November 27, 2009
Seventh Generation, maker of those naturally safe household products that we love to use have a new campaign. Apparently “Babies everywhere are crawling to Washington and saying ‘no’ to toxic chemicals found in household products.”
An interesting, and amazing fact is that since 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required safety testing on only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals on the market.
April 4, 2008
“We believe in a kitchen that supports the 3-second rule”. Most of us know that household cleaners contain toxic chemicals, and our review of Eco-Me’s products prove that you can create good cleaners with household ingredients. But what if you just want to create natural cleaning products from a concentrate? We all know that bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, window/mirror cleaner, oven cleaner etc is all the same stuff, just in different concentrations, so why can’t we create this ourselves?
Shaklee Basic H2 is an organic cleaning concentrate, that allows you to make 48 gallons of cleaning liquid from one 16oz bottle. Some example mixes are:
- Windows and Mirrors requires 16oz of water and 1-2 drops of the magic concentrate (2oz of concentrate can make the equivalent of 728 bottles of Windex).
- Degreaser: 1 and a half teapsoons with 16 oz of water.
- All-Purpose Cleaner: 1 and a quarter teaspsoon with 16oz of water.
However you can also mix it up for pots and pans, floors, washing woolens and nylons and so on. Bottles are available to buy or you can use any spare spray bottles you have (label them clearly though, we don’t want little Timmy drinking it do we?).
The bottles come with a ounce measurement guide on the side, but strangely only up to 12oz, so the last 4oz is a nice bit of guesswork. They worked really well, the mirror cleaner mix was particularly effective, leaving no smears, no fragrance and it was nice and clean.
Shaklee was founded in 1956 and is the first company to be Climate NeutralTM, that is apparently having zero impact on the environment. They recommend looking at this website to educate yourself on what products you’re bringing into your home, essentially you want to avoid ingredients such as sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, butyl cellosolve, sodium hypochlorite (bleach), ammonia, sulfamic acid and others.
I have one problem with the Shaklee Basic H2 concentrate – what’s in it? I’m told it it non-toxic, with no toxic fumes, no fragrance, pH balanced and with no bleach, but what is actually in it? I suppose this might be a corporate secret, but there we go. I also like companies to “walk the talk” (or a similar banal phrase) so printing their press release and information sheets on virgin white paper doesn’t impress me, but this is a minor quibble as they have plenty of other great green initiatives, awards and testimonials in environmental leadership and excellence.
A 16oz bottle of concentrate (that will last a long time) is available for a bargain price of around $12, or even cheaper if you’re a member. The extra bottles I also tested are around $8 (again cheaper if you’re a member). They also have a Get CleanTM Starter Kit which looks expensive but when you realise how much you get and how long it will last it’s actually a great deal.
Go here for more eco product reviews.
March 26, 2008
Eco-Me is a company that provides 100% natural eco kits. I call them “starter kits” as they’re an easy way to get started using more environmentally products. In fact, you mix these yourself so you know exactly what has gone into them.
They currently have five kits, Home, Body, Baby, Dog and Cat kits. Not owning a dog or cat (or baby for that matter), it was the Home kit that I was sent for review.
Containing two empty reusable plastic bottles, a reusable tub, a microfiber cleaning cloth, natural fiber scrub brush and a small bottle of Home Blend essential oil, the large box bag it comes in was pleasantly light. The two bottles are for “All Purpose Spray Cleaner” and “Wood Polish Spray Cleaner” with the tub being for “Home Scrub Cleaner”. Each one has really simple instructions on the side and a measurement guide. For example, pour white vinegar up to this mark on the label, water up to this mark, and then 1 unit of essential oil.
The essential oil is there to cover the smell of the other household ingredients. It’s a mix of Tea Tree, Lavender, Rosemary and Lemongrass and only a few drops are usually needed. Creating the cleaning products was so easy it was almost untrue. Surely these can’t be as good as all those weird chemicals?! Creating the scrub cleaner was actually fun, the initial pour of baking soda into the vinegar and water mix, and resultant foaming expansion reminded me of several school chemistry experiments that went awry. This was fine though . The wood cleaner includes the addition of olive oil, which makes for a nice addition to the experiments.
So, how well did they work?
Well the all purpose cleaner works perfectly fine, though the vinegar smell isn’t the best in the world. I am the first to say that “clean” has no smell (certainly not pine), but vinegar is not my first choice of smell for the bathroom. This isn’t malt vinegar, else I would have been delighted my bathroom smelt like fish and chips (pass the ketchup), no this is white vinegar. Another half unit of the essential oils did the trick and it was now nice and naturally scented. Cleaning wise, the vinegar cleans, deodorizes and kills bacteria, so no need for anything else except the water to dilute it and the oil to scent it. In the scrub, the baking soda did all I needed it to, i.e. clean, so again it seems a great alternative.
By using natural, chemical-free and non-toxic ingredients I certainly felt better about the cleaning. As mentioned Eco-Me provides plenty of kits and ranging from $26 to $36 they’re not expensive. Refill kits are cheap (for the oil, cloths etc) so one kit will last you a long time. Coupled with the fact they can be made up with what’s in your kitchen cupboard, it will be a long time before you feel the need to buy any cleaning products at the grocery store. Their website also has some great eco tips, so take a look.
Go here for more eco product reviews.
January 10, 2008
In doing a thorough product review of Bulldog Natural Grooming Moisturiser involves a lot of washing of my face. I’m not one to moisturise all the time for no reason but after washing my face I always need to so twice a day I’d come to squeeze the tub onto my hand and rub it in. And what a joy it was.
It took me a little while over the testing period to work out why it was a joy and I realised it was down to two things. Firstly, the smell. Now the list of ingredients is quite long (I’ll come to that) but I think it’ll be down to the eight essential oils, green tea extract (which is an anti-oxidant) and mabe the green algae (which I’m told is to help with skin hydration). It really does smell nice, almost medicinal.
The packaging says:
“No parabens, no sodium laureth sulfate, no artificial colours and not synthetic fragrances.”
But as I said the list of the ingredients is huge. And confusing – do you know what ethylhexyl palmitate is? Well actually I sort of do, it’s an emulsifier and I know this because at www.meetthebulldog.com it tells me what that is and all the other ingredients which is very handy. There a downloadable pdf which also tells me it’s derived form vegetable/palm and that: “Emulsifiers modify the interface between water and oils, allowing tiny blobs of oils and waxes (micelles) to float freely in water (or vice versa) without merging together and separating out.” It’s also not tested on animals and no ingredients come from animal sources.
But how does it actually work as a moisturiser? Traditionally I tend to use a cheap moisturiser, not actually because I’m cheap but because I fine more expensive products too thick and as I have a slight beard, I found it wouldn’t rub into my skin/beard properly and I’d end up looking like Santa Claus. So I approached the thick, white substance out of this bottle with some trepidation.
I shouldn’t have worried really, although the consistency seems the same as other brands I’ve used I found it was absorbed into the skin very nicely both on areas with hair and without. There was no white or oily residue. I enjoyed using it as much as one can.
Bulldog are a small company based in London. Currently it’s just available in the UK through Sainsbury’s stores, and online through the Life Goggles Reviews and Shop page. Read Joel’s review of Bulldog’s shave gel here.
July 18, 2007
Of course, it’s a personal choice if you wish to donate your organs, but if you decide to you could be helping some of the 1,700 people in Australia, 50,000 people in Latin America, more that 170,000 people in Europe and the United States, and over 2 million people in China who are in need of an organ transplant. Without one, these people will probably die, and at the very least have a better standard of life.