Why your energy efficient washing machine needs soapnuts

EU Energy Label

EU Energy Label

If you are using an energy efficient A/B rated washing machine, you should be using an energy efficient washing detergent like soapnuts too!

Most washing machine manufacturers have come inline with this EU directive and are maufacturing more eco-friendly models. An A rated machine currently indicates that the model offers 0.17 kWh per kilo energy performance on a 60ºC cotton cycle. But the type of laundry detergent used in these machines make a big difference to the overall wash and the energy efficiency of the machine.

In the US, energy efficient (EE) models are labelled HE or High Efficiency and detergent manufacturers have created special HE laundry detergents for these machines. In the UK, with the increase of energy efficient machines that can wash at 30 degrees, detergent manufacturers have created products to suit.

All good you say? But what are the ingredients of these specialist products? They still contain ingredients like phenols, phosphates, optical brighteners, bleach, and lots of other harmful synthetic chemicals that have been linked to allergic reactions and destruction of water/eco systems. Using a normal washing detergents in an EE model, you will find that the rinse cycle does not rinse out all the powder/liquid residue. This can cause problems if you have sensitive skin, ezcema, psoriasis or other allergies, or if you are trying to wash real cloth nappies (absorbency is greatly reduced).

Also, a typical feature of these newer machines is that they use much less water through the entire wash cycle. Using standard chemical detergents will affect the energy efficiency of the machine because they are not low-sudsing. In fact the washing machine manuals will all say something like…’Using regular detergent will likely result in washer errors, longer cycle times, reduced rinsing performance, and may result in component failures and noticeable mold or mildew’.

Energy efficient soapnuts!

Energy efficient soapnuts!

Using a low-sudsing alternative like soapnut shells or soapnut powder will not only keep your EE machine running more efficently, but because they are also free of Sulphates, Phosphates, Phenols, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Petro-chemicals, Perfume and Bleach they are great for anyone with sensitivites as they are hypoallergenic. You can use soapnuts at any temperature from 30 – 90 degrees and they are 100% biodegradable!

If you are using an EE washing machine that uses between 30 – 40 litres of water, and you prefer to use the lower temperature settings then we would suggest using soapnut powder. The powder form releases the natural surfactants quicker at lower temperatures ensuring you get a clean green wash!


Are you using real nappies?

8 million nappies thrown away

8 million nappies thrown away

When my first son was born, after 32 hours of labour, whilst in the labour ward making choices about all the things I needed for my brand new little boy, a package arrived on my lap. I thought great! Along with the freebies, tasters, vouchers and other bumpf was information about ‘Real Nappies’. Now to be truthful, I had never given these a real thought until then. But there are loads of reasons why you should…the first being IT COSTS LESS! Both to the world and our bank balance.

Benefits of Using Real Nappies!

Here’s some facts I bet you didnt know about disposable nappies…

  • The Uk gets through about 500,000 tonnes of disposable nappies every year!
  • On the disposable nappy packet it actually says that you should dispose of any fecal matter in the toilet before binning your nappy.  But less that half a percent of waste from disposable nappies enters the sewage system.
  • The waste that is left in the disposable nappies, can carry up to 100 intestinal diseases, and is dumped in the landfil. This waste attracts pests which may carry and transmit diseases but also it is likely to contribute to groundwater contamination.
  • A study done at Kiel University in Germany in 2000, indicated that the use of disposable nappied which heat testes above body temperature, is a significant factor in the declining fertility rates of Western European men.
  • Proctor & Gamble’s own study found that the incidence of nappyrash increased from 7.1% to 61% with the use of disposable nappies! Convenient for nappy rash cream manufacturers.
  • A chemical called sodium polyacrylate which absorbs and holds the liquid in the disposbale nappies has been linked to toxic shock syndrome. This chemical was banned from use in tampons in 1985! It has been linked to allergic reactions and is lethal to cats if they inhale it. Because of its super absrobency powers it can also take moisture from the baby’s skin leading to…you guessed it nappy rash amongst other things. If you think that is bad read about what other chemicals are in disposables.

Real Nappy Complete Starter Kits

Real Nappy Complete Starter Kits

What do I need to start using real nappies for my babies?

To start using real nappies you may want to invest in:

  • 12-15 real nappies (different styles – All in one with inserts / flat or folded nappy with nappy wrap)
  • 2 stretchies fitted nappies for night time and two nappy wraps
  • Nappy bucket with laundry mesh bag
  • Wet nappy bag for when you are out
  • Flushable paper liners

Also the council has gift schemes to help you start using real nappies as they too understand the benefit! More info can be found here

How Do I Wash Them?

Before using the real nappies if they are cotton, hemp or bamboo wash them 3 – 4 times to improve absorbency (no need to dry them in between washes). You may also want to wash the covers.

When baby soils his nappy, change as usual with real nappies and then place soiled nappies into mesh bag in bucket (so you don’t need to touch it) and when the bag is full simply pick up bag and deposit in machine…easy!

For poopy nappies, dispose of poop/disposable liner in toilet, place soiled nappy in mesh bag in nappy bucket, chnage as usual.

Seriously it’s never been easier!

Washing real nappies is also a breeze! Simply run them trhough a cold cycle first (recommended so urine and the bits get washed away), then wash using manufacturer instructions. Some nappies can be washed at 40 degrees, some at 60 degrees, so just check the wash instructions before washing.

Also using conventional detergents and fresheners will decrease absorbency on your real nappies so use an alternative like soapnut shells. If you have an HE (high efficiency) / A rated machine we recommend using soapnut powder instead of soapnut shells (simply put two tablespoons of soapnut powder in a sock and tie a knot in it, put in drum of machine with clothes). 2 tablespoons of soapnut powder will last for 3 washes. For softness add white vinegar. You can also add essential oils like tea tree oil in the freshener dispensing drawer for fragrance and added cleaning power.

For more details on using real nappies and loads of  great info including a nappy guru in your area visit: http://www.fill-your-pants.com/

TGIF! Pamper away the winter blues!

Homemade spa treatments to indulge yourself!

Homemade spa treatments to indulge yourself!

The winter weather is abyssmal, so I thought I would dedicate some time to pampering myself today. And as I am always in a giving mood, I wanted to share the love!

Below are some seriously yummy face and body scrubs to try at home. You don’t need to spend huge amounts at the salon to feel beautiful…try some of these instead:

Honey & Lemon face scrub:

1 teaspoon of honey
2 teaspoons of soapnut powder
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

Combine all ingredients, apply to skin and rub gently with a circular motion. Rinse and pat dry! Ta da! Lemon is an astingent so don’t use this if you have sensitive skin.

The wonderful benefits of honey

The wonderful benefits of honey

Honey has a hygroscopic nature, which means when exposed to air, it naturally absorbs moisture in from the air. In treating open wounds, honey is useful as it could help prevent scarring by keeping the skin moist, encourage the growth of new tissues. Honey is also a source of antioxidants which helps protect the skin under the sun and help the skin to rejuvenate and stay young-looking. Darker honey is said to have more antioxidants, and manuka honey is said to be the most antibacterial. Manuka honey is also the best one to use if you have scars on your face, because it promotes healing.

Soapnut Powder

Soapnut Powder

Vanilla & Honey Scrub for Sensitive Skin

1 Cup soapnut powder
1/2 cup sweetened almond oil
1 tsp of vitamin E
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 tsp of honey.

Mix ingredients together and apply to the skin. Massage gently for one minute and rinse with warm water.

This is a great gentle scrub which is packed with antioxidants, skin healing vitamin E and honey, and antibacterial properties because of the honey and soapnut powder. See above for more details on honey.

Amazing Olive Oil

Amazing Olive Oil

Olive & Almond Oil Body Scrub:

3 cups of soapnut powder
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sweet almond oil
essential oils as desired

Olive oil is great at replacing lost moisture and elasticity because it is naturally rich in vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants that have tremendous healing and preserving properties. Olive oil can also help restore and retain hair and skin`s health, youthfulness and beauty. Almond oil is also great for your skin, it is a great emollient and can help with conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It is also great for reviving dull complexions.

Now you are all scrubbed up and beautiful, put on your favourite comfortable clothing, get a nice warm drink and cosy up with a good book, film or friend:)


The easy way to get rid of VOCs at home!

VOC crunching Peace Lily

VOC crunching Peace Lily

Worried about the amount of chemical pollutants in your home? Just buy some plants! Peace Lily, Gerbera Daisies and Bamboo Palm to be exact!

Did you know that in the 1980’s when NASA was investigating how to create the best Space Station environment for their astronauts they discovered that various plants would help to create an optimum environment by minimising the off-gassing from newly built structures (like a purpose built Space Station). With the publication of this research it was soon evident that this had implications with other newly built structures like offices and homes, as well as new furniture, fixtures and fittings that went into these buildings.

NASA set up an experiment that tested 19 common household plants and their ability to rid the air of common indoor pollutants like formaldehyde (used as a resin/glue for furniture, many cleaning products and in many building materials including particle board and foam insulations), benzene (used in oils, paints, nail varnishes, inks, spray paints etc) and trichloroethylene (used in products such as dyes, printing inks, paints, adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, as well as spot removers).

NASA Indoor Plant Study

NASA Indoor Plant Study

NASA concluded that even though some of the plants were better than others for absorbing these common indoor pollutants, all of the plants had properties that were useful in improving overall indoor air quality.

For treating air contaminated with Benzene, English ivy, gerbera daisies, pot mums, peace lily, bamboo palm, and Mother-in-law’s Tongue were found to be the best.

For treating Trichloroethylene, the peace lily, gerbera daisy, and bamboo palm were very effective.

And for filtering Formaldehyde, NASA found that the bamboo palm, Mother-in-law’s tongue, dracaena warneckei, peace lily, dracaena marginata, golden pathos, and green spider plant worked well.

For more on this study visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/1837156/NASA-Indoor-Plants