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-KoteĀ® and Dura-KoteĀ®
    • 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.

Small Annoyances Must Die!

Fine, it may sound over the top but they were slowly killing my spirit and taking my health with it.

One day some years ago, I snapped at a family member, it was the wake-up call telling me that I was no longer my happy self. The stress of dealing with details from work and from taking care of people and things had got to me.

Fixing Big Things Is Not Enough

Luckly, even though I was struggling, I had enough energy left to fight back hard. I changed how I work, Konmari-cleaned my room, and did my best not to push myself too hard. Still, I was tired, irritable, extremely indecisive, plus, feeling stuck, alone, and helpless. All signs pointed to depression.

Hunting Down My Inner Energy Vampire

If fixing big things didn’t finished the job, what else was draining my energy and joy?

Then I remembered why Konmari method works. The process helped me remove the noises in my environment and inefficiency in my everyday tasks. When I was done, not only I ended up with a space I want, I am saving time, energy, and grief every time I reach for something I need.

Small Annoyances = Noises of Life

Once I realized this, I observed how I move through the day, a major pattern emerged. I was constantly stopping to clear my nose and throat, an issue I had lived with for a long time. Though the respiratory congestion was never severe enough to see a doctor, once I noticed that I could not un-see how it consumed my life.

Since then I have been working to cure it and I will be sharing my experiences in future posts. In the process, I am also solving other little things that annoy me, something simple like replacing heavy pans with lighter ones for easy cleaning and handling.

Must Small Annoyances Die?

Living with small annoyances is like being in the stop-and-go traffic.

  • It demands your constant attention (induces fatigue).
  • It is a danger to your life (brings on road rage, increases chance of accidents).
  • If you do it everyday then it turns into a chronic, sometimes permanent, mental and physical illnesses.

So yes, be like the Dalek with tiny irritations,

EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

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!

My Favorit Made in USA Food Containers

<<< Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Containers >>>

Rubbermaid Brilliance 9.6 Cups Made in USA

Crackers Stay Crispy Test
–Excellent Seal–

Since Rubbermaid Brilliance containers are a bit more pricey than the usual containers, I bought one on-sale to try.

Brilliance 9.6 cups 3-packMy 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

Rubbermaid Brilliance Pantry 10-Piece set with LidsFor 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

Rubbermaid Brilliance Salad and Snack Lunch Combo Kit

  • BPA free
  • Clear plastic (easy to see what’s inside)
  • Freezer safe (disposable ones become brittle when frozen)
  • Made in USA
  • Stackable
  • Microwaveable (there are small vent holes under the latches on the lids)
  • And they are pretty to look at!

Many Shapes And Sizes

Though I only need the one size, I must mention that there are many, many different shapes and sizes of Rubbermaid Brilliance Containers to fill your needs. The Rubbermaid Brilliance Salad and Snack Lunch Combo Kit is an excelent example!

Made in USA = Function + Quality + Design

I am so glad Rubbermaid continues to develop great products and actually kept the manufacturing for Rubbermaid Brilliance in the States. Keep up the good work!

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 7/31/2020 ]

  1. Buy direct from SpiffCloth.com
  2. Select an option with 7 or more cloths
  3. When you check out, type in ID2020 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.

To Be KonMari Clean (Decoration: Vision Realized 3)

Quiet on the outside

From this picture, you see mostly solid colors and no small clusters of stuff. This create the visual tidiness like folding with Konmari method.

  1. This Aqua metal 5-drawer cabinet was the seed of my vision. I’ve always wanted one, now I have a good reason. When I saw the actual color in The Container Store, sparks of joy flew. I’m still happy every time I see it!

    But I needed two to hold up the stereo and other things (unknown at this point), so I ordered one in yellow, a color I also like.

    I also joined their POP membership to save on possible future purchases.

  2. konmari-ed: shelves vision realizedAt the bottom I need something strong to support everything on top. After measuring, searching, and comparing, I ended up with BESTA shelving frame from IKEA.

    To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about the white but the other two colors just shout blah. Once I put it in, it actually brightened things up just the right amount.

    By the way, a few weeks after I bought it, it went on sale. Being an IKEA Family member gave me a 90-day price protection. And I got $8 back from my IKEA store.

  3. While waiting form my metal cabinets, I kept visiting The Container Store just for fun. By accident, I wondered to the clearance rack, saw a bit of yellow that matched the cabinet peaking out of an discountinued item for $13.

    When I opened it, it was a metal storage cube I had considered but thought it was too expensive. Right then, another part of the vision puzzle fell into place.

    I bought it then ordered a white one to help support the shelving plank above it. FYI, the doors and inside shelves come separately!

  4. Free shelf covers! These are actually packaging lids for the 5-drawer metal cabinets. They are effective in hiding the “noisy” contents thought they don’t cover the whole opening. However, that’s what makes them easy to remove. I thought making something wider myself but none would look as nice.

I’ve this arrangment for 3 months now and haven’t changed a thing.

Party on the inside

konmari-ed organizing office suppliesFrom the pictures, you can see that I wanted color inside the drawers. This way I get the burst of color joy only when I open the drawers, as I prefer visual tranquility most of the time.

Looking inside drawer 2, you see the turquoise and white trays are lined. I used the color paper I have on hand to add vibrance and protection to the trays.

I also carry the idea to other drawers. Each drawer, according to its contents get a different treatment. Keep in mind that I also made my own insert when I did not like anything fitting on the market.

Function + form = spark of joy

konmari-ed organizing office suppliesWhat makes me smile other then all the colors in my drawers? Everything is where they should be.

Drawer 2 holds the most used items. I might have use drawer 1 but it doesn’t like to be opened all the way, even after I fixed the inside structure. And after months of using it, I realized drawer 2 is at the perfect height.

So, as you put your items in order, remember your sprak will go away if it’s a pain to use.

Do I have enough pens and pencils?

Once you are Konmari Clean, you can save money and avoid new clutter. As you see in my drawers that it’s obvious that I don’t ever need to buy more pen and pencil. And that’s the whole point of working by categories.

(Re)Locate with logic

Consider these with storage containers, cabinets, and individual items alike:

  • Keep these near where they were before? Is there another location that would be more efficient?
  • How often will you use it? Think ease of access.
  • Are these items where you might be looking if you don’t really remember exactly?

Officially Konmari Clean

One last thing, I do have a deal-with-it-later shelf but it’s obvious enough I won’t forget it and not prominent enough to bother me.

Oh, one more last thing, less stuff = easier to clean = clean more often.

I believe, as Marie promised, I don’t think I will ever clog up my space again.

To Be KonMari Clean (Decoration: Vision Realized 2)

Visual tidiness = tranquility

What’s the point of all the KonMari work? Why fold and store clothing Konmari way? I first tried folding things my way then her way, the difference–much lower visual noise.

I was amazed how well visual tidiness brings tranquility to my life. I am more relaxed when I am in my room and in general. Then I applied the same principle to other categories.

Window shopping = energy to go on

Again, this started with my vision of a tidy built-in bookshelf. I didn’t know the exact items to buy but I know how they must work:

  • Must be able to hold heaver weight. The tiny stubs can’t hold much more than the shelf planks, not useful.
  • Must hold all I kept after Konmari sorting–mostly items from this bookshelf and the meditation corner (formally the clutter blackhole).
  • Must have colors that brings me joy.

konmari-ed shelving, storage visionIt was 5 months into the process, since I needed a break, I measured my shelf, armed with a tape measure, then visited various stores and web site for inspiration. Boy, that was fun and productive. Building this vision also pumped me up to finish the office supplies and smalls categories.

Then it was finally time to make my vision come true. (See the continuing post)