Looking for a new laundry detergent? Head over to Baby Steals today, 1/4 ONLY, and pick up Dropps Baby Laundry detergent for $44.99 (240 loads) or $25.20 (120 loads).

“Introducing Dropps Baby – an innovative liquid laundry detergent that makes washing onesies and cloth diapers laundr-easy. BabySteals tested and approved, its super-concentrated scent-free, dye-free, enzyme-free formula fits in tiny, pre-measured toss-and-go dissolvable pacs and is incredibly tender on sensitive baby skin.”

These are dissolvable pacs (like the Cascade dishwasher ones) and look very intriguing.  May have to try these out! Especially if they’re cloth-diaper safe!

Has anyone tried these? Let me know!

 

In anticipation and preparation of the upcoming holiday season (try saying that 5x fast!), I have been trying to figure out the “wrapping issue.” I HATE wrapping paper. With a passion. I reuse gift bags as much as possible, wrap with fabric or other items, and have been investigating patterns at making my own reusable gift bags/envelopes/wraps/whathaveyou.

Then I stumbled on this giveaway that Love Lives Here is having for Reusable Wrapping Paper from an Etsy shop called Solsticestudio.  Ok, so I had to enter. And I had to tell all of you about it.

It’s a genius idea – wrapping paper you use again and again. And it’s obviously not new. But here’s a great way for you to maybe WIN something that you know you’re already going to love! :) So, go check it out. Ends 12/4!

For those of you with a computer (and I bet you have one, since you’re reading this blog), Amazon has some FREE downloads for the Kindle for a limited time.  These can also be downloaded to your PC or Mac FREE if you do not own a Kindle.

A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman (Thanks, Thrifty Mama!)

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn (Thanks, Money Saving Mom!)

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (one of my ALL-TIME favorites!)

More FREE downloads can be found here.  The prices on these can change at any time, so be sure to check before downloading.

While we’re on the subject, I’m in the market for an e-reader. Any recommendations?

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This is part of a new series of posts called Ditch the Disposables where I explore and educate about reusable options for common disposable items.

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As part of my current Conscious Shopping Challenge, I decided to take a look at the disposable items found in the bathroom.  For such a small room, it really does produce a lot of waste (pun not intended!)! I decided to break these down into Paper Products & Personal Care items. Enjoy!

Paper Products

Facial Tissue

Facial Tissue is a common household item in many homes, especially as we make our way into the cold and flu season. You find yourself carrying them around in your pocket, your purse, just about everywhere – prepared.  A great alternative to kleenex or Puffs or whatever brand you use is: handkerchiefs. Yes, those old stand-bys your grandma used to use!

I’ve been using handkerchiefs for about 5 years now and absolutely love them. I switched one winter when I had been battling a particular nasty cold and my nose was just so raw it was painful.  The thought of using one more kleenex/toiletpaper/paper towel made me just cringe. So, I dug out a little hanky I’d been given as a gift years before. Put that in my pocket thinking that it was going to be completely gross when I put in the laundry that night. And yeah, it kinda was. But I discovered something else: comfort. It didn’t hurt to blow my nose! It didn’t hurt to wipe it, either! And the hanky just seemed to go on and on; after each use I would fold it, and fold it, and keep finding clean spots throughout the day. With disposable tissues, I had easily been using half the box. Well, this got me thinking: $$$. Duh, using the hanky was going to save me money. And for me, sometimes that is all it takes! Each night I toss the used hanky in the laundry. Each morning, I tuck a new one in my pocket or purse. And as a mom, I found out that my oldest child won’t fight me when I have to wipe her nose if I use the cloth hanky!

Where to buy:

There are several online retailers that have cloth handkerchiefs available for sale, if you wish to purchase them. Most are also retailers for cloth diapers, mama cloth, and other reusable products. Go figure.

Or brick & mortar stores:

  • Major retailers like Walmart or Target (usually found in the mens’ section)

Or buy used/vintage:

  • Thrift Stores, garage sales, etc.  (I love to see the beautiful patterns found in vintage hankies!)

If you are so gifted, you can also make these yourself.  There are several patterns out there, these are only a few. I just did a Google search.

Using several of these methods, I now have a dozen or more hankies for personal use. I have folded them and keep them in an old tissue box (DH still prefers “real” tissues, but we haven’t bought a box in a year). When I pull one out, the next one “pops” up, just like disposables.

Facial pads

Many people use these for removing make-up, or for facial cleansers. You can buy or make reusable ones that will save you money and help the planet. Jillian’s Drawers has a set that even come with a dispenser and a little bag to wash them in!

Feminine Protection – this post covers this in great detail.

Toilet Paper

Lastly, the one everyone was most curious about, I’m sure. Toilet Paper.

Buy/Make:

Use:

Cloth TP is used the same way you use paper TP. I keep ours in a little basket in the bathroom. (In fact, unless you knew it, you would think they were the wipes for the diapers!) You can wet it first, if you choose. In fact, most people find this to be the best & most comfortable way.  This can be done either in the sink, or with a peribottle kept in the bathroom for that purpose.   It is, in fact, very comfortable. And I actually feel cleaner after using the cloth TP I have in the bathroom.

Laundry:

As with cloth diapers, everyone wants to know, what do you do when it’s time to wash? When you’re done using it, you can keep the wipes until laundry day in a wet bag or in a container (wet bag is easiest, because it can go right in the laundry, too!).  After whatever method you’ve chosen, you can either a) do a load of just the cloth wipes, b) add them to your regular laundry (some people choose towels.), or c) if you have children in cloth diapers, you can toss them in with the diapers. That’s it. They can be dried either in the dryer or on the line.

Personal Care Items

As far as “disposable” when it comes to Personal Care items, I have chosen to focus on homemade recipes = less packaging waste. This will also address issues with chemicals in these items, because you are making them yourself.

Shampoo/Conditioner

Option 1: Buying items that have little to no packaging, like this shampoo bar from Burt’s Bees.

Option 2: Make it yourself.

Option 3: Go No ‘Poo. Many people have successfully gone this route, including the author of the Conscious Shopper Challenge herself.   Google “No Poo” and you’ll find several articles: like this How to Go No Poo and No ‘Poo: New & Improved. This is my next personal challenge, when my current shampoo is gone.

Body Wash

Option 1: Buy Items with little to no packaging – Use any number of Soap bars on the market.  Be sure to read ingredients & check anything you are unsure of against the Skin Deep site. There are several out there you can buy on Etsy or at your local health foods store.

Option 2: Make it yourself. Google “homemade body wash” and I found these articles:

Or, if you’re so inclined, do the same search, but for Homemade Soap. There’s so much to find!  Even how to make soap bars in a crock pot!

Toothbrushes

Now, I am not going to advocate never changing your toothbrush. Or to reuse someone else’s. BUT there are several great products out there you should check out.

  • Preserve Toothbrushes are made from recycled yogurt cups (the bristles are new!) and they are completely recyclable when you’re done. But wait! They offer a subscription service. Pay $13/yr and you will get a new toothbrush 4 times a year. The first shipment has a travel case. Each shipment thereafter includes a pack to ship your USED toothbrush back to Preserve where they will recycle it back into a new toothbrush!
  • Eco-Dent Replaceable Head Toothbrushes: You simply replace the head every 3 months.
  • ToteBrush: a unique product with replacable bristles/head that include the toothpaste as well.

Toothpaste

Option 1: Buy something with Less Packaging. Like this Tooth Powder from Monkey Brand.  Have never used this, but sounds interesting.

Option 2: Make Your Own. Again, Google is your friend. Found these recipes:

Shaving Supplies

Option 1: Buy an Item with Less Packaging. Like a Shaving Soap and brush. The whole kit has a bit of packaging, but once you have the brush and bowl, you only need to buy the soap again.

Option 2: Make Your Own.  Like that found here: Shaving Soap Recipe

Takes you back to the day of the barber shop with the shave stool.

Deodorant

Option 1: Buy an item with less packaging. The Crystal is probably the most popular of name brands.

Option 2: Make your own.  Google will bring you a TON of recipes:

This is my next challenge after the “no ‘poo”!

I haven’t tried all of these methods personally, but there are a lot of great options there! Leave a comment with your experience, please! We all learn from each other.

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Looks like there’s a Moving Sale going on over at Branch: Sustainable Design for LIving! Up to 50% off on many of their goods and these are great for gifts for the upcoming holiday season or anytime!

I’m fond of these Knit Penguins for $11. :)

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Go Natural Baby is offering $25 off any organic cotton crib mattress, plus a free organic cotton crib sheet ($29 value) and free shipping to the lower 48 United States.

During checkout, you’ll use the coupon code BUNGA_CRIB to get the discount and also make your selection of crib sheet color.

Thanks, EcoBunga!

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EcoBunga – my favorite site for spotting green deals – is offering a coupon code for 25% off at Green Healthy Baby!  No Minimum Purchase, Flat-Rate Shipping. Use Coupon Code: ECOBUNGA25 at checkout (valid until 3/1/11).

Green Healthy Baby carries EVERYTHING for baby, “The one stop shop for safe, non-toxic items for you and your baby”.

Some of the brands they carry: Wee Go Glass Bottles, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Avalon Organics, Nature’s Baby, California Baby, Safe Sippy and more!

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All Eco-Me 100% chemical-free cleaning kits are now only $15 at Natural Luxe, Up to 57% off regular price. Looks like home, baby, body and dog kits. :)

Eco-me has created a line of cleaning kits to help people make their own natural, non-toxic, chemical-free products. In March of 2005 Eco-me’s founder was alarmed when her 36-year-old sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. How does a healthy, athletic, spiritual and nutritionally organic young woman face the challenges of breast cancer? Could cancer be linked to the pollutants in our environment or toxic chemicals in our homes?

Eco-me products are proudly made in the USA

Ends Nov. 15 or WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! So, get yours now!

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Zulily is hosting a sales event on Envirosax products until 10/26 at 7a PDT. (Zulily is a member-only site, but it’s free to sign up).   Up to 40% off!

Envirosax’s key principle is replacing one-use items with reusable alternatives while making them fashionable and fun to use. Plastic bags clog drains and cause flooding. They pollute rivers and streams, killing animals and destroying planet life. They take years to photodegrade and have a very short life span. That’s why we love the idea of reusing bags like Envirosax. Less waste. More wear.”

These great reusable bags come in a carry bag, so you can keep them all together – genius! And they have some of the CUTEST designs around. Something for everyone in your family!

Prices starting at $5.99

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When I was working on greening my household cleaners, I came across quite a few recipes for making your own cleaners and I wanted to share those with you.

Some of these came from fans of my Facebook page, some from the web (and I’ll try to give credit where possible!), and some from a great book I book at Walmart in their discount bin a few years ago.

The book is called Homemade: How to make everyday products fast, fresh, and more naturally. (A Reader’s Digest book).  If you’re interested in finding this book, check your local library first – the greenest option! If you want to own it, I found it on Amazon for $6.38 – much less than I paid for it! It includes a lot more than cleaning recipes, so it’s worth the $6.38. :)

Now, on to the recipes! I’m calling this Part One, because today I’m just focusing on General household cleaners & specific Kitchen cleaners. Obviously, you can buy eco-friendly brands, but this is to cut costs even further, and to guarantee you know what is in your products!

General Cleaners

  • Glass Cleaner #1 (Homemade… book)
    • Ingredients: 1/2 c. White Vinegar; 2/3 gallon water; 1 clean gallon container, 1 clean 32oz. spray bottle.
    • Directions: Mix ingredients in the gallon container. Fill the spray bottle & spray on windows & glass items as needed. Dry glass with crumpled newspaper.
  • Glass Cleaner #2 (Homemade… book)
    • Ingredients: 1/3 c. White Vinegar; 1/4 c. Rubbing Alcohol; 3 1/2 c. water; 1 clean 32oz. spray bottle
    • Directions: Mix all ingredients in the spray bottle. Shake well. Spray on windows & glass items. Dry with crumpled newspaper.
  • Multipurpose Cleaner (Homemade… book)
    • Ingredients: 3 1/2 c. Hot Water; 1/2 c. White or Apple Cider Winegar; 1 t. Borax; 1 t. Washing Soda; 1 t. Liquid Castile Soap; 1 clean 32oz. spray bottle
    • Directions: Fill spray bottle first with hot water; then add vinegar, borax, washing soda, and liquid castile soap. Shake well. Spray on surfaces. Wipe down with a clean cloth or damp sponge.
  • Carpet Freshener (various websites)
    • Ingredients: Baking Soda
    • Directions: Sprinkle on carpet. Let set (time recommended varied. 1-3 hours). Vacuum up.
    • Caution: Some commenters warned about clogging vacuums. So, use with caution, or just be aware this may happen.
  • Fake Febreze (The Grocery Cart Challenge - great blog! She feeds a family of 6 on $60/wk!)
    • Ingredients: 2-3 T liquid fabric softener; 25 oz. Water; spray bottle.
    • Directions: Mix ingredients in spray bottle. Spray.
  • Air Freshener (Facebook fan)
    • Ingredients: 1 c. Activated Charcoal (about $10/bottle at Walgreens, but also available online)
    • Directions: Use 1 c. of charcoal in each room. Change every 6 months.
  • Floor Cleaner (Facebook fan)
    • Ingredients: White Distilled Vinegar, Water
    • Directions: Mix together. Mop.

Kitchen Cleaners

  • Automatic Dishwasher detergent (Facebook fan)
    • Ingredients: 1 c. Borax; 1 c. Washing Soda; 1 bottle of CitriShine (found in the dish aisle. Any citric acid could be used)
    • Directions: Mix together in a container and seal tightly. Use 2 T mixture for each load.
  • Fake Jet-Dry (Facebook fan)
    • Ingredients: White Vinegar
    • Directions: Use in jet-dry hole in your dishwasher.
  • Oven Cleaner (Homemade… book)
    • Ingredients: 2 T liquid soap; 2 t. Borax; 2 c. Warm Water; 1 clean 16oz spray bottle; 1/2 c. Baking Soda in an open bowl
    • Directions: Pour the soap & borax into a spray bottle. Add warm water. Shake well to dissolve. Spray solution on oven surfaces. Let mixture set for 30 min.-1hour. Scrub with a damp scrub pad dipped in baking soda. Rinse with clean water.
  • Garbage Disposal Cleaner (Homemade… book)
    • Ingredients: 1 qt. White Vinegar; ice-cube tray
    • Directions: Fill an ice-cube tray with white vinegar and freeze it. Remove cubes, place in a sealed plastic bag and return to the freezer. Once a week, run 2-3 vinegar cubes through garbage disposer.
  • Garbage Disposal Freshener (Homemade… book)
    • Ingredients: Orange, Lemon or Grapefruit peels
    • Directions: Store in a sealed plastic bag in refrigerator. Once or twice a week run a few peels through the disposal.
  • Scouring Powder (Homemade… book)
    • Ingredients: 1 c. Baking Soda; 1 c. Borax; 1 c. Salt; 1 clean 32oz plastic container with cover.
    • Directions: Combine ingredients in container & mix well. Close tightly to store. Sprinkle some on a damp sponge or directly on surface. Scour, rinse, dry.
  • Dishwasher Cleaner (Shopping Thrifty)
    • Ingredients: 1/2 c. White Vinegar; 2 T Baking Soda
    • Directions: “Simply pour the white vinegar and baking soda into your empty dishwasher. Next, start the dishwasher and allow it to run through a complete cycle. Repeat this process once a month to remove hard water buildup, stains, grime, and odor.”

Have you tried any of these? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! I haven’t tried some of these yet.

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