Organic Kitchen Cloths, Made in USA

Though the hand towel size kitchen towel comes in handy when moving hot dishes, it’s too large and too thick for my liking. Good thing I found some USA made kitchen cloths that work for me.

City Threads Organic Cotton Kitchen Towels

  • Use to dry and clean my hands when I cook
  • Made in USA
  • 100% organic unbleached cotton
  • Thin (drys fast = no funky smell) yet absorbent
  • Easy to wash by hand (I got some sauce on it once, I washed it immediately with Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap then wrung it dry which I couldn’t do with the large, thick kitchen towel.)
  • Machine wash and dry
  • Durable (been using them for a little more than a year, the fabric holds up pretty well. The color looks better than in my photo. Click to enlarge the image below.)
City Threads Organic Cotton Kitchen Towels after 1 year of use

Good to note

  • My City Threads 17″ x 17″ towels shrinks to about 14.5″ x 15.25″ after washing (measured without starching it smooth)
  • They also come in 11″ x 11″
  • Trims come in other colors, too

Marley’s Monsters Reusable Organic UNpaper Towel

  • For drying my hands in general
  • Made in USA
  • 100% organic cotton (may use both US and imported materials)
  • A little thicker than the City Threads towels
  • Machine wash and dry

Good to note

  • These came in 10″ x 12″. After many washes, these shrunk to about 9.5″ x 10.75″
  • They are flannel so they do pill (click on the image below to enlarge, color looks better to me than on the screen)
Marley's Monsters Reusable Organic UNpaper Towel used condition

Buying options

These cloths helped me use much less paper towels, but I still use them for specific reasons. So, I do try my best to get the most out of them.

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

Reduce, Reuse, Compost My Paper Towels

To be a friend to the Earth in the kitchen, of course it’s best to use only washable towels but I still prefer paper towels in certain situations. For example, I just can’t use towels washed with laundry detergent to dry my produce and knives.

So I do my best to get as much out of each sheet as I can. The trick is to down grade the use as the paper towel gets dirtier. Below, I list the usages with the conditions of the paper towel before and after.

Wrapping Cleaned Greens for Fridge Storage

[ New —> Kind of Clean]

Drying Washed Plates/Utensils for Immediate Use

[New —> Pretty Clean]

Tork HK1975A Perforated Roll Towel
  • For this, I use Tork HK1975A Perforated Roll Towel because of its chlorine-free processing (Green Seal Standard GS-1) and other features
  • Folded paper towel absorbs more water and less likely to tear
  • I sometimes let it air dry on a clean tray, then reuse it for the same purpose

Hand Drying

[New –> Pretty Clean]

  • I use this sheet only after I washed my hands with soap and water
  • I don’t use it for other purposes until it needs to be down graded
  • For repeat use, I use Viva for it’s durability
  • Between uses, I spread it to air dry
  • I still use cloth towel unless I will be eating with my hands (pizza, fruits, etc.)

Soaking up Oil / Cleaning Food Scraps Before Dish Washing

[Kind of Clean —> Not too Clean/Compost]

  • I do this before/instead of rinsing before washing dishes
  • This saves on soap and water because the dishes are now easier to clean
  • Super effective on oily plastic containers
  • When the paper towel has done all it can, I put it in the compost bin for garbage collection (might not work well in the home compost pile)

Prepare Items for Recycling

[Not too clean —> Compost]

  • I clean out the oil and food residues in containers before recycling them
  • I can avoid or reduce the use of soap and water since items don’t need to be food safe clean
  • At this stage, the sheet then goes straight to the compost bin

This strategy might not work for you but you get the idea. I almost never use paper towels outside of the kitchen but the same idea applies, only it might not be compost safe because of the chemicals in your cleaners.

Made in USA Unbleached Paper Towels, 100% Recycled Fiber

I wanted an eco option to replace Viva paper towels. I ended up choosing Tork HK1975A Perforated Roll Towel.

Though it turned out not durable enough like Viva for repeat use, Tork is my first choice in other uses. Also, when I can avoid using paper towels, I use two kinds of USA made cloth towels for drying hands and food preparation.

Why I Like It

  • 100% recycled fiber (85% min. post-consumer, EPA compliant)
  • Chlorine-free processing (Green Seal Standard GS-1)
  • Certified compostable
  • Made in USA
  • Individually wrapped (necessary because they come in a large cardboard box)
  • Cheaper per sheet compared to the leading brand

Notes

  • Folded sheet works better when drying items
  • Make it even greener by using each sheet multiple times
  • Make sure the material picked up with the paper towel is compost safe before putting it in your compost bin for garbage services
  • Keep the plastic wrap clean and recycle with the grocery bags
  • I was only able to get them in bulk (12 rolls/box)

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

Wash & Protect Hands: Skin Saving Soaps-Lotion Combo

What is Drying Your Skin?

Washing hands literally saves your skin in more ways than one, especially when healthy skin is often our first line of defense. But are you paying attention to what is aggravating your skin other then the act of frequent hand washing?

Blisters on the back of my hand caused by an enzyme base laundry detergent

Few years back, I had a spell of skin break-out from using a new laundry detergent. I got better after switching back to my old detergent but I noticed my hand washing and dish washing soaps also caused tiny blisters and persistent dryness despite the constant application of lotion.

I went through various products until I found these three natural/organic items and have been using them more than a year.

Happy You, Happy Skin

And of course, when you take good care of your mind, body, and spirit, your skin bounces back faster. As I recovered from the break-out, I’ve eliminate certain food and used various methods to heal myself.

And now, unless I am washing my hands or dishes from cooking all day long, I only need to put the lotion on my hands once before bed.

Hand Washing Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Baby Unscented Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Baby Unscented Liquid Soap for Hand Washing
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps are Made in USA

[Unscented] If you have any kind of skin or respiratory issues, always start with a clear, fragrance free version.

[Customizable] The beauty of the unscented soap is that you get to make it yours by adding essential oils you already have. This way you get to change it up as often as you like.

If you are like me, you’ll need this list of trusted and not too expensive brands recommended by a friend experienced in using essential oils. All three companies list the country of origin, a good thing!

[Money Saving] One 32 oz bottle will last you a while because you really need to dilute it. I didn’t knew about this the first time I tried it and it took me a while to wash it all off. So, check their dilution cheat sheet before first use.

You can adjust the ratio to your liking. I do 1 part soap to 5 part water, only pump out a few drops each time so I don’t have to refill as often. Again, it may feel very watery but it foams up well.

Dish washing Soap (for washing by hands)

ATTITUDE Dishwashing Liquid, Fragrance Free, Sensitive Skin, Hypoallergenic

Attitude Natural Dishwashing Liquid, Sensitive Skin, Fragrance Free
Attutide Products are Made in Canada

The colloidal oatmeal is the key ingredient that keeps my skin happy. I also noticed that I don’t need to use extra amount just because it’s an “eco” soap.

I had a sticker shock when I first saw it on Amazon. So I tried using Dr. Bronner’s for dish washing for a while but I didn’t like it and it dried my skin out more than I expected though it did not cause blisters.

Out of desperation, I bought one bottle to test. Lucky for me, I like how my skin was not nearly as dry as using other products. I then ordered direct from Attitude (Canada) to get it at the actual price. I also bought in bulk to save on shipping and get the discount.

Or, if your skin is not as “princessy” as mine, you might consider other options they offer. These have a more reasonable prices.

Hand Lotion

Gabriel ORGANICS White Seaweed Healing Hand & Body Lotion

Gabriel ORGANICS, White Seaweed Healing Hand & Body Lotion
Gabriel Organics are Made in USA
  • Fast absorption, not oily
  • A drop the size of a dime covers both hands and wrists. a little goes a long way.
  • Keep skin moisturized longer (no frequent application needed)
  • Gabriel Green” recycle program: send empties back and get a free product

Find Your Own Combo Set

Even though these products work for me, they may not be for you. In this case, a safe start would be to search on EWG.org (The Environmental Working Group) in Skin Deep guide and Cleaning Product guide.

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

You Can Recycle Incandescent Light Bulbs?!

Yes, I recycled incandescent light bulbs! At my local IKEA!

It is right by the exit where I passed by many, many times. How in the world did I miss the lovely recycle station there? Oh, right, on every visit, I actively avoid buyer’s remorse and not hanging out at IKEA for fun.

Other than incandescent light bulbs, my local IKEA takes fluorescent light bulbs, plastic bags (the grocery store bins are always overflowing and often mistaken as the garbage can), and their old catalogs/paper. I’ve found other locations taking cardboard and batteries.

But I am not sure if every store accepts the same things, so make sure you look for the recycle station the next time you visit your local IKEA.

My #1 USA Made Bakeware, Non-Toxic, Stick-Resist, Metal Safe

(This post only applies to LloydPans dark coating products.)

Switched Again for Lighter, Tougher Pans

About 10 years back, I replaced all of my baking pans to ones made in USA. They were silicon coated to be nonstick.

After a while, I noticed the pans began to have brown patches. I was worried that if elements can seep through the coatings then the aluminum would have come in contact with the food, too. Also, these pans tend to be heavy and hard to handle during baking and washing, especially the care needed to not scratch the coating.

I started my search for new pans, determined to find something better and still made in USA. Then I stumbled upon a site for serious pizza makers and it led me to LloydPans.

Why I Love Using LloydPans

  • Made in Spokane Valley, Washington, USA
  • Their special DARK coatings: Pre-Seasoned Tuff-Kote® and Dura-Kote®
    • Non-toxic, water base (eco-friendly), PTFE and PFOA free sealer
    • The sealer gets down into the pores to form the seal over the anodized metal surface (I think that prevents interaction with food and metal)
    • no seasoning the pans (I wash them after each use to avoid the need)
    • no oiling before baking (from my own experiences)
    • safe with metal utensil (hand whisks, spatulas, NOT knives/mixers)
    • stick resistant
    • safe to heat up to 700 F (450 F is the limit for silicon coated pans)
    • absorbs heat very well
  • Light weight — easier to handle when baking and washing
  • Eco-friendly manufacturing
  • Easy to clean (more details next)

Easy to Clean

  • Metal utensil safe = less worry! Now I don’t have to be careful about forks and table knives touching the pans in the sink
  • For stubborn stuck-on food, I just soak it in warm water for 30 min, using a flexible spatula (a rep. at LloydPans told me she uses her metal spatula to do this and her pans still works well) to work on the toughest spots, then finish off with a with my 100% plant based Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge (read my review)
  • No rust nor stain so far after 3 months of frequent use (I dry mine at 150 F for a few minutes in my toaster oven so I can put them away sooner.)

More Tips and Notes

  • Read and follow the instructions from LloydPans. If you have more questions after that, go to LloydPans.com, you can chat or call them for help. I had great customer service experiences with them.
  • NEVER put empty oiled pans in the oven, it’s bad for the coating.
  • Watch and adjust the oven temperatures and positions the first time you use your LloydPans with any recipes. Their dark coated pans absorb heat very well, one time I had to turn my toaster oven down 50 F.
  • Best to hand wash — I hand wash mine with 3M eco sponge (made in USA) and Attitude dish soap (made in Canada, read my review). According to LloydPans, the dish washer cleaners harm the coating.
  • “Beauty Marks” is okay — During the production process, where the clamps hold the pan, there are marks left on the reams, it doesn’t effect the performance nor the durability of the pan.

Where to Buy

  • For immediate availability try Amazon
  • Direct from LloydPans or LloydPans Kitchenware (for cookware and other home kitchen products) — I am a bit picky and wanted items as close to my ideal as possible, so I ordered from them. If they don’t have the items in stock, they will make them for you, so it may take a while. They will send you an estimated date after you placed the order.

Better Cooking Life Through LloydPans

Being a slow cook, using LloydPans pans and baking dish saves me time and many little annoyances in the kitchen. And USA made products still rock!

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

How Safe Is Your Eco Liquid Dish Soap?

Rashes from Laundry Detergent

As I was recovering from horrible reaction from a well-known brand of enzyme based laundry detergent, my skin was worse after I washed dishes. So, I began my search for a new hand wash dish soap. Since I don’t have a dish washer, a good and safe dish washing soap is very important.

EWG.org Rates “C” on My Old Dish Soap

EWG (The Environmental Working Group) assessed my dish soap as a “C”, siting concerns on water pollution and skin irritation/allergies/damage.

I never thought an well-known eco brand would put out products like this. I was so shocked, I had to pick up the bottle and read the ingredients myself.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

That’s when I realized I had been washing my dishes with SLS in the soap. I had been avoiding SLS in my body care products, I never thought to check my dish soap. I just blindly trusted the brand.

And if I don’t want to use SLS on my skin, why would I put it in my body?

Switched to Attitude

Attitude Natural Dishwashing Liquid, Fragrance FreeLuckily, EWG pointed me to the Attitude brand (from Canada). I purchased one bottle of their fragrance-free natural dishwashing liquid (Though not EWG VERIFIED, it’s rated “A”).

I also found that many of their personal care products are EWG VERIFIED to be “free from EWG’s chemicals of concern and meets our strictest standards for your health.”

Clean Dishes, Smooth Skin

It’s been 3.5 months since I switched to Attitude. It cleans as well as my old brand with the same amount of soap. And I am happy to report that my hands are no longer completely dried out. In fact, my skin feels softer!

Buy A Test Bottle

Both my body and I are glad we found EWG and Attitude but as with every new product, I suggest buying one to try then go from there.

For the test bottle, get it direct on ATTITUDEliving.com, as of Oct. 2018, their flate rate shipping and handling is $8.95 for just 1 bottle. (They ship to Canadian provinces & contiguous USA)

This fragrance-free dish soap seems to be harder to find than their other items on US sites, so the prices are pretty much the same as ordering from ATTITUDEliving.com. But if you rather get it via Amazon, put it on your wishlist and see if a deal comes up.

How to Save on #attitudeliving?

If you like it after using it and have the space, I suggest ordering bulk direct from ATTITUDEliving.com for amazing discounts.

For free shipping order more than $60. For order over $70 and above, you get up to 25% off + free shipping!

If you need a little push to get the free shipping, check out some of their EWG VERIFIED items and buy other test bottles. That’s what I did!

Eco Plant-Based Scrubber Sponge: Greener Clean Or Full Circle?

I was using Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges for a few years then I switch to try Full Circle In a Nutshell Walnut Scrubber Sponges (Non-Scratch), mostly to see if how they would compare.

Similarities

  • Made from 100% plant-based fiber
  • Should be disposed with regular garbage, not in compose or recycle bins (according to 3M and Full Circle)
  • The scrubbing layers worn out before the sponge layers
  • Not for scrubbing non-stick surfaces

Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Scrub Sponges

  • Made in USA
  • 50% of the scrubbing layer is made from agave plant (see video)
  • Sanitize in the dishwasher or by boiling

Full Circle In a Nutshell Scrubber Sponges

  • Made in Canada
  • The scrubbing layer is made from walnut shells (doesn’t cause allergic reactions, according to Full Circle)
  • Sanitize in the microwave

My Pick: Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Scrub Sponges

  • The Greener Clean Scrub Sponges lasted longer for me. I just can’t throw a sponge away every few weeks. You are not suppose to nuke this sponge in microwave (as noted on the packaging), so I sanitize it by pouring boiling water on it after squeezing it dry.
  • They are cheaper, especially if you buy in bulk
  • They are made in USA

NOTE: I also use Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Absorbent Sponge. It is more spongy than the sponge part of the scrubber.

Choose Full Circle Scrubber Sponges if you:

  • Want to be able to nuke it
  • Replace your sponges often enough, it doesn’t matter that scrubbing layer wears quickly. (If it lasted as long, I wouldn’t mind using a Cananda made product)

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

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 chemicals!

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 cloth

Using 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 cleaning

The 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 Cloth
cleaning 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 Cloth
stereo1

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 Shaxon Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cloths (6-pk) from Amazon or Frys (also easy to wash clean and dries fast, sadly not made in USA)
  • If it looks a bit dirty after washing, it still cleans just fine.
  • Buy direct from Lawrence and Berit Hines
  • Or buy from Amazon

Where to Buy

Spiff Cloth Bonus Coupon from The Hines

Buy 7 or more, get 2 free! [ Good thru 12/31/2020 ]

  1. Buy direct from SpiffCloth.com
  2. Select an option with 7 or more cloths
  3. When you check out, type in HOLIDAYS2020 in the COMMENT field.

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