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!

Unbleached Cheesecloth Made in USA

"If You Care" cheesecloth made in usaThe last time I bought cheesecloth (Regency Natural Ultra Fine), I was surprised to see they were no longer made in USA. I was lucky that the local store of the online shop still had some old ones I could exchange.

Today, I was at a trusted local health food store, I found “If You Care” has US made cheesecloth.

Like many other cheesecloth, you will need to adjust the number of layers for your applications. I used it to soak up water droplets from the bottom of the top steamer pan so my steam buns will come out with shiny, smooth skin.

I have been using “If You Care” muffin cups for years and when you take the paper off, no part of muffin comes off with it.

Best Yet Non-Toxic Bug Spray

Since spring, some mysterious tiny bugs moved into my basement. I resisted in using the bug bumb. 1. Hoping that they’ll leave so I don’t have to kill them. 2. If I have to kill them, I don’t want to poison people by come in contact with the poison that’ll be everywhere in the room.

CedarCide Best Yet Quart Spray BottleThen I heard about CedarCide, 100% natural, non-toxic, people/pet safe, and made in Taxes, USA. Out of desperation (since the bugs didn’t hear my plead for them to leave), I bought a Best Yet 32 oz spray bottle to try.

I started by cleaning the shelfs and carpet, then sprayed along the base of the wall. It didn’t work so well. Before I gave up, I sprayed the ceiling (a wood encased compartment for recessed lighting). That did the trick.

The effect was immediate. No more feeling that some things are crawling up my legs to hide in the seams of my cloth and ready to bite.

According to CedarCide, Best Yet kills bed bugs and their eggs. They also say that it is safe on pets and human skin as a bug repellent, and since it is oil based, it won’t be sweat off easily.

There is also a gallon size available for refills or bigger jobs but so far I’ve only used up 1/4 of the bottle for a 200 sf room.

Although the scent is not too strong but if you spray a large amount at once, I suggest you leave the area closed for a day or over night. I also covered electronics with newspaper, just in case the droplet go into the machines, but I’m just being paranoid.

So, thumbs up for CedarCide Best Yet Bug Spray!

Bandages, Not Made in USA?

Check the bandages in your first aid box, are you sure they are made in USA?

People all over the world trust the quality of US brand because products made in the States are usually safer and better. But on a trip to drug stores for bandages, I realized, even with first aid items, US brands might not be US made.

I started with the brand that took up most of the shelf space, none of this brand was made here. Next, I moved to the 3M Nexcare, thank havens, these are made in USA. Then I got curious about “green” bandages.

From the bandages I found at Whole Foods, it looks like “latex-free” is the feature, since some people are allergic to latex. These are what I ended up getting.

Nexcare Waterproof Clear Bandage

Nexcare Waterproof Bandage Made in USANexcare Waterproof Clear Bandage is made of a clear material that lets the air in and keeps the water out. At first sight, I thought, how can this thin, clear layer handle my frequent hand washing. It also took me a while to figure out how to put it on. (see this application demonstration, 28 seconds into the video.)

As Nexcare advertised, it stayed on until I decided to take it off a few days later. My cut was healed and it didn’t leave a ring of stickiness.

Nexcare Soft’n Flex Bandage

nexcare soft'n flex bandages made in usaIf you would rather have the traditional bandage, Nexcare Soft’n Flex Bandage is the pick. It is latex-free, comfortable to wear, and flexible to the movements. It stays on well but I must say the waterproof ones did much better.

Before you run out to the store for these US made bandages, make sure to visit Nexcare’s Coupons & Rebates page and save some money!

[NOTE] Please see the 2015 update on more USA made options.

Made in USA Measuring Spoon Set

It’s hard to find everyday things that are made in USA. For this reason, I’ve been searching for measuring spoons for over a year.

Pourfect 12-Piece Measuring Spoon SetLast week, I found them – Pourfect 12-Piece Measuring Spoon Set. They came in 8 different colors. Each set comes with a leveler and hard to find sizes like 2 tablespoon and 3/4 teaspoon. I like the wide handle, big text, and they are not at all flimsy like the old set I have.

Besides the fact that I appreciate the quality, I’m happy to support Pourfect, who manufacture all their products in the States. And I will continue to search for US made products and hope you will, too.

Best Green Kitchen Grime Cleaner

Naturally It's Clean Kitchen cleanerAfter getting an amazing result from Naturally It’s Clean Carpet Spot Treatment, I tried their Kitchen enzymes based cleaner.

I sprayed it on a corner of my stovetop, waited a few minutes, wiped the surface with a microfiber cloth, then out came it’s smooth surface. A few areas that had thicker grease, I sprayed again, then wipe it clean. No Elbow Grease Necessary!

Make sure to click on the before and after photo to see the performance up close.

If you think a spot might be really hard to clean, I recommend waiting for 10 minutes before wiping it off, much easier that way.

Who knew enzymes can do more than helping people digest our food!

Best Green Carpet Spot Cleaner

UPDATE: Folex has replace this as my #1 carpet spot cleaner (12/16/2015)

Reuse is a good idea. Using something until they can no longer function is even a better idea. That’s why we have the need to spot clean our carpet.

After trying all kinds of big name carpet spot cleaner and not getting the results I wanted, I decided I should at least go green.

Naturally It's Clean Carpet Spot CleanerAs a test, I bought a bottle of Naturally It’s Clean Carpet Cleaner, expecting it to only work as well as the other cleaners I’ve tried. I soaked a pretty dirty spot waited 5 minutes, dried it with an old t-shirt. Wow, that spot is now clean!

I was so impressed, I went to Naturally It’s Clean web site and found out that they have products for floor, kitchen, laundry, toilet, and more. They are all non-toxic, safe, and made in USA. If you want to find it locally, use their “Where to Buy” tool.

I’m trying their Kitchen cleaner next.