PlumbClear Clears Semi Clogged Toilet [Update]

plumbclearI first used PlumbClear to clean slow drains in my very old house. It worked like a charm.

Ahh! The Toilet Is Clogged

According to Alson Enterprises, the manufacturer, the user should use it regularly to prevent any future clogging. I was too lazy…

Last night, the toilet finally had enough. The water saving presurized toilet had the power but somehow water won’t drain before the fresh flow came in, the water level got pretty high before it drained back down again. That meant PlumbClear can still be effective. (The enzyme and friendly bacteria stil could make direct contact with the organic material in the pipe.)

Patience Pays Even for Emergency

I was worried enough to consider dumping the powder right in the toilet but I held back. I used the [Septic Tank ratio]–2 scoops with 2 cups of warm water.

I waited 2 nervous hours as instructed, poured it down the toilet and waited another 30 minutes before flushing. On the 2nd flush, the toilet was working again. What a relief!

Once again, PlumbClear did a wonderful job and all without harmful chemical!

American Giant: 100% USA Made Hoodie & More

If you don’t already know, American Giant produces durable clothing using 100% USA materials and labor. USA made quality still means something to many around the world.

Because they also pay extreme care in designing their pieces, they dare to offer lifetime warranty for full price items.

I’m reviewing items I actually have tried or do wear.

Classic Full Zips Hoodie

My top pick!

  • 100% cotton
  • heavy weight
  • best for cool, dry spring/fall days
  • shape holding construction (no slouch look)
  • elbow patch that extends under the forearm
  • the hood doesn’t cling to your forehead and cover your eyes
  • these are not cheap but it will last a long time, being a Konmari convert, not buying junk also helps me save money and live green.

Essential Full Zips Hoodie

  • cheaper, lighter
  • Super soft material using Supima cotton and modal fiber (made from beechwood) mix
  • good for lounging around

100% Cotton Preiume T

american giant premium crew t long sleeve
It did not work for me, I returned it.

  • designed for slender, long shaped ladies
  • comfortable material but white was too see-through for my taste
  • my aunt love dark colored longsleeve ones for layering yet they are stylish enough for indoors without other layers.

Good to Know

  • Don’t Wait Too Long, Colors Changes Often!
  • Be sure to check the size chart, though most returns are honored but free return shipping do take a week or two.
  • Instead of exchanging items, they ask you to buy again and return the unwanted items.

American Giant Referral Coupon

amercian giant coupon

  • This refer a friend link saves new customer 15% on their first purchase and I get $15 for referring you.
  • These are so well made, it might be a long time before I get to use my rewards.

I hope you’ll enjoy your American Giant as much I do.

USA Made Nano Cloth for Eco Cleaning – Spiff Cloth: Just Add Water

Cleaning after Konmari Process

Now that I’m Konmari Clean, it was time to put my things in their permanent homes and cleaning their new homes was the first step.

microfiber cleaning clothUsing the older style microfiber cloth was very frustrating. The small dust balls it gathers are very hard to wash off and surfaces often need more wiping. Even after I dusted with Swiffer, I still have trouble with it.

I started looking on Amazon for newer, greener technology. It seems Nano cloth is the talk of the town. It only needs water, not chemical, to use.

Made in USA

spiff cloth non-toxic cleaningThe top seller was not made in USA and I didn’t like that it has long fibers. I can just imagine the towel trapping all kinds of particles. The thicker material would dry slower after hand washing and would smell after a while.

Then I found the paper like Spiff Cloth, made in USA!

Amazing results on smooth surfaces

Just add water–it works! No chemical necessary.

Computer screen

cleaning monitor with Spiff Cloth

monitor1

monitor2

Stovetop

cleaning stove top with Spiff Clothcleaning stove top with Spiff Cloth

Not so good for

Sticky residue from strong tapes or thick old kitchen grimes (thin grimes are easy to wipe away without much elbow grease. See the before and after photo of my old stereo.)

cleaning stereo with Spiff Clothstereo1

What else do I like about it?

  • Easy to wash clean by hand (use soap and warm water)
  • Dries fast
  • Cut your own size (I cut the 16″x16″ sheet in half)
  • Sturdy (we’ve even cleaned outside windows with it, no damage to the cloth at all)

More to know

  • For maximun result, be sure to wring it as dry as you can
  • For thick dust layer, dusting or vaccumming before wiping makes it easier, faster
  • For soaking up spills, I recommend Trader Joe’s Kitchen Cloth at their stores for the best price. (also easy to wash clean by hand; if not found in one, try other Tader Joe’s.)
  • If it looks a bit dirty after washing, it still clean just fine.
  • Buy direct from Lawrence and Berit Hines
  • Or buy from Amazon

Spiff Cloth Bonus Coupon

From time to time The Hines would run a speical. When they do I put it up in the comment section, be sure to look for it! FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS, please!

P. S. Want more USA made goods? See what else I actually use or shop at my Made in USA Amazon Store.

Oh So Soft! 100% USA Made Organic Cotton T-Shirt

The USA Made T-Shirt Search Requirements

  • made in USA, of course
  • traditional unisex cut, short sleeves
  • not too thin/see-through
  • not too long
  • not form fitting

SOS from Texas Is The Winner

SOS from Texas organic cottonNeeded to kiss a few t-shirt frogs before I found my t-shirt prince, do keep in mind that I am short and a little chubby.

  • American Apparel
    $18 each, can’t tell where their cotton/fabrics are from. Don’t think I’m their target consumer… I decided not to buy from them.
  • All American Clothing Co.
    $11.99 each, I believe the cotton/fabrics are from USA
    I bought both unisex and women’s plus few pairs of jeans (Can’t help it, they have petite length.) Thought the material is nice, the shirts don’t fit me right and too long for me. Kept the jeans, LOVE them! (not vanity sizing, be sure to consult their sizing chart)
  • American Giant
    $24.50 each, I believe the cotton/fabrics are all made in USA here, too.
    They are famous for their hoodies, I bought 1 hoodies and a few unisex and women’s t-shirts. Same fitting issues as before, the material for women’s premium t-shirt is lovely and fashionable but too see-through for me. I kept the hoody, LOVE this, too.
  • SOS from Texas <<< The Winner! >>>
      sos from texas organic unisex t shirt

    • $12.50 each. Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Good price and ORGANIC!
    • “From Dirt to Shirt”–Sold by the actual organic farmers
    • The fit is what I wanted/expected (like the blank t-shirt from the craft shops)
    • I kept all but one (I did expected the fit might not work), donated it to my local 100% volunteer thrift shop
    • Then I ordered long-sleeve t-shirts for the fall and winter

Softest T-Shirt I Have

When I first touched it, I knew I love it. The t-shirt has a cushiony feel, a different kind of soft from the Supima t-shirts on the market but SOS shirts feel so much better against the body.

For the softest, go with “Natural”

sos from texas organic long sleeves t shirtI’ve washed the natural (not bleached) shirts many times now, they still feel great. They told me these would shrink about 1/2 inch after first wash but they still work for me.

White shirt is the next softest. The colored shirts are closer to the white t-shirt out there.

Customer Service

I called SOS from Texas to get help on size and color. The lovely lady actually pulled and measured a t-shirt for me. You might not get them on the first try (I’m guessing it’s a smaller outfit then the others) but don’t give up, it’s worth it!

Return Rules

Their site mentioned “Items may be returned for refund if they have not been washed or worn. If returning for an exchange, please include $6.50 for return shipping.”

P. S. Want more USA made goods? See what else I actually use or shop at my Made in USA Amazon Store.

100% USA Made Supima Cotton Sheets – Authenticity 50

Cheaper Means Cheaper

Been buying sheets on sales at department and other stores. They were cheaper but some smelled, some had pills after one wash (i.e. not going to last long), some only had weak elastic on the corners of the fitted sheets. And of course, none of those were made in the USA.

One side effect of my “Konmari Cleanup” is to simplify my life, including owning fewer quality things that last a long time. That also means, reduce waste and be green!

Authenticity 50, 100% “seed-to-stitch” Made in USA

US made products still means quality and safety.

When I found Authenticity 50, I couldn’t believe it.

  • California Supima cotton:Supima cotton produces stronger and softer fabric.
  • Georgia spun yarn
  • Carolinas woven fabric
  • Family-own factory hand sewn sheets
  • Georgia made elastics
  • Even the duvet cover’s corner ties and buttons are made in USA!
  • (more details)

Trying It Out

 authenticity 50 packageTo test them out, I got the A50 Duvet Set because I never use the flat sheet anyway. (They come with 100-night sleep trial.)

Minimal Yet Sufficient Packaging

The set came in a plastic bag inside a sturdy paper bag (good for recuse/recycle). And from the condition it arrived in, you don’t need more packaging than this. And it translates to reduced cost and less enviornmental impact.

360 Degree Elastic

I love that the elastic for the fitted sheet is 360 degree, not just in the corners. The elastic is wider and thicker than the other ones I’ve had. You can feel the quality by holding it in your fist.

Using it, Loving it

Authenticity 50 fitted 360 degree elasticI’ve slept in them for a while now. The texture reminds me of the line-dried cloth. And there is no smell, too soft, too slippery issues.

I’ve also washed it a few times, still good as new, no pills. The 250 thread-count seems to mean more than the 300+ ones I had before.

I believe we are going to have a healthy long-term relationship.

Tips with Fitted Sheets

The fitted sheets made for 14″ pocket. But do remember to include the extra paddings you have on your mattress.

White Only!? Consider The Costs

Some reviewer wished for colored sheets but think of the extra cost and the problem of not being able to sell less popular colors. The founders want to provide quality sheets at reasonable prices, I totally support having only white sheets.

Besides, I found color sheets tend to take over the room. If you want color, decorate with colorful pillows or a small throw. It’s cheaper and easier to switch up your themes this way, too.

UPDATE (Aug. 2017): Authenticity 50 now has Carolina Gray for people who don’t want white beddings.

$15 Coupon with My Referral Link

If you are looking for the coupon, sorry it has expired. But if you can still save by signing up at Authenticity 50, they do have amazing sales from time to time!

P. S. Want more USA made goods? See what else I actually use or shop at my Made in USA Amazon Store.

To Be KonMari Clean (Decoration: Vision Realized 1)

Vision that sparked action

If you read Marie’s first book, you know before you even sort a thing, you must envision the end result.

Mine was simple–have a meditation corner in my room, perhaps with a comfy chair. And if I have the desire and energy, I will put up my own oversized Zentangle art in turquoise blue, black, and white.

That vision powered me through to the end of the Konmari process. And trust me, this end vision is crucial to the process, even if the vision might change on the way, and the end result might be different.

Vision is not carved in stone

After 7 months of tidying up, I got my clean corner.

sprout toy boxesSorry, no before picture, all I cared at the time was getting rid of the corner clutter–dusty black metal shelves, an IKEA double hamper, and a bunch of this-might-com-in-handy-someday stuff. Trust me, no one needs to see that.

I also swapped out the comfy chair idea with two Made In USA toy chests because:

  • A decent comfy chair is expensive
  • The chair is bulky and permanent
  • I wanted something modern with clean lines

Instead, I bought some yoga gears on sale to fulfill the vision of the meditation corner.

sprout toy chestOne of the toy chests you see here holds those gears, the other holds my backpack and cloth I’ve already worn but not ready to wash. Once I put the lids down, no loose items, no visual noise.

This works so much better for me than my original vision.

Tips on vision and decorating

  • Figure out the essence of your original vision. In my case, I just wanted my own quiet, uncluttered space.
  • Be flexible and creative. Would following your original idea really spark joy? If not, look around, get ideas, change it. To suit my needs, I often find myself using/buying things that have different original purposes.
  • Be okay to wait and buy what you need. Only after I knew what I need to make a new home for the items in each category, I start looking for their “home”, starting with what you already have. If that doesn’t spark any joy, then start searching to buy.
  • To save money, use the boxes and trays you are not using/recycling for organizing things that will be inside drawers or closets. The point is to have a clean visual environment.
  • Listen to your inner voice–“Yes, this definitely sparks my joy”

More on the Sprout toy chests

  • If you put it next to a wall, you can prop up the lid as if there were hinges.
  • I used a plastic container (and I managed to sneak turquoise blue in there) to separate my backpack from my clothing since it’s more dirty.
  • sprout toy box greenFor assembly, it’s easier to have 2 people and a rubber mallet (I folded corrugated cardboard into a thick stack and used that with a regular hammer). And if you are a perfectionist, a level would be great, too.
  • Once assemble correctly, they are very sturdy.
  • The toy box come in many colors.
  • Sprout uses safe and recycled material. 100% Made In USA, from design to manufacturing. They offer good variety of kid’s furniture.

Eco Drain, Septic Cleaner That Works: PlumbClear

mesh drain coverBeen bothered by the slow draining issue for our bathtub for a while.

We’ve always used an extra mesh catch (very cheap with varies sizes at Daiso stores, place it upside down for bathtubs.) to stop hair and junk from getting into the pipes but tiny things that got down there do accumulate.

Chemical, homemade, or eco ready-made?

During my research, I learned that some plumbers don’t like the chemical solutions because they create particles that are harmful to your septic tank.

plumbclearThen I read some homemade solutions but didn’t trust them because how varied and inconsistant they are. I wanted something that just works and not having to spend time testing all the formulas and run the risk of clogging up the pipes.

When I found this eco drain, septic cleaner, Plumb Clear, on Amazon.com, I didn’t believe it will work well like many eco-friendly products. Since the reviews were so positive and it’s made in USA, I bought it anyway.

Since I wasn’t expecting much, I didn’t video my experiment. And I trust you’d understand that I won’t wait for my pipe to clog up again to record that it works.

First try with AMAZING result

After reading the instructions, I used the [Septic Tank ratio]–2 scoops with 2 cups of warm water, waited 2-4 hours as asked. Then I accidentally spilled it into the tub, only some got into the drain. I didn’t want to leave any solution in the tub so I rinsed the tub right away.

At this point, I thought, it’s not going to work, I washed it away. That night when I took a shower, I was amazed how well it drained.

Second try with a toilet

For this slow draining toilet, I used the [Septic/Drains ratio]–2 scoops with 5 cups of water. I wanted to make sure the enzyme and friendly bacteria had a chance to eat the built-up in the outlet path of the toilet so I dump 1 cup of the solution into the toilet bowl without flushing for an hour.

When I finally flashed it, it drained so quickly. I was very happy!

Tricks and Tips

  • sportsBottleWhen you first open the container, you need to fish out the scoop and the plastic snake.
  • To help you mix the solution and apply with more precision:
    1. Find an old sports bottle similar to this (the point is to not spend any money while using something that’s just taking up space)
    2. Measure and draw the lines at 1 cup increments, this allows you adjust the mix to only the volume needed.
    3. IMPORTANT!!! Remember to also mark the bottle “NOT FOR DRINKING”.
  • Don’t wait too long to clean the pipes. According to the seller, Alson Enterprises, it works not as well for fully clogged pipe. The solution needs to come in contact with the organic built-up to digest the gunk in the pipes.
  • For the opening of the sink/tub drain, pull the stopper, pour in the solution (I used the more diluted ratio) until it overflows a little, let it sit for a while (I waited 15 minutes), then unstop it.

[UPDATE] PlumbClear Clears Semi Clogged Toilet

Best Non-Toxic Carpet Spot Remover

Folex Carpet Spot RemoverFolex is by far my favorit non-toxic carpet spot cleaner. It knocked Naturally It’s Clean Carpet Cleaner (see my review) down to a slight distant 2nd. And other Folex customers would agree with me.

Folex took the top spot because unlike Naturally It’s Clean Carpet Cleaner, it leave no oder and no color residue.

Folex also works in an instant as the bottle claimed. Follow these simple instructions: spray the spot, work it into the fiber (very important), and blot it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Folex is cheaper, too. As of today, the best price I saw so far is from Bed Bath & Beyond with their readly availble 20% off coupon. 2nd best place to look is your local independent hardware store (where I first discovered it). And when all else failed, there is always Amazon.

Both Folex and Naturally It’s Clean are made in USA and I believe they only clean, don’t disinfect.

Bandages, Made in USA (update)

Always on the look out for USA made options, I found another great option for bandages.

Up & Up bandages from Target

Up and Up bandages from TargetIf you don’t mind store brand products, Target offer varieties of USA made bandages.

I have not personally used these bandages but I know their Up & Up cotton rounds (also made in USA) has great quality and sensible price.

Nexcare by 3M

Nexcare Waterproof Bandage Made in USAFor people who don’t want to go with store brand, Nexcare bandages are made in USA.

Since my first post about Nexcare, I have been tracking the Nexcare bandages in case they lost their way and go offshore. As far as I can see from the products on the store shelves, they are still made in USA.

To save yourself some money, make sure you check for 3M coupons before going to the stores.

Ice Cube Tray Made in USA

I love lemonade but don’t like the sweetness and sometimes chemical taste in the store-bought products. So, I switched to squeezing my own.

rubbermaid easy release ice cube trayProblems:
A lot of work for juicing just 1 lemon/lime at a time.
A batch of lemons/limes produce to much to keep fresh.

Solution:
Make ice cubes out of the juice.

I searched to US made products and found the Rubbermaid Easy Release Ice Cube Tray. According to Rubbermaid it is made from #2 plastic, BPA free and dishwasher safe.

I juiced a beg of lemons with my stainless squeezer gadget (if you like pulps, this is not the tool.) and made 1.5 trays of ice cubes.

And as it’s so names, it really is easy release. High marks for another Made in USA item!