Simple tip: The greenest way to wash your car

car wsh kdzLike many parts of the country, my “neck of the woods” has been serving up some pretty rainy weather.  Doing much outside has been an anomaly, unless you’re a duck or enjoy ankle-deep mud. (Me?  Not a duck.  Don’t like mud.)

Add to that the street construction around my neighbor and, as a result, my car is filthy… constantly.  My kids happen to love helping to wash the car but not when it’s 45 degrees and raining.  Despite it all, I still need to get the road gunk off the car!

Have you ever wondered about the greenest way to wash your car? Well, much to my kids’ dismay, a commercial car wash is actually the greenest choice.

Commercial car washes use about 60% less water than do-it-yourself methods.  (And for my family, when you car wshadd all of the additional time spraying each other with the hose… well, that percentage is probably higher!) They’re also required to treat and filter the water before they release it into the environment… another big bonus.  And, if you wash at home (and don’t use eco-friendly cleaners) it just ends up going directly into the environment.

Next time your car is in need of a good washin’, don’t sweat it.  Drive through a commercial car wash and recognize that you’re NOT being lazy… you’re getting your car squeaky clean and keeping it squeaky “green”!

How to choose safe, effective, chemical-free sunscreen!

sunshn(Okay, Mom Goes Green is BACK from my little Mother’s Day hiatus, so…) I’m now thinking summer! The kids have started the countdown to the final days of school and we’re ALL thinking summer fun, the pool, beach vacations and lots of outdoor time!

But every parent knows that fun-in-the-sun also means extra precautions to make sure our precious ones (ourselves included!) don’t get fried during “the fun part”, so sunscreen is sure to be a purchase in the very near future.

The concern with sunscreen is the presence of some nasty chemicals that we really don’t want to apply to our bodies daily, or even “frequently” for that matter (since they absorb into our skin and accumulate). Many are believed to cause hormone disruption, cell damage and allergies, amongst other things. They include vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), Oxybenzone, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Mexoryl, Avobenzone… augh!… just a bunch of things that we could really do without!

So instead of laboring over labels and trying (sometimes in vane) to decipher the ingredients… (drumroll, please….)  Environmental Working Group has a list and rating of over 500 sunscreen products.  Believe me, it is much easier to find one on the “best” list and just know you have a good product to keep you safe from the sun AND the nasty chemicals.sunscrn

You can also look-up the products you have been using to see how they rate.

Last year (via this list!) I discovered a great product:  Blue Lizard.  It was fantastic and we didn’t have a burn in the bunch (or exposure to nasty chemicals!).  Fortunately, EWG has done most of the work for us, so the answers are just a few clicks away.

(Boy, I sure have come a long way from those teen-days when my friends and I applied baby oil(!) in HOPE of sizzling and frying!… WHAT were we thinking?!?)

Now check it out, buy some, slather on the good stuff and GO PLAY… summer is almost here!

Toxic mattresses?… What you NEED to know!

mattress fillIt has long been a mission of mine to tell readers of dangers in products that we don’t typically consider potentially harmful.  Mattresses happen to be one of those products.

The reason?

Beginning July 1, 2007, Federal Fire Retardant Regulations mandated mattress manufacturers to INCREASE their levels of toxic fire retardants, but DO NOT require them to list the chemical ingredients in the contents of the mattresses!

And what do these fire retardants contain?… boric acid, melamine, antimony and formaldehyde… all chemicals linked to cancer.  Antimony alone causes heart muscle damage and (as much as I dislike testing on animals) a single dermal application has been fatal to laboratory animals.  Additional tests on Memory Foam mattresses even detected 61 chemical emissions and off-gassing from a single mattress.  Think about how many hours you spend sleeping on your mattress… every… single… night.  All the while, you are inhaling these toxic off-gassing chemicals. I find it both frightening AND infuriating, especially where our children are concerned.Nat bed matt

The ONLY answer is an organic mattress.  They’re made of pure organic wool, 100% organic cotton covers and 100% natural latex cores, providing even BETTER fire retardancy than the chemicals… naturally! The reality is that mattresses do NOT need to be sprayed with chemicals to make them fire retardant; they need to meet standards for BEING fire retardant… and that’s exactly what you get with organic mattresses.  They are chemical-free AND fire retardant!

When we purchased a new mattress for our son, we chose an organic mattress from Natural Bed Co.  They’re the real deal… helpful, reliable and honest (unlike some other mattress companies our friends have had to deal with!).

If you’re in Northeast Ohio, you can visit their showroom but, luckily for everyone, they’ll ship nationwide! They have literally everything you could need for restful, peaceful sleep, WITHOUT harsh and harmful chemicals sprayed all over your mattress.

Nat bed logoI truly suggest you bookmark this post for when you’re in the market for a new mattress and/or bedding.  But I believe in Natural Bed Co. so much, there is also a clickable link in my sidebar that has taken permanent residence.  Click and take a look… they have exactly what you need.

And by the way, you might be asking yourself if they’re affordable… well, I assure you, they are.  And afterall, considering all of the hours you and your family spend sleeping on your mattresses, can you really afford anything except the safest (and healthiest) choice?

Do you know what the “non-toxic” label means?

toxc nonI’ve been on a “label kick” lately, trying to discover some of the lesser known facts about what it all means.

I’ve talked about fragrance-free vs. unscented, PLU produce labels and certified-organic vs. organic ingredients.

Well now, how about “non-toxic”?  Do you know what the label means? Let me tell you…

… it means NOTHING. The reality is that the non-toxic labeling is NOT regulated by the FDA, so it literally means nothing.

From commercial cleaners to cosmetics, when it says it’s non-toxic it doesn’t say anything beneficial about the product.  Any manufacturer can place this on their label to give you peace of mind about what you’re purchasing.  And sadly they can do it, just because the term isn’t regulated.toxc

I, myself, have been misled when I thought that I was buying something safe.  In fact, I even bought a tube of non-toxic face paint for my son’s Halloween costume (so I could draw on a scraggly pirate beard!) but when it came down to it, I sacrificed my expensive eyeliner instead, simply because I knew it was safe.

Sure, there are quality products that will have this term on the label, but the next time you see “non-toxic”, don’t make assumptions about what’s NOT in the product because you could be getting more than you bargained for (and more than these words are telling you).

Do you know what your PLU produce labels mean?

PLUOkay, another “confession”… until recently, I had no idea either!  I’m talking about the little stickers on the produce we purchase.  They’re actually called PLUs, (“Product {or Price} Look-Up” labels), and would you believe the numbers actually mean something?… they aren’t just random numbers.

(*Insert a look of surprise from me too!*)

The important number is actually the first digit and they can tell you a whole lot about the produce you purchase.  It tells you exactly how it was grown.

Here are the digits you need to remember:

  • 3 or 4 – indicates conventionally grown produce (grown with pesticides, herbicides & fertilizers)
  • 9 – indicates that the produce is ORGANIC

The next time you pick up a piece of produce: (1) look at the first digit of the PLU label, (2) remember these numbers, (3) know what you’re buying and then (4) rest assured that they’ll tell you everything you want to know about the food you’re buying for (and serving to) your family.

(*Yes, continue that look of surprise from me too!…*)