Thursday, 21 April 2011

Earth Day Ramp Up: Keeping Clean & Green

I was a bit of an early adopter on environmentally friendly cleaning products, since most commercial ones make the skin on my hands really irritated, or the overpowering scent makes my throat feel funny. I also find it odd that we somehow have collectively accepted the idea that wiping a surface down with poisonous and harmful chemicals is somehow 'clean'.

I use straight up baking soda for anything I feel needs a good scouring- such as the tub, bathroom and kitchen sink, etc. And if I feel like I really need to disinfect a surface, I wipe it down with a rubbing alcohol (isropyl alcohol). 


But earth-friendly sometimes needs to be really easy, right? Enter Method, probably the most consumer-friendly eco cleaning product company. They make every kind of cleaning product you can think of both for your home, and for your body. They even have a wonderful line of baby care products- all all non-toxic, naturally derived biodegradable ingredients and an earth-friendly outlook.

Method products are available in: Canada, United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. And they come in many great fragrances- not too strong at all.


I only buy biodegradable laundry detergent, although I'm not faithful to a particular brand. It's great for sensitive skin. Method makes a great one, but I find that my grocery store carries a bunch of them, so I buy whatever is biodegradable and on sale. I don't use dryer sheets (they have formaldehyde in them!), so to eliminate static (and use less electricity) I don't run my dryer more than 20 minutes at a time. I find clothes only get static-y if they become bone-dry in there, so running it for shorter times eliminates that. Or, if I don't need the shrinking and de-wrinkling powers of the dryer, I hang clothes on a dry rack to dry au natural.



We're all friends, right? Of course we are. So hopefully it's not TMI to tell you about the line of feminine hygiene products I use:

I love Natracare. They don't behave any differently from the plastic products that most of us use. Think about this- every feminine hygiene product you have ever used in your entire life (including the wrapper/backing) is still sitting in a landfill somewhere. Whatever your preferences are, they have the product for you- and it's all organic, biodegradable, and awesome. I've used their products for years and never had any problems. And they are available everywhere. Check out this country list!


And even though this isn't really about keeping clean, we're all interested in knitting, crocheting, or spinning fibre, right? How about trying your hand at dying with vegetable base dyes? Re-Nest has a great article on this.

22 comments:

Siga said...

Great info! I use Alverde products from a German dm-store. They are biodegradeable, most of them are vegan and no animals are being used to test them out. They have skin and hair care products. And for laundry detergents I also go for whatever my local supermarket has. Reading about your baking soda usage for cleaning (citric acid is another great natural product, btw) makes me think I should use it more often as well. I admit being guilty and not giving much thought to it up to now.

mariposagirl said...

gosh I love all this!

plus the link to the vegetable dye for yarn....

Thanks so much. I have totally been wanting to give it a try!

Happy Earth Day

Geny said...

Knitting and ecology - I love it!
I use vinegar and baking soda all over the house to keep it clean, and
I've been using the diva cup for years, and I would never go back to anything else!

adriene said...

I use the method laundry detergent and it's great! I also prefer to use the Diva Cup (http://www.divacup.com/), but not everyone likes using that kind of feminine hygiene.

I've got to check out that vegetable dye. Thanks for sharing it!

Rebecca said...

Another fan of the Diva Cup. I've been using it for 7 years and I love it, I will never go back to anything else.

Dr. Bronners is one of my favorite cleaning products. It comes in lovely scents and you can use it for a wide range of things.

I second the baking soda thing. I was at my sil's at Christmas and her stainless sink was sooo gross (she said she never cleans it!). I grabbed some baking soda and went to work. She was AMAZED that baking soda did that!

I have three young children so I am very cautious about cleaning products -- especially when it comes to the bath!

ms. modiste said...

Oh, a girl after my own heart! I use a lot of Method products (mainly the bathroom line) because I'm a bit lazy for the baking-soda-and-vinegar sort of cleaning (I'm not big on fragrances but I love the eucalyptus scent of the method products, and I hate the smell of vinegar!). I also use the Method dryer sheets! I'm not sure how well they deal with static, but they're non-toxic, reusable (2 loads per sheet) and biodegradable. And the smell is really nice and subtle (I like that because the soap I use is biodegradable and unscented.)

And yes, three cheers for Natracare. I haven't had success with the Diva, so it's Natracare for me, for now. I find, now that I've used it for so long, that going back to standard products can actually have a super unpleasant impact on my health.

I could write a novel about my feelings about the ingredients in most personal care products and cosmetics. There are so many great alternatives out there that work just as well (or better) and cost about the same!

Jenn said...

I too use a Diva Cup and can't believe I didn't try it earlier! You have to be, um, comfortable with being intimate with your nature...but it seriously rocks! Try it, you'll love it I'm sure.

I'm a big baking soda fan too. I also use a lot of white vinegar diluted with water with a touch of tea tree oil. Not only is it earth friendly and cheap, I feel good knowing my kids aren't taking a bath with the residue of something they couldn't eat!

Lucy said...

For skincare, I use Clarins. And thank you for introducing Method and Natracare, I'd love to switch to them, but they aren't available in China (Natracare has a distributor in Shanghai, I'll email them and see if I can get supplies). I'll mark these down and use them when I return to live in Australia (hopefully soon).

Maryse said...

I like the idea for the dryer although I don't use it much, I'll try to think about it! I look for Natracare although it seems to be sold only in Loblaws in Quebec.... I don't think there is one near where I stay but maybe...

soknitpicky said...

Method dishwashing pellets are the *best*! I converted to Diva Cup too about six months ago. I am still adjusting, to be honest, but every time I'm tempted to go back, I visualize the landfills!

Kaitlin said...

I LOVE METHOD! Totally vegan Peta approved company. If you join "people against dirty" you get an email offer for 20% a select item each month at the online store. I love the handsoaps because they don't contain triclosan. They have new fabric softener sheets (new) now too.

:)

monikita said...

I too love the Natracare products! I haven't tried Method, but I use a lot of Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation. I'm not completely green in my cleaning products, but at least 75% green. I'm trying!

kessainstitches said...

I like this. Its pretty unfortunate that these products are usually not available in Asia.

Kim said...

I am loving your green posts!!! I already use natracare products, in combination with the diva cup (http://www.divacup.com/), which I looove & have been using for almost 10 years now. And after your last post, since I was going to the herbalist's (a little, natural product-based store that they have in Spain), I picked up some rose hip oil. Don't have feedback on it yet, after only 2 days, but I'm always happy to have more info on ways to better care for ourselves and our planet, so thanks!!

Miss √Člise said...

Love it! I love hearing peoples' green methods. Lately I've been very excited in finding recipes for things such as homemade laundry detergent (very easy to make, cheap, and custom scented!) and even homemade dishwasher soap. I use baking soda even for toothpaste once in a while when I want extra whitening...works really well. I've even used it as shampoo which worked great, until I went back to regular shampoo which destroyed my scalp and hair. Still putting my hair back to normal, but it's easier now with my liquid castile soap, 100% natural, 100% organic, 100% super earth and skin friendly.

I just love living the green life ^.^ Anything to bring me back to my roots.

craftosaurus said...

I'm with you on the baking soda and air-drying clothes whenever possible. Thanks for the great recommendations!

fingersandtoes said...

This is great! I've promised my blog readers I'm going to do a series on eco-cleaning, I'd better get cracking! I buy baking soda in bulk ;)

katjaknits said...

Hello Julie,
thank you so much for this post (and your blog in genereal - I love it!) I really like the look of method products and will check out if I can get them through france to Germany. I am weird - I really like when even cleaning products look stylish. And also the tip with the feminie products is greatly appreciated!
Love,
KatjaKnits

litlaskvis said...

I love Natracare products and can't use anything else down there.

Bookworm said...

Girls rule! I haven't heard of Natracare before, but I switched to cardboard for eco-reasons long ago. The DivaCup intrigued me so much I ordered one and will give it a try.
I also use Method products. I read an experiment (forgot source :-o) that showed Method cleaners were better at their job than petroleum based cleaners! Yay plants!

Katie said...

I'm another huge fan of the Diva Cup. It's so much more comfortable than any other feminine product and works so so so well.

Cate said...

Great ideas! I love Method products too. They smell SO yummy and you don't feel like you're going to pass out after two minutes of cleaning a bathroom with them. :)

I use Method dryer sheets. I accidentally found them with the baby stuff one day (my baby is all grown up so I'm not sure why I was there) and they have coconut and palm oil in them and smell SOOOOO good. You should try them.