Archive | laundry

Bog Berry Dryer Balls {Review & Giveaway}

 

Bog Berry Dryer Balls review {The Greening Of Westford}

 

Have you heard of wool dryer balls?  They are the eco-friendly replacement for dryer sheets that reduce drying time, soften clothes and eliminate static cling.  I tried making my own a couple of years ago and was not overly impressed.  I did see a decrease in static but didn’t see a decrease in drying time. 
 
I was fortunate to connect with Brooke of Bog Berry’s Wool Dryer balls to have a chance to test them out.  Let me tell you….   You know I am a DIY girl at heart, but in this case, BUY BOG BERRY DRYER BALLS!
 
These things work!  The softening capability was way better than my attempt!   Because you know the engineer in me needs hard data to really believe something, I started designing tests the second I knew these babies were coming.  Let me tell you how I tested the claims.  
 
 
Static And Softening Test
 
Purpose  To test the static busting and softening capabilities of Bog Berry Wool Dryer Balls.   
 
Materials  
 
 
  • Two identical loads of laundry each consisting  of – 

                 3 towels
                 3 pairs of jeans

                 3 items of fleece
                 2 microfiber cloths
                 2 napkins
 
 
  • 1996 Kenmore Electric Dryer
  • 6 Bog Berry Dryer Balls
 
Procedures
 
  1. Wash one load of laundry and dry WITHOUT dryer balls
  2. Observe static and softness
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 WITH Dryer balls
 
Results
 
No Dryer balls –  The microfiber cloth was completely stuck to the napkin.  I had to pull them apart and shake them to release the static.  Loads of static from the fleece too.   Clothes were the same in terms of softness as when they went into the wash.
 
With Dryer Balls – The microfiber cloth and napkin barely stuck to each other.  Our clothes were noticeably softer.
 
 
Drying Time Test
 
I wasn’t seeing a difference in dryer time in the first test, so I asked Brooke.  She told me that 6 is the minimum.  For a heavy load like I was doing I would need more (as many as 12) to see a noticeable difference.  I didn’t have 12, so I tried another test with a smaller, lighter load.
 
Purpose  To test the drying time reduction capability of Bog Berry Wool Dryer Balls.   
 
Materials  
 
  • Two identical loads of laundry each consisting  of – 

            1 pair of nylon running pants

            2 cotton shirts
            2 pairs of nylon shorts
            1 pair of cotton pants
 
  • 1996 Kenmore Electric Dryer
  • 6 Bog Berry Dryer Balls
 
Procedures
 
  1. Wash one load of laundry and dry WITHOUT dryer balls
  2. Measure dry time
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 WITH Dryer balls
 
Results
 
Without Dryer balls – drying time = 21 mins
With Dryer balls – drying time = 16 mins
 
That’s a 23% decrease in drying time!
 
 
Based on my 2 tests and having been using them for a couple of months, I have to say I like them and they work for us.    I calculated some savings.
 
Savings
 
No more dryer sheet cost  – $15 per year
Based on 10 loads per week, cost of $0.04 per sheet 
   savings = $15 per year
 
 
Electricity savings  – $57 per year
I used this handy calculator to figure out my savings using these parameters – 10 loads per week, cost of $0.15 KWh (specific to your area), and a savings of 23% which for me is about 10 minutes per load.
 

To gain these savings, I would need a set of 12 dryer balls.  This would cost $59 plus shipping. In less than a year, I can recoup this savings.  And you can’t even put a price on the reduction of chemicals.

 

As an added bonus, Brooke is originally a local girl from MA!
 
 
Giveaway
 
 
Bog Berry Handicraft is giving one Greening Of Westford reader a set of 6 wool dryer balls in the color palate of your choice. For the main entry, visit Bog Berry and let me know which is your favorite color combo.   This one doesn’t have to be done first but it does have to be done for all other entries to count.

This contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada, 18 years old or older. The contest will run from Friday March 29, 2013 thru Tuesday April 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced Wednesday April 10. The winner must reply within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

There are additional ways you can enter:

 

Separate comments must be left here for each additional entry!

Also, please include your email with comments or if you’d rather, after you leave your main entry comment, email me at thegreeningofwestford(at)gmail(dot)com so I will have a way of contacting you if you win. You will have 48 hours after I contact you to send me your info or else I will choose another winner.

 
 
Coupon Savings
 
If you just can’t wait or would like to order more, Brooke is offering The Greening of Westford readers a 10% discount oany purchase 29.50 or higher  from her Etsy shop.
 
Use the code:  GreeningOfWestford  at her Etsy shop.  This code will only work at her Etsy shop not on the website.



UPDATE:  The winner is Katie of Littleton! Congratulations.
 
 
Have you ever tried dryer balls?
 
Disclosure: Bog Berry Handicraft provided me with a complementary set of 6 wool dryer balls for this product review.  The opinions expressed are mine.

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Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts {Review and Giveaway}

Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts Review

The search for eco-friendly laundry detergent has been a long one!   I have tried making my own with baking soda, grated soap and the like.  They just didn’t seem to work.  I think maybe it’s our hard water.  I have also bought detergents.  I was never convinced of the claims, they were expensive and didn’t work as well as others.

I was so excited when Cleaner Planet gave me the chance to try out their soap nuts!  I have heard of soap nuts but hadn’t had the chance to try them yet.  Do you know about soap nuts? They are actually a berry that grows on the Sapindus Mukorossi tree in parts of  Asia.    The berries have Saponin which is a natural sufactant (like soap).  They leave little trace as well since soap nuts can be composted once used completely.

I have been using the soap nuts for about a month and couldn’t be happier!  Here are my top reasons.

  1. Our clothes are clean and smell fresh – not perfumy. 
  2. I really like that I don’t have to pour or measure out detergent!  Such a silly little step, but it makes things easier.
  3. They work great in cold. 
  4. I definitely was able to use the bag for 8 – 10 washes.  I added the spent soap nuts to a cup and filed with boiling water.  I then used the liquid for an additional few washes!
  5. They are cost effective.  Assuming each 250 gram bag washes 100 loads, soap nuts will end up costing about 0.14 per load.  If you order two 250 gram bags at once, this includes shipping costs!  A quick search online for some of the popular traditional detergents yielded prices well over $0.20 per load.


I was afraid I would forget about the bag and it would end up in the dryer.  For the first few weeks it always seemed to land at the bottom of the washing machine.  But, one time it did make it into the dryer.  FYI – they were fine.  Whew!

If you would like to try soap nuts without committing too much, Cleaner Planet has a sample bag you can purchase for $1.99.  It is good for 4 – 8 washes and comes with a $2 coupon towards your next purchase.

The Cleaner Planet is giving one Greening Of Westford reader a 250 gram bag of soap nuts (value $10). For the main entry, tell me one natural cleaner you already use.  If you don’t use any, tell me which one you would like to switch first.   This one doesn’t have to be done first but it does have to be done for all other entries to count.

This contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada, 18 years old or older. The contest will run from Thursday January 3, 2013 thru Thursday January 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced Friday January 14. The winner must reply within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

There are additional ways you can enter:


Separate comments must be left here for each additional entry!

Also, please include your email with comments or if you’d rather, after you leave your main entry comment, email me at thegreeningofwestford(at)gmail(dot)com so I will have a way of contacting you if you win. You will have 48 hours after I contact you to send me your info or else I will choose another winner.

UPDATE:  The winner has been picked and notified.  Congratulations Susan!


Disclosure: Cleaner Planet provided me with a complementary 250 gram of soap nuts for this product review.  The opinions expressed are mine.

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Eco-Friendly Laundry Series Coming

Crunchy Farm Baby Laundry Series

I am happy to be participating in an Eco-Friendly Laundry Series hosted by Crunchy Farm Baby.  Lots of product info, giveaways, and laundry tips and tricks!  

I’ll remind you August 5th and throughout the series.  Here are some of the topics:

  • Natural stain removal
  • Cloth diaper care
  • Energy saving tips
  • Homemade laundry deteregent
  • Organization tips

See you there!

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15 Ways to Green Your Laundry

 

 

As part of Going Green With the Grizls Summer Blog Challenge, today’s topic is “How do you do your laundry?? Give your laundry tricks“.


Let me start by saying that I never liked doing laundry.  I am on the short side and carrying a large basket of overflowing laundry down and back up the stairs is not fun!  


A few years ago, however, we added on to our second floor and were able to move the laundry room up there!  HEAVEN!  Now I really didn’t have much to complain about before since our laundry was on the main floor of the house, but this is sooo much better.  All the clothes STAY on one floor!  I am not saying this to brag, but as a heads up.  If you are in this position, think about it!  No lugging clothing, no hampers in each person’s room, set up a few baskets in the laundry room for different colors and your sorting is done – well, if your family gets the system.  Still working on mine.


Now for my tips.  Once again looking through my “green” lens.

  1. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water   90% of the energy used to wash clothing goes toward heating the water. Your clothes will be just as clean washed in cold water.  I had a hard time with this one at first. I slowly switched to warm and always used a cold rinse cycle. Eventually I went “cold” turkey and all is fine.  I don’t use a special detergent either.   Take a look at this website to figure out how much you could save.  My Average Annual Savings: $70
  2. Wash Full Loads Only You use the same amount of electricity to wash a small load as a large one. You will also save water. The larger load will use more water, but it most likely won’t be as much as two smaller loads.
  3. Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Conventional detergents are derived from petroleum.  They wreak havoc on the eco-system, unlike those derived from vegetable oils.  Look for plant-based detergents, free of bleach and artificial scents.  For ratings on detergents, try GoodGuide.com or try making your own.
  4. Use Less Detergent Read the directions and make sure you are only using enough.  More doesn’t get your clothes cleaner, but it will leave a residue.
  5. Skip the Dryer Sheets Dryer sheets contain synthetic fragrances which can cause harm.  Sometimes the residue from your detergent makes your clothes rough.  Try putting vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove the residue.  You can also try mixing liquid fabric softener with water in a spray bottle and using that in your dryer.  Again, choose a safe one.
  6. Use Dryer Balls If you have a problem with static, dryer balls might be the answer.  I made some out of wool yarn.  Before I started to use them, I had such a problem with static.  Not so much now.
  7. Use Eco-Friendly Stain Removers There are loads of DIY stain removers out there.  The best tip though is to get to the stain BEFORE it goes through the wash and as quickly as possible.  Of course, that is easier said than done.  If you have a really tough stain that you don’t think will ever come out, try this!  Vinegar and water (50/50 mix) works great for BBQ sauce, pet stains, grass, ketchup, orange juice, jelly and wine.
  8. Use a Second Spin Cycle  
    If you are doing a large load of towels, you might be better off using a second spin cycle in your washer before drying. The spin cycle can remove more of the water in a shorter time than it takes for your dryer to do the work.
  9. Make the Switch to a Newer Front-Loading Washer  
    If you are in the market for a new washer, consider a front loading model. They use less water and energy. Look for an Energy Star rated washer, but still compare the usages. All energy star rated appliances need to meet certain energy efficient standards. However, some far exceed those standards while other squeak by. Do your research.
  10. Clean the Dryer Lint Filter  
    Cleaning the lint filter after each use will make sure air is flowing efficiently.  If you use dryer sheets, occasionally scrub your lint filter with a toothbrush and soap.  Chemicals can build up on the screen clogging it.
  11. Line Dry  
    It’s free! Use the power of the sun, especially during these hot summer days. The dryer is one of the biggest energy using appliances in your home – second to the refrigerator. Check out the cost of drying a load of laundry at this site.  Using my latest bills, electricity costs $0.134 per KWh and gas is $1.42 per Therms, including all account charges.
  12. Clean the Dryer Exhaust Vent  
    Make sure the dryer exhaust vent is clear of lint as well.
  13. Use the Moisture Sensor on Your Dryer    
    Using the moisture sensor will ensure that your dryer stops when your clothes are dry. Make sure it works first! I discovered that mine was not working, so I use the timer and only need to run my dryer 30 – 40 mins. depending on what is in there.
  14. Don’t Iron   
    Irons use a lot of energy. I jumped for joy when I heard this one.  I do not like to iron! Hang up shirts when they are still damp to avoid wrinkles. Folding clothes while they are still warm from the dryer is another way to avoid wrinkles.
  15. Wash Some Items Less Often Not everything needs to be washed after one use.  You make that call, but towels certainly fall into this category.

What are your laundry tips?


[Top picture used under Creative Commons license by Ed Yourdon/Flickr]


This post is shared at Your Green Resource Frugally SustainableTeach Me Tuesday and Frugal Fridays.

 

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Pit Stain Remover That Actually Works!

 Pit Stain Remover That Actually Works!  Amazing natural stain remover with only 3 common ingredients.  {thegreeningofwestford.com}

If you own any white shirt you know those awful disgusting yellow armpit stains that develop over time.  Especially on T-shirts. 
 
Well, we have some of those shirts in our house.  Eventually, they get too disgusting and must be used for something else.  I had just accepted that this was part of the life cycle of a white T-shirt.  Until now….
 
I saw a post in Glamour magazine for “The Only Spot Remover You’ll Ever Need” so I decided give it a go.  The original post calls for 1 part Dawn dish washing liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.  I altered it slightly as this original recipe didn’t seem to work as well as claimed.  Based on another bloggers experience, I added baking soda to the mix.
 
1 part Dawn Dishwashing liquid
2 parts hydrogen peroxide
½ part baking soda
 
  1.  Mix everything together.  I wasn’t too scientific on the quantities, I eyeballed it. 
  2.  Using a brush (an old toothbrush works great) brush the mixture on the stains.
  3. Then let it sit.  I had intended on checking every half hour or so to figure out how long it took, but I got busy and forgot!  Somewhere between 1 and 3 hours does the trick. Probably depends on the stain.

Note:  You should mix this recipe fresh each time you use it.  Hydrogen Peroxide looses some of it’s power when exposed to light.  Guess you could trying storing it in an opaque container…

 
OMG!  It works.  Why am I not surprised that baking soda boosted the cleaning power!  This stuff is awesome.
 
 
 
 
before and after eco-friendly stain remover
 
These pictures do NOT do it justice.  Please take my word for it!
 
I also tried some other random stains.  It worked!  Ring around the collar – gone!  I have only tried white shirts so far, but based on both sources above it should work on colored fabrics as well.
 
For the first test, I specifically bought Dawn.  I couldn’t find just plain old Dawn rated in Good Guide so I don’t know what the health score is.  But I was happy to see that some of the other Dawn products had a score of 8 out of a possible 10.
 
Still I would rather use something a little more natural.  I had some Kirkland Environmentally Friendly Dish Soap that I am trying out.  Honestly, I have no real clue as to how environmentally friendly this really is.  The claims on the bottle seem nice, but may not mean anything.  I’m still researching how “green” it is.  But for now, I just wanted to see if you REALLY needed Dawn.  The results:  I don’t think so.  It seemed to work just as well with my Kirkland dish soap.
 
So, armed with dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a toothbrush you can rid some of those stubborn stains.  I’d be really interested to see how this works on baby spit up!
 
You can do so much with simple household ingredients.  You really don’t need all those fancy cleaners.  TO find out how to use my old friend’s baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a few others to clean the rest of your house, take a look here.

Update 4/23/12:  Many people have tried this and commented on how well it has worked.  Here are a few examples:
  • cooking oil from a cotton, lavender sweatshirt
  • chocolate milk from a cream colored, cotton, blouse
  • some pretty nasty ring around the collar from a yellow, cotton t-shirt.
  • white carpet freshly stained with V8 strawberry/banana juice
 

What are your favorite stain removers?



This post is part of Frugal Ways Sustainable DaysYour Green Resource, Healthy 2Day Wednesday.

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