The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Natural Soaps

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Soap: Laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap, body soap, shampoo. Until I thought about it, I never realized how much soap I bought and used on a regular basis.

What if I started making all these different types of soap at home? With The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Natural Soaps by Sally W. Trew and Zonella B. Gould, I not only learned how to make the household product, but how to do it in an environmentally conscious way.

Homemade natural soaps have tons of benefits compared to commercial soaps….

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Scented Cleaning Products May Harm Your Health

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Cleaning products that are artificially scented with smells like lilac, lemon, pine, and tropical rainforest may be popular with consumers, but the fragrances themselves shouldn’t be. Each fragrance is potentially made up of hundreds of chemicals — many of them toxic, according to Erin Switalski, executive director of Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE).

“It’s basically chemical soup in a lot of these products,” Switalski says.

WVE is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women’s health. The group compiled What’s That Smell?, a landmark report that examines the health effects of hidden fragrance chemicals.

Women are disproportionately affected by the chemicals in fragrances since they use them more frequently than men. They also experience more health effects from the fragrances, such as skin rashes, headaches, and breathing problems. Plus, they can pass chemicals on to their children during pregnancy and breastfeeding….

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Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner Does It Right

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When Earth Friendly Products makes the claim that they’re eco-friendly, they have the credentials to prove it. This family-owned business makes and sells super-effective cleaning products, including Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner. In my opinion, this is one of the best all-around cleaners available — and that includes both natural and toxic cleaners. I love how well it cleans, what it’s made of, and even how it smells. I can’t say all that about many other cleaners — can you?

Like pretty much everyone we know, Joe and I are busy people. Sometimes we don’t get around to doing all the cleaning tasks on our list as quickly as we’d like. Recently, we let our upstairs tub and shower go just a little too long between cleanings. When we were sprucing up the house for a family party, we kicked into gear for a quick spritz around the house before everyone arrived. I got ready to tackle our upstairs bathroom. Oh, boy.

To say that the white walls of the tub and shower enclosure were looking a little gray might actually be an understatement, but let’s just leave it at that. I grabbed the bottle of Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner and started spraying about a three-foot-square section of a shower wall. Then I turned my attention to the sink while that part was soaking….

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Ecopreneurs Make High Performance, Eco-Friendly Cleaners

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“Necessity is the mother of invention,” so the saying goes. Ask Mark Cunningham about Bayes Cleaners, and you’ll find out how the need for a premium, eco-friendly cleaning product launched the company he shares with partner Matt Bays. Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Cunningham about Bayes Cleaners after trying — and liking — several of the company’s products….

CUNNINGHAM: My partner, Matt Bays, and I were talking about how we had just both installed stainless steel kitchens, and we couldn’t find any stainless cleaners that worked. I must have tried five or six different kinds of cleaners, and he had tried some as well. We said, “Hey, if anybody ever comes out with a stainless steel cleaner that works, they’re going to make a lot of money!”

We met the next day, and decided to get serious about developing a stainless steel cleaner. We both were into recycling at the time. We both had young kids, and using nontoxic products was important to us. We said, “Let’s make sure that whatever we come out with as a stainless steel cleaner not only works better than anything on the market, but it’s safe.” …

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Vaska Herbatergent – High Performance, High Value

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There’s plenty of hype about Vaska’s eco-friendly laundry detergent: The San Francisco Giants use Vaska to clean their dirt-stained uniforms. A “family friendly resort” near Denver uses Vaska to launder their ski patrol parkas. And Joe and I (the staff of Blue Planet Green Living) have done nearly a month’s worth of laundry with Vaska.

While hype is often interesting to read, it doesn’t mean much if there’s no substance behind it. As is our policy, we won’t add to the hype without trying a product for ourselves. So Vaska sent us a free bottle of their unscented Herbatergent (clever name). As is also our policy, a free sample doesn’t guarantee a positive review. It merely guarantees we won’t write about a product if we don’t like it (hey, there’s enough negativity in the world).

As it turns out, we do like Vaska’s Herbatergent, which is why I’m writing about it….

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