Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a Norwex testimony

Yesterday's tip was about natural, green cleaning.  I know there are a lot of varied opinions out there on the topic, so I thought I'd give a real life testimony of one of those cleaning options.

As I mentioned, I am new to Norwex products.  Their primary product is a series of antimicrobial microfiber cloths that can clean anything... including the human body.  Today, I was talking to a friend who is also a Norwex consultant because I had some questions about how to best use the products.  She was reminding me of the varied uses of the Enviro Cloth (their standard cleaning cloth), mentioning that it can even be used to remove old carpet stains.  The beauty of these cloths is that no cleaner is involved - just water.  I immediately thought of a stain on our living room carpet.  Grandma says it has been there forever (long before we moved in)... and it has driven her crazy, because, although she used every product she could find, nothing would take out the stubborn stain.  

I decided to give my Enviro Cloth a try.  And, because I knew some would be skeptical, I took before and after pictures of the stain.

This stain is very dark and large; Grandma says she often wonders why I don't put something over it to cover it up.  I wet my Enviro Cloth, wrung it out, and liberally applied my own elbow grease as I went to town on the stain.  

After a few minutes, the stain looked like this...

For real.  Can you believe that?  No chemicals.  No cleaners.  No steam cleaning carpet machine.  
When I was finished, I rinsed the cloth clean and hung it up to dry.  

As I've mentioned, I have nothing to gain.  I'm not selling anything.  But you may want to look into these products!

Right now, I'm actually looking for more stains...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Most of my tips involve simple, efficient, cost-effective living.  So, you wouldn't be surprised to know that my house is usually quite clutter-free.  Beyond that, however, I work hard at keeping my house clean.  I am not a germ-a-phobe, and you can bet that my children have licked their share of grocery cart handles (why, oh why, do they do that?)  Still, a house is not clean just because things are put away.  Unfortunately, I've also learned that, quite often, using every-day cleaners and household products to "clean" our homes makes them just as dangerous as if they were germy and bacteria covered.  

For the record, I am not selling anything.  I am not associated with any organization or company.  But, I feel very strongly that we should be aware of what we expose ourselves and our children to.  As a society, we work hard at removing toxins and chemicals from our vegetation, water supply, foods, and air.  However, recent studies show that some of those same toxins are brought willingly into the home in the form of cleaners and beauty products.  

Two years ago, I decided to make a healthier choice for my family.  I didn't change their eating habits.  I didn't institute a work-out regime.  I simply switched to chemical free house-hold products.  No, my house is not completely chemical free - but it's a lot better than it was!  As I mentioned, I am not affiliated with any particular manufacturer, but I have used the products of 3 main companies and have been very pleased. 

Shaklee introduced me to a safer way to clean.  Their basic cleaner (Basic H) is used as a concentrate to create 3 different types of cleaners - everyday cleaner, window/mirror cleaner, and degreaser.  The concentrate is so powerful that you use literally drops or teaspoonfuls in a 16 oz bottle of water.  I have had my concentrate for two years now and have barely put a dent in the bottle.  

Melaleuca is similar to Shaklee in that it offers a variety of concentrated cleaners.  It's key ingredient is melaleuca oil (more info can be found on the website) and is marked by a distinct smell.  Unlike Shaklee cleaners which are odorless, Melaleuca products leave a "clean" smell which some people prefer.  
I have, most recently, discovered Norwex.  Their main products are a variety of microfiber cloths that are  antibacterial because they are made with silver (a naturally antibacterial substance).  The cloths can be used dry or with water and actually disinfect surfaces.  

In addition to household cleaners, each of these companies also have Personal Care products (shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc) as well as typical household items (dishwashing detergent, hand soap, etc).  Shaklee and Melaleuca also carry a notable line of vitamins and supplements.  

The websites offer all kinds of information about how their products are different from typical cleaners... and how they meet safety standards and regulations (rather than just advertise it).  They also tell why household toxins are so dangerous - contributing to everyday ailments, such as asthma, that we assume we're just "born with."  If you are interested in learning more, check out the websites.  And if you want even more information, I can put you in contact with someone who can answer your questions or help you get the products for yourself.

I do not use these companies for all of my household cleaning and personal care needs.  But I do use them for quite a bit.  Concentrated cleaners with reusable bottles means I go through a lot less cleaner and, consequently, save money.  It also means I throw away a lot less waste and wash fewer chemical poisons down my drain to be released back into everyone else's soil and drinking water.  Regardless of your political or religious stance, we are called to care for this planet.  So, if I can use my money and resources in a way that keeps my family healthy and promotes overall environmental health, why wouldn't I do that?  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Today's tip is compliments of my resourceful and ingenious husband.  And, although it may not be terribly exciting, it has saved me a little hassle in the kitchen.

We don't have a garbage disposal, so we don't let food go down the drain in our sink.  However, I hate (HATE) food residue in my sink.  (I like a clean sink...)  So, for me that mean, hoping the food all got caught in the little drain stopper thingy and then picking it up and running it to the trash can, hoping for no drips.  But then one day, I saw Chuck do this...

Instead of cleaning up the food afterward, he uses my small handled colander / strainer.  After scraping most of the food into the trash, he  empties and rinses the bowls and plates over the the colander.  Then, he dumps the entire contents in the garbage.  Such a great idea, I now do it, too.

The result: a clean sink and no yucky clogged drain!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year celebrations!  It's always nice to take a break from normal routine and spend some extra time with family and friends.

Post-holidays is a popular time for money-saving (due to the all-too-often over spending done at Christmas).  I've noticed others sharing their penny pinching techniques, so here's one from me:

Quite often, stores print additional information on your receipts - besides your purchase information.  It may be to inform you of future sales or to ask you to participate in a survey or drawing.  I have learned to look closely at these receipts, because some stores offer great coupon discounts on theirs.  Usually, the store asks you to call or visit a website where you will answer questions regarding your visit, but at the end of the survey, you will be given a code which turns that receipt into a coupon.

Payless, Bath & Body Works, and The Children's Place are a few of my favorite stores which offer these types of promotions.  The best part is that, usually, these coupons can be used in conjunction with other store offers (The Children's Place will often allow you to combine several offers for fantastic savings!).  Another favorite, Ikea, prints an actual amount at the bottom of your receipt to be used towards future purchases.  No survey is necessary - just purchase with a debit card, and you will receive back a small percentage.  It's not much, but it adds up and can be combined with others.

Saving money takes some effort, but quite often opportunities are very simple to find.  Just keep your eyes open!