Category Archives: toilettalk

I’m ready, I think.

I have been thinking for a quite a while about switching from toilet paper to cloth, because our daughter uses cloths when she uses the potty. She’s switching to using the toilet more and more and I hate that it means moving to toilet paper too, but she wants to be grown up and that’s what we grown-ups do. I wanted to make the change to cloth rather than having her move away from it, but it seemed a bit “out there” even for me and I live “there”. When some one says “out there” they mean the place where the weirdy beardies like Sarah McGaughey live. Yes, I really was called a weirdy beardy, and yes, I liked it.
A while ago Kyle and I had a little communication glitch that resulted in there being absolutely no toilet paper in the house on a day of a blizzard. I decided to try using the wee ones cloths. It was way easier than I expected. I’m going to go into detail now so if you are squeamish, stop reading now!
Pees were no problem. It seemed natural to use cloth. As for poos, it was way easier. It took one warm soft wet cloth to get a very clean bum rather than wads of scratchy paper, and it was really easy to rinse and throw in a bucket after.
Kyle still thinks the water usage for cloths make it equal to toilet paper, but I don’t buy it. I didn’t use much water to rinse and when they are washed in our little portable machine and hung to dry, I’m sure the water usage is less than the water, energy, chemicals, plastics, and carbon that go into making (even recycled) toilet paper. Unfortunately there are no unbiased studies that I can find on the topic-the one study of cloth diapers which claimed the energy and water usage was equal to that of disposables was very biased. Firstly, it was funded by PAMPERS. Secondly the studied diapers that were washed industrially with bleach and dried in a dryer. Thirdly they didn’t study the water or energy used to make the disposables.
Back to me, my daughter didn’t want me to use her cloths again, and I haven’t been able to buy or make them yet. I’ve read about using old flannel sheets (cut up into small squares and sewn around the edges) and I think it’s a great idea but I haven’t done it yet. I may just order these ones and some bamboo wipes from the same seller. I can make them but there is such a line up of things I have to sew before I get to them, and I want to make the change soon. In fact, just this second I set a deadline for myself to do it by the end of February.
Obviously this isn’t for everyone. I am not at all bothered by bodily fluids.* I still find poo and fart jokes hilarious. I use reusable menstrual pads and cups. We used cloth diapers and natural infant hygiene when our little one was a baby. Scatological is one of my favorite words. I can’t believe I didn’t make this change before. I also can’t believe I could come up with a funnier title for this post!
* Just to clarify, I am bothered by unknown bodily fluids, like huge puddles of urine on my doorstep (dog, person???) or puke on the sidewalk, but my own or my family’s or friends is not a problem to me*

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What is the one item you can’t live without?

Have you ever noticed that most interviews of famous women (especially if they are sex symbols) include this question? Sometimes they say “What is the one thing you can’t like without” and I always think “air”, but the answers are things like “My #12 red Mac lipstick” or “My Prada stilettos”.
If I was asked that question (not that I am claiming to be a sex symbol;), I would have to answer baking soda!
We use it in baking, wash the house with it*, brush our teeth with it, put it under our arms, and now I’m washing my face with it. I tried it on my hair but that experiment failed.
I do, however, highly recommend it as a facial cleanser. I was having a hard time with finding or making a good cleanser that didn’t leave my skin dry and pimply at the same time. Yes I am a thirty something with pimples-what of it? Finally I broke down and started washing with Dr.Bronners mild baby soap, which I can buy in bulk at Grass Roots, Big Carrot or Eco-Existence. It works great! Just wet your face and rub the baking soda on until it looks like a mask. Then rinse it off,with hot water, then cold. If I need to moisturize I use a little coconut oil, and if I want to exfoliate I use baking soda. It kind of tingles and leaves my face feeling clean and soft.
* Since we have had a child we use baking soda way more than borax because borax is a little caustic. We use baking soda and vinegar for the toilet, sinks, bathtub, walls, and diaper pail. We also use baking soda on pots and pans that have had food burnt onto them. Just dump a bunch in with a bit of water and let it sit overnight before scrubbing ( a scrunched up and knotted onion bag makes a great scrubber).

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Whip it good!

I made a new batch of deodorant with patchouli for Kyle and he is fine now. I made myself another sandal wood batch since I didn’t have a problem, and I didn’t really like the smell of the straight patchouli- smells like Dettol to me. Then, I shaved my arm pits. Now the sandal woods is no good. Ouchy ouch ouch. I suppose I will have to use the patchouli stuff until my hair grows back.
Speaking of hair, my hair on my head has been a disaster since trying the no poo method. When I gave it up, we still had some Lush solid shampoo, which was nice, but now we are out and I am trying not to buy more. I did cave and buy Burt’s Bees conditioner, even though I know they are owned by the evil Clorax. Well karma got me and my hair looks dull and heavy. The beeswax just sort of sticks- I knew that from before, but I forgot. So, I am still looking for a shampoo recipe. I tried Auroras glycerin soap and it was no good. I tried http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/OLBA08EA/BabyMildLiquidSoap.htm and my hair was too tangly so I put the tiniest bit of coconut oil in and turned into a greaseball. Even after I washed it out my hair looked wet when it was dry.
I bought Soap Works solid shampoo and conditioner (way cheaper than Lush) and it is also no good for me. It really does leave my hair squeaky clean but I can’t get a brush through it after. Sigh- I may have to cave in and go back to my beloved bulk Giovanni products from the Big Carrot.
I am currently making protection creme from Stephanie Tourles’ Herbal Body Book. I’ll have to let you know how it turns out. My skin has been dry and crackly so I’m hoping it is as good as she says. I am also hoping I can whip until it’s creamy, because I have been whipping it and whipping it (LOL, that sounds bad) and it is still a pot of oil. Gotta go do some more whipping. Stay tuned for more exited DIY hygiene talk.

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Testing Testing 1, 2, 3

It’s day 5 of home made deodorant and diaper wipes solution. Kyle and I both like the pit stick (cream) and Aurora also seems to be doing fine with the wipe solution. Yaaay!
Kyle asked if we were really saving money by making our own deodorant and the answer is …DEFINITELY!
I usually spend about $20 every month or two(depending on the season) on a block of deodorant to share. My materiel costs for making our own were:
-$9.99 for Sandlewood oil in Jojoba oil (as opposed to $49.99 for pure sandlewood). I used about 7 drops. It hardly looks like there is any gone. I estimate if we only use it for deodorant, it will last for at least 20 batches, which means this time I used $.49 worth.
-Approximately $0.10 for baking soda (bought it bulk from Grassroots)
-$.7.49 for the coconut oil. I think I used about1/5th of the jar, so let’s say $1.50 this time.
That means this batch of deoderant costs $2.14. Even if you count my time, which was about ten minutes, it’s way less than what we were paying before.
I’m still searching for shampoo recipes. I found some that were simple enough but they called for all natural baby shampoo-ugg! If I’m going to buy all natural baby shampoo, I’ll just use it without all the fancy extras.

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What I do in the bathroom ;)

A great place to start being an eco warrior is in the bathroom, where most of us start our day!

Toilet Talk

We buy recycled toilet paper that comes wrapped in more recycled paper which you can use as wrapping paper before recycling again (woooah, are you dizzy yet?) If you are really HARD-CORE(yeeah!) you can cut out toilet paper altogether. Check out this site, which explains that cloths or rags work just as well as toilet paper. http://radicalfrugality.info/paper-products.html .

Another TP alternative is a little squeeze bottles with a spout to wash “down there” instead of wiping.

Also, we reuse our bath water to flush the toilet with. This doesn’t actually have to do with being garbage free, but it’s something extra we do for the environment. Our system is kind of complicated, but that’s because I’m a bit of a clean freak. The basic idea, which Kyle got from his German boss, is to save the bath water then use a big bucket to scoop in into the bowl of the toilet. Here’s my system:

1. Get a large Tupperware container ( large enough to sit in, scruched up) and keep it in the bathroom. Also get a big bucket (about mop sized) and a smaller one (yogurt container) to scoop the water with.

2. Put the plug in when you are having a shower
3. When you finish use the big bucket to scoop the water into the Tupperware
4. After using the toilet, use the big bucket to “water bomb” the bowl of the toilet and everything will flush down.
5. Put a small bucket full of water in the toilet so that there is water sitting for the next time.
6. Use a towel to wipe up the water you have inevitably spilt on the floor

*****Alternately
4. Use the small bucket to scoop from the Tupperware and fill the big bucket to “water bomb” the toilet. This way you won’t splash water on the floor. Follow step five, but skip six.
*** If the Tupperware is already full, and it is nearing time to clean the tub anyway, you can leave the water in the tub, however; if the tub is sparkly clean and the Tupperware is full, just fill the buckets and then pull the plug
*****If you shave a large beard, or your head, or excessive body hair while in the shower, just pull the plug and then wipe the tub down with a rag and some vinegar.

But how do you brush your teeth?toothbrush

I use Fuchs “V” tooth brushes. They also have one’s with detachable heads, but those one’s come in a throw away package. Mine comes in a hard plastic carrying case you can use to keep things in, including your toothbrush if you want! The toothbrush is plastic made from corn so it eventually biodegrades. I do find they don’t last as long as a regular toothbrush, but I think I tend to keep them longer than I should so that may be a good thing!

http://www.lotuspress.com/images/FuchsPOP/fuchs.htm

Preserve looks good too, but I’m afraid of them because they are so big. Contrary to popular belief, I have a very small mouth.http://www.recycline.com/products/preserve.html

As for what goes on the toothbrush….

I used to use Tom’s of Main Toothpaste, because it came in a recyclable aluminum tube, but it seems that they are not making those anymore. Instead they have plastic tubes with a throw away plastic seal. ARGGG! (OOOPs, my bad. They are still making those. I just accidentally bought Nature’s Gate instead of Tom’s. Tom’s is still a pretty good option because at least you can recycle the container.) So I’m going to make my own tooth paste. I haven’t tried yet, but here’s a recipe. It’s from this site.

http://mizar5.com/toothpst.html

MAKE YOUR OWN TOOTH POWDER. Thoroughly mix 3 parts baking soda (the cleanser and sweetener) with part salt (the abrasive) and funnel the compound into a short small-mouthed container such as a pop or beer bottle. You’ll find that the creation has a satisfying, different taste and leaves your mouth feeling very fresh and soothed. If you’d like, add a few drops of peppermint or wintergreen oil to the concoction – or mix the home “brew” half-and-half with a commercial tooth powder – to give the dentifrice a more pleasant flavor. I’m going to flavour mine with fennel because it’s my favorite!

***January 28, 2007 – I made this for a TV crew and tried it after they left. It’s really yucky. I don’t know if I can do it. The texture is nice, but it’s salty!!! I will need to find something to sweeten it with.

Cleaning your ears and other orifices

Many people just use facecloths. I have lots of piercings to clean and I just really like having clean ears, so we do use Q-tips of sorts. We buy organic Essentials biodegradable cotton swabs. They are expensive. I think $11.99 for 180 at Grassroots. Sometimes they are wrapped in plastic, when they are not, I buy them- I should really write the company about that.

Primping and Pruning (Razors)

Right now, we both have our old (non-disposable of course) razors with the changeable blades, and we just go as long as possible without changing the blades. Ideal bite did a tip on hair removal and suggested straight razors (very cool, but I’m too accident prone for that), electric razors, or recycled razors by Preserve. I would like to switch to the recycled one, but then the one I currently use would be garbage. Catch 22! Anyhow you can look for yourself at ideal bite (they are great). I’ve also included a tip they did about sugaring and will let you know when I try it.

http://idealbite.com/tiplibrary/tip.php?tip=20061120&title=Sugar_Sweet_Glam_Gamshttp://idealbite.com/tiplibrary/tip.php?tip=20060425&title=A_Cut_Above_-_Eco-Friendly_Shaving

Lather up!

Soap Works has amazing soap you can use for washing all your parts (body, face, hair) and for shaving too! You can get them at a lot of health food stores and they have no packaging at all, not even a sticker! I get mine at Etherea, or Tutti Frutti. We use Lush cinnamon Solid shampoo, which you can also use to wash your body. It lasts for a really long time and you can get a handy stainless steel carry case for traveling. If you use conditioner, Lush has solid conditioner as well. It doesn’t work well for me, and I’m still looking for a good conditioner with refillable containers. Grass Roots has some but none of it works well in my hair! I’ve tried olive oil and coconut oil both both turn my hair into a greasy mess! The body shop no longer refills containers and neither do a lot of the hairdressers (in fact all that I have asked so far). Every one stopped with refills after the SARS scare. Anyhow the hunt is still on.

The pits

We use aromaco solid deoderant from LUSH Cosmetics.
It smells like patchouli but works very well. Also we bring our own bag and ask them not to wrap it. Don’t get the Aromacreme instead, even if they are sold out of Aromaco! Aromacreme has witch hazel in it and it burns and causes rashes. Ouch!

Aunt Flow
When it comes to menstrual supplies, there are many alternatives to mainstream pads and tampons, which are as bad for our bodies as they are for the earth. I use cotton cloth pads, which I wash out and use over and over. If I need to be more discreet I use natural sea sponges. ***** Anna just alerted me that sea sponges are animals! That means this method is not vegetarian, and also no longer my method of choice. I think I will shell out the $50 for a keeper.*****Many of my friends like the keeper or the diva cup, which is a little cup you insert. The awesome part is that it lasts 10 years!Check out these sites for more info: http://www.grassrootsstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=187http://www.oxyboost.com/cleaning_pages/cloth_menstrual_pads.html (http://www.grassrootsstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=187)

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