Posts tagged washing

The Dirt on Dish Detergent

Most people don’t think much about dish washing detergents. What matters is if the dishes get clean and then what else could it matter? But there are many things you should be considering about using this stuff and when you realize how greatly it affects you, I think you will start thinking about it when you shop

As a person who was allergic to detergents at a very young age, I have since been forced to find solutions. My mother, who was a nurse and noticed the reaction first, did not cease having me wash dishes or clean house, she simply bought me gloves. But this problem extended well beyond the kitchen and reared it’s ugly head everywhere, from the shower to the laundry room. I was always itching, always red, always stuffed up and sick. There just weren’t any solutions to my problem back in the day

But what does this have to do with me, you say? Well, you don’t have to be allergic to something to have it affect you and, in fact, I have since come to discover that my reactions were not always allergic, but actually SENSITIVE, and this to chemicals and toxins in the products I was forced to use. In my search for solutions to all of these seemingly unsolvable problems, I came across a plethora of facts and solutions that I would like to share with you.

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Healing Herbs in the Bath

The most popular way that people consume herbs is in a tea bag. This is because most of these come prepared and ready to use and do not cost much. This is an effective and simple method of using herbs to heal and refresh the body. But I would like to see folks using herbs in more imaginative and expansive ways. One of the best ways to use herbs, for the health of both the inside and outside of your body, is in the bath. This method treats the skin, hair and nails but also is absorbed through the pores of the skin to help the healing process on the inside, as well. You should consider the medicinal qualities of any herb you use, whether you drink it in a tea or use it in the suds. Your body will be affected either way and sometimes to surprising effect.

Herbs are powerful and potent plants that should be used with consideration and care; although they can do some kinds of damage if used incorrectly, the side effects are usually mild and, unlike medicines made in the lab, any damage that is done is usually reversible. It is impossible to overdose on a bath bag or a herbal water used in the tub. And long term effects require consistent exposure, so consider this in all cases. If you are looking for intense, long term healing effects, you should use your potion every day if possible. Otherwise, use herbs sparingly. An occasional dunk in the bath will refresh and revitalize your body and mind and is not likely to cause any real change in the system. But those of you who are really ailing, consider using herbs in a bath on a regular basis to help ease the suffering and expedite healing of the body. Here are some of my favorite bath recipes and a note on each herb used and what effects you can expect it to have.

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Chemical Free Stain Removal

I thought it might be a good idea to present some natural, non toxic methods for removing common stains. I worked in a hotel laundry many years back and there was a quota there for stained linens. Every so many linens we saved from the trash we would get bonuses on our paychecks. Needless to say, our supervisor considered herself the “queen of stain removal” and had a method for everything. Of course, many of these methods involved chemicals and toxic elements. And bleach was not a favorite, although you might think it would be. It slowly destroyed the towels and thinned the sheets so that their lifetime use was shortened and resulted in a cash loss. In reality we never used bleach except in last ditch efforts with large blood stains or excessively moldy shower curtains, when the choice was either taking drastic measures or tossing the item out. Overall, we used gentler, kinder methods in order to save the linens.

Being a herbalist and naturalist I was eager to find non toxic and less destructive methods of taking out stains. The first rule of thumb in all cases is an easy one. Do not run an item through the wash and then the drier without first removing the stains. Once set in, they are high impossible to remove. Bleach won’t even do the trick once a fabric has been “set in” by washing and drying. Always treat for stains before washing and do it as soon as possible; it is always easier when the stain itself is fresh. In fact, wet stains, including blood and grape juice, will mostly come out with a flush of cool water if the stain is still wet and fresh. But even then, with wet blood or wine, most of the liquid will wash out but will often leave a “ring”. I have no idea why that is, I just know it from seeing it time and again. So even those items will require a “pre treatment” for stains before being dropped in the machine. Here are some basic guidelines and simple, non toxic methods for getting out most stains.

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How To Green The Bathroom

I saw an article on this very idea on several different websites and thought maybe I could bring it to my own readers, with a few ideas of my own thrown in. There are all sorts of ways to be more green at home and the bathroom is one of the easiest areas to make improvements on. There are many opportunities for waste and also many ideas for conserving that waste. Most of the ideas I have are inexpensive and easy. All of them require a one time simple step or an easy to adapt habit or routine.

Now, remember that green doesn’t just apply to safety items or eco friendly stuff, it also talks to the pocketbook. When you stop wasting stuff, which is ultimately great for the planet, it will also save you lots of money. Imagine smaller utility bills, less shopping for new items and less garbage carried out. As you can already see, it translates into less work for you, too. So what are you waiting for? Dig in and find out what great things you can start doing tomorrow to save money and the earth at the same time!

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Cinnamon Fights Mold!

Here is a great little news piece from the NY Times. I know that herbs and spices are among God’s miracles but now science is busy proving it. Mankind started out using herbs for remedies and germ fighters only to end up synthesizing their properties instead of using the original. I know this may be easier, faster and cheaper and provide for larger quantities over time but is it always wise?

And food manufacturers have been relying on all kinds of chemicals and additives to inhibit mold growth on food and extend shelf life. This is especially true of baked goods like bread and donuts. But now they have found the mold fighting properties in this wonderful spice and we are now looking at a new era in baked goods where natural mold fighters like cinnamon take over for dangerous chemicals and additives.

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Greener Car Washing

Here are some little know facts about car washing:

Washing your car at home with a hose wastes a lot more water than at the car wash. This doesn’t seem possible to those of us who have done both, but this is a fact. If you really think about it, it makes sense. The water sprayers at the car wash are highly powered and very focused. Water is metered out in an even stream for a preset period of time. It is impossible to do the same thing with a water hose at home. A lot of water is wasted while you’re soaping up, rinsing off, lifting the wipers, scrubbing the windows, etc… while at the car wash, all of this is done at the same time. As a result, professional car washes can save between 35 and 95 gallons of water per wash

But even more important than the water you are wasting is the polluted crap that ends up washing away with it. It takes oil, grease, mud, rubber, even gasoline off of car and into the storm water system. This ends up being untreated water that then runs off into the waterways and oceans. It is actually environmentally cruel to wash your car in your driveway!

Professional car washes are required by law to drain the wastewater into sewer systems that will be treated. And if you look and are lucky enough to find an eco-friendly car wash in your area, you’ll also find less-toxic detergents along with innovative ways to conserve (such as “waterless” car washes available in some cities) and even recycle the water.

But here are some great tips for those of you who must wash the car at home or don’t have a car wash located nearby:

To conserve water do not run the hose the entire time you are washing. Fix the hose with a nozzle that shuts on and off. You can just turn it on to rinse and off while you’re scrubbing. Also, try to use more than one bucket. You use less water by doing this. Keep clean rinse water in one and sudsy soapy water in the other. Before dipping your sponge in the soap you can dip it in the clean water and this will reduce the amount of water you need to change out and the amount of soap you will use. An even better water conservation practice is to use recycled gray water if you have it or put buckets out during rains and keep the rainwater for this use.

Also try to find natural or “green” car wash products. The regular products you are used to using are typically petroleum based and can contain known carcinogens. Try a homemade recipe using chlorine-free, phosphate-free, vegetable-based detergents and recycled water where possible.

To make your own natural non toxic car wash soap, mix together 1/2 cup liquid dish washing detergent and 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent in 2 gallons water. This will take off everything and leave your car squeaky clean.

And remember that where you wash your car can make a big difference. You should try to choose a shady spot on the lawn so the sun won’t evaporate water quickly or dry out the soap and make you use more. Also, the grass will act as a filter for the runoff, keeping the toxins out of the storm drains. If you wash your car regularly, a waterless car wash product can work really well to keep it clean.

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More Green Cleaners

I keep coming across endless references to natural cleaning, both in old herb books I love to read and online at a lot of new blogs and websites. It’s a real eco buzz, to get green and clean! I have also acquired a documentary on film that I will watch soon and pass their ideas on to you, as well.

In this post I will give you the basic ingredients for a “green cleaning kit” out of which you can make anything and everything you will ever need to clean your house au natural. It is also a real money saving project as natural cleaning recipes cost overall about 1/10 what commercial retail products cost. That’s including any essential oils and detergents that you may need.

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