Friday, April 27, 2012

Cosmetic Pads

 Like most women I use cotton balls in my personal care routine. I have recently started using witch hazel as a face toner in the evenings and my cotton ball consumption was ever increasing. This is not only a tax on the environment but also my pocket book. Now I know I am not going to save hundreds of dollars by not buying cotton balls, but I will save a few bucks which is better then nothing. In the past I used a few of my old baby receiving blankets to make tissues and they have worked wonderfully, so I thought I could also use receiving blankets to make cosmetic pads.

First decide on how big you want your pads. I just used a three finger width for mine.
Cut a strip from the blanket to your desired width.
Fold the strip into thirds. I made some in half, thirds, and fourths but I like the thirds best.
Cut the strip into squares. Each square will be made up of three pieces of fabric. Then cut each square into a circle by curving the corners. Cutting into a circle is not required but it makes sewing them together much easier.

Here is a picture of the blanket, the cut squares, and some cut circles. 

 Next using your sewing machine stitch together the three pieces of fabric. I use the over edge stitch which works quite well and does not use up as much thread as some of the tighter serge stitches.

 Cut off the excess thread and they are ready to use. To wash just throw them in with you regular clothes. If you are using them to remove something you fear might stain clothes be sure to wash them separately.

This is a really simple project and I am quite happy with the results. I will be making lots more for all of my cotton ball/cosmetic pad needs.

Monday, January 16, 2012

G-Diapers- Perfect for Travel

Another post I wrote a while ago, back in 2009.

I am a huge cloth diaper fan. I love them and I have tried just about every type out there. When traveling though cloth can be kind of cumbersome. They take up a lot of space in the luggage and sometimes you do not have access to a washing machine. I have done disposables during these times of travel and I have taken our cloth with us for travel as well. When planing our latest trip to Disney World I was looking for a better solution to our diapering problem. That is when I took a look at G-Diapers. They are a kind of hybrid disposable and cloth. None of the gross crunchy plastic stuff you have with disposables but none of the soiled diapers that constantly need to be washed.

A friend of mine was nice enough to let me try hers since they were not currently being used. I have now used them for 3 weeks of travel and I am very impressed. These are my current favorite for all travel needs. They are compact and you can buy them at many different places so you do not have to pack enough for the whole trip. Just remember to look on the site before you go to be sure there will be a store nearby that carries them.

During our trip we had a few episodes where the plastic inner got dirty, we would hand wash them in the sink and then hang them to dry. It worked perfectly. G-diapers also has cloth inserts you can use instead of the disposable ones. These would be perfect for at home use or for use when you have access to a washing machine.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Up Date on Cloth Diapers

I wrote this post back in 2008 a little over a year after I started diapers.

My Natural Babies

Sorry this is so long but I wanted to make an updated post on cloth diapering. It has been almost a year since I started using cloth and since I last posted on the subject. Over this time I have found that cloth diapers are very easy to use and I really wish I had started using them with Andon when he was born. It would have saved me a bunch of money.
I found with Brylynn I had to start with disposables we used Seventh Generation disposables for the first 3-4 weeks because she was so small. During this time she had a bad diaper rash that would not go away, but now she is in cloth all day and we no longer have a problem with diaper rash.

There are so many different kinds of diapers and when I first started out I did not know what to buy but now after using them for a year I have a good idea of what I like and do not like.

We use two types of diapers around here prefold cloth diapers with a cover and pocket diapers. The prefolds are the basic cloth diaper that has extra absorbency in the middle section. Over the prefolds we use a Wonder wrap cover which is a cloth diaper cover with a waterproof layer. The Wonder Wraps are a one size cover so although they are slightly bulkier they will fit a child from 9-35 lbs. They fit both Brylynn and Andon. I have not tried every type of cover but of the ones I have tried Bummis, Imse Vimse, and Wonder Wraps. They are the ones I like the best.
The pocket diapers we have used with Andon are the Fuzzy Bunz, I tried the one size BumGenius but did not care for them. With Brylynn I bought a pocket diaper called Pocket Change and loved them. They are a lot like the Fuzzy Bunz but they come with an extra insert and they have an opening at both ends. You never have to pull the insert out because they come out on their own in the wash. These are my new favorite. If I was to start from scratch with cloth I would probably just buy the Pocket Change diapers and nothing else.
For any one starting out with cloth I would suggest buying one of the trial sets that includes many different kinds of diapers so you can find your favorite.

For Andon we use a prefold with a diaper cover (pins are not needed) during the day. At night Andon wears a Fuzzy Buns pocket diaper with a prefold and an extra insert in it. Every once in a while the top of his pajama pants are a little wet but this is usually not a problem.

For Brylynn I have found I like a different combination. I use a Pocket Change diaper on her during the day because they are trimmer then the prefolds and cover on her little body. At night since I am changing her every time she wakes to eat we are using the prefolds with a Wonder Wrap cover. I want to buy about 6 more pocket diapers to use with her.

For washing diapers I have recently realized that I should be using a different detergent then I am so I am doing some research on what I want to use. When we just had Andon we were only washing diapers about twice a week. Now with two in cloth we run a load every other day.
Brylynn in a Wonder WrapBrylynn in a Pocket Change diaperAndon in a Wonder Wrap

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cloth diapers

I wrote this post back in 2007 when I was pretty new to cloth diapers but it still holds true and is a good honest post about starting cloth diapers.

Andon in his cloth diapers
playing with Linc.

As some of you know we have switched to cloth diapers. I do not know why I did not start with them but oh well better late then never. When we first decided to try cloth I went looking at the websites and found there were many different choices. All in ones, pocket diapers, cloth with a cover, fitted cloth with a cover, and for each choice there were a number of different types.
We decided to go with cloth prefold diapers with diaper covers. We bought a number of different covers in order to find the ones we liked. It has been about two weeks and besides being bulkier then disposables it really is not a big deal. In fact Andon’s diaper pail and room do not smell at all now when it use to smell a lot when we were using disposables.

In case you are interested in the logistics (because I was)
Andon wears a cloth diaper folded in thirds with a diaper cover over it. The diaper cover is fabric with a waterproof layer so there is no leaking and no diaper pins. When he is wet we change the cloth diaper but not always the diaper cover. If the cover is wet then we hang it to dry and use later. When he is dirty we change the cloth diaper, use a cloth wipe sprayed with water, and if the cover is dirty then we rinse it and put it aside to wash. We dump the poop in the toilet and place the diaper and wipe in the diaper pail. I have been washing one load of diapers on Thursday and Monday (which is my regular laundry day). We have not started cloth at night although we will soon and I will be sure to let you know how things go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cloth Diapering: The Basics

Why use Cloth?
  • Diapering one child from birth to toilet training costs only hundreds of dollars with cloth vs. thousands of dollars with disposables.
  • The same cloth diapers you use with your first child can be used again with your other children.
  • Cloth diapers and accessories in good condition can be resold when you are done with them.

  • A child will typically go through 5,000 -8,000 disposable diapers from birth to toilet training but you only need about 5 dozen cloth diapers for the same period.
  • Disposable diapers take up to 500 years to decompose and leach chemicals and human waste into the earth.
  • Washing cloth diapers at home takes no more water then the amount a toilet trained child would use flushing.

Better for baby
  • The chemicals used in disposables such as dioxin and sodium polyacrylate have been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and toxic shock syndrome.
  • Cloth diapers allow for air circulation which helps keep baby’s skin healthier.

Types of Cloth Diapers
Pocket Diapers – place insert or prefold inside the pocket
All-in-One Diapers – most like disposables
Diaper Covers – place insert or prefold inside the cover
Prefold/Flat Diapers –fold and place inside a cover or pocket diaper
Inserts/Doublers – place inside a cover or pocket diaper

Cleaning your cloth diapers
Dirty cloth diapers, wraps, wipes, and diaper pail liner can be washed together in your washing machine. Washing diapers typically adds only 2-3 more loads of laundry a week.
When changing a cloth diaper solids can be dumped into the toilet no need to soak the diaper what ever does not fall off will be gone after washing.  

Normal Wash Routine
Use the longest wash cycle (usually includes a pre-wash cycle)
Use only 1-2 TBS of detergent (use detergent with no fabric softener, whiteners, or enzymes)
Use the rinse cycle twice (it is very important to rinse all detergent from the diapers)
Dry on low or high heat, depending on the type of diaper.

Out and About
Changing cloth diapers when out is as easy as using disposables, the only difference is you place the used diapers in a wet bag to wash later.

When going out I carry an extra diaper and wrap if needed, wipes, and a wet bag. I also always have extra diapers in my car.

What you need to start.
About 2-3 dozen diapers and 4-6 covers depending on what type you are using.

Diaper Pail – Any trash can with a lid will work.
Pail Liner – Get 2 so you always have one in the pail when the other is in the wash.
Cloth Wipes – Baby wash cloths work just fine.
Spray Bottle – Fill with water to wet the wipes.
Wet Bag – Carry with you for used diapers while out and about. Get at least 2.

Diaper Services
A diaper service will supply you with clean diapers and pick up and wash the dirty diapers for a monthly fee.

Resources on the net

Online Shops

Natural Websites

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cleaning Step 5: Laundry

There are many great appliances in my house but one of my favorites is my washer and dryer. I can not imagine what it was like doing laundry for a houseful of people with out them. I do worry though about the impact my easy to use washer and dryer have on the environment. With a little investigation I have discovered a few easy ways to lessen my laundry footprint but still enjoy my favorite appliances.

First how much laundry do you really need to do? Most of us, me included, wash items that are not really dirty. Think about it how many times do you wear a shirt for only an hour or so and then throw it in to the hamper. Before throwing something into the hamper think is this item really dirty or could you wear it again? This thought alone has lessened my laundry especially when it comes to jeans and sweaters.

Just like dish detergent your laundry detergent also goes directly into the water system and can cause havoc on the environment. Along with being in the water detergents linger in the clothes and do not rinse out. Think about all those scented detergents the only way they can continue to scent your clothes is if they stay in your clothes and do not wash out. So the next step in greening your laundry is using less detergent. Over the last few years I have cut the recommended amount of laundry detergent I use by half and I am still getting clean clothes every week.

Also just like dish detergent and soaps be sure you are using one that is gentle on the environment. We like Seventh Generation but there are many other green options out there. The number one thing to know is the ingredients but since ingredients are not required to be listed it can be hard to find them. My personal rule of thumb is if the company is not straight forward with all of their ingredients I do not use the products. Your dollar is one of the most important ways you can make change so spend it wisely.
On my list of things to try is Soap Nuts. I think they could be great for the environment but finding them in the store is hard and they can be a bit expensive. Therefore they are on my someday list when I am in the right mood and have the time to try something new. For now I will stick with natural detergents.

Now that your load is lessened and you know what your laundry detergent is made of it is time to place your clothes in the washer. First unless it is something really germy (like cloth tissues, diapers, or cleaning rags) do not wash them on anything other then cold water. Washing in cold is better for the environment and your pocket book because you are not heating the water so you are using less electricity to wash your clothes. Washing in cold is also easier on you because when you are washing in cold you do not have to worry much about separating your colors and whites. At our house we wash everything together on cold making my job quite a bit easier. I do take out the jeans and other tougher fabric items to wash in their own load.

Always try to wash a full load which is easier to do when you are not separating everything into different piles. Washing a full load is the best use of the electricity and water used in the washing machine. If you can not wash a full load be sure to change the water level in the washer to reflect the load you are washing. You will still be using the same amount of electricity but you will be at least saving water. On the other hand do not stuff the washer overfull. The clothes need some space to move around when the washer is filled with water in order for them to be cleaned thoroughly. Open the top of your washer while it is cycling and check to see how the clothes fill the water. If it seems to crammed next time put in less clothes or if there seems to be excess water next time choose a lower water level of place more clothes in the wash. 

Now that you have washed your dirty clothes in a natural laundry detergent it is time to dry them. The best way by far is to line dry. Line drying is great for the environment, your pocket book, and your clothes. All of the lint that accumulates in your dryer is actually fibers from your clothes, which causes them to wear out much quicker. Hanging your clothes in the sun outside kills bacteria, whitens, and will fade stains. Just remember to hang non whites inside out and/or in the shade so that you do not fade the colored fabric. 

If you do not want to line dry your clothes or the weather outside makes it impossible then it is time to learn to use your dryer effectively. First if you are drying your clothes correctly there will be no need for those dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are filled with chemicals, can clog the dryer filter, and can create hazardous conditions leading to fires. We use dryer balls which help to not only keep away static but also separate the clothes so they dry quicker. Another way to prevent static is not to over dry your clothes. This also prevents wrinkles. You want to remove your clothes and hang them while they are still barely damp and not bone dry. The best way to do this if you are washing all your clothes together is to take out and immediately hang all of your shirts, pants, skirts, and dresses. Having a bar for hanging clothes in the laundry room is a good way to do this. Then place your socks, underwear, and other items back in the dryer for a few more minutes to finish drying. Or hang all of your clothes to finish drying (I just do not have the space to hang every sock and pair of underwear in my laundry room).

 Want to read more check out the links below
Scented Laundry Products Emit Hazardous Chemicals Through Dryer Vents

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cleaning Step 4: The Dishes

I am not the regular evening dish washer in our home. I leave this job to my husband mostly because I love to cook but I hate doing the dishes. So after dinner while my husband does the dishes I put everything away and pack up leftovers (in glass reusable containers). Unfortunately since my husband is usually working during the day after breakfast, lunch, and snack I am the dish washer.

As a daily chore all the water and soap used for dish washing can be very hazardous not only to the environment but also to your health. When you are constantly putting soap on your dish rag and hands you skin is absorbing that soap and all the chemicals in it. Which is why antibacterial should not be a part of your dish soap. Read why here. Cleaning the dishes can easily be taken from a hazardous activity to a green one and you may find it much easier to complete this step then any of the previous ones.

First off look at your dish soap, dish washing detergents, and rinse agent. Read through the ingredients do not be surprised if all of the ingredients are not listed. Companies do not have to list ingredients on anything non edible. If there are no ingredients listed do a quick search to see if you can find them online. If you are like me you may be wondering why ingredients are not listed and what do the companies have to hide.

The best thing you can do for your health and the health of your family is to know what you are bringing in to your house and putting on your hands and dishes. Check out the Green Cleaner Buying Guide for more information on what should or should not be in your detergents.

In our house we use Seventh Generation dish soap and either Trader Joe's or Seventh Generation dish detergent. We do not use any rinse agents besides being an extra chemical and extra expense they are mostly unneeded. I have found that the best rinse agent out there is vinegar. Just pour vinegar into your dish washing rinse agent compartment. Refill as needed about every 5th time you run the dish washer.

Here are the most important things to remember when using your dishwasher.

  • Use chlorine free dish washing detergent
  • Ventilate your kitchen during and after dishwasher operation
  • Filter your homes water supply with a carbon water filter, if your public water system uses chlorine to treat drinking water.
  • Test your water for radon and treat it accordingly
  • Keep your dishwasher closed for at least an hour after a completed cleaning cycle.
  • Use the no heat dry option
  • Only run your dishwasher when it is completely full
  • Use phosphate free dish washing detergent
For more information on any of these points please read Naturally Clean by Jeffrey Hollender/

Some more sites to check out

Now that you have cleaned your house cleaning and your dish washing. Check out the last cleaning step 5 to see how you can now clean your laundry greener and safer.