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.
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.
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)
Made in USA
Individually wrapped (necessary because they come in a large cardboard box)
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?
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.
[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.
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.
If you are new to Attitude online shop, you can get $20 off and I get 10% off after you completed a purchase.
Or, if your skin is not as “princessy” as mine, you might consider other options they offer. These have a more reasonable prices.
[ UPDATE 4/30/21 ] ATTITUDE no longer produces “ATTITUDE Sensitive Skin, Hypoallergenic Dishwashing Liquid, Fragrance Free” that I recommended. Instead, I have replaced and tested the “Baby Bottle & Dishwashing Liquid” under their Sensitive Home Cleaning line. The image shown is the latest look which may be different from it’s Amazon product page.
(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)
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
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.
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!
Since Rubbermaid Brilliance containers are a bit more pricey than the usual containers, I bought one on-sale to try.
My Dad is very impatient when it comes to opening a package, so an opened pack of crackers (especially if there is a plastic tub inside) is often impossible to close back with a clip or a rubber band. Then the crackers would go stale pretty quickly.
I gave him this container to dump the crackers in. After a week, the crackers are still pretty crispy. Not only that he kept the lid back on tight (unusal for him so he must had found the lid easier to close and open), most importantly, there where no longer a trail of crumbs on the floor.
Bulk-Buyer’s Perfect Semi-Long Term Storage
For things that can last a while, like nuts and herbs, I like to buy in bulk. However, having to find and open every big bag to get a small amount every time I cook is
Inconvenient (having to move large items around)
Food would go bad faster
Often it was so tedious, I’d give up cooking which usually leads to me eatting junk. And my body is not taking the abuse any longer. I need to make it easier, I thought, my body has been pretty good to me, I must treat it with love and respect!
After getting the bulk pack home, I would fill one of my Luminarc Working Glasses (also made in USA) and cover it with its lid. These easy-to-remove lids keeps it simple to keep me motivated to cook.
And whatever is left, I’d put it in a Rubbermaid Brilliance container. For nuts, rice, seeds (things with more oil contents), I then put in the fridge.
What Else Do I Like About Rubbermaid Brilliance Containers
Clear plastic (easy to see what’s inside)
Freezer safe (disposable ones become brittle when frozen)
Made in USA
Microwaveable (there are small vent holes under the latches on the lids)
This is the most comfortable cotton t-shirt I’ve ever owned. I can feel the quality in this 100% cotton fabric, yet it’s light enough that it almost felt a linen shirt (I like my t-shirt loose fitting) only it’s not as see-thru. A win-win for me!
The seller, Green 3, wrote “All of our products are designed, sourced, and produced in the USA in family-owned manufacturing facilities.”
I am so happy to have found the USA made quality in this fun shirt!
The t-shirt is relax fit, slightly more shaped than the classic cut, so if you like your t-shirt loose, get one size up, I did.
Free shipping + Free Return on Amazon
If you are not sure about the sizes and designs, take advantage of the free shipping by ordering 2+ different sizes/designs to try it, then use the free return to exchange or order the ones that you like best.
NOTE: Make sure you confirm the free return offer where the price is listed. I am not sure if it’s always going to be there.
The Greener Clean Scrub Spongeslasted 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.
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!