So What’s in Your Pillow?

by Tiffany in A Green Home

pillow fill types

So what’s in your pillow? For a better night’s sleep you may want to try a pillow with a natural fill. The synthetics like polyester that you find in conventional pillows draw on non-renewable resources and can be more hospitable to allergens. The chemicals can also lead to headaches. So try a natural fill and even organic if possible.

A quality pillow can cost anywhere from $40.00 to $250.00 but if you take care of it…it can last a decade. Here are some of your options:

Goose Down – This is one of the softest fills available and is optimal for people who sleep on their stomach. You can care for this pillow by exposing it to fresh air and sunlight several hours a month. You can also usually machine wash on a gentle cycle and tumble dry along with a towel on low heat.

Organic Cotton – Cotton is a good option but it does tend to compress over time. Machine wash on gentle in cold water. Tumble dry with cool air and throw in a dryer ball or tennis ball to break up clumps. Because cotton is easy to clean it is less prone to mildew and bacteria.

Organic Wool – This fiber offers firm support and it is also a natural insulator and helps regulate body temperature. Throw it in the dryer for a few minutes with a dryer ball or tennis ball to renew the loft. Freshen in direct sunlight and open air for several hours a month and use a vinegar/water solution to spot clean.

Natural Latex Foam – Natural latex pillows are molded and they conform to the contours of your body. Dust mites find it inhospitable and mildew cannot thrive in it. It is a healthy alternative for many allergy and asthma sufferers. Hand wash with warm water and a mild soap. Press with a towel to dry and keep out of direct sunlight.

Hulls – Sleeping on buckwheat hulls can help relieve muscle tension but it can take some time getting used to. Since hulls are irregularly shaped, air circulates around them and dust mites and microbes have a hard time taking root. Look for a “triple cleaned” label to ensure that dust mites and mold have been removed. To clean, remove the hulls from the pillow and rinse in a tub of cool water. Lay out to dry. Machine wash the empty case in hot water twice a month.

No pillow – There is some scientific evidence to suggest that no pillow at all is better for our health and well being. Per the recommendations from the comments section Katy Bowman’s books are a great resource if you want to know the reasoning behind it.

After you select your perfect natural pillow make sure to cover it with a zippered protector made from tightly woven organic cotton. When placed under your pillow case it blocks allergens as effectively as vinyl alternatives without exposing you to toxic chemicals.

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

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Household Things to Repair Instead of Replace

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Household Things to Repair Instead of ReplaceIt is typically much cheaper to fix things around the home than it is to replace them. It is also way better for the planet. Corporations are selling cheaper goods and hoping we will buy new fairly often but we don’t have to fall into that trap. We can start by buying quality goods that last, made my reputable companies. We can go a step further by vowing to repair rather than replace when they wear out or break down.

When something or breaks as yourself…it is just dirty, can I take it apart without destroying it, can I buy replacement parts, can I find a Youtube video with repair instructions, and can I do the repairs myself? You will be surprised how often you actually CAN fix things. You have plenty of resources nowadays…Youtube tutorials, manufacturer’s web sites, online parts stores, online forums, and local sites where you can find repairmen. Don’t toss if you don’t absolutely have to!

Vacuums – Repairs shops still exist for vacuums but they are also easy to fix on your own. A broken belt or a clogged up hose can be repaired in 20 minutes or less.

Shoes – Shoes that are separating from their soles can be fixed with shoe goo. Hiking, snow, and cowboy boots can easily be resoled. Broken heels can be fixed, sandals can be sewn or glued.

Computers – If you buy custom built desktop computers rather than massed produced ones then you can fix and repair for years and years when they get slow or parts wear out or break down. I have had the same computer for eight years! It has gotten a new motherboard and some new memory but it is still going strong. Our kids also have units that we custom built and then we repair rather than replace.

Cell phones and tablets – Cracked screen?? There are many companies nowadays that offer screen repair services so that you don’t have to get a new phone or tablet. You can also google a video on how to fix these issues and try it yourself….parts from recycled phones can often be found online.

Washers/Dryers – Washers often end up in landfills just because they have a clogged pump filter that can removed and cleaned. Dryers often need a new thermostat or heating element. Instead of buying a whole new unit spend $40 dollars to buy a new part!

Furniture – Parts and lumber can be bought to fix sofas and reclining chairs that break down. Upholstery fabric can be bought to recover furniture as well and give your home a fresh new look at the same time. Repaint or stain wood furniture that has been scratched or stained.

Garage door openers – Youtube videos abound that teach you how to diagnose the issue and what parts you need to repair or replace to fix it. You can also buy new remotes, garage door receivers, and safety beams online.

Leaky faucets and toilets – Look for youtube videos outlining how to fix these usually simple issues. Buy the parts and you have a DIY project. We fixed two leaky toilets and a non functioning turn off valve just this year.

Clothing – Learn the basics of hand stitching and you are now armed with the knowledge you need to stitch holes in socks or rips in jeans and pants. I have a sewing machine but I always grab a simple needle and thread for mending.

Bathtubs – Refinish your fiberglass or cast iron tub with a home refinishing kit. It only costs about $40 and your bathtub will look like new for a couple years. For a longer lasting solution you can have it professionally refinshed for about $200-400.

Dishwashers – When dishwashers stop working or start overflowing it is usually because food and debris are blocking the drainage basket/screen inside the unit. Unscrew a couple screws to remove the basket, clean it out, and use a shop vacuum to clear any gunk. Broken racks and baskets can be fixed with cable ties.

Bicycles – With so many bicycle repair shops around it is silly to buy new when you can simply fix the one you have.

Don’t be a mindless consumer and keep buying new whenever something wears out or breaks. Get creative and get to fixin it yourself!


8 Ways To Cut Down on Food Waste

by Tiffany in A Green Home

8 Ways To Cut Down on Food Waste

The average US household wastes a lot of food. I know I have definitely been guilty of this myself in the past. If we have to clean out our fridge once a month and throw half the contents away spoiled, unused, and moldy then we are wasting food and wasting money. How much of our monthly food bill is actually tossed in the garbage? $20? $30? This has an impact on your finances and it impacts the planet because we use more than we need. So how do we nip this problem in the bud? Here are 8 ways that I have tamed this monster over the years.

1. List the leftovers. This is an incredibly simple and incredibly useful way to remind you to eat the leftovers! Put a magnetic pad on your refrigerator, you can usually get one for $1 at the dollar store or in the dollar bin at Michael’s Craft Store. When you put leftovers in the fridge, note the item and date. Aka “Sweet and Sour Soup 2/10”. The list will look right at you when you go to browse for your next meal or snack, even if the leftovers end up out of sight in the back of the fridge. It is also useful for spouses who are looking for something to take to lunch and perhaps didn’t know there were leftovers.

2. Freeze whatever you can. If you buy in bulk, buy those food items that can be frozen. For instance I buy almonds and other nuts in bulk and freeze most of them. Periodically I fill glass jars I keep in the refrigerator with the nuts until all are used. Freeze refrigerated leftovers after 3-4 days.

3. Discover some creative uses for your leftovers and unused food. Shepherd’s pie, vegetable soup, and casseroles are just some of the creative ways you can use your leftovers. Vegetables that are getting old but are not yet bad can be used to make vegetable stock that you can use immediately or freeze. Stale bread can be used to make bread crumbs and croutons, which you can freeze if you do not need them right away. Stale bread can also become bread pudding. Leftover meat can be incorporated into salads, burritos, soups, and stews.

4. Store refrigerated foods in the right places. The back of your refrigerator is colder than the front, and the door shelves are warmer still. Relegate dairy foods that are prone to spoilage to the back of the fridge, and keep items such as condiments and salad dressings toward the front or in the door.

5. When it’s too late, compost your spoiled food. Then you can use the compost to grow your own food. The circle of life baby…

6. Skip the counter top fruit bowl if you aren’t going to use fruit within a day or two and refrigerate it instead. Some foods, such as tomatoes, do not do well under refrigeration but apples, oranges, grapefruits, and lemons last much longer in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Make green smoothies if your fruit is starting to look sad.

7. Plan your grocery shopping and meals carefully to avoid waste. Go through your pantry and frig and make menu decisions based upon what you already have. If you have cilantro wilting in the frig then use the Internet to search for “cilantro recipes”. Look for recipes that utilize ingredients that you have already for the most part. Doing this allows you to use items before they go bad and you get to try new recipes.

Another tactic to go along with this same planning theme is buy up the bulk of what you need minus the produce. Then on the way home from work, errands, etc pick up the mushrooms you need to go with the beef and mushroom stew you are making that night. This way nothing sits in the fridge and you can change your menu without wasting food.

8. Cook the same thing 2-3 times in a row. I do this often. If I buy a bunch of ingredients for a certain dish then I want to use them up. Occasionally I used to make chicken scallopini (before going paleo) for instance and it uses white wine and cream (2 things I usually don’t buy or use). I would often make this meal 2-3 times in a single week until I used the wine and cream up. Last night we had Sweet and Sour soup and today I made it again for lunch because I had ginger and green onions to use up. My philosophy is to make food so good my family won’t mind repeats!

So how do you avoid wasting food?

Recommended Reading: Save Money on Organic Foods

8 Ways To Cut Down on Food Waste2


Natural Dishwasher Soap Recipes

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Natural Dishwasher Soap RecipeIf you want a more natural and non toxic dishwasher soap option you need to investigate better brands or make your own. Plus you never know when you will run out and need to make some yourself on the fly. No one likes to have to run out to the store before they can hit the wash button on their dishwasher!

DIY Dishwasher Liquid Soap Recipe

1/2 C liquid castile soap *do NOT use regular liquid soap!*
1/2 C water
1 t fresh lemon juice
3 drops tea tree oil or Thieves
1/2 C white vinegar

Combine the water and castile soap, stir. Add lemon juice, tea tree oil, and vinegar. Stir evenly until blended. Store in a glass pump bottle. I don’t like to store anything with essential oils in plastic. Use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes.

DIY Powdered Dishwasher Soap Recipe

3 Tbs Baking soda
1 Tbs Borax
3 drops of lemon essential oil
3 drops purification

Mix and use in dishwasher. It smells heavenly!


The 10 Best Indoor Plants

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Houseplants are an awesome addition to the home for two reasons. They bring a bit if nature indoors and they are mini air purifiers. Selecting the best varieties for air purification and also the best variety for your space is the essential. You want plants that clean the air efficiently but that also won’t overwhelm the space. You also need to make sure they are easy to take care of and also not toxic to any pets you have. It can be a bit overwhelming to pick the best ones but the graphic below shows you some great options. Enjoy!

best indoor plants

Image credit goes to Larks and Larks.

Monday, December 21st, 2015

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