Homemade Fabric Softener

Making your own fabric softener is very easy to do. Two ingredients, a shake… and Bob’s your uncle.

When your house is on a septic system you start to pay more attention to what kind of stuff you pour down the drain. When I used to live in an apartment, I must admit that I didn’t think much about the cleaners that went down the sink or toilet. Out of sight out of mind.

Moving into a house with a septic system really smartens you up. All of a sudden you start to pay attention to the ingredients list on cleaners and if the toilet paper is septic safe or not. All the crap you pour down the drain doesn’t just magically get sorted at the nearby wastewater facility. It ends up in your back yard.

Bit by bit we have switched to eco-friendly cleaners. We use Eco nuts in the washing machine instead of laundry detergent and dryer balls in the dryer to speed up the drying process.

Here’s how we make our own fabric softener.

Recipe for homemade fabric softener:

3 cups of white distilled vinegar
12 drops of essential oil (Optional)

How to make homemade fabric softener

Clean out an old bottle or container that you would like to use to store your fabric softener in. I am using an old sauerkraut glass jar. The opening is a bit wide, which makes it a bit tough to pour from, but whatever works, right? Measure out 3 cups of white distilled vinegar and pour it into the container. Then put 12 drops of essential oil into the vinegar, pop the lid on and give it a quick shake. And that’s it. You now have made your own fabric softener and should give yourself a pat on the back.

How to use the homemade fabric softener

Once you have mixed up the vinegar and essential oil it is ready to be used. The beauty of this is that you can add it to the fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine and then you do not have to add it in the rinse cycle. I put in about 1/4 cup per load.

Can I use white distilled vinegar in my top loader?

If your machine is a top loader you can either add the vinegar during the rinse cycle. An easier option is to get yourself a fabric dispenser ball. That will save you from having to rushing to the machine and adding vinegar during the rinse cycle.

Will my clothes smell like vinegar?

I was a bit hesitant to use vinegar in my laundry as I was afraid our clothes would smell like pickled cukes. I am glad I gave it a try despite my hesitations. The vinegar smell disappears during the rinse cycle. Your clothes will just smell clean and freshly washed. If you choose to add an essential oil to the vinegar, your clothes with have a light trace of the scent.

Choice of essential oil

You can use any kind of essential oil that you like. I bought my essential oil at GNC and had a hard time deciding as there were so many options. I finally decided on lavender as I figured it would be closest thing to any fabric softener I was familiar with. Peppermint just didn’t sound like a good option as I don’t want my clothes to smell minty fresh. Amazon offers a wide variety of essential oils and even some pretty nifty variety packs if you, like me, have a hard time deciding which one to get. Click here to shop for essential oils on Amazon.com.

White Distilled vinegar – No substitutes

Just because its cheap doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Don’t try using apple cider vinegar or that other fancy vinegar you got for Christmas three years ago and never used. Your clothes will end up smelling very funky and you could risk staining them. Use white distilled vinegar. Period.

Safe to use on septic

We have not had any septic problems using vinegar instead of fabric softener. I only use 1/4 cup or so in each load, so it is not a lot of vinegar that go through our septic system. I am no expert, but I think that it is safe to say that vinegar is better for the septic field than any of the commercial fabric softeners.

Don’t mix vinegar with bleach

Vinegar and bleach can, when mixed, create toxic fumes that can cause severe respiratory problems. Even though the two liquids is diluted by water in the washing machine, it is best to avoid any science experiments in your laundry room. Keep vinegar and bleach apart. So if you use bleach for a load of whites, do not use this vinegar mixture in that load.

So simple, but it works

So there you have it, a very easy way to make your own fabric softener. If you don’t want your clothes to have any scent at all then simply use white distilled vinegar on its own. If you would like a hint of a nice scent then put in a few drops of essential oil. I was a skeptic at first, but it works. Your laundry will smell nice and fresh and you will no longer need to spend money on expensive fabric softeners. I encourage you to give it a try and write in the comment section below no matter if you love it or hate it.

 

My Dog’s Spa Treat

Most dogs don’t care for a bath, so what can you do to make it a more enjoyable experience for your four-legged friend? Below are some tips to spoil your dog with a doggie spa treat and turn a gruelling dog bath into a fun day instead.

Earthbath

Kahuna is getting ready to get pampered with the eco-friendly products from Earthbath.

How often should you bathe your dog?

You shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a month, as it dries out your dog’s skin. I try to only give Kahuna a bath every six weeks or so. Sometimes, Kahuna will roll in mud at the dog park or seaweed on the beach and then there is no choice – he gets a bath no matter how long time it has been since his last bath. If it hasn’t been long since his last bath and he isn’t smelly, I will just rinse him and not use the dog shampoo.

My dog, Kahuna is not too crazy about getting a bath. In fact, he will actually run and hide when he sees me bring the dog shampoo and conditioner out. When he was a little puppy, we could easily put him in the bathtub. But as he grew bigger and eventually ended up weighing over 100 lbs., it became more of a challenge to lift him into the bathtub. Besides, I would always start to giggle about the whole situation and that would just make the lifting part even harder. Also, Kahuna would shake the excess water off several times, which resulted in wet fur to clean off on the walls and ssower curtain afterwards. Not a fun thing to clean up at all…

Coin-operated dog wash

Washing a 100 lbs. dog in a bathtub eventually became too much of a hassle, so we started to look for other solutions. We tried using a coin-operated dog wash in our neighbourhood, but that didn’t work out too well. Kahuna was shaking the whole time and jumped off the high table – while still attached with his short leash to the table! He was not hurt, but it was a scary experience for all of us and we decided not to go back. After that we took him to groomers, but figured that that would end up being quite expense in the long run, so we kept on looking for a solution.

Backyard dog wash

We gave a local plumber a call and he installed a hot and cold exterior faucet (Amazon link) for us in our backyard. It didn’t cost much to install and was done in an afternoon. Bathing our dog has become so much easier now as we do not have to lift him into a bathtub or drive him to a dog wash. I would highly recommend installing a hot and cold faucet in your backyard if you, like us, have a larger dog that has outgrown your bathtub.

Make the dog wash a treat

I always start and finish Kahuna’s bath with something he really enjoys. In his case he loves getting his ears rubbed, so I start off with that before I turn the water on. I am lucky that he absolutely adores getting dried with a towel, so that is the perfect end to his bath. You always want to finish off on a high note – this applies to washing your dog as well. So if your dog enjoys a gentle massage or getting brushed, make sure to incorporate this into the dog spa day.

Be organized to make the dog spa a success

I always make sure to get everything ready before I turn the water on. This way everything is within reach and you don’t have to run away in the middle of the dog grooming. In my case, I will bring out Kahuna’s favourite towel (see photo above), Earthbath shampoo and Earthbath conditioner, his FURminator brush (Amazon links) and of course his favourite treats.

Two is better than one

The best thing is to have a helper, as this will really speed up the dog wash. Usually, my husband and I will take turns holding the hose and massaging the shampoo into the fur. Also remember that the tone of your voice affects your dog, so make sure to take your time, so it is not rushed. Your dog will sense if you are stressed and just want it over with, so relax and have fun with it – heck, if it is warm outside, “miss” your dog with the water and spray a little on your partner instead (only a little, otherwise they may not want to help out again).

There your have it, my tips to make your dog’s bath a little easier, so it doesn’t feel like a chore for you and a not-so-fun experience for your furry friend. How about you, what are your best tips to make dog grooming easier? Please share in the comment section below.

 

How to properly clean your kitchen sponge

Kitchen sponges can carry a lot of nasty germs and pathogens. It may look clean, it may smell clean, but if you do not clean it properly then it will quickly become the dirtiest part of your kitchen. Below is a quick and environmentally friendly way to clean your kitchen sponge to avoid that it becomes a breeding ground for germs.

Safest way to clean a kitchen sponge

A lot of people simply just throw their kitchen sponge in their dishwasher every few days, but this does not kill the germs effectively. Microwaving your wet kitchen sponge will actually kill 99.99% of the germs that are on your sponge (Please note, you should not microwave any sponges that contain any types of metal or you will have a first-row seat to fireworks inside your microwave).

Prep the sponge

First wash or brush off any food particles on the sponge. If it seems very greasy, add a little dish washing liquid to the sponge and give it a good rinse under running water until there are no more suds.

Wet kitchen sponge

Make sure the sponge is full of water and then add it to a microwave-safe plate or small bowl. Put the bowl with the wet sponge it in the microwave oven. It is very important that the sponge is wet – otherwise it can catch fire in the microwave oven.

Microwave your kitchen sponge

Cook the sponge in 30 second intervals at your microwave’s highest setting. Do not leave the sponge cooking in your microwave oven unattended. Open the door every 30 seconds and do a quick check to make sure that the sponge does not dry out.The cooking time all depends on how powerful your microwave is. The sponge is clean and can be taken out when it is steaming hot. In my microwave it only takes a total of 60 seconds on High. The whole cooking process should not take any more than two minutes.

Cook until steaming hot

The sponge will be steaming hot after a minute or two in your microwave oven, so watch your fingers, so you don’t burn yourself. I usually take the bowl or plate with the sponge out and leave it on the counter for a few minutes before I touch it.

No microwave?

If you do not have a microwave oven, here is the next best way to clean your kitchen sponge: Mix one part bleach to 10 parts water together, and let your kitchen sponge soak in this mixture for at least 10 minutes.

Eco-friendly way to keep your sponge germ-free

So there you have it, now you know how to properly clean your kitchen sponge. This is an eco-friendly way to clean your sponge and it will save you money as the kitchen sponge will last a lot longer. Microwave your kitchen sponge every other day and your kitchen will be a lot more hygienic and safer.

 

 

 

Clean Your Windows Without Any Cleaning Products

Norwex Enviro Cloth Cleaning Products Review

The Norwex Cleaning Cloth Package cleans your windows without harmful cleaning products.

On a  Sunday afternoon a while back I was chatting with our neighbour over the fence in the backyard. I told her that it was time for me to get started on cleaning the windows, a project I was not looking forward to at all.  My neighbour then told me that she uses Norwex cloths for cleaning her windows and that it takes her no time to clean hers.

I usually use Windex and newspapers for cleaning my windows. Yes, newspapers. There is something in the ink that makes your windows shine, but unfortunately the ink also transfers onto the white window frame, which means more cleaning.  Before I knew it, my neighbour gave me a set of her Norwex cleaning cloths to try out.

Norwex Cleaning Cloth Features:

  • Antibacterial
  • No cleaning material is needed
  • Only requires water to clean surfaces
  • Leaves no streaks or smears
  • 2-year warranty



Cleaning your windows with the Norwex cloths is a two-step process. First you use the blue cloth to lift the grime and then the purple to polish. The cleaning cloth in blue looks like a regular microfiber cloth, but this one is made of an anti-bacterial material, so you don’t need to use any cleaning products.

The polishing cloth is purple and made of a finer, silkier material that reminds me a bit of the fabric used for eyeglass cleaners. The combination of the two cloths is incredible. First I use the damp blue microfiber cloth to clean the surface and rub out any smudges and then the purple cloth to polish after.  All I use is water to make the blue cloth damp, there are no toxic cleaning products in sight when I clean my windows.

Cleaning cloth from Norwex

Use the blue microfiber cloth from Norwex to clean smudges.

Norwex Cleaning Cloths For Any Polished Surface

Now, I am neither a slob or a cleaning freak, but that first afternoon with those Norwex cloths in my hands… no shiny surface with a smudge on it in the house was safe.  You will find yourself looking around the house with a crazy look on your face looking for more things to clean. At least that’s how I was when I first got my Norwex set. My husband quietly snug into the garage and when he ventured out again all shiny surfaces in the house were spotless. Windows, mirrors, the glass cooktop, the quartz kitchen counter tops that used to have water marks on them, all spotless and streak-free. When I have used the blue cloth, I rinse it out under the hot tap, wring it out and hang it up to dry.

No More paper Towels And Toxic Cleaning Products

I used to go through a lot of paper towels, but now I pretty much only use paper towels to wipe a spill off the kitchen floor. I also used to use a lot more cleaning products in the house, but now I don’t need any more cleaning products for the windows, glass cook top or my kitchen counter tops. Great for the environment and great for my wallet.

 

Norwex antibacterial cloth

Use the purple Norwex cloth to polish the surface and prepare yourself to be amazed.

Washing Your Norwex Cleaning Cloths

When I wash the cloths, I make sure not to use any fabric softener as it makes the fabric less absorbent – just like with regular towels.  I makes sure to wash the cloths with other lint-free fabrics like sheets. If you wash them with towels, the microfiber cloth will pick up all the lint from them and then you will be picking lint off the microfiber cloth all afternoon. I hang the cloths to dry straight out of the washing machine. I figure that for them, I might as well try to make them last for as long as possible by saving them from the dryer’s hot temperatures.

Best For the Environment And Your Wallet

Now, the Norwex cloths are not the cheapest cleaning cloths available.  But the quality is great and this means that they last for years. You just have to make sure to hide them from your husband, so he doesn’t start to use them to clean bugs off his motorcycle windshield… Or do what I eventually did: buy him his own set for the garage.  I save a lot of money by hardly every needing to buy paper towels any more and my Windex hardly ever gets used. So not only do you save money, you also help save the environment with less waste.
Buy your Norwex Basic Antibacterial Microfiber Cloth Packagenow!

 

 

Eco Nuts Review – A Natural Laundry Detergent

I must admit that when a friend of mine first suggested that I use soap nuts instead of laundry detergent because I have very sensitive skin I thought she was pulling my leg. I have very dry and itchy skin, especially during the winter months to the point where I am fantasizing about jumping into a bathtub full of olive oil to stop the itch. So yes, I was desperate for a solution, but putting nuts in my laundry machine?



What are soap nuts?

Before buying some soap nuts I did a little research. It turns out that the Eco Nuts should be called Eco Berry because they are a dried berries from the Himalayas. The interesting thing about these berries is that once you put them in water they release a natural soap, which is called saponin.

The seeds are removed and the berries are sterilized (Eco Nuts are currently the only de-seeded and sterilized soap nuts available and the sterilization process is USDA Organic approved).

Unboxing

I really liked the fact that the Eco Nuts didn’t come wrapped in plastic. I know that it is a small thing but I find that so much material is wasted wrapping and double-wrapping so many products. So it was nice to see that the only material was the cardboard box and no plastic.

EcoNuts

The Eco Nuts is a natural product – laundry doesn’t get any greener than this.

 

How do soaps nuts work?

A small amount of natural soap, saponin is released in the laundry machine when the nuts are agitated in water. On top of cleaning the clothes, the saponin also acts as a fabric softener and opens up fibres in the fabric making your clothes soft and fluffy. You do not have to worry about taking the nuts out if the machine before the rinse cycle, just leave them in there during the entire cycle.

After about 10 uses you will notice that the nuts start to to disintegrate. The outer shell will break off inside the little fabric bag. Then it is time to get rid of them. I compost them as they are a natural, biodegradable product.

If you accidentally throw the soap nuts in the dryer there is no damage done. They can go back on the shelf and be used again. I like to remove the Eco Nuts from the fabric bag in between uses to allow the nuts to completely dry out.

Directions to use the Eco Nuts

  1. Place 4 or 5 Eco Nuts in the reusable wash bag provided and tie it.
  2. Put it in with your laundry machine and wash as normal.
  3. Remove the bag at the end of the cycle and set aside to dry on a shelf or do another load (I prefer to remove the nuts from the bags in between uses).
  4. Re-use up to 10 times or until they start to disintegrate.
EcoNutsLaundry

Just pop 4-5 Eco Nuts in the fabric back included and you’re ready to go.

 

Eco Nuts is a great gift

As it is a natural detergent, it is perfect for washing baby clothes. I give the Eco Nuts to friends that have just had a baby. I figure that for washing clothes it doesn’t get any milder than that. Friends have come back to me and said they love the product are not just using it to wash their baby’s clothes, but also the bedding, stuffed toys and even cloth diapers.

It is also a nice present for friends that work in areas where no scents are allowed, for example health care professionals in hospitals. Finding a decent fragrance free laundry detergent is not always easy, so giving this as a gift is always appreciated.

Do you have a soap allergy?

Because Eco Nuts are an all natural product it is gentle on clothes as well as your skin, which makes it ideal for people like myself with sensitive skin, or eczema, allergies and psoriasis.

If you or anyone in your family suffer from allergies related to the laundry detergent, you should give Eco Nuts a try. I have pretty sensitive skin and often find that I get really itchy from the regular detergent. When I first heard about these nuts, I must admit that I was a bit skeptical, but after giving this natural laundry detergent a try myself, I am pleasantly surprised at how great it works.

 

>>Click here to buy your Eco Nuts on Amazon.com<<