Miss Cliche

I subscribe to Cliche-Cliche and both accept and reject all its beliefs and dogmas.

Phancy Phuturistic Phones

It’s really hard to avoid the temptation of getting a shiny new smartphone each time the latest iteration hits the market. In a perfect world we’d have phones where you can easily change out or upgrade the battery or screen or storage or anything that is known to die out more quickly than the rest of the device. Yes, that creates its own waste, but in general the easier you can fix something the longer you can have it or the main components of it.

Me, I have the original iPhone 5 from the day it came out. My phone just turned 5, which is ancient in tech years. While everyone is griping at the new 8 and 8+ are just more of the same, imagine how you would feel about it if you had the 5, or even the 4. The storage, battery, camera, processor… heck, I could get the base model iPhone SE and it would still be a great improvement.

Still, I would hang on to mine for longer if I could. I’m not just daydreaming about getting something new simply because the fancy (to me) new ones were just announced. My screen is pink, the top button is broken, everything keeps crashing, the entire thing freezes or won’t turn on at all, and if that’s not enough once the battery hits 38%, which it does rather quickly, there’s only about 5 more minutes until it completely runs out of juice and shuts down. And its been like this for a while. It is time.

While I heatedly debate myself on whether it is better to get a refurbished older phone or go for a newer one, I have found a good option for a case – Pela!

Red_combined_78a48b70-0b9b-44c3-8f54-3d3e1c400132_1024x1024

They are made of flax shive, an annually renewable agricultural byproduct that can be composted in commercial or home composers when you are done*. They’re offered in many attractive colors, seem to fit nicely, and the reviews are good. They are also shipped plastic free, aside of course from the stickers generated by the postal system, but once you remove those you can compost or recycle all the packaging, which is pretty nifty. There are no Android cases yet but I believe they are working on those.

So with that decision made, now I can go back to agonizing over which phone to get. What would you do?

 

*I’ve seen those compostable eco-plastic utensils a year later still going strong in a home composter so I have no idea how this material would fare under similar conditions or if they’d do better in a commercial facility which gets hotter, but ask me in 5 more years and I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Other Zero Waste Blogs to Check Out

It’s no secret that I don’t post much here. I haven’t really found my voice, sometimes I feel like I come off as preachy which is absolutely not my intention, and there are already so many truly amazing and prolific bloggers out there. I’m not going to stop posting, but I’d like to make sure that if you’re interested in reducing your trash and your impact on the planet that you check out some of these other blogs who update content far more frequently. It’s also handy to scope out some of their Instagram feeds to get a better feel of what this lifestyle can look like.

 

Currently my favorites are Be Zero and Going Zero Waste. These ladies share great information, great photos, have inspiring minimalist yet cozy homes, and seem very nice and down to Earth. Zero Waste Home is the OG trashless lifestyle blogger who seems to no longer blog, but has published a book and tours a lot to do talks. The Rogue Ginger from Australia has a great master list of all the biggest names out there worldwide (and there are so many more than this!) and there is even the Zero Waste Blogger Network. Hey, maybe you want to keep a record of your journey towards a lower impact lifestyle? If you do please let me know so I can check it out!

7 Disposable Items With Easy Reusable Replacements

I was scrolling around on FaceBook in the middle of a sleepless night, as I am wont to do, where I came across an article titled 7 Disposable Items That Are Polluting the Planet. Obviously there are far more than 7, but the intent of this piece was to point out some of the most common daily use culprits for Americans. None of these items should surprise you. Well, some of them surprise me. Why wouldn’t you avoid some of these like the plague and keep them out of the landfill? But I digress…

Since the holiday season is coming up, I thought I’d point out some of my favorite durable, reusable products that should help you and your loved ones replace these disposables either for forever, or as long as you are able to take care of them, depending how hard you are on your possessions. You don’t want to get something crappy that’s just going to end up in the landfill immediately and add to the problem, anyway. And don’t take my word for it if you don’t want to – do your research and make a good investment on these replacements. Give the gift of less trash and less continual manufacturing pollution for us all to deal with. Please check out the original post, because that’s where all the stats are, and some are pretty mind-blowing, but I’m going to break it down in the same order with my comments and recommendations linked below each one. Here we go:

Disposable Batteries

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say at this point in time there aren’t many things we need that require batteries since so many devices perform multiple functions and already are outfitted with USB rechargeable batteries. Take this into consideration when buying, or deciding not to buy, an item. But ’tis the season when you might be gifted some interesting techie thingy that needs batteries. And if you have something like, say, a flashlight and wireless keyboard and a glucose monitor that are essential to life, get yourself some quality rechargeables for them that will last. And, as a bonus, here is some good information on how to recycle both your old disposable batteries and your awesome rechargeables (even your car battery!), should it come to it. Never dump your batteries in the landfill, OK? OK.

Replace with:

I did a lot of research on this one and while there seem to be many batteries and chargers that do the trick, the top name brands appear to consistently be Panasonic Eneloop and Energizer Recharge. The best off-name brands appear to be Amazon Basics and EBL. More than one reviewer stated they started with a pack of 4 Panasonic Eneloop AA’s with charger, and then, because they had more devices to power, got another brand’s batteries and used the Eneloop charger for everything. Bear in mind most batteries will only charge on average up to 1,000 times before they will no longer hold a charge. Some less well-liked batteries will do a heck of a lot less than that. In my research my favorite comprehensive article with real world test results is here, in case you want to check it out yourself.

Foam and Paper Cups

The original article cites coffee drinkers as the #1 culprits of disposable cup usage, but let’s add fast food junkies in there as well. Fast food is obviously very wasteful in so many ways, but let’s stick to just the cups (even though I’d really really like to add plastic water bottles to this category as well!).

Replace with:

While there are plenty of options out there, Klean Kanteen has my vote for favorite all-around stainless steel brand. I’ve got a regular one which someone left at my house years ago (nobody has claimed it yet) and which I still use almost daily, and I also have an insulated one that keeps hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold for long enough for me. I have a couple of different caps for each one so I can use them in many situations, even though ye olde screw cap would do just fine on either one. For the coffee lovers out there Ecoffee (bamboo, dishwasher safe, biodegradable when you feel it’s time to let it go), Keep Cup (not my favorite because parts of most of their cups are plastic, though they do use recyclable plastics, dishwasher top rack safe, lots of designs, accessories, and variations), and Joco (glass so it is heavier than the others, but love them and they have mix and match glass sizes, grip bands, and tops) have huge fan bases and come in a variety of sizes. Some people are hardcore and swear by their good ol’ mason jars with assorted caps. Whatever you go with, make sure it has no plastic or very little BPA-free plastic involved in the design. I included the Keep Cup anyway because when trolling around the reusables communities the name comes up a lot, possibly because of all the cool variations you can get?

Paper Towels

Unless you’re cleaning up cat puke, which is where I, personally, draw the line in my household, this is a really easy thing to switch out. Again I’m going to add fast food / takeout in here as well and say we also really need to watch our paper napkin consumption! If you’re not the type to replace paper towels and paper napkins with reusables in all situations, please be aware of how many you use at a time. You probably need far less than you think! I know I’ve linked to this before, but here’s a handy video on how to use only one paper towel to dry your hands in a public restroom where that’s your only option because it’s -10 degrees out and you don’t want your hands to freeze while you’re air drying them. Yes, it can be done!

Replace with:

Your old clothes and socks are your #1 option for house cleaning rags. Bar towels are next – they may not be fancy or pretty but they sure are handy, and they come in multi-packs so you can use one or two a day for many needs and not have to worry about running out of them before you do the wash. Before you buy anything new, use what you’ve got. And when you do buy paper towels, paper napkins, and toilet paper, please buy recycled and even consider unbleached. Using less will take the sting out of the slightly higher prices.

Paper and Plastic Bags

This one is so easy. I keep a cloth bag in my purse at all times and a set of sturdy ones are always in my car. And most of the time you can flat-out refuse a bag completely. Last week I bought a single banana and the man at the register tried to put it in a doubled plastic bag. No, thank you!

Replace with:

This is where I become a hypocrite and recommend bags that are largely composed of plastics. This is because I’m going to link you to the bags I have used for years (some, yes, have needed repairs but are still going strong!) but feel free to research more eco-friendly options like bags made out of sturdy canvas, jute, and hemp natural fibers. My grocery shopping kit consists of produce bags that are strong but easy for the cashier to see through, a couple of workhorse bags which are the same size and shape as plastic grocery bags so they fit on that metal grocery bag holder thingy and are easy to repair and wash, and a flat bottomed bag for heavy items. I have a couple of flimsy cloth bags from my now defunct CSA and branded with their logo which I will use until they are dead. I also have a cloth 6-pack bottle holder from Trader Joe’s that has come in handy a lot! The bag I keep on me at all times is an Esse bag, but they’re going out of business.  I like it because it packs up small and I can carry it over my shoulder. Baggu, Flip & Tumble, and Chico Bags (made of recycled materials) have good reviews and may be a decent substitute.

Coffee Pods

I’m a loose-leaf tea gal, myself, so these Keurig and similar pod machines really blow my mind. I have no idea why anyone would need one. But let’s say you work in an office in the middle of nowhere, coffee is your life’s blood, and a pod machine is your only way to get your fix?

Replace with:

Ekobrew has a stainless reusable pod which seems like a good option. Keurig themselves make a reusable that fits several models of their machines. Stash one of those and some fresh ground coffee of your choice in a jar at your desk and you’re good to go.

Disposable Razors

Discarding disposable razor heads creates enough waste. Throwing away the entire plastic handled razor goes well beyond that. If you’re not into using an electric, you have a couple of options that could be explored. And here’s a fun fact: you can actually sharpen common disposable razor heads such as the Mach3/5 and extend its life for 3, 6, or even 12 months, just by running it along a piece of those busted jeans you were going to chuck! See how here.

Replace with:

I’m not going to suggest everyone go out and get a straight razor, but that is one option. If you feel better with a modern style razor, the Gilette Mach3 Turbo has a mostly metal body and you can make the cartridges last a long time with the denim tip from above. Otherwise, somewhere between the two, a classic safety razor and a pack of blades will take you pretty far. Just like with anything else, the better you take care of your razor the longer it will last.

Clothing and Textiles

Another fairly easy one. Another one where you probably need far less than you think. Curb the impulse buys. Consider buying used and vintage or swapping with friends. Have a couple of simple and well-made items for all your special occasions and change up your look with accessories. Invest in fewer items of higher quality that can be properly cared for, repaired if needed, and used for a long time. And then, when the neck rips off your favorite sweatshirt 15 years later and you feel you just can’t rock the Flashdance look, cut it up into rags and use them in place of paper towels (see above).

Replace with:

By no means should you compromise on your personal style. I can only offer some advice on how to shop smarter. Some eco-conscious clothing companies that are on my radar are:

PACT – ethically produced cotton basics. Soft and comfy. Free of toxic dyes / pesticides / sweatshop labor / child labor.

Patagonia – outdoor and athletic clothing and gear. Ethically responsible. Constant innovations in recycled materials for their products.

Raven & Lily – socially conscious fair-wage clothing made by and benefitting at-risk artisan women. Many styles are natural fabrics and natural dyes.

Even Urban Outfitters (search for Urban Renewal and Urban Vintage) and ASOS (search for Green Room and Eco Edit) sometimes get in on the ethical clothing game. Though they are purveyors of a good deal of fast fashion which is a huge problem, so there is that to consider and some people would avoid shopping there on principle.

Here’s an article listing more companies I’m not familiar with but which look like they are worth checking out. They also have some shoe suggestions.

 

 

One Man’s Trash

Today as I was eating my lunch in the park I saw a man digging in the trash. This is not uncommon – you’ll often see people fishing out cans and plastics that can be redeemed for money at a recycling center. He pulled a couple of things out of the bin and threw them back in. Eventually he came up with a discarded plastic iced tea bottle, complete with cap. This was a keeper. He brought it over to the water fountain, rinsed it out, filled it up with water, capped it, and placed it in his backpack. And off he went.

Makes you think.

Why are the small steps difficult?

This morning the stylish guy next to me on the train pulled a giant mason jar of iced coffee from his satchel. Next came a home made peanut butter and jelly sandwich… on two paper plates, wrapped with lots of tin foil, under a fistful of paper napkins, all taken out of a plastic bag. Folks like this give the versatile glass vessel a bad reputation. “Mason jars are for hipsters!” people proclaim, rolling their eyes and ignoring the many reasons why they are really very handy to own. I think people have such a negative reaction to the idea of the mason jar (or just about anything) as a hipster trend that they have no idea why anyone would actually want one.

Yesterday in the office cafeteria the woman in front of me in line asked for a plastic bag for her bagel, which was already wrapped in tin foil and could have been easily transported just like that to the elevator and up to her office. She made her way towards the exit and paused en route to scoop plastic forks, spoons, and knives, about a dozen of each utensil, into the bag before she left. “Might as well, right?” she turned to me and smiled. I just shook my head. I couldn’t help it.

Last week I went grocery shopping and saw an old man yell at the kid bagging his groceries for him. Apparently he was doing it all wrong. The man demanded the kid put no more than three items in each plastic bag and each bag should be doubled. He wheeled his (prepackaged) food out in no less than 15 bags. 30 if we’re counting doubled bags. And you know those are going straight to the landfill, and he does this every week at least. And then there’s me right behind him with my motley assortment of reusable bags, shocking the cashier who had no idea they sold loose mushrooms in the produce section.

Every day at work I see people walk maybe ten yards from their desk to the kitchen to grab some water or coffee with a disposable cup, or doubled cups, only to discard it immediately after finishing their drink. And then they go back for more soon after, grabbing a new cup. Meanwhile there is a sink with soap right there in the kitchen where one could very easily take care of a proper glass or mug after use. And we all know everything tastes better out of a real cup.

What is the easy way?

What is the easy way? (click to enlarge)

I am honestly confused by all this and more, so I really need to ask –

  • For those who carry a purse, satchel, or tote to work but can’t be bothered to keep one small reusable bag in there for shopping – why?
  • For those who can’t be bothered to keep reusable bags in your car for grocery shopping – why?
  • For those who can’t be bothered to keep a real cup or water bottle at their work desk – why?
  • For those who buy cases of plastic water bottles and take one to work or school every day instead of a reusable bottle – why?
  • For those who go to Starbucks every day, where they actually sell and encourage you to use reusable coffee thermoses, but you get a disposable cup, heat ring, and stirrer every time instead – why?
  • For those who can’t be bothered to keep reusable cutlery at their work desk and then go around begging for a knife but won’t use mine, even if I offer to wash it for you after you’re done, because it’s not disposable – why?
  • Do you have any interest in changing any of these wasteful habits – why or why not?

Please feel free to answer in the comments, even if you’d like to answer anonymously. I just really need to know.

***Like I have said many times before, I myself am in the process of learning how to be less wasteful and I’m no saint, nor am I trying to talk down to anyone. I am simply curious about what’s stopping others from doing the same.

Where can I find Fair Trade Clothing?

This is a question I am asked all the time. Aside from a handful of tiny operations who pop up at, well, local pop-up shops and on the internet, most people seem to want to know if there are any bigger guys who sell fair trade and eco clothing. The first name people usually think of is Patagonia, and now the guys at PACT are making a pretty big name for themselves as well. The Good Trade have just published a pretty good list of 25 (yup! 25!) brands that offer fair trade clothing and most are eco as well. Read carefully – some offer only partial lines with your particular standards in mind.

Happy shopping!

Earth Day

Bet you though I’d have a whopper of a post for Earth Day, huh? So did I! But it turns out I don’t.

I just got back from my company’s Earth Day expo.

Adorable “farmer’s market” setup, where nobody seemed to know which farm(s) actually provided the produce. But the prices were great!

There was a little farmer’s market with veggies, breads, jams, and cookies for sale. There were people selling recycled jewelry, organic cotton bags, ethically sourced shea butter creams, and essential oils. They also invite some of their vendors such as the natural foods companies who provide the mayonnaise or cookies for the cafeteria, the company that cleans the building (they’ve made great strides in pairing down the packaging that the cleaning supplies are shipped in, though they are not natural), the company that provides our lightbulbs (complete with spent CFL recycling box… and nobody ever mentioned they would be there, so why would anyone know to bring CFLs in to recycle??) and the company that provides waste management services. Once again nobody could answer my question about why there was no compost bin provided to us in the cafeteria. However, the management company did confirm that there is no composting done by the building, not even the single bin that I was told was in the back kitchen last year. Did that change or was I lied to? I will be writing to several teams today to try and get some answers, but I am doubtful I will get any.

People largely ignored the building services tables and went straight for the food, kombucha, and essential oils tables with free samples. The services people seemed excited to talk to someone who was actually interested in their green innovations. I bought some jam and was the only person I noticed who brought my own bag. The whole thing was mostly a dog-and-pony show in the building’s really fancy new event space. Fun, but a little frustrating to those who actually care at least a little about this sort of stuff. Free samples are great and cutesy “farmer’s markets” are adorable, but there is more to it than that.

So here’s my super cliche Earth Day post:

Make Earth Day every day.

Every day do a little to waste less and know more about where your food, clothing, and other everyday items come from.

A Week After Zero Waste

So here I am, a full week after my Week of Zero Waste experiment is over.

Did I keep up my momentum? Did I drop it entirely and freely create all the trash I wanted?

Actually, I seem to stand somewhere directly between where I was and where I aimed to be during the trial. I did order Chinese takeout once during the week, but I also went to a friend’s party and brought my own cup and packed the food I brought in a reusable jar. I did buy a package of frozen edamame, but the rest of my groceries came from the bulk section and the loose produce section (Different store! No stickers this time, hooray!)

Much like my trial week I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m doing better than I was. And it’s better than baby steps, I feel like I’ve maybe made a little leap. So that good, right? Perfectionist Me might say no, but Rational Me says I deserve a little pat on the back.

Keep going, kid. You’ll do fine.

Has anyone else added any Zero Waste practices to their daily life recently? What are they?

My Wasteful Week

This post is a couple of days late in coming. I’ve been trying to decide what to say. I’ve learned so much and I had hoped to come out of this completely successful and encouraged to continue. In truth, I’m a little miffed at myself.

In the end, i generated about a quart of trash

Here you can see a visual of my waste tally.

This trendy 32 oz mason jar contains:

  • 1 Islanders hockey ticket
  • 1 LIRR monthly train ticket (last month’s)
  • 3 twist ties w tags from the greens I bought
  • 3 Paper napkins – 2 large, 1 cocktail
  • Plastic straw
  • 5 Receipts
  • 10 Potato stickers for my 6 potatoes
  • 1 Cork & foil from a wine bottle I opened
  • 1 plastic tofu wrapper (not shown)
  • 1 paper diner placemat (not shown)
  • 1 plastic mixed drink cup (not shown)

That’s not exactly zero waste, is it? Despite trying to generate as little garbage as I could when I went grocery shopping, I didn’t quite go out of my way to completely avoid establishments which set the table with paper napkins and the like, as evidenced by my trip to the diner and the Thai restaurant. Not only that, but when we were suddenly given free tickets, and really good seats to boot, to the hockey game, did I really have to have that drink?

plastic hurts less when you throw it at someone

I mean we did go to a pub in the lower concourse and I did assume that since it was a legit sit-down place I’d be getting an actual glass for my whiskey. No such luck. And we all know what assuming makes us. I should have checked on the cup situation before even ordering. I should have said no to the diner. I should have walked out of the Thai restaurant when I saw the napkin on the table. But I didn’t.

…and two sugars

I kind of lived life in a pretty normal way last week. I just avoided more trash than usual. Is that a win or a loss? Let’s examine.

I did produce waste. That’s a loss. I also didn’t try as hard as I could have. Boo.

But! I produced less waste than usual. That’s a win. However the amount that I did rack up, which seems like a heck of a lot when my objective was literally zero, makes me realize how much I do waste during a normal week. I previously thought of myself as very conscious of all of this and very good at not being wasteful. I now see I have been no saint and I definitely have plenty of room for improvement.

In some ways I saved some money, like my trip to the grocery store and avoiding random spending in general. In others I spent more than I normally would have, such as at lunch when I’d normally dash out of the office and grab an $8 pre-made (pre-packaged) something-or-other to cram in my face while working. Instead I found restaurants where I had to sit and enjoy a civilized and relaxing meal with a real cloth napkin, cutlery, and glassware. This averaged $15-$20 including tip. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice to take some time for myself in a pleasant environment away from my desk. I’d have to do some calculations to be sure but I still feel like I ended up saving a little or at least breaking even, anyway. There was also no food waste. Sometimes when I go grocery shopping I buy all these things and may not get to them, so my extra vegetables end up becoming veggie stock or frozen for later use or composted if they’re too far gone. Not this week. Note to self: you probably usually need less than you think you need.

In the end I could have done better. Much better. It’s not going to completely kill the flow of your life to make the changes needed to live this way, but you do need to make some pretty big changes. It’s also a little easier to do when you work from home. But then again, isn’t everything? It’s humbling to know you’re not doing as great of a job as you think you are. I’ve definitely become more aware of the ways in which I am wasteful, the ways in which waste is sneakily given to me and made my problem, and the ways in which I can improve. Perhaps I’ve made some readers think as well as you followed me on this journey.

Anyone else up for a week of Zero Waste? I bet you can do better than I did!

A Greener Clean – Homemade Cleaners

Most green blogs will tell you you can clean just about anything in your home with just baking soda and vinegar. So simple! So easy! Just two ingredients! Watch them fizz! Weeeee! However, that may not necessarily be true. Baking soda is a natural abrasive, so it’s not great for every surface and might cause scratches. But it can work well when your surface could use a good scrub, and I like to also sprinkle it on carpets before vacuuming as a natural deodorizer. Vinegar is pretty acidic and even though you would dilute it to use it as a cleaner, it can slowly but surely destroy natural stone like granite countertops, marble countertops, or stone floors. Hardwood floors, too. It is, however, a great disinfectant, and there have been studies that prove it is the most effective green cleaner in removing microbial contamination.

So where should vinegar factor into your cleaning routine? Mostly diluted as a rinse. Not only to disinfect surfaces, but also to rinse away any soap film that might be left behind. It’s also great for cleaning glass surfaces, windows and mirrors.

This is the part where you assume I will be telling you to mix up some Dr Bronner’s castile soap and vinegar and tea tree oil in a spray bottle and tell you that is the answer to everything. But that’s another myth. Don’t do it! Never mix them directly together. As Lisa Bronner herself says in her blog “The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess.” Eww. Who wants that? I’m certainly not about to clean my bathtub with oil. But just like with your hands, good ol’ soap and water can clean a lot around the house if you use it right. Rinse first, then use vinegar to finish the job. Here is what I use to clean many things around the house:

Multi-Surface Cleaner

  • 1/2-1 TBSP castile soap
  • 10 drops essential oil
  • Warm water (fill the rest of the spray bottle with the water)

My spray bottle is 16oz. If yours is smaller or larger, you may need to adjust this recipe. I tend to use Dr Bronner’s Baby Mild unscented castile soap, but sometimes I’ll use Peppermint. Most times I’ll use a mix of Tea Tree and Lavender oils, but I’ve also used Rosemary and Eucalyptus. I have a very similar mix in another spray bottle which I use as a floor cleaner both on my hardwood floors and on my bathroom tile. For that one I use less castle soap so there is less of a chance of film being left behind and the oil for that one is Lemongrass. You probably don’t need to use less soap for floors, but it makes me feel better so I do it. Once a month or so I clean up any possible filmy soap buildup with a very diluted vinegar/water mix in a spray bottle. I know I just said vinegar on hardwood floors is a no-no, but a tiny bit a few times a year has been OK so far. I barely spray the surface. Definitely never let vinegar, or even just water, puddle on your wood floors.

Granite Countertop Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol (or cheap vodka, but why waste vodka?)
  • 3 drops castile soap (the original recipe I found called for Dawn dish detergent)
  • 5-10 drops essential oil
  • Warm water (fill the rest of the spray bottle with the water)

Put the rubbing alcohol or vodka into a 16 oz spray bottle. Add the dish soap, essential oil and fill up the rest of the bottle with water. Give it a few shakes and go to town. This is also good for cleaning appliances.

Homemade Soft Scrub

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 2 TBSP castile soap
  • 1 TBSP water (or more, till you reach desired consistency)
  • 5-10 drops essential oil

Mix until it forms a paste. Great for cleaning the bathtub, bathroom sink, and toilet. Some people add a little salt for more abrasiveness. I skip that. This is also a great time to use diluted vinegar spray as a disinfectant after you have scrubbed and then rinsed the scrub away with plain water.

And where do I use our old friends vinegar and baking soda together? To clean my glass cooktop stove, but that might be another place where I can use the Soft Scrub. I’ve also heard good things about vinegar and corn starch there. I should give it a try and report back!

I hope this helps as a starter. Let me know if you have any tips and tricks to add.

ETA:
Homemade Febreze

  • 1/2 cup cheap vodka (finally, a reason for Smirnoff to exist!)
  • 1-1 1/2 cup(s) water
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (optional)

I don’t know about you, but I think Febreze smells disgusting. Here’s a way to deodorize clothing and other textiles in an unscented (or natural scent of your choice) and chemical-free way. Hang up you garment, spray offending areas, and let dry. Repeat if needed, but that probably won’t be necessary. Costume shops and grandmas have been using this for decades. Always test on an inconspicuous corner first to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric.