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Bathrooms and Miscellaneous Cleaners

I’ve been sick and we’re still at war over my mother’s care so I’m going to do my best to get more up this week or next depending on how many extra duties I have on my shoulders.

Bathrooms and Miscellaneous Cleaners

Tags: green cleaning, going green, bathroom, antibacterial, all natural

So while I covered most of the bathroom cleaners, there is still the best ever toilet clean and some miscellaneous products that can also be useful in the bathroom.  So today I’m going to share four more clean and green recipes to both save you money and promote a toxin free home.

Now, before we get too far ahead, I do want to mention something I forgot in the last post.  I mentioned that these will save you money. It’s just an added bonus for me…but if you really want to know the cost breakdown (well approximately) many of these recipes came from the thrifty couple. http://thethriftycouple.com/2013/03/15/make-23-homemade-natural-cleaning-products-for-around-12-printable-shopping-list-too/ The link will send you to their article covering around 20 all natural home cleaning products. If there is one that you are particularly interested in seeing the cost breakdown on….click it and scroll all they way down to the bottom where they highlight it. If going Green isn’t enough of a motivator for you here, then the huge savings could be.

I mean for me, I was sold when I learned I could make up to 6 months of laundry detergent (we’re getting to that post soon)…that works just as well if not better than some of the name brands….for 20-30 dollars. I didn’t believe it till I priced it out. Or that I could make a floor cleaner for pennies on the dime. Didn’t believe it until I tried it…but it really does work.

I will give you an example before I get off the money saving soap box so to speak. My former landlady is the one who directed me to this site. She used the detergent and she passed along some. It worked and we kept using it…we looked back to the site and went to their original recipe (she had modified it) and all was grand. We spent around 22-ish dollars in Louisville in 2014 on that powder detergent….when a box of powder or liquid can be anywhere from 9-12 dollars depending on what you like and get. That was over 50 dollars a year we were paying in detergent for the two of us. While with this we made it once and it lasted six months at a cost of around 22 dollars. If you have a bigger family, I’m sure the savings are larger as well.

Now that I’ve put away the laundry box….I mean soap box….let’s get back to it.

The four recipes we’re going to talk about today are: toilet cleaners, drain cleaners, antibacterial cleaners (both a spray and wipes).

Also, once I finish up with my series on cleaning I will be posting a link to all the recipes that are more printer friendly. That was my only problem with the Thrifty Couple’s website. It was really hard to just get the directions.

Antibacterial Wipes and Spray

I’m going to start here because the two are easily made together

Here’s what you need:

  • empty container for baby wipes or clorox wipes
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 roll of paper towels (don’t buy the cheapest)
  • 5 drops lavender oil.
  • 5 drops lemon oil
  • 3 drops tea tree oil
  • 3 drops oregano oil (optional as the oil smells but great for more antibacterial properties.)
  • Spray bottle.

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First you’re going to get a roll of paper towel and cut in half.  Then you are going to squeeze it into a used container for either baby wipes or something like the Clorox wipes containers.

Once you have it in there you are going to pour two cups of warm water over the wipes. Let it absorb into the paper towels. I would give it at least twenty minutes to make sure it’s soaked through.  

Once it’s fully absorbed. pull the cardboard out from the center. ONce you have that out, you are going to pour the excess into the spray bottle to use as a spray or later with more wipes.  

Now you can reach in and pull a wipe from the center and pull it through the opening in the lid. Enjoy.

Drain Cleaner/Freshener.

This one is very simple all it takes is a cup of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar (you can use either apple cider or white vinegar).

Whether you are using it for prevention, deodorization or to get rid of a nasty clog….first you are going to pour the baking soda into the drain.

Then measure out your vinegar and pour it down the drain. Be sure to have the drain stopper ready to plug the hole so that your solution actually stays in your drain.  It’s going to fizzle and bubble, which is what is going to help break up all that gunk down there.

If you are just freshening and maintaining your drains you don’t have to let it sit more than 15 minutes, but if you are trying to unclog a drain….leave it in there for 30-60 minutes without using the sink.

Then you just rinse out the sink with warm water. You may need to repeat for tough clogs. I’ve used this drain cleaner for plugs in our old apartment at least 10 times.  We only had to go out and buy something stronger twice….and it turned out that one of those times, it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway….it was a frozen pipe that the city water company had to come take care of….Geeze was that a mess.

Anyway….it really is as simple as that.

Toilet cleaner

For me this is the hardest one….mainly because I find it the most tedious.  

Here’s what you need:

pumice stone

1 cup apple cider or white vinegar

4 drops of any ONE of the following essential oils: lemon, tea tree, orange, or lavender.

½ cup baking soda

Another 10 drops of your choice.

Gloves.

Toilet Brush

Put on your gloves and get that pumice stone in there if you have any unsightly rings that don’t just wipe away.  Just like those stones get rid of nasty dead skin…it will get rid of those pesky rings that just don’t want to go away.

Next you pour the vinegar into the toilet. Let it sit there and do its job for 30 minutes. It’s a natural antibacterial and disinfectant.

When the timer goes off grab your toilet brush and do the usually scrub routine while adding some baking soda. I would start with a 1/4th cup and work from there depending on how long you’ve let the bowl go..  Make sure you get around the edges where people often miss and under the rim for the cleanest bowl possible.  

Add your four drops of oil and flush. This is really an optional step and an added measure. Each of these oils is great for cleaning and will also flush away what some may consider the undesirable smell of the vinegar.  Personally, I like the added clean, but if you can’t afford the oils this will work without them….just not as well….at least in my opinion.  

Finally, you really should put 10 drops of oil in the water tank.  This will help flush out the internal system and get the water to where you may not have been able to reach with a brush.  I do recommend this part if only for that benefit.  

LIke I said it isn’t bad….I just have trouble with the patience part of the equation.  

So there are our recipes for Going Green in your Clean for today. We’re going to hit the kitchen next.  Also, if you find any better recipes feel free to post them here or share any modifications. What works for one home may not be the best for another.

Blessed Be.

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Green and Clean Bathroom (Part 1)

Been a rough last week and a half. More problems with mom’s home health care agency. But I’m pulling all the files together to take to corporate and hopefully after that I can take her down a peg or two. She’s caused enough harm. I think getting her out of our hair and preventing her from harassing others the way she’s pestered my mom is for the greater good at this point.

But my personal life aside….lets get to it.

So I wanted to start a series that I could post on both of my blogs seeing as I’ve had so little time to do much else other than damage control for my mom. Last week was a blast to put together. And if we are looking to teach our children or ourselves pagan values, we have to live it.  We can’t just walk the walk. We have to talk the talk and part of that is taking care of the earth. It also means taking care of ourselves.

Now, I used to think that cleaning supplies that you bought at Walmart were essential until I found out about all the toxins in them. Then we tried a wonderful company called Melaleuca, which uses tea tree oil and nothing has toxins in it….not even their makeup. It’s a great company if you have the money, but we were spending way too much on all the things we needed to keep our house Green, so we went back.

Ever since then I had been working on a way to get back to being Green.  It wasn’t because I was pagan. I just felt that it was healthier for me.  It just so happens that later I made a personal determination that being healthy and working towards freedom from toxins in my life was essential to my pagan path. I’m still working on it, with mixed results, but nothing worth doing happens over night.  

However, I wasn’t at a place in my life where I really had the time or reason to focus too much on it. It was around then that I went to college and I really didn’t need many cleaning supplies as much of that was done by the housekeeping staff, but it was also when my health starting to get worse again.  So when I got my apartment, I got back to it.

Now that I’ve explained why I want to clean Green, I want to start by talking about one room. The room that most of us hate to clean the most. It is the room that most of us often believe is the dirties in the house….even if Mythbusters has proven otherwise.  The Bathroom.  

So what do we have to clean in the bathroom?

Mirrors

Toilets

Tubs

Showers

Grout

Sinks

Cabinets

Floors (hopefully not carpet as in our ensuite in my parents double wide).

So what do we clean them with if we remove all toxins from our house?

The following are some of the best recipes I found. Most of them come from thethrfitycouple.com blog. Particularly their cleaning challenge from back in 2013. They have a number of other recipes listed, but the ones listed here are the ones that have worked best for me in my personal experience. Some of my other favorites come from Wellnessmama.com

Window Glass and Stainless Steel

Vinegar and Water work just as well as windex and you don’t have to worry about your child getting into it.  Just mix it 50/50 with water and use a rag to clean as you normally would. Simple enough right? Also, if you’ld like a little bit of an extra kick a little bit of baking soda in that spray bottle can really give that recipe a boost. And if you want additional antibacterial power you can add three to four drops of an essential oil.  The ones I recommend the most often are Melaleuca (tea tree oil), Lemon, Orange, Peppermint or Lavender.  

The oils are also a great investment as you will get a container that can last you a year or two for all of your cleaning supply needs. Just make sure that they are natural. It adds a bit to your start up cost, but some might find it worth it to have that clean smell they are used to.  It also works that some of us may already have a collection of these oils for ritual use.  

The original recipe I found also uses a drip of dish soap, but I found that this really made no difference and actually made it harder to get that streak free look.  

Laminate Floor Cleaner

The recipe here is their third attempt with a few modifications. Again it was the one that worked best for me. It goes as follows:

  • 1.5 cups  Water
  • 1.5 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Several drops of Orange or Lemon essential oils.
  • Mix all ingredients together and pour into a fine mist spray bottle.

Now that I left out the dish soap….just a few drops and they used lavender oils. But any of the oils I mentioned earlier would work.  

We also made our own swiffer pads so that we could use this with our original swiffer set I had for my tiled dorm room.  We just bought some microfiber cloths at the Dollar Tree and cut it down.

Natural Mildew And Mold Remover

Every once in a while we all face the dreaded mold…especially if your life is like mine and you get busy.  For this one I do follow their exact directions. For some reason the Tea Tree Oil worked best for me when we used it in our bathroom.  

To make the remover put a TBSP of baking soda in a small bowl and pour a TBSP of vinegar (white) into it.  You’re going to see it react, but just stir it until it is mixed. Once that has settled you need to add 5-6 drops of Tea Tree Essential oil and mix it again. It’s going to be a thin/medium paste.  I apply it directly to the affected spot and let it sit there for a while. Once it has sat there for, lets say half an hour to an hour I come back and scrub it away. You may need to repeat this a few times but it will get the job done.

Homemade Soft Scrub

This is another great one from the thrifty couple. And it is the only one where I use even a semi toxic product and that is because I just haven’t found a good substitute for the dish soap, but I’m still working on it.  Eventually I plan on figuring out my own homemade version of dish soap that is all natural as well.


Here’s how you make it. Take 2 TBSP (or more depending on how much you need just be sure to double the rest appropriately). and add five drops of lemon or orange oil.  These oils are both known for their cleansing properties.  Then add five drops of dish soap  (hopefully in the same scent).  Then add 1 TBSP of hydrogen peroxide. The original recipe recommends 3% but I’ve found that just about anything you can buy at Walmart will work.  

It’s going to form a paste.  If it’s not thick enough add pinches of baking soda until you get a medium paste.  You may also find that the thickness you need depends on what you are cleaning. So you may have to experiment to find your happy medium.  

This is one of the only recipes I haven’t had luck storing.  It just doesn’t work after sitting around for so long.  

Once it’s made apply to the surface you need to clean and scrub gently with a toothbrush before letting it sit for 20-30 minutes. Then scrub gently again and wipe away.  I have used it on tile grout and a pesky oven stain but I’m not sure I would use it on wood, glass or painted walls just to be safe.  

Total Supply List

Vinegar (White or Apple Cider) Note: I prefer the Apple Cider Vinegar.

Water

Baking Soda

Essential Oils: Lemon, Orange, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lavender.

Labels for Spray Bottles

Spray Bottle for Window, Glass and Steel Cleaner

Spray Bottle for Laminate Floor Cleaner

Toothbrush

Small Bowl for cleaning.

Also, not everyone is going to like every recipe. I went through a number of sites before I found a set that I liked. If mine don’t work to your taste, try doing your own research and see if you can find something that does work for you. All I’m trying to do here is remove the toxic chemicals from our home because our body is a part of our temple and we should all respect it.  And more importantly, we have to teach our children this by our own example.  

So there you have it. Aside from the essential oils (which are just a startup cost and easily sustainable once started) everything is easily obtainable. I’m also fairly sure that a good number of them might work without the oils, but I’ve never tried that. Also, I like the clean smell without the chemicals so I’m not sure I would like them without the oils.  

Test out a few and tell me what you think.

Wednesday we are going to talk about some more bathroom cleaners to help you go Green in your home.  Then after this week I’ll get back to some separate posts related more specifically to my individual blogs.  
Blessed Be.  

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Wasting Away in the Kitchen

 

I was going to start my organic cleaning posts here, but I found another post that inspired me more. The post was about our household kitchen. It’s probably the place where we waste the most. So I’m going to take some time to highlight some ideas to lessen our footprint on the earth through controlling the waste in our kitchen, which can also be a discussing we can have with our children or something that they can help us work on. Makes for a great lesson on being a global citizen and a good pagan.

I’ve covered a couple of these in another post on green living on Mama in the Wyrd but there are a few more here that I’ve discovered or implemented at home since that post.

 

  1. Replace the plastic shopping bags with reusable ones and hot/cold bags.
  2. Replace plastic baggies with homemade baggies (just make sure that you make them with food safe fabric.
  3. You can replace plastic produce bags with organic mesh ones. It’s an investment, but will save you money over time. It’s in my eventual plan for our home once we move out.
  4. Plan exact portions for your meals, You still may have some waste but not nearly as much as if you just guess. Emeals is great for this if you can afford it. If not you can at least get a free two week trial for each email you have. I’m hoping to get enough ideas out of our family emails that we can start planning better portions with less waste.
  5. Coffee grounds, onion peels, carrot tops, egg shells and other non-meat food waste can go into a countertop crock, then on to a compost pile in your yard. Or use vermicompost bins,in which worms turn food waste into a nutrient-rich soil. I plan on eventually creating a worm compost when I have my own yard.
  6. Learn what your local recycling center accepts and send as much there as you can. They will reprocess it and reuse it.
  7. There is a good amount of money to be made in making pop tab purses. I even know a few moms who make them and sell them for $20 a pop. Then they donate the money to the Ronald McDonald house.
  8. Buying in bulk can also help you save. Just keep a few dispensers to keep under your counter.
  9. If you find that your local cleaning bottles and detergent containers often end up being landfill bound, consider making your own. I hope to eventually cover this as well.
  10. Ditch the disposables. Be adults and wash your dishes. I know it’s tempting to take the easy way out, but avoid temptation. You can even get rid of napkins by buying cloth ones or making your own.  Just think of all the money you will save over the years by not buying those items.
  11. If you want to cut down on food waste or over buying keep a list of what you have on a dry erase board or other device.  Then you can just buy what your family uses on a regular basis.
  12. If you would like to conserve electricity you can always opt for hand operated devices instead. Now, I’ll never give up my blender but I don’t mind a hand churn or whisks. I actually get a lot of satisfaction out of whisking things myself….just don’t ever ask me to make meringue again….I wish it had been as fun as it looked on Master Chef Junior.
  13. Donate your excess. It doesn’t matter if its foods or utensils. Find what you use and eliminate the rest. No point in a cluttered kitchen.  I know Alton Brown recommends doing the closet check with your kitchen. See what you’ve used after we’ll say three months, and donate the rest to someone who can use it. Or better yet find items that are multipurpose so you don’t have to have as much in your kitchen.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and Blessed Be.

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Pests Begone

Hope your week is going splendid so far. Today is going to just be a listing of all sorts of natural remedies for pests that our families may face. Some you may have heard of before and others may be new.

Bed bugs.

These pesky vermin run rampant in my parent’s community, where we currently unfortunately live.  I have three natural remedies for this. However, only two of them can really be done by yourself.

First, pure peroxide. 100%. Spray the little buggers directly and they die. Only problem is that it only works with direct contact.

The second, and probably the best option is diatomaceous  earth. It’s powdered unicellular algae fossils.  You just have to sprinkle it around your floor boards. It breaks down their exoskeleton and dehydrates them. I know this also works on ants. It supposedly works on common garden pests and can be sprinkled on pets as an anti flea treatment and internally (with food grade only) for worms. I don’t know for sure about the garden or pets, but its worth a try. We’re buying some for prevention and to try for its numerous health benefits to humans.  We’re also going to give some to the boyfriend’s parents to try for their dog.

The third will require a professional, but it is the quickest way to get rid of them.  Heat. You will have to vacate your house for up to twenty four hours after removing a myriad of food, flammables, aerosols, and anything else they list. In addition to their list I suggest game systems, expensive electronics, vinyl records, and any precious non fabric family items that you adore. We were lucky to have a room where we could bag these and section them off for three months instead.

Lice

….they are gross, but not a sign of dirty hair. They actually only enjoy clean scalps. So don’t think of it as being dirty. It doesn’t help that they are passed around schools, prisons, and camps like wild fire.  Regardless, they are annoying no matter what kind of hair we have.

Whatever you do please do not use the chemical treatment you get at the store. It has a ton of toxins in it that are entirely unnecessary and damage your hair. Not to mention that it is way overpriced. If you want to get rid of lice there are much easier ways.

The best thing you can do is smother them and comb them out. To do this you’ll coat your hair with a substance (I’ll get to that in a moment) and then let it sit there for about thirty minutes before washing it out. Then you just comb out your hair.

What works best (http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/home-remedies-for-head-lice#4) is almond or olive oil (which is commonly found in the pantry or kitchen). If you don’t happen to use this there are a few alternatives, but be prepared to wash your hair several times due to the oil factor. These options from best to worst include vegetable oil, canola oil, mayonnaise, and peanut butter. I only list all the ones I know work because I know that there are times when money is so tight you have to just use what you have.  Anyway, if you suffocate the little buggers, they will die and then it’s just a matter of getting the eggs and nits out, (just like you’d have to do otherwise, but at a fraction of the cost.)

The link above does list some essential oils that one can use, but I know that not everyone has those readily available or can afford them. Nor have I tested those methods yet (and I hope I don’t have to -fingers crossed). So test them at your own risk.

Ants

I mentioned the diatomaceous earth earlier, but here are a few other tips and tricks that help waylay ants….though so far the food grade diatomaceous earth seems to be the best option I’ve seen.

Cinnamon, cucumber and cloves placed at points of entry are supposed to deter them, but it’s a short term solution. If you’re waiting to get something better it works as a bandaid but eventually your line will get broken. At least with diatomaceous earth its fine enough to spread under your floorboards and into cracks.

Borax and sugar works, but there are concerns and debates about how natural or toxic borax is….so do your research on borax before deciding if you really want this in your home.

Cockroaches

Diatomaceous earth works here. And Catnip is a natural deterrent. So are garlic and bay leaves.  But once again, a deterrent is more of a temporary solution than a permanent one.

Fleas

Diatomaceous earth, citrus oils and tinctures work as well when sprayed.

I haven’t actually tried this one, but cedar oils and shampoos are also supposed to be great natural flea deterrents and can be used for continuing treatment.

Mosquitoes

First of all change any standing water you may have like bird feeders at least once a week if not twice or more.

Second, if you love the grill toss some rosemary and sage. They will naturally help repel bugs and mosquitos when you cook out.

Marigolds are also good at deterring these pests.  It has a scent that they do not like.  The same goes for Tai Lemon Grass which contains citronella.

Moths

Place cedar or cedar oils on a cloth inside your closet. This is why many men’s clothing stores use cedar hangers for suits.

Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made using any of the following: bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, eucalyptus leaves, lavender, pepper corns or wormwood.

Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent – simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.

And there is my list of helpful ways to get rid of common pests. If I learn any more I’ll post about them here.

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An Insert for You and Some Diaper Tips Too

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So I finally made the decision. We were just talking liners, doublers, inserts, and their fabrics today. I was thinking about it and fabric choice here can be not only daunting, but overwhelming in and of itself. I’m going to try to keep it simple and to the point, but we’ll see how that goes.

Inserts, Doublers, and Liners

Doublers are thick pads you can use for extra absorbency in your diapers. You can use them on top of a diaper if you are already using pockets.

Liners are usually thin rectangular pads that go between a baby’s rear and the diaper. Some parents use them to make cleaning the poo out a little easier. They’re nice. You can make them for cheap out of a soft cotton and they are washable. Or you can get the flushable variety. It adds a bit to your cost, but can make it easier depending on your preference. Liners are also convenient when you use diaper cream as they can cause buildup and extra washing on your diapers.

This is a good time to note that you should read the instructions that come with your diapers before using any creams. There are some fabrics that rash cream can ruin. I haven’t personally run into this, but according to most of the books it is a thing.

Inserts are a layer of absorbency that is put inside of a pocket diaper.  These are also called soakers.  They can be made out of several different types of fabrics….which is our next topic.

Fabrics

So you’re going to hear a lot of fabric terms tossed around when looking at diapers and their soakers, inserts, doublers, liners, etc. Here are the ones you’ll run across most often.

Synthetic fabrics: They are excellent at keeping baby dry.

Organic: These are fabrics that are not treated with chemicals.

Bamboo: This soft and luxurious feeling fabric is both breathable and absorbent.  It’s considered eco friendly due to the quick growing plant it is harvested from and doesn’t involve many (if any) insecticides to grow.

Cotton: It is a soft comfy fabric but some eco friendly moms take issue with the way it is grown and processed.  It gets a bad rap, but honestly, we all have cotton in our lives and it’s still not as toxic as some of the stuff in our disposable diapers.

Organic Cotton:  This cotton is grown with a lesser eco impact than regular cotton, but essentially feels the same. If you are worried about your baby being exposed to anything from regular cotton, but still want cotton, this is your choice.

PUL: Polyurethane laminated fabric. Essentially it is a fabric with waterproof backing. This is what you would want to make your wet bags out of.  PUL is what is on the outside of many decorative cloth diapers (though not all). Essentially, the water doesn’t go through the fabric to get you wet, unless your wee one is leaking out around her legs at the elastic.

Wool: Wool is used in inserts, covers, and liners. Some parents like it some don’t. It will keep a baby warm and dry, but you have to be careful on the type you buy and some babies have trouble with reactions to the skin with wool.  Not to mention that you have to be far more careful when washing this fabric.

Hemp: This durable fabric is known for being ultra absorbent and antimicrobial.  Some parents swear that it can protect your child’s rear from fungus and bacteria.  It’s also eco friendly and does not require pesticides to produce.  It can both breathe and keep a baby’s bum warm in the winter.  It’s not cute, but it is one of the fabrics with the most function. It only comes in its natural color. Definitely great for inserts though.

Micro Terry: You’ll see this a lot. It’s cheap and absorbent without the bulk of cotton (it takes a ton of layers of cotton to absorb pee).   Most pocket diapers come with these so this is what we’ve been using though I do have some homemade wool inserts and liners.  You just can’t use it as a liner.  It’s so absorbent that it will pull out the skin’s natural oils. This will lead to chafing and irritation.

Polar Fleece: Most internal layers of diapers are made of this. It wicks away moisture from the skin. this means that it lets the urine through to the pad while keeping baby’s bum dry.  This is part of the reason why we love our cloth diapers. With disposables we were changing diapers every time Freya got the tiniest bit wet (because it would irritate the rash caused by the same issue). Now we don’t have to change her right away and we get more out of each diaper before she even feels wet. And trust me….she lets us know when she’s wet.

Sherpa Terry: This is the fabric you find in linens and towels. You’ll also occasionally hear this word with cloth diapers though mostly in inserts.
Honestly, the best thing to do is test out a few types in the store and see what works best for you.  Personally we’ve found that the One Size pockets works best for us. We have occasionally used a liner though it doesn’t really seem to make poopies any easier.  Our inserts are micro fiber. My liners are cheap flannel.  But take a look and figure out what will work best for you. Please don’t assume. I did that which led to making six diapers that not only cost me more to make, but that we only use as backups.  I love that I did it myself, but they still aren’t as functional for us as what we later bought.

I’ll leave you with this poem from a Mom who wrote in to Changing Diapers….my book source for this post.

C-Chemical Free

L- Leakpoof (mostly)

O One Size

T- Tender

H- Handy

D- Dependable

I- Ideal

A- Adorable

P- Penny Pinching

E- Eco Friendly

R- Rash Free

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The Pooper Scooper on Cloth Diapers

I hope you all are having a great week so far and I hope you’ve been thinking more about the cloth diaper revolution and the choices that are best for your family. From that starting point, I would like to talk more about this money saving phenomenon that is also super eco friendly.

So we talked Money on Monday.  But let’s talk about what else makes cloth diapering awesome.

1. It’s less toxic for baby. Disposables are made from a variety of chemicals and bleaches. We have enough toxins in our lives without placing them directly on our child’s tooshies.  If you read Changing Diapers by Kelly Wells, you’ll find out that there are studies that some of the chemicals used in these diapers are harmful with long term exposure.  The gel inside of it was removed from tampons for being linked to toxic shock syndrome in the 80s.  Not to mention all the artificial crap that could cause allergies and skin reactions.  I don’t know what it was about disposables, but Freya always had a nasty rash when she wore them and now we rarely even get a diaper rash at all.

2. Money, which we talked about last time….so go back a post if you didn’t read Monday’s post. The point is that cloth diapers will save you thousands despite start up costs, between birth and the age of potty training. If you look up diaperpin.com’s calculator you can find out how much cloth diapering will cost you in comparison to disposables.  In just the six months we’ve been doing it we’ve saved around $120-$130 per month.  .

3, Eco Friendly.  As pagan parents it is our job to protect this planet as much as our children. With estimates saying that a diaper could be sitting in a landfill for over a hundred years….what harm do we do to mother Earth when we use disposables. Also, how many natural resources are being wasted to create a product that is “convenient”

4. Convenience. People are going to disagree with me here. I think that it’s more convenient to never have to shop for diapers. I think that it’s neat that I can just wash them and go. I don’t find it a hassle to take an extra bag with me and more diapers. I think it’s neat and convenient that I can customize freya’s look with her neat patterns or even simple colors (your preference).

5. Fun.  This goes back to the colors and the patterns. I love seeing Freya in her spidey diaper or her minky polka dots. I love being able to pick the pattern I’m in the mood in for the moment.

Types of Cloth Diapers

So now that you know the reasons we cloth diaper let’s get down to the dirty dukes of cloth diapering.  There are so many different terms that get flung around with cloth diapering.  Snappies, Doublers, AIO’s, pockets; what does it all mean.

I mean today’s cloth diapers are so different from what our grandparents, even our parents knew.  Long gone are the days of boiling and folding. That’s just not what most people do when they cloth diaper anymore.  Quite frankly, there are so many choices it can be hard to decide. What worked out best for me was going to a store that sold them and sitting through a tutorial where I could try it out. The owners at Mama’s HIp and Diaper Fairy Cottage on Bardstown Road in Louisville were great in presenting me with all of my options. By the time I was done I knew what would work best for me.

So here we go again

1. AIO stands for all in one. These are the closest to disposables except that they are made of cloth.  They are the most convenient, but the longest and hardest to dry.  The pro here is that you don’t have to stuff them with more inserts, but they can feel heavy and add weight to your baby’s rear, which I feel can make it harder for them to walk properly when the time comes.

2. Pockets have three layers. The inner layer lets water through to the pad, but not back out.  The inner layer is insertable. It is what absorbs the liquid. The good thing about a pocket is that you can choose your padding based on your child’s needs.  Then the outer layer is waterproof.  This is what we have for Freya.

3. One Size. While our diapers are pockets they are also one size.  I can adjust her diapers to fit her from birth to potty training thanks to a series of snaps on the front and around the waist. Some use velcro around the waist, but I’ve found the snaps to be preferable as Freya scratched herself on one of my homemade ones that had the velcro.

4. All in two diapers.  These are like pockets where you can choose the material, but they snap on top. My homemade diapers are All in Twos.  You don’t insert them like in pockets. Which some find easier and others don’t like as much. I’m torn. Honestly the only reason I ended up using more pockets is because that is what I could get at the best price.

5, Flats. These are the ones you fold. I don’t like them. I can’t remember how to fold them….and they are inconvenient for me at least. If you want the cheapest option though…you can get a pack of three of these at Walmart for 9 dollars or so.  They are the most cost effective, but I don’t have the patience for them…so I invested just a little more into something that was easier for my family, but if you can master folding them then I say power to you new mom or dad.

6. Prefolds are folding diapers as well. They are a bit easier however as you just fold it in thirds and then widen one edge. However most of the folding ones don’t have velcro or snaps of any kind. You’re going to need safety pins or the plastic latch connectors that some baby stores buy for cloth diapers.  I think they are called snappies

7. Fitted. These are cloth diapers that have two parts. The inner diaper that is absorbent and a cover to contain the wet. I know some parents online who use these as swimsuits for baby…but beyond that I really don’t know much about them. Personally, they seem less convenient, but that’s just me.

8 The Hybrid. These are part cloth part disposable franken-diapers.  They are generally the most expensive as well.  You can use a disposable insert with them so that you can just chuck that poo into the toilet.

Friday I’ll get to the inserts, liners and types of fabrics. I also may get to talk about washing. I haven’t decided if that will work better as a separate post as there are a variety of methods.

Thanks for tuning in and I hope to see you all again Friday

Blessed. Be.

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Going Green With Diapers

This month has just not been it for me. Now we’ve added two emergency room visits in a few days and a scary eye problem. We’ve had the eye issue going on in my right eye for a while now, but this is the first time its gotten so bad that I just couldn’t function at all.  So where the ENT, Allergiest, Optomitrist, and GP have failed to come up with an answer….the doc in the ER visit (a hospital that is generally known as a worthless bandaid station….but only place I could get a ride to) may have come up with an answer….cluster headaches/migraines in or around my eye. I’ll be going to a Neurologist on the 3rd of Aug and hopefully we’ll get a confirmation and a method of treatment that doesn’t make me feel high and trippy as all get out (like I feel today after all the meds my GP put me on to make it to that appointment).

So if you’lre following me or reading for the first time, please send me all the positive energy/prayers you can muster.  I’m hoping to kick this and finally be out of the woods with all the problems we’ve had this month.

Also, I apologize in advance if thinks are a little messy. I’m still not seeing very well…so please forgive a comma for a period or silly things like that. I did my best to catch them all, but I’m not making any promises.

Anyway lets get to it.

So, today I want to talk with you about diapering. Now there are two options. First there are disposables and then there are cloth. Granted there are a ton of options in each camp, but first let’s compare and contrast.

Disposable diapers

With  disposable diapers, first, they aren’t biodegradable. Aka they are bad for the environment. So that is a negative. Second, they really aren’t as absorbent as most cloth diapers (provided you choose your best choices and get the right inserts). There’s a second negative. Third, they cost around $120 per month if you’re in size one or two….and from the jump in price between size one and two….it only gets more expensive as you go.  A third negative. Finally, they are convenient and don’t require washing. So two positives veres three negatives. Not too bad in terms of a pros and cons list.

Now lets look at the other side.

Cloth diapers

First, you only need thirty of them total for a child from birth to potty training and a kid can go further between changes the older they get. So you’re looking at a base investment of somewhere between $150 and $300 (depending on where you get your diapers) for thirty. That’s about two months of buying disposables. Note here that with a smaller baby…a lot of time the one size adjustables won’t fit till month three or four so you may have to buy some disposables. But the one size adjustables are the way to go if you want to save money. They will grow with your child.

I would call that a big positive over $100-$150 in disposables per month. I would call those savings a definite positive.

There is the cost of water and detergent, but I really can’t call that a negative….because we’re still saving more paying that (even in a private community where we pay twice as much for water as anyone else in the county) than we were when we bought disposables those first two or three months.

You have to scoop the poop out of a diaper into the toilet. Yes, it’s a negative, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. Not to mention the fact that technically you’re supposed to do this before you throw away a disposable anyway. You can get a diaper sprayer or liners (if you want to lose a bit of your savings here) to avoid this.  But, if you have kids, you’re going to be dealing with far worse than a poopy in their lives. I can barely count this as a negative.

The only downfalls I see on this side of the fence are start up costs and having to wash the diapers every two or three days. I personally think that cloth diapers are still better than wasting all that money and the environmental damage done by non-degradable diapers.

There is a visual at http://www.chetramos.com/how-to-start-cloth-diapering/ that really puts it into perspective.  Now they say that they spent $500 on cloth diapers, but if you look around you can find the one size adjustable ones online (and in cute prints) for around $6 each. I’m betting these people bought the first ones that they found or had to buy the ones that cost $20 a pop. We ordered ours online and only spent around 150 dollars including shipping and handling.  And others have found them used for less…but that’s easier to do in a larger area….and we don’t live in a metro area anymore.  Also look for swaps and such for cloth diapers online. You’ll save and get some name brands if that is your thing.

They show the average number of diapers used in a year with disposables (3800) and they have it costing around $1000. Now I did the math on my end based on what I spent for 144 diapers (so 3800 divided by 144 times $30 a pop per box of diapers) and it came out to around $750….so it apparently does vary greatly depending on brand and where you live I would guess, but I bought the cheapest thing worth buying and that’s what it would have cost me (provided I stayed at size one the whole year).  Still, we’ve only spent around $300-$400 with all the home supplies I DIY’d.

So what do you need?

1. You need around 30 diapers to keep up with a newborn washing every two days. Right now at. nearly a year we probably wash ours every three days on average still.

2. A pad for each diaper (usually included with diaper). The only way this will cost you more is if your diaper comes with a cheap pad. If it says its microfiber though….it should be fine especially if it’s a pocket diaper. That’s what we use.

3. POWDER detergent: the liquid can build up and make your diapers less absorbent and then you have to strip them, which equals more money lost.

4. Oxyclean powder: We use this to combat stains. So technically this is optional, but I find it really good for fighting stains. Just DO NOT get anything with baking soda because that can cause build up as well.

5. Diaper sprayer: This is another optional. If you don’t want to pull out poopies with a wipe then you want a sprayer. If you don’t want to have to rinse them out in your sink or tub…you want a sprayer. Now you can buy a diaper sprayer, but they are overpriced. you can build one yourself….but I can tell you it’s far simpler to just buy a bidet sprayer and set it up in your house. I honestly wish at this point that we had done this instead of making our own (which only works in the one correctly plumbed toilet in the house…another issue with making your own if you live in a trailer.)

6. Wet bags: You need at least one big one for the house and one smaller one with a zipper for travel. We have four (one big three small). I figure I can use them later when we go swimming or what have you.  You can make these on your own for cheaper than you can buy them. Babyville fabric at JoAnn’s (or bought online there) runs around $15 per yard on a regular basis. You need a yard or two to make the ones we have. And if you just look up quick zip wet bag tutorial you’ll find all the video and blog tutorial options that you could ever want. Pick the one that best suits your family. And as a final note here…we actually carry two bags with us sometimes when we travel….one for poopie and one for wet…so we don’t have to worry about messing up a public bathroom.

I think that’s about it.  Anything else is really just extra. If you really do your research and look for the best buys you’re looking at $150-$200 for 30 cloth diapers, $40 for a bidet sprayer (optional), and around $30-$50 for the supplies to make the wet bags. That’s around $300 if you DIY and trust me the wet bag is easy to make (and otherwise costs $20-$30 per bag).

If you add incidentals per year I think I’ve spent (on estimate) around $200-$300 on water and cleaning supplies for the diapers. So total around $600 maybe $700…which would still be cheaper than my cost for one year of cloth diapers. If you look at the fact that next year (already having the start up supplies) you’ll only spend up to $400 or so on water and cleaning supplies (and that’s an overestimate still). You’re saving even more that next year provided you aren’t doing your laundry at a laundromat.

A final thought

I’m adding this here so I can put in my personal experience. Yes, you can make cloth diapers as well…but let me give you a warning. I spent $120 and that only made me six diapers. Also….if you struggle with elastic….don’t make your own. There really aren’t any good patterns without spending yet another $20-$30. I can do the sewing, but it wasn’t as economical as buying the cloth diapers I bought. Not to mention that they were huge on Freya. I doubt that they would fit her even now at one year.  So, unless you can modify patterns. I suggest not doing it and if you insist….do a test run with cheap fabric first.

So that’s my intro to cloth diapers. If any of you have other relevant experience please share. I’m going to continue this topic Wednesday with more tips and tricks on Cloth Diapers.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a second post for the week.

Blessed Be.