Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Going Green the Hard Way Part 3: Out With the Old, In With New Alternatives!

I know that this week's version of "Going Green the Hard Way" is early, but honestly I really wanted to do this edition early.  Why?  Get this people.  For the first time in 2.5 YEARS my son's skin...is clearing up!  He has flaking skin where he used to have open sores, he looks like he has the worst case of dandruff in history from his cradle cap finally flaking off of his (now) healthy looking scalp and the back of my daughter's knees no longer look like one big welt!  I have hope that everything I am doing is making an impact, but it's still early enough that I am still cautious.  But, I am definitely hopeful.  Which, trust me, is a definite improvement over where I've been the last couple of years :).

Here's what I'm going to do in this post.  I'm going to show you what we started with for products, what I cut out of our household and what I replaced it with (so far, seriously I'm still working on all of this and am stalking allergists and dermatologists to the point I'm surprised they haven't started avoiding my number *laugh*).  Stay tuned in the next few weeks as I keep trying products to "tweak" things right to try and get skin cleared up and change our lifestyles to help my kids and hopefully get them off of the daily use of steroid creams.  I'll also do reviews of products I've tried and what I think of them, good or bad, and definitely give credit where credit is due to the hard working people who made products that worked on my children.  If I had the money I would so send those people cards and chocolates right now...and no I'm not exaggerating...I am just that grateful to find something that worked!

Here's the pre-requisites I have for ANYTHING that enters my household use right now.  It has to have a list of ingredients I can pronounce and 2) If I ask I fully expect the person making said product to be able to tell me why something is in a certain product and it better be in there for a good reason.  The shorter and simpler the ingredient list the better :).  I am also trying to stop synthetic products from entering the household as much as possible (to limit exposure to synthetics and the irritants they have in them).  I am not going to tell you my opinions of these products, but merely share the list with you for now so you can see what got replaced with what.  I have also started replacing my own personal hygenic products with all natural ones just because what is on me gets on my kids (I just plain hug and man handle them too much :), so I want to make sure what's on me is safe to get on them.  Period.

Here's what I did:


THE KITCHEN

:::::Kitchen Cleaners

Started With:  Tons of different commercial cleaners, but most often used was Clorox Wipes, Lysol Wipes, Mr. Clean products, Windex, Pledge, Seventh Generation Cleaners, Clorox Floor Cleaner (went with Ready Mop I have).

Kept:  Seventh Generation Free and Clear Multi-Purpose cleaner for any time I might run out of other cleaner...that's it.

Replaced With:  Clean and Green All Natural Cleaning Kit Products by picnicbasketcrafts on Etsy (This kit also contains Organic Ingredients and yes, I considered that a bonus when I saw it.  I also use the kit that came with the kit to make your own clorox-like wipes and bought another rubbermaid container at Target just to make another set of wipes because I use them all the time, the other set of wipes I made by cutting up an old 100% cotton pillowcase that was falling apart.), Joy lemon scented dish soap (short ingredient list with things I knew in it) and distilled white vinegar.

:::::Dishwashing Detergent:

Started With:  Finish Quantrum Detergent, Cascade Action Pacs, whatever was on sale cheap and worked okay.

Kept: My current rinse agent because with my hard water we need one...at least until I can find a good alternative to it.

Replaced With:  Seventh Generation Free and Clear Liquid Dishwashing Detergent.  Natural and Non-Toxic.

:::::Sponges/Paper Supplies/etc.

Started With:  Synthetic Sponges, paper towels, disposable wipes, etc.

Kept:  Paper Towels (for cleaning up after the cat or for completely unsavory jobs).

Replaced With:  The reusable cleaning wipes from the above kit from Picnicbasket Crafts for cleaning wipes.  To avoid use of synthetic materials in sponges (not to mention transfers of dyes) I  have ordered Reusable Scrubbies from Laksaware Crafts on Etsy but they haven't come in yet.  This way as well I know I'll be much less likely to let any bacteria grow on the scrubbies and will just throw them into my laundry too.

:::::Miscellaneous

Started With:  Febreeze/Lysol.

Replaced with Multi-Purpose Spray from Beazer's Garden on Etsy.  This can also be used as a body spray or for an air freshener in your car, etc.  100% essential oils and water.  That's it.

Started With:  Scented Candles.

Replaced With:  Unscented Candles, preferably soy since the wax doesn't get as hot and they burn longer.  Still trying to find a good deal on those before our next power outage.

Added in:  E-Cloth Kitchen Pack, 2-Count to try on the windows and stuff...I was mainly curious to see if it works or not and can really make it so you don't need cleaners.  I'm not really buying it, but it's an interesting thought.

THE BATHROOM

:::::Bathroom Cleaners

Started With:  Soft Scrub, Tilex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Soft Scrub Scrubby Pads, Formula 409, Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner.

Kept:  The toilet bowl cleaner until I can find a good alternative that will remove calcium build up.

Replaced with:  Naturally Gentle Tub and Tile Scrub from Picnicbasketcrafts on Etsy, Seventh Generation Bathroom Cleaner (replaces Scrubbing Bubbles).

:::::Other

Started With:  Nylon Bath Poofs
Replaced With:  100% natural cotton crocheted bath poof and 100% cotton knitted/crocheted wash clothes.

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

:::::Soap

Started With:  Johnson Buddy Bars, Softsoap Foaming Hand Soap, Ivory (for husband), various "smelly" soaps that I had gotten cheap with coupons (really I used those the most) or just soaps we'd gotten cheap period.

Kept:  Ivory for husband (Castile soap)

Replaced With:  Method Minnie Mouse Foaming Hand Wash, various soaps I have gotten off of Etsy for me to use (through Heartsy vouchers)...anything with ingredients I don't know or get too complicated (like the soaps I got off of the Spun Monkey deal from some groupon a while back) I put into a pile to gift for Christmas in "spa baskets" for family members.

:::::Shaving Cream/Gel:

Started With:  Shaving Soap (husband), shaving cream, Skintimate (me)
Kept:  Shaving Soap for Husband
Replaced With:  Natural Shaving Soap from Etsy shops for me.

:::::Body Wash:

Started With:  Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash, Arbornne (special order stuff, mother in law got it at the woman's show a little bit ago for us to try), Bath and Body Works Mandarin Orange Scent (gift from family back East), husband just uses Ivory.

Kept:  The Bath and Body Works Orange Mandarin Scent until I can afford to get a bottle of orange scented body wash on Etsy (using the body wash as shampoo actually).

Replaced With:  All natural soaps from Heartsy Deals/Etsy in different scents (me...currently I'm using Lemon Poundcake Soap from "Oh Yum" on Etsy).  Unscented Body Wash from Toadstool Soaps on Etsy for the kids, kept Ivory for husband.

:::::Shampoo:

Started With:  Head and Shoulders (husband and children), Aussie (me)

Kept:  Head and Shoulders for Husband

Replaced With:  Bath and Body Works Orange Mandarin Body Wash (for me for now), Unscented Shampoo from Toadstool Soaps on Etsy for the kids.

:::::Deodorant:

Started With:  Dove Cucumber Mellon (me) or various other deodorants we'd gotten cheap (me), other cheap "man" deodorants we'd gotten (husband)

Replaced With:  All Natural aluminum free (unscented in some cases) deodorant I ordered (ordered some trial size to give them a go in different scents), but hasn't come in yet.  My husband is doing a "wait and see" tactic on this one...I'm curious myself *laugh*.

:::::Baby Wipes

Started With:  Huggies brand wipes, whatever was on sale cheap...most times unscented or super moisturizing to try and make it work the best with the kid's skin.

Replaced With:  A moisturizing baby cleaning spray from Picnicbasket Crafts, flannel reusable baby wipes (had those from cloth diapering), and Seventh Generation Baby Wipes for the diaper bag.

LAUNDRY PRODUCTS:

:::::Laundry Soap

Started With:  Method Free and Clear Laundry Detergent

Replaced With:  Home Made Laundry Detergent made with Uscented Castile Soap from "Kiss a Prince" shop on Etsy,

:::::Fabric Softener:

Started With:  Most times nothing, but occasionally used Downy April Fresh Scent on the throw rugs or bedding to try and make the hard water stiffness a little less harsh.

Replaced With:  Downy Free and Sensitive (watered down and turned into liquid for dryer sheets for occasional use).  Vinegar for day to day fabric softener use (1/4 cup per load of laundry).  Wool Dryer Balls from Heartkarma on Etsy for added fabric softening power (did I mention hard water?).

:::::Stain Fighter/Laundry Booster:

Started With:  Tide Action Packs, OxiClean when needed.

Replaced With:  Home Made Laundry Booster/Stain Remover and all natural Stain Stick from Life-Soap-Simple when needed (or the one that came with my kit from Picnic Basket Crafts).

FIRST AID

I added an All Natural First Aid Kit from Silver Moon Herbals on Etsy to our current first aid options.  I also am getting custom orders of hand sanitizer with all natural products for my children for school (as the idea of alcohol infused gel hitting my son's hands gives me nightmares...seriously) from Picnicbasketcrafts.

ECZEMA SKINCARE PRODUCTS:

Started With:  Cerave Moisturizing Cream, Triconazole steroid ointment, Tetrix Shielding lotion, Steroid mousse for scalp care.
Kept:  Everything.
Replaced With:  Nothing Really, but here's how I augmented things.  This is how our "out of the bath" dance goes now.

1)  Wash kids with unscented body wash and shampoo.  Keep bath short to about 10 minutes long.
2)  Get children out and immediately rub Alvah down with Safflower oil (I transfer to a small travel sized lotion container I bought at Target so that it's a nice squeeze application instead of getting oil all over the floor and everything trying to apply it).  This can go on head to toe, but I try to avoid the face and scalp.
3)  Used to rub in Cerave, but have found I can now mainly use Super Healing Creme from Picnicbasketcrafts on Etsy.
4)  Apply Unscented Solid Lotion Bar from Olfactory Scents on Etsy for use as a "shielding lotion".
5)  Apply steroid creams as needed before bedtime.

We also added in a dose of Zyrtec to my son's nightly regime to help with itchy skin on the allergist recommendation.  It does seem to be helping and trust me, no, Zyrtec does not make your children drowsy...if it did my son would sleep at night *laugh*.  

I am also planning on making my own "super eczema moisturizing coctail" lotion by layering the best lotions I've found in a container (still trying to find JUST the right one for this) to hopefully really kick the heck out of eczema when it flairs up.  My list of things to use include unscented Shea Butter, Unscented Beeswax Lotion, aloe vera gel, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and maybe a few other lotions that I can find that work really well. 

We also added vent filters for our forced air heat vents for the sake of my daughter's dust allergy as well.  Hopefully those will start to clear up her allergies a bit.

And stay tuned for reviews of these products as I use them and come to find out what works and what doesn't and ride along in whatever other lifestyle changes I decide to implement in this life changing journey of mine.  And yes, I will share new pictures of my new stockpile when all is said and done :).

I'm off to bed.  Good night everyone!

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