What the Laundry Product Manufacturers Don’t Want You to Know…

You don’t have to use fabric softener.  Don’t believe me?  Let me tell you a little story…

A few months back my clothes dryer died.  It was actually quite dramatic (or so I’m told since I didn’t witness the event.)   There was smoke, some flames, and my husband and sons dragging it outside while it was still smoking. 

Up until it’s demise, we’d been using the Bounce Dryer Bar as our fabric softener of choice.  It’s actually pretty cool.  Instead of using dryer sheets which end up in the trash, you stick this solid bar onto the interior of your dryer drum.  As the clothes come into contact with the bar it spreads its softening and anti-static properties to them as it slowly wears down to a nub. (Envision a stick of deodorant glued to the inside of your dryer.)

Since the bar was attached to our now-dead dryer and we didn’t have a spare lying around, our new dryer was without a dryer bar.  In a way, I didn’t really want to put one in my brand-spanking-new dryer.  It was so new and shiny and … pure.  As a result, the new dryer didn’t have a bar and we didn’t have any dryer sheets on hand.  So, we dried our clothes without those things.  And, do you know what happened?  Nothing!

That’s right, our clothes still dried.  They didn’t feel like sandpaper and there was only a minimal bit of static.  After a while I wanted to try and conquer the small amount of static that we did have so I tried a product called Woollies.  They’re three balls of tightly felted wool that you toss in your drier to soften your clothes and avoid some static.  I like the Woollies but they haven’t been life-changing or laundry-changing for me.  They may soften the clothes a bit but I think the white vinegar I put in the washing machine does most of that.

Finally I came upon the best way to address the static issue. 1) Don’t over dry the clothes.  It’s ok if there’s some moisture left when you pull the laundry out of the dryer. 2) If you do over dry them, spritz the whole load lightly with some water in a spray bottle and toss the clothes like a salad.  That usually takes care of the static without costing you money or using chemicals.

So here’s my take-away–fabric softener isn’t necessary.  Proctor & Gamble may want you to think it is but it AIN’T.  Save your money and get a dollar store spray bottle and a jug of white vinegar and you’ll be set. 

Feel free to thank me later.

Cheap, Healthy & Green Beauty

In my ongoing efforts to be a good steward of Creation, I’m always on the lookout for ways to streamline my beauty routine. 

  • I’ve completely converted to the Oil Cleansing Method (LOVE IT!). 
  • I tried out the No-Poo shampoo for a while (liked it) but decided that it was a bit too drying for my aging hair.  (I may revisit that experiment again when I feel like I have some time to play with proportions.) 
  • I’ve also experimented with mineral makeup but decided I needed something with more moisture (aging again…)

Most recently I’ve experimented with natural deodorant brands such as Tom’s and Alba but have come away dissatisfied.  Some people love them but my take is that they’re fairly pricey and only mask odor.  I could accomplish the same thing with some well-placed perfume. 

Until now…I have finally found a deodorant that fits my criteria of cheap & healthy and I think it’s even green.  (Need to look into that a bit more.)  My new deodorant is….rubbing alcohol!  Yes, rubbing alcohol.  All I do is use a cotton ball to cleanse my armpits with rubbing alcohol after I bathe and let it dry.  When I want a little something special, I add some perfume to my underarms and I’m good to go!

Note:  This method doesn’t control perspiration.  When it’s important for me to stay dry, I will occasionally use a regular antiperspirant.  BUT, on the whole, I use the alcohol method and have been very happy with it.

So why do I take the trouble to look for an alternate method for stink control?  A couple of reasons:

  • My mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and aluminum has been linked to AD.  Almost all antiperspirants contain aluminum oxide to stop the wetness.  So, avoiding aluminum may reduce my risk of AD.  It may not.  But, it may.
  • Our bodies are made to sweat to rid our bodies of toxins.  Stopping underarm sweat “plugs up” that system.  It makes one wonder what happens to those toxins, doesn’t it?

And it’s inexpensive!  I love it when I can find something that’s healthy and cheap.  Those two qualities aren’t often present in one item.

I’ve only been using this method for a few months so I may change my mind entirely when the temperatures are over 100 for a few weeks.  But, for now, I’m good to go!

What methods or products have you tried to go green, healthy, or cheap?

Can’t wait to hear!

Six-Item Challenge: Post Game Wrap Up

It’s been a week since I completed my 30 day Six-Item Clothing Challenge and with the exception of a few “cheats” (unexpected funeral & my afore-mentioned oversight of my preschool work T-shirt) it was quite a success.  In fact, on the last day of the challenge, I realized that I had to actually THINK about what I would wear the next day and I was totally bummed out!

Much to my surprise, I didn’t hate the six items of clothing I chose by the time I reached the end of thirty days.  I was a little tired of a few of them but I had picked clothes that I liked and felt good wearing so it wasn’t the torture it could have been. 

I have to say, those thirty days did teach me a few things.

  1. I have WAY too many clothes and I’m not even a clotheshorse!  I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it but many of my clothes  rarely get worn.   Instead, I wear the same few outfits over and over again.  ( Can you say “closet purge”?)
  2. When you have a smaller pool of clothing to choose from, you have to be careful not to wash them all at the same time.  Unless, of course, you can spend the day in your pajamas,  Then, be my guest!
  3. I’ve been guilty of the impulsive, last-minute clothing purchase that often ends up being worn just a few times.  After my clothing experiment, I realize that I need to change my thinking when I purchase clothing.  I need to think about quality and longevity instead of low-cost “disposable” items.  This means I will probably be spending more money for clothes but I’ll also be buying fewer items.  In the long run, my clothing costs should even out or, perhaps, even go down.  I’ll keep you posted.
  4. Here’s the BIG revelation–Hold on to your hats….Most people don’t notice what I’m wearing from day to day.  Shocking, isn’t it?  And here I thought I was the center of the universe!  Don’t get me wrong.  People may notice if I look nice but mostly they have short memories (thankfully).  Of course, on some level this hurts my pride.  I like to think that people are paying more attention to me than they actually are.  But, the humbling reality is that most people are too busy trying to get through their day to care about whether or not I wore a brown T-shirt two days in a row!

So, did the last 30 days change my perspective?  Most certainly!  Am I going to get rid of all but 6 items of my clothing?  No.  But….I might scale down to 10 or 12 items (per season, that is!).  I guess I’ve still got a long way to go. 

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”  (Eccl. 1:2)


Are You Up For A Challenge?

-The Six-Item Challenge that is.  I’ve been wanting to take on this challenge for a while but, quite frankly, have been too chicken up until now.  But after my recent experience traveling with my family at the beginning of the summer, I think I’m ready.

Here is your mission, if you choose to accept it: For 30 days you are only allowed to wear a six items of clothing.  You may have unlimited undergarments (thank goodness!), sleepwear, exercise wear, shoes, and accessories (scarves, hats, jewelry, jackets, cardigans, etc.) but only six items of actual clothing.

I’ve chosen my six.  They are: one sundress, one denim pencil skirt, one pair of knee length denim shorts, one brown crew-neck t-shirt, one orange henley-style t-shirt, and one red short sleeve scoopneck blouse. (photos to come later)

Today I began the challenge and wore the brown t-shirt and denim shorts.  Very casual and easy.  Tomorrow will be the denim skirt and the orange shirt with as yet undetermined shoewear.  Who know what Friday might hold?  Are you on the edge of your seat?  I know I am!

So, the question is why should anyone do this?  It’s about living a more simple life; a life that isn’t about stuff.  It’s also about realizing that you don’t need a lot to live well and that a little creativity can go a long way. And, it’s about buying clothes that are made by people who are paid a fair wage.  Instead of buying cheap “disposable” clothes, a few high-quality investment pieces may be all you need in your wardrobe.

Why did I decide to do this now?  Because after three and a half weeks of living out of suitcase with one week’s worth of clothes, I know that I don’t need nearly as much as I have.

What about you?  Can you live well with less?  Take the challenge with me!  I’d love to hear what your “6” are.

Blessings and Creativity,