Search Results for: infused water

Green Breakthrough: Save Energy by Washing Diapers in Cold Water

I’d always heard that diapers needed to be washed in the hottest water possible.  After two years of washing diapers in hot water, a post on Treehugging Family made me think about whether I could wash diapers in cold.  Peggy writes about saving 72 pounds of carbon dioxide in one month just by washing four out of five loads in cold water.  Keep that up for an entire year and you’ll save $60-100 on your energy bill. 

front-loading washing machine for cloth diapersBut doesn’t washing in hot water kill germs and bacteria?  Everything I read said no–unless your washer has a built-in heater, the hot water in your machine does not get hot enough to kill anything.  Most water heaters are set to 120 degrees.  You’d need a temperature of 160 to kill anything and 212 to actually sanitize your laundry.  Jennifer (Peggy’s co-blogger on Treehugging Family) pointed out that the dryer does get hot enough to kill bacteria.
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Little Water Wasters: What to Do When Your Youngster Doesn’t Understand the Meaning of Conservation

Has anyone else spawned a water-waster?  If I give Audrey a little watering can and ask her to water the flowers, she’ll dump the whole thing on the pavement.  She enjoys flushing the toilet.  If she washes her hands, she turns the water on full blast and splashes water everywhere.  Then she cries when I won’t let her wash her hands every five minutes.  One day I wondered why it was eerily silent in the bathroom, and I found that Audrey had taken all the towels out of the cabinet and soaked each one in the sink!

How have you talked to your kids about conserving resources–at a two-year-old level?  Audrey will beg to water the plants or wash her hands, which seem like innocuous enough activities for a youngster–but how do I encourage her to do those things with the proper respect for Mother Earth?  Or do I just need to put up with the waterworks for a few years, then sit her down as a teen for a comprehensive lecture on ecology? 
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Offsetting the Water Used to Wash Cloth Diapers

I often hear people say that cloth diapers are no better for the planet than disposables because of all the water used to wash them.  This argument has never made too much sense to me.  Water is a renewable resource, but the trees cut down to make disposable diapers are often harvested unsustainably.  The plastic used on each diaper is a petroleum product-definitely not a renewable resource.  Then there’s the whole landfill issue. . . .

Not to say that I don’t care about wasting water.  If you wash diapers every other day in a top loader, you’ll use a whopping 7,200 gallons water a year.  Do you use a wet pail to soak your diapers?  That’s 360 more gallons a year, for a grand total of 7,560.  The good news is, it’s not necessary to blow through that much water.  I estimate that I use under 1,200 gallons water a year washing diapers.  I have a front loader that uses 12.4 gallons per wash, and I wash diapers every four days instead of every other day.
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The Best Stainless Steel Water Bottle!

best stainless steel water bottleFor the last four years I’ve been slurping my beverages from a well worn plastic bottle.  Yes, it’s made from a “safer” plastic–but it still didn’t exactly feel safe.  Still, I was loathe to toss it in the trash in the name of environmentalism.  Luckily, it failed on its own and I was free embrace stainless steel.  Still, I was convinced that the options were limited.  After all I wanted a water bottle that:

  • Fit in my car beverage slot
  • Had a wide mouth that could easily be filled with ice.

Happy New Year: Evaluating Last Year’s Green Resolutions and Setting New Ones

Thanks to my green resolutions from last year, I was able to make some big changes one step at a time.  Although I haven’t accomplished all of them perfectly, they did help to get me jumpstart 2008 in a much greener fashion. 

As I begin 2009 things seem even more hectic than they did a year ago.  Here’s the big news: I’m pregnant!  Our baby is due on June 15th, which is wonderful news.  It also means that I’ll be juggling a nearly full time job, growing a human being, parenting a toddler, enjoying marriage, writing this blog and starting a monthly column in Metro Parent.  It’s all great news, but already I find myself a little short of breath as I consider balancing it all.  So, this year my goals are humble, but they will still be a great fun to accomplish.

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Even More Gift Ideas for the New or Expecting Mother!

Here’s how you assemble a wonderful gift basket for a new mom. Still need ideas? Here are some more:

A Boppy pillow. Both of us managed to raise our babies with very limited baby gear—and we both had Bobby pillows. They make breastfeeding easier by propping the baby up to the right position, easing the strain on the back and arms. As baby grows older, you can use it to prop him in a sitting position.
baby sleeping on boppy nursing pillow
Note: You aren’t supposed to let your baby sleep on the Boppy! We kept our eye on her–just a week old!

Kindle. A Kindle—are we kidding? Well, a ways back we wrote this post, posing the question: Is a Kindle greener than regular old books? Sure, it saves trees and shipping fuel, but a wireless reading device uses batteries and may end up clogging a landfill one day. Still, we’d heard that it’s perfect for reading books while breastfeeding–turn the page with the click of a button! Avid readers who like to buy all their books instead of borrowing from the library claim to save money in the long run.
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When Are Disposables Greener than Washing Cloth Diapers?

It pains us to admit that cloth diapers do not always win the fight against disposables. We love cloth diapers for their cuteness, cheapness, and eco-friendliness, but the truth is, many people waste so much water and energy laundering their Fuzzibunz that they might as well switch to Huggies as far as the Earth is concerned.

So how can you tell if you’re doing more harm than good? Do a little bit of math to determine how much water you’re using laundering your diapers: multiply the gallons of water your washing machine uses by the number of loads you do per year. (If you aren’t sure, use 40 gallons for a top loader and 12 for a front loader.) Is your resulting number less than 4,000? Then you are on the right track! More than 4,000? You should probably re-evaluate your laundering habits.
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The Thrill of Cloth

Here’s something disposable diaper-using parents may not understand: I truly enjoyed cloth diapering my daughter.  I didn’t just put up with it because I wanted to save money.  Nor was I slaving over those diapers as a sacrifice for Mother Earth.  Before my daughter was born, I pored over websites on the Internet, reading all about prefolds and diaper covers and laundering techniques.  Once I got my diapers, I admired their softness and cuteness; I couldn’t wait to try them out.  I even took pleasure in laundry days–ah, the anticipation of waiting for a nice, fresh batch of diapers to emerge from the dryer!
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Green Your Dishwasher!

As a proud dishwasher owner for the last four months, I obviously qualify as an expert. I’ve even learned a few more tricks since my initial dishwasher post. According to the Energy Star website, an Energy Star dishwasher uses 5.8 gallons of water or less per load. Most studies indicate that using the dishwasher will save money and water compared to hand washing. However, remember that  this is not the case if you pre-rinse dishes (wasting up to 20 gallons of water per load!) or use the heat dry option! The estimated energy usage that you see on that Energy Star tag are based on running loads on the normal cycle and letting the dishes air dry.
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Stripping Cloth Diapers: Can You Avoid Detergent Build Up?

The funky odor.  The leaks.  Oh how I loathe detergent build up on cloth diapers!

With my first baby, I had no idea why his cloth diapers suddenly smelled like dirty sweat socks after being washed or why they refused to soak up even small amounts of liquid.

Then I learned how to use less detergent, I switched to greener detergents,(like Biokleen and, later, Country Save) and I found out how to strip diapers.

For us, one hot load with an extra rinse every few months totally does the trick.

Some people apparently have to strip diapers much more frequently and run them through several loads of hot water before the diapers work again.  But others don’t ever seem to need to strip diapers. (I’ve especially heard this from users of Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder.)
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