Keeping a Clean House without Toxic Chemicals – Plus Giveaways!

We’ve tried cleaning with just Vinegar and Baking Soda, and it wasn’t for us.  The smell alone was enough to make us switch back to natural products we’ve liked in the past.  Here are a few of them, plus the only book you’ll need as a reference!

The Toxin-Free Home

toxin-free-homeKnowledge is power, so if you want to keep your home clean and free of toxins, you might need to hit the books.  There’s always the internet, but we prefer a more reliable source when it comes to something as important as our family.  That’s why we keep a copy of The Toxin-Free Home: A Guide to Maintaining a Clean, Eco-Friendly, and Healthy Home by Alison Haynes on hand to help us navigate everything from VOCs, eco-friendly materials and cleaning supplies, allergens and stain removal.

How to Hang Dry Clothes in the Winter

Hanging Clothes to Dry Inside

Hanging Clothes to Dry Inside

With winter in full swing, our outdoor clothes line is not getting any use.  I still have plenty of clothes to hang dry, so I have a clothes drying station in my laundry room.

I have never liked free standing clothes drying racks. I don’t like having a big contraption cluttering up my living space, so I’ve always searched out an alternative to hanging our clothes to dry.

Free Standing Clothes Dryer

Free Standing Clothes Dryer

One of my first clothes drying racks was wall mounted and  folded up against the wall until it was nearly flush.  I liked the way it was easily accessible and adjustable.  It was so convenient!  I’m pretty sure it was a store-brand model from someplace like Kmart, because I have never been able to find the same style since.

Fun With New Years


TBT: Green Laundry Choices

line drying baby clothes

The Original Solar Powered Clothes Dryer

Our new house has a clothes line, and I’ve already put it to good use. I learned a very important lesson the first time I used it: clothes that were dry become less dry once the sun goes down. Unless I want to leave them out overnight to dry again in the morning, the laundry must be collected before dark!

We’ve posted a lot over the years about doing laundry in an eco-friendly way, and here are some of the highlights!

Green Breakthrough: Save Energy by Washing Diapers in Cold Water

The Cheapest Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent

Review: Ecos Laundry Detergent and Stain Remover

My normal laundry routine includes Tide Free And Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent and OxiClean Max Force Gel Stick. I’ve been happy with both, but I decided to try something new.  Baby Ecos Laundry Products are Plant-Based, pH balanced and formaldehyde and petrochemical free seemed a good place to start.

In my experience, cloth diapers hold in a lot more waste than disposable so I don’t have a lot of stains to deal with.  Since we use disposable when away from home, there was an explosion that stained a white onesie and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to see just how well Baby Ecos Disney Stain and Odor Remover worked.  I followed the instructions and sprayed the stain thoroughly and let it sit for five minutes. The stain lightened considerably during the first washing, but not completely. Instead of drying the item, I sprayed the stain again and let it sit for thirty minutes. It almost worked. But it seems to me a stain remover that is geared towards babies should work on an average baby stain.

Reusable Baby Wipes

Even if you don’t have the time or inclination (or laundry facilities) to use cloth diapers, you can still use reusable wipes! A stack of cheap wash clothes is a good way to go, or just cut up a couple of old towels (you could buy them at a thrift store if you don’t have towels to spare).

Here are some clothes and sprayers that would work

Homemade wipes with sprayer

Homemade wipes with sprayer

I inherited a stack of flannel wipes from my sister-in-law. These 6×6 squares are made of two layers sewn together with a double seam. The edges were cut with pinking shears so although they unraveled a bit at first, they stopped after a few washings. I ended up making more so I don’t have to do laundry as often, and it was very easy (if not a bit time consuming). I also have gotten pretty good at using one side and then folding it in half to use the next time (depending on the messiness of the diaper, of course).

Can You Recommend a Natural Stain Remover?

Way in the dark ages of the Green Baby Guide, we had a little post containing our “toxic confessions.” I confessed to using Stain Stick on my laundry . While I’m happy washing my windows with vinegar and newspapers, scrubbing my floors with the pure power of steam, and polishing the silver with the elbow grease of eco-friendly elves, I never did find a replacement for Stain Stick. My one experience with a natural alternative ruined one of my shirts. So I continued using the Stain Stick. But I’m feeling that eco-guilt weigh down on me. Here are the options:

Ecover Stain Remover. No! Unfortunately, this is the natural stain remover that lightened some fabric on one of my favorite t-shirts.

What are your water-saving tips?

Over the last few years we’ve made a few big changes in our water habits . . . but we haven’t seen these changes reflected in our water bill. What gives? Here are some of the things we’ve done:

We got a dishwasher. A dishwasher is supposed to use far less water than even the thriftiest hand washer. Or so they say.

We started using a drip irrigation system for our garden. It’s supposed to save water over a sprinkler or hose.

I love love love my automatic timer. It’s supposed to be better for the plants and save water, too.

We got an egg cooker. It counts for something, right?

Eliminating Yeast From Cloth Diapers

My children were happily rash free while using cloth during the day, but we struggled with regular nocturnal yeast infections. I felt copious amounts of guilt, poured boiling water into a bathtub of clean prefolds, experimented with different detergents, and felt more guilt when we couldn’t seem to resolve the issue. But now I finally know what I could have done to prevent the infections altogether! (At the time I switched to disposables at night and felt much sadness about it.)

To attack this hearty fungi in the laundry, wash diapers in 122+ degree water or with a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to eliminate yeast spores. Just what is GSE extract? It’s a natural product that that combats fungus, viruses and bacteria. A four ounce bottle will run you nearly fifteen dollars, but you only need to include a few drops with each load so it may be worth it in the long run.

Fuzzibunz One Size Diapers and Rockin’ Green Giveaway

Two lucky readers are going to have a very, very good week! One of them will receive three One Size Fuzzibunz cloth diapers and the other will score a Fuzzibunz In and out Mess Free Hanging Diaper Pail and a bag of Rockin’ Green Laundry Soap. What great supplies for all your cloth diapering adventures!

Prize #1
Three One Size FuzziBunz Pocket Diapers

If you aren’t yet a FuzziBunz fanatic, you may soon be converted. They are soft, absorbent, easy care pocket diapers that work wonderfully. The FuzziBunz One Size cloth diapers are built to take babies from birth to potty training, with sturdy adjustable snaps that older tots can’t open. So even though there is an initial investment, once you get a set of these diapers you will never have to buy a different size again!