Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Funked Up Facts About Laundry Detergents

Good green laundry aids are the exception, not the rule.
Most commercial laundry detergents, softeners, and dryer sheets contain a lovely cocktail of synthetic chemicals that can be harmful to your health. For now, I'm just going to introduce you to those chemicals that make mind-blowing "clean" scents and "gentle" unscents. Say hello to:
  • Phthalates ("fragrance")  are a family of chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system, the system that produces our hormones and controls our reproductive systems. Phthalates can cause a laundry list-- pardon the pun-- of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and reduced sperm count. (More info.)
  • Phenols are neurotoxins used to cover smells, including the gross smells of the other chemicals that are in cleaning products. They attack the central nervous system, heart, blood vessels, lungs, and kidneys. Guess what: They're in lots of "unscented" cleaning products too!  (More info.)
Phthalates and phenols are absorbed through our skin and inhaled. We inhale these chemicals when laundering with products containing them, when doing laundry in a place where someone else is doing laundry with products containing them, or simply walking down the detergent aisle in the store. Our skin absorbs chemicals when wearing clothes that have been laundered with them. As our individual actions don't exist in a bubble, we encounter phthalates and phenols again when we eat food or animals grown and raised in our polluted environment and when we drink and shower in contaminated water.

To say this is funked up, would be an understatement. That's why it's so important to decide to not to be powerless. Here are a few things you can do:
  1. Limit your exposure to toxic chemicals by choosing natural products as often as possible. SafeMama has a lovely cheat sheet that can make it easier to make healthier consumer choices in the laundry aisle.
  2. If green detergent is too pricey, still invest in green detergent but do laundry less frequently. If you shower, use a good deodorant (I like vodka), and air your clothes out between wears, you'd be surprised how long you can go without washing, especially skirts.
  3. If you need to save more money, powdered detergent is usually less expensive. Bonus: it comes in eco-friendlier cardboard packaging! I also hear great things about soap nuts.
  4. Spread the word. Share this blog post using the buttons below. Be a helpful, smart eco-fairy at the laundromat and in the supermarket. Don't feel like an ass. You're helping people!
  5. Reach out to the folks in government who represent you. Plastic Albatross has lots of helpful links to assist you in asking for policy reform. 
Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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Monday, July 30, 2012

7 Ways to Keep Your Toms Shoes Smelling Fresh


  1. Clean your feet. Seriously. Make sure you dry them well before putting on your Toms too.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda into your Toms to absorb odors overnight. This might not be ideal for dark colored Toms, as it may make a mess.
  3. Stuff your Toms with a balled up sheet of newspaper to absorb odor.
  4. Wipe the inner soles of your Toms with rubbing alcohol on a cloth to kill the funk causing bacteria.
  5. Stuff your Toms with sachets of either funk cutting dried herbs like eucalyptus or peppermint or antibacterial cedar chips. A wrapped bar of Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap is also an option. (I won't tell anyone you put soap in your shoes.)
  6. Don't wear the same Toms two days in a row. Allow them to air out on the windowsill or porch between wears.
  7. If you don't mind looking like a tourist, wear clean cotton socks with your Toms. They'll suck up the sweat and funk.
  8. Bonus tip from reader: Put Zederna cedarwood insoles into your Toms and just wear them. They absorb sweat and cedar naturally protects against foot fungus. 
These practical tips should keep all types of shoes and sneakers from stinking.

Share this post with your friends! Tweet: 7 #natural ways to keep #TOMSshoes smelling fresh! http://bit.ly/1Phi6Wt #greencleaning via @itsolivialane

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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Friday, July 27, 2012

India.Aire, Morley, and How to Clean Your Yoga Mat


Did you see India.Arie on the cover of the latest issue of Yoga Journal? Kinda awesome, riiiiiggght?! I was jazzed to find her and my sweat lodge sister, Morley, featured in an article about musicians whose yoga practice informs their art. Very cool!

Do you do yoga? I do sometimes, but not as often as I wish I did. Even still, my mat gets kinda dirty every now and then. Here's how to clean your yoga mat:
For light cleaning, spray your yoga mat with a gentle cleaner or water and wipe it down with a cloth. EcoYogini has a recipe for a vinegar-based DIY cleaner. 

For deep cleaning, JadeYoga, makers of natural rubber mats, suggest the following methods: "Soaking in a bathtub, hosing it off, or in a front loading washing machine (no agitator) on gentle. We recommend a mild soap. Do not use oils, solvents or harsh abrasives. The yoga mat should then be hung or laid flat to dry. Do not dry in or allow prolonged exposure to direct sunlight."

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Clean the Screen of Your iPhone

The touch screen on your iPhone or Android is dirty.

My grody iPhone.
Don't front like you don't know what I'm talking about. You know you totally check email, facebook, twitter, instagram, texts, everything with your grubby fingers while you're enjoying a summer peach, glazed doughnut, or other handheld treat.

Good news is it's super easy to clean your screen. Here's how:



  1. Mix equal parts water and alcohol in a jar. I used 1/2 TBS each and it was way more than enough. 1 tsp each is probably perfect.
  2. Dip cotton pad in solution. Squeeze out excess water.
  3. Wipe your screen with the pad. 
  4. Resist temptation to look at pad because it will really drive home the message of what a filthy beast you are.
  5. Wipe dry with lint-free microfiber cloth. Newspaper will work if you don't have one.
  6. Get back on instagram.
My iPhone screen is crystal clear.
This works to clean computer monitors and the surface of keyboard keys too! You'll probably have some solution left so clean that while you're at it.

Nasty!

Classy!

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Clean Coffee Smell and Flavor from a Klean Kanteen

Bottoms up at Coffee Exchange
We are in absolute love with our stainless-steel, vacuum insulated Klean Kanteens here at the Lane-Lovejoy household. If we leave the lid on, they'll keep iced coffee icy and hot tea practically boiling for hours. I've found tiny ice cubes floating in the dregs of my morning iced coffee after leaving the little sippy lid open overnight in August!

We've recently started using our mugs for toting water on trips, a task previously reserved for our regular (uninsulated) Klean Kanteens but given how hot it's been you can see how having those ice cubes is important. Last night, Richard pointed out that our Kanteens taste like coffee. Not really a problem for me, but Mr. Lovejoy somehow has issues with coffee flavored water.

Because I love him and I love nerding out on cleaning, I searched for a solution. I filled our Kanteens with warm water and a drop of dish soap then scrubbed it with a bottle cleaner, like I usually do. I then rinsed it, added about 1/6th container of white vinegar, and covered that with warm water. I put the lid on, shook it, then let it soak overnight. Did that get rid of the coffee taste? Yes, but it still smelled slightly of coffee. (I know! WTF?!) So I scrubbed it again with warm water and dish soap and rinsed it well. Coffee taste and smell gone? Yes! Victory is mine! Right?

Guess what we did this afternoon? Went to Coffee Exchange and filled our mugs with coffee! Whyyyyyyyyy!

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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