• The pH of distilled white vinegar measures between 2.4-3.5 and has a lower pH than commercial rinse aids containing citric acid.
• Use a small glass filled with white vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher to avoid contact with the rubber seals in the rinse aid dispenser when using vinegar in the machine.
• Purchase an all-natural, biodegradable dishwasher powder detergent with a sample pack option or opt for an all-natural laundry detergent soap free from synthetic ingredients, fragrance and dye.
Written by Tony M.
With sustainability being at the forefront of everyone’s minds in recent years, doing your part to contribute to a healthy environment is more important than ever. Luckily, going green has a wealth of advantages to offer every homeowner who makes the switch. From insulation to flooring (and everything in between), here are a few ways you can upgrade your living spaces to contribute to that bright, green future.
Beautiful Bamboo Flooring
One of the major problems facing our planet is deforestation; with demand so high and growth so slow, bamboo provides an excellent, sustainable alternative to traditional hardwood floors. It can grow at incredible rates without the use of fertilizers or pesticides: a bamboo grove can yield 20 times more timber than trees in the same location, and they release 35% more oxygen into the air than similar-sized trees. If you simply must have that hardwood floor look, consider ecological bamboo in place of expensive mahogany.
A home’s windows are its first line of defense against cold and heat; they can also be its largest energy leech — if you suffer from extreme monthly energy bills, it may be due to your windows’ U-factor. Defined as the measure of how well a window insulates (and therefore how well it prevents heat from escaping), the U-factor rating system uses a scale of 0.20 to 1.20. The lower the number, the better insulated your window. Since energy leeches contribute to the size of your carbon footprint, installing well-insulated windows with low U-factors can help the environment and your wallet.
With technology advancing every day, the emergence of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) has had a huge impact on modern society. And, best of all, they’re remarkably green! Residential LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last an astounding 25 times longer than incandescent lights. Though the initial cost might be higher, they pay themselves off dozens of times over and reduce energy waste.
After your windows, your attic is a home’s largest offender for heat and energy loss: the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 44% of home energy use goes toward heating and cooling. Since an attic with poor insulation could be leaking air — and insulated buildings in the U.S. have been proven to reduce CO2 emissions by 780 million tons — one of the best ways to minimize your carbon footprint and save money on those energy bills is to ensure your attic is well-insulated.
Your toilet is the main source of water use in your home, sometimes using (and wasting) six gallons per flush. Making the switch to efficient, low-flush models can reduce your water usage by 20 to 60%. A toilet that uses less water will still provide equal or superior performance, and it goes a long way towards reducing pollution.
Best of all, you are not alone in these efforts: nearly 84% of respondents in a 2017 survey stated that living in a sustainable, eco-friendly home is important to them. If we are all able to commit to a greener future, both our personal lives and the environment will grow and blossom as a result.
There is nothing quite as exciting (or as exhausting) as the last trimester of pregnancy. The baby is coming soon and there are so many tasks to do in those last few months to be ready for your baby's arrival. Even if you are adopting or making use of a surrogate, preparing your house for the changes a new child will bring seems almost overwhelming!
As you head into the last few months before your baby’s arrival, taking the time to prepare your home will help you better handle all the changes that come. Getting your home cleaned and organized before you are juggling the demands of a newborn and your other responsibilities will give peace of mind and help you be prepared to handle any new mess or clutter that crops up. Consider tackling some of these key areas as you clean to better prepare.
The kitchen is the center of your home, where food and family meet on a daily basis. Take a few hours to inspect and prioritize these areas in your kitchen.
Dedicate time to cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer before your baby arrives. Check expiration dates on items and throw away anything past expiration as well as any food or leftovers that have been lurking in the back of your refrigerator. Wipe down the shelves with warm water and vinegar.
Just like your refrigerator, dedicate a chunk of time to going through your pantry and throwing away food items that are past expiration. Unopened cans or boxes that are not at expiration can be donated to your local food pantry. Stock up on quick, healthy snacks that you can grab on the go when you are home with your new baby. Keep a shelf stocked with bottles or breast pump supplies and be sure to rearrange a little space for kid’s snacks and food as they grow.
Babies produce an incredible amount of laundry, much of it stained. Be ready to tackle stains and higher volumes of laundry.
Stock up on baby-safe cleaners for your newborn's clothing, sheets, and towels. Take it a step further and purchase laundry cleaners that are both good for the environement and safe for your baby.
Make sure you have adequate hampers with distinct compartments to sort your baby's clothes separately from the rest of the family.
You’ve probably been in a nesting stage for a while, but now is the time to double-check, dust and clean your baby’s future room.
No nursery room would be complete without one of these. Stock up your table with extra diapers, wipes, power, creams, as well as extra clothes. Organize the drawers in a way that makes sense for you during changing. Or don't use one at all (I never did!). I kept a basket with changing supplies in the room we were in the most and just changed my babies on the floor.
If you’ve received any baby clothes, sheets, or other future supplies, take time now to organize them in the nursery closet. Clothing that won’t fit right away can be packed away or hung at the back. Extra crib sheets and pillows should be stored on higher shelves.
Tackling cleaning and organizing tasks as you prepare for your new baby is a smart way to spend those last few months before they arrive. Do some organization and be sure you have a plan for future cleaning and organization as well.
This is a blog series highlighting the amazing women who are living examples of the MamaSuds Manifesto.
How did you find MamaSuds in the first place?
I honestly cannot recall exactly how I stumbled upon MamaSuds. One way or another, it was luck! I do know that 2 years ago I began looking into non-toxic products and making my own products at home. I know I acquired a post on Pinterest from the MamaSuds blog, so I may have found MamaSuds through Pinterest, or I really think it was when I was searching for an alternate option to Dr. Bronners Castile Soap that everyone likes to rave about. I was far from impressed with the price to product amount ratio with Dr. Bronner's, and I like to find products that aren't so commercialized. When I found MamaSuds I remember coming back to the site a few times knowing I wanted to place an order but hesitant about splurging on the gallon of Castile soap. I finally "took the plunge" and ordered laundry soap, all purpose spray, and a gallon of Castile Soap! Best purchases ever!
What's your favorite MamaSuds Product?
I love the Castile Soap and Laundry Soap. The Castile soap is so versatile and I am able to make my own all purpose cleaner, face wash, and floor cleaner from one product! The laundry soap is the safest I have found and probably will ever find, and I was excited to find a liquid! The absolute best part of all of this is to know that I am buying from the US and from a mother who started her own business and is so passionate about her products!
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
My favorite thing about myself is my personality. Don't get me wrong -I have my moments- but overall I am an easy going, happy, there to help everyone kind of person. Life is too short to dwell on things or be mad at the people you love!
What is your clean living tip?
My clean living tip is to take it one day or one week at a time! Start with one item in your home and replace it, and then find another item and try replacing that one. It takes time and does not have to happen overnight. In time you will love the changes and keep moving forward towards a more non-toxic living environment, that you can be proud of!
What inspires you to live more sustainably?
My family is what inspires me to live more sustainably. After having my daughter, I began to become even more aware of the toxins that surround us. I began working at changing out everything from personal care products to cleaning products and everything in-between, as well as living a more "greener" lifestyle. I work in a Cancer Center and it truly is scary to see all the different types of cancer and what people and their families go through. I would like to think and hope that small changes made in my home may help my family to avoid unnecessary health issues that are linked to toxins in our daily environments.
We hope you enjoyed Jessica's story! If you have a story to tell, we'd love to hear it.
Big Dreams + A New Look
It's been 8 months of hard work and late nights, but the time is finally here to tell you our big news: MamaSuds is getting a makeover!
We are really excited about our new look and we hope you love it too. Why the new look? Well, a year ago I had a big dream: to bring our products closer to you. I reached out to hundreds of stores, send countless samples all over the country, and heard a common theme when I asked for feedback: "We love your products, but your packaging doesn't match the aesthetic of our customers."
At first I was confused. What? What does that mean? I researched and read and decided I needed help. So I hired Lela Barker from Lucky Break Consulting to guide me through rebranding MamaSuds.
I am not going to lie. It was really hard. But the end result is stunning and beautiful.
In the upcoming days, I will be sharing our rebrand story and the new look with you. If you'd like to get sneak peeks and news then I invite you to join our mailing list HERE.
How Did I Get Here?Have you ever thought, How did I get here? I get asked this question frequently from friends, family, and people who knew me before I arrived at this place in my life. I was visiting with someone I used to work with many moons ago- before we were both married with kids. I just visited her after she had twin girls and I was dropping off her order. She asked, “How did you ever get started in all this?” I told her the quick and dirty version of the story. But later that night, I started thinking about my story. And I wondered:
Where does my story begin?
See Part 1 HERE. So here is Part 2 in my series. So after just one semester of trying my hand at fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a marine biologist, I came home with my tail tucked between my legs to figure out the rest of my life. It took me a year or so to figure out I wanted to teach. In the back of my head it was always the back up plan. After I was done swimming with the dolphins and wanted to settle down to have a family, my plan was to teach. So the long and the short of it- I started into my studies as a teacher. I save money and did my last six weeks of student teaching in New Zealand. It was a life changing experience. I got to do some pretty adventurous things (a helicopter ride, white water rafting, swimming with the dolphins, a cross country train trek, earned my motorbike license in the Cook Islands....) and met the most incredible person and teacher, Lisa. I think of her often and fondly. One day, I will visit her again. (It's in writing so it must be done!)
Soon after graduation I married my high school sweetheart and I found a teaching job not too far from where we lived. I loved the people I worked with. I worked with really great people. The kind of people you make life-long friendships with. A few years later we had our first baby. We did everything by the book. Baby shampoo, lotion, disposable diapers, etc. We did do some unconventional things- we took my daughter (and ourselves) to a chiropractor and we were introduced to essential oils when my daughter contracted hand-foot-mouth disease. My best friend's mom was our daycare provider and she used them in her home and raved about them. I was interested but skeptical. I became a believer when she sent me home with a miserable toddler and some oils. I couldn't believe how quickly she recovered. I was hooked!
While I was pregnant with my second child we bought new nursery furniture. I noticed a small sample bottle of name brand soap lying on its side on a dresser. I wiped up the small drop that leaked from the bottle and the finish came off with it. This sparked a question in my head, "What am I putting on my baby's skin?" Little did I know how much this little question would change my life. (to be continued)