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!

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!

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