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Cleaning Up Your Spring Cleaning

Jessica Cottrell

Grocery cart in aisle of a grocery store

According to our calendar, March 24-30 is Cleaning Week!  Didn’t know that was a thing?  That’s okay, we didn’t either. But let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a few tips to keep your home green and clean?  I know that I, personally, tend to run out of cleaning supplies and find myself walking the aisles of a local store for a green-ish cleaning option that probably isn’t as “clean” as I want it to be.  I decided that March is the perfect month to make an effort to green my clean and restock my sink with better options than I currently have.  In addition, with all the greenwashing that happens, it’s hard to know if some cleaners live up to their claims.

If you don’t have tons of time to read labels (because life gets busy quickly), one way to do a quick under the sink revamp is to trust the folks at Switch 2 Pure.  This store is dedicated to providing customers with a carefully curated collection of products, and they have a great Nurture Your Nest kit that contains a variety of green products to keep your home happy and your family healthy.

Branch Basics Starter Kit

If a kit isn’t your thing, then let’s get into what Janis keeps at her house!  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that Janis is a bit of a green guru amongst her friends, and it isn’t uncommon for someone to send her a text asking what they should buy when they are looking for a good green swap for a household product.

Home cleaning:  We all know that we don’t actually need a different cleaner for every surface in the house, right?  And that most cleaners are very similar formulas in different concentrations?  Enter Branch Basics, a company with a very cool idea – one universal cleaning product used in different concentrations for different purposes.  So, while you will still have separate bottles for specific needs, they can all be refilled with the same concentrate in varying amounts.  One refill bottle for all my cleaning needs?  SOLD!  Plus you can re-order just one concentrate and keep using the same product bottles, perfect if you want to cut down on your plastic and packaging waste. Branch Basics was awesome and provided a coupon code for all our readers! Use code healthyhome15 for 15% off starter kits here.

If buying cleaners isn’t your thing and you want to DIY, Janis gave me her favorite option, included below.  The bonus here is that you can repurpose any bottle you happen to have. 

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Laundry:  If you don’t have a never ending pile of laundry in your house, please tell me all your secrets to life!  There are 5 people in my house, including a teenager, and the laundry never seems to go away!  With so many products claiming to be free and clear, it can be hard to find a good detergent that is actually environmentally friendly.  Buckaroo Organics makes a powdered detergent that is good for cloth diapering and doesn’t contain ingredients that will pollute water (important if you have a septic system that drains your wastewater back into the ground).  If you prefer more options than classic powder, Molly’s Suds is also environmentally friendly and comes in a variety of formulas, including one that is great for swimsuits!  We reached out to Molly’s Suds and they gave us a coupon code for our readers, use code Kosmatology until 5/1/2019 for 20% off any order on their site. Both companies sell wool dryer balls, and if you haven’t ditched the dryer sheets yet, now is the time!  Apply a drop or two of essential oil to a dryer ball if you love having you laundry scented. Can’t give up the fabric softener?  No worries, just add a cup of baking soda to your wash.  The baking soda will soften your clothes without the nasty chemicals.

If you just spent the time cleaning up UNDER your sink, you may as well take a minute to clean up what you keep next to the faucet. You probably use hand soap more than any of the cleaning products listed above, and this is the one that you purposely apply to your skin. And yes, you do rinse soap off, but you want to be sure you aren’t left with a layer of fragrance or chemicals on your skin. Kosmatology’s Foaming Hand Soap is a great way to keep hands clean, and won’t leave anything behind that shouldn’t be there. In addition, because our hand wash doesn’t contain any chemical anti-bacterials, you aren’t adding those byproducts to wastewater and the surrounding ecosystem.

If you have a DYI cleaner you love, please comment below and let us know, we always love to hear from you and we love to learn new things!  Until next time, happy cleaning from the Kosmatology crew!

 

DIY Vinegar Cleaner (great for multiple surfaces but it’s a no-no for marble)

  •      1/2 cup white vinegar (distilled)

  •     1/2 cup water

  •     12 to 24 drops of essential oil 

  •      Spray bottle

  •      Measuring cup and funnel

Picture of spray bottles and miscellaneous cleaning supplies

1.     Using a measuring cup and funnel, add the vinegar and water in the desired ratio (1:1 mix for everyday cleaning and 2:1 for tougher jobs such as mold or mildew)

2.     Shake to mix them together. 

3.     Add the essential oils directly to your spray bottle and shake to incorporate.

To use, spray any areas that need to be cleaned, rinse well, and wipe dry. For tougher cleaning jobs, such as grout spray and scrub with a brush.

 

Some of our favorite essential oil combinations are:

  •  Lavender with tea tree

  • Orange and lime

  • Grapefruit and cinnamon

  • Lemon and sage

The truth about "Fragrance"

Jessica Cottrell

Small bottle with oil dropping into outstretched palm.

March 21 is Fragrance Day and we wanted to take a minute to talk about fragrances, because they aren’t all created equally. Fragrance is getting a lot of attention recently, and with good reason. You may already know that if you see “fragrance” listed on a label, the specific ingredients in that scent are considered proprietary and do not need to be disclosed. This means that consumers have no idea what is being added to the products they buy.

The problem with fragrance is that it is difficult to limit exposure. We have all been subjected to being in close quarters with someone who liberally applied perfume or cologne or walked into a suburban room that smells like a strawberry field. With candles, cleaning products, personal care items, and even trash bags containing scented versions, exposure is becoming more frequent as Americans feel that the smell of clean and fresh is an actual scent, rather than the absence of one. The problem is becoming so pervasive that some have dubbed fragrance as “the new second hand smoke”. While it may seem like an overboard comparison, there are health risks associated with breathing in synthetic fragrances. One study found that large numbers of respondents reported symptoms after being exposed to products containing fragrance.

Three bottles of perfume on a table in various colors.

Even people who know better can fall prey to these sneaky toxins. Recently, at a Kosmatology team meeting, we were brainstorming how to make a vanilla scented soap. In our heads, we all expected it to smell like a cupcake… but vanilla doesn’t smell like a cupcake. It smells good, but it doesn’t smell like vanilla mixed with flour, sugar and eggs baking in an oven. After a lot of sniffing, our noses didn’t know what they were smelling anymore, and we realized that we could not find a way to make that scent using just essential oils! There are so many vanilla cupcake smelling products out there that we actually forgot that it’s not a scent found in nature.

We get emails from customers asking us to make scents they would love - like blueberry and pumpkin. But the truth is, blueberry seed oil doesn’t have much of a smell, in the same way that plain blueberries don’t have much of a scent. And if you’ve ever carved a pumpkin, you probably haven’t been blown away by it’s amazing aroma, because there isn’t one, and the same goes for the pumpkin seed oil. Sometimes, you can create a scent in one product, like a solid soap, but the scent doesn’t translate well to a liquid soap; we aren’t saying nobody can do it, it’s just not something we have found a way to do yet.

Outstretched hand holding a bouquet of lavender.

So keep sending us your ideas, we always love to hear from you, but without adding artificial ingredients, we can’t make every scent that you ask for, or sometimes even the ones we intend to! But at the end of the day, we want you to know that Kosmatology products will smell just like nature intended. And when you are choosing cleaning products, home goods and personal care products, remember to think about what you are buying and reduce your exposure to potential toxins hiding as fragrance.

DIY VALENTINE'S

Jessica Cottrell

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Ah, Valentine’s Day. If you have an elementary or preschooler in the house, then you know that the aisles of every store are just bursting with pre-made cards that contain lollipops, pencils, or stickers for the kids to hand out to everyone in their class. Now, to be clear, I have sent those cards out, because they are easy and life gets busy. I’ve also done the cute, traditional ones where we glue stick doilies to construction paper for days! However, sometimes it’s fun to do something a little different.

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So, I thought I’d share my very favorite Valentines that we have ever done in my house. These are super cute, easy, reusable AND made from recycled materials! Awesome, right? You need three things: old crayons, a mold (a silicone muffin mold or ice cube tray is ideal), and something to package your crayons so your little one can hand them out to friends.

We have an arts and crafts bin that always has some spare, unloved, broken crayons at the bottom. The crayons that we get free at restaurants or the ones that just break in half, never to be used again. If you have a similar bin, pull out all those unloved pieces and start unwrapping! Preheat your oven to 175 degrees. Take your molds (we actually used molds from an old bath bomb kit for the ones pictured) and start filling them with the crayon pieces that you have removed the paper from, mix those colors up and have fun, the colors will swirl as the crayons melt.

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Once the molds are almost full, place the molds on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until melted. Let them cool for about 30 minutes, and then pop them out. Repeat as needed until you have enough crayons and voila – the cutest little Valentines! Just for fun, we made a template for the cutest free printable labels you can print out and stick to your bag of Valentines crayons.

Download Valentine Template Here.

Triple win – cute Valentines for the class, you just saved some money and you cleaned out your crayon bin!