle all kinds of batteries, cell phones, Styrofoam popcorn, you name it. It's kind of fun too since everything has it's own little station.

Hopefully you already knew all of this- if not, I hope this might help you in your future recycling adventures! : D

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chrome & Steel Wool

Chrome fixtures in your shower and kitchen tend to get pretty scuzzy with soap scum and sometimes scrubbing it with a sponge just doesn't get it all off. One of the tricks of the trade is to use a fine grade steel wool pad. We would use this at all of our deep cleans to get fixtures super shiny without a whole lot of effort. Be sure to test it on a small area before you begin in case it scratches the fixture easily. The finer the grade, the less possibility of scratches but it won't be as effective. I prefer a medium grade for most fixtures since they can usually take it.
Rip off a small patch of the steel wool and rub it on the fixtures (be sure they're dry, or you will have a mess) where ever you see soap scum- it will come right off and turn into a soapy powder. Be sure to really get in there and get all the nooks and crannies. You can use this on bath and sink faucets, shower head pipes, drain holes, plugs, toilet paper holders and towel racks. After all the soap is rubbed off, wipe down the fixture or rinse it if it's in tub or sink, and polish it dry with a clean dry cloth. With proper up keep, you shouldn't have to steel wool your fixtures very often, but every now and then they will probably need a good sprucing up. Side note: I once tried to steel wool a light plate that was some sort of steel, and created a huge spark. I don't recommend doing that!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Natural dryer sheets

In an earlier post, I wrote about how to make your own natural laundry detergent. I'm currently working my way through a big tub of the liquid version of the soap. I feel really good about using a natural product when I'm doing my laundry, but it killed me when I realized that I'm cancelling out the good by using a dryer sheet in the dryer. Dryer sheets contain a laundry list (waa-waa) of harmful and irritating chemicals that are not only bad for our bodies, but also bad for the environment, as well as contribute to waste when you throw it away. Here is a list of commonly found chemicals in commercial dryer sheets:

  • Benzyl Acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Benzly Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
  • Ethanol: Can cause central nervous system damage
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems and central nervous system damage
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
  • Linalool: Narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
But the one that grosses me out the most, is that they also contain tallow, which is a refined form of beef fat. It's essentially what makes your clothes soft- it coats it in a fine layer of fat. Uggg.....

So that's enough to freak me out. I searched for ways to make a natural fabric softener at home, but nothing really hit it out of the park. The next time I was at a grocery store that had an extensive supply of natural products, I checked out what they had in the laundry aisle. To my delight, many companies that make natural laundry detergent also make some type of natural fabric softener or dryer sheets. I picked up a pack of Method Squeaky Green Dryer Cloths, and tried them for the first time today. I love them! You get 40 cloths, each are usable twice, then afterwards you can recycle them. Even better! They left a great light scent behind (I got the lavender scented cloths- yes, I love lavender), and my clothes were wonderfully soft and static free. Other companies that make natural fabric softener are Mrs. Meyers, Ecover, Sun & Earth- CostCo even sells a natural fabric softener which my parents use and like. Or you can use a dryer ball, which I've never used, and don't really understand the science of it, but I have heard they are an equally "green" alternative to dryer sheets.
method Squeaky Green Dryer Cloths, Sweet Water

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Linen Water

Most of my clothes need ironing, so that is my "fun" chore every week. The steam feature on my iron is broken, so I use a spray bottle with water to mist my clothes with. I've always heard about linen water and have seen it featured in magazines but have never used it. It seems like something only well off middle aged women from the Hamptons use. Therefore, I must use it!! So of course, knowing me, I did a little research and made my own! Mix 25 oz. distilled water, 3 oz. vodka and 1 tsp. of an essential oil of your choice, such as lavender or eucalyptus. The vodka acts as an emulsifier and keeps the oil mixed evenly. Combine the ingredients in a glass or plastic bottle with a spray nozzle, and swirl to mix. If stored in a cool place, it should last 6-8 months. Spray it on your clothes before ironing, on your sheets, carpet, drapes, etc. It's basically a natural Febreeze and air freshener!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kale Chips

While searching for some new ideas for healthy snacks a couple years ago, I came across this recipe to make chips out of kale leaves on a vegan site. It stated that they taste just like Lays potato chips. Yeah right.....I thought. Well you know what? THEY DO! I'm completely obsessed with these light, crisp little chips. I can't make a batch to last me a few days because I end up eating the whole thing in one sitting. Not only is it completely delicious and addictive, kale is a "superfood" and provides a high amount of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese. You can experiment with different seasonings, like curry, cayenne, soy sauce, whatever floats your boat. Whatever you make like, there are 3 main ingredients that give the chips their distinct Lays flavor: apple cider vinegar, oil and salt.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Wash and dry several (about 3) leaves of kale, then tear off pieces of the leaf about the size of a small chip and place them in a bowl. Drizzle over about a tsp. of olive or canola oil, a cap full of apple cider vinegar and a little salt. Generously mix the kale so that each piece is evenly coated, then arrange in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Place it in the oven, and let it sit about 4 minutes. You need to tend to it from here on out, flipping the pieces and making sure nothing burns. The chips may start to turn brown, that is not your goal. Try to keep them as green as you can, yet crisp. Some chips crisp faster than others so I like to keep an eye on them, removing the crisp pieces one at a time. It's a recipe that takes some getting used to, it can be pretty easy to burn them if you aren't paying attention. Once you master the art of kale chips, it's pretty fun making different flavors. Although, my favorite will always be the good ol' standby recipe with the addition of garlic powder. And yes, I did just eat a huge mound of it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oil Cleansing Update

It has officially been 2 months since I have not washed my face. Not with soap, that is. I have been following the Oil Cleansing Method that I wrote about in an earlier post, and I have to say, I'm very pleased with the results! I was nervous, especially since I'm no stranger to zits; on an average day you could fry bacon with all the oil on my face. So how could washing with oil decrease my oily mess?

I had a boyfriend that had a pretty good complexion. I would never have guessed that he suffered acne when we was younger. We were taking a shower once (oooo, sexy talk!) and I playfully wanted to wash his face. He refused to let me and said that his skin would break out if I did. Later he explained that he did have acne pretty bad as a teen and young adult, and would routinely wash his face twice a day with the Neutrogena Acne Oil Wash. It never helped- so for some reason, he just quit washing his face, and his skin cleared up. Strange, huh?

There are many reasons to explain zits. Hormones, stress, diet, etc. From what I have read several times, one of the major reasons for poor complexion (especially in adults) is that we simply over clean our face. We naturally produce sebum in our pores, and if you constantly are washing it away, more of it is produced causing breakouts. Apparently by cleansing with oil you are just loosening the excess amounts of oil that your skin doesn't need and helping it keep a healthy balance. Therefore your skin doesn't feel the need to produce extra oil that clogs pores and makes your skin shiny. Makes sense when you think of it that way.

I'm going to continue washing the oil. Since I have an oily complexion, I use the 70% sunflower seed and 30% Castor oil combination. Also, since I wear eye make-up, I use just a little bit of the oil cleanser from DHS that is specifically designed to remove make-up (the other oil does remove it, but not as well). I have discontinued using toner, as well as face lotion. I simply use a drop or two of the oil after I'm done cleansing and that is enough to keep my skin lightly moisturized.

I'm sure that my results are not completely due to the oil, though. I'm sure it helps that I am washing my face every night with a hot wash cloth, which I never did before. It's like giving yourself a mini-facial every night. But don't get me wrong, I don't have the greatest complexion because of this. It has simply improved the balance of oil production on my face, and decreased the amount of pimples I get. I still get them, but not nearly as bad, and I don't feel as oily as I usually do. My skin also shows the scars of many past pimples too, so I probably will never have great skin. Those are not going to go away without some type of cosmetic treatment like microdermabrasion.

Otherwise, I support the oil cleansing method!

Un- what?

"Un-shit your life"- to rid your life of useless shit. This blog is a collection of hints, tips, ideas and stories that I have gathered from my family, friends, articles, the internet, rumors and life experiences. Please share your own!

Un-Shit Your Life | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates