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Candice Batista's tips to go green in the laundry room: 

I’ve talked about reducing the amount of exposure to toxic chemicals a number of times, and the same goes for the laundry room; you want to make sure that the detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches and dryer sheets are all non-toxic and not harmful to you or the planet.
You want to make sure you read the label closely, words like alcohol, butyl, sulfates and really any thing you can’t pronounce  – should be avoided – these chemicals are endocrine disruptors, you also want to avoid phosphates – they help remove minerals and cause harmful algae to bloom in waterways.
These are common words you seen on laundry soaps and should be avoided altogether.
Other ingredients to avoid: phosphate, chlorine, ammonia, petroleum solvents, alcohol, butyl, glycol ether, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) or SLES (sodium laureth sulfate), EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), DEA (diethanolamine; no SARA Title III, CA 65, or EPA priority pollutants.
These are foaming agents, preservatives and petroleum based synthetic chemicals used to create scents.
The problem is most detergents don’t list all the ingredients in details because they are not required to by law to disclosure this information, in many cases they use vague terms like “surfactant” or “washing soda” or “brightener”  - sometime you have to look for labels that state what the product does NOT contain. In addition, if you see cross bones or the works harmful and dangerous on a given bottles, don’t buy it. You also want to avoid dyes and perfumes, yes you may wake up to Spring Blooms, but you are ingesting harmful chemicals that cause asthma and allergies in many people.
I have tried everything! And these two stand out for me!! first, the Rockin Green Laundry Detergent, it was actually formulated to wash Dirty cloth diapers but can be used on all clothing, it’s Dye-free – No fillers – No enzymes – No optical brighteners – 100% phosphate-free. 
 I also really like Seventh Generation this company has eco-cred, the products are priced very well, the scent is mild, so that’s good and it’s great to use for hard stains, this is the 2 ex, most people who use green laundry products know this one, but is great with stain removal and has a low price and least perfumy scent, no toxins, free of all that chemical junk. 
And making its Canadian TV debut is the new 4 X coming out this Spring, this has triple enzymes to fight really tough stains, I am so excited about this product, 66 loads of laundry for one bottle. 4 times the concentrate and the bottle, the first of its kind, is 100% compostable and you can recycle the bottle and the lid. I also highly recommend the stain removal and fabric softener. 
You also want to make sure that you are not using conventional dryer sheets, laced with harmful chemicals, I found these wool balls, hand made in Nova Scotia, they are 100% wool and are simply fabulous. They work in reducing dryer time, saving you money and time. 

Dryer Sheets: 
Washers and Dryers: 
Well, these have come a long way in the past few years; you want to make sure that the washer is energy star certified, these are normally 50% more energy efficient.  Always look for washers that have auto sensors, little pricy upfront but will actually save you money in the long run, these sensors will determine the load of your washing, how dirty are your clothes, so you can determine the exact water to use and avoid any waste.
When buying a machine, you want to look at the EnerGuide Label, this gives you information on the amount of energy the machine uses and the operating cost per year. You can compare machines based on the energy guide label.
Energuide Label - 3 keys things to look for on the these labels: 
  • The large number is the appliance’s estimated annual energy consumption, measured in kiloWatt hours (kWh) per year
  • The shaded bar scale displays the energy consumption range for similar appliance models. The figure at the left end indicates the lowest consumption rating; the figure on the right indicates the highest.
  • The arrow just above the bar scale shows where the appliance ranks relative to similar models.
For example, leave a 100-watt light bulb turned on for 10 hours, and you will use 1,000 watt hours, or 1 kWh. If your utility is charging you 8.5 cents per kWh, it would cost you just over 40 cents to leave that light on for 48 hours.
Front loaders are better than top loaders, use less water and a higher spin cycle making it more energy efficient.
Choose a machine that has varying temperatures for hot and cold washes. Washing in cold water will also save you money! You save over 6000 litres of water and $150 on energy costs, it adds up!!
Select a machine with several pre-programmed cycles and water levels.
For dryers, they are not energy star certified, you want to make sure has a moisture sensor. This automatically senses if your clothes are all dried up so it will stop, unlike manual settings wherein it continues to work even if the clothes are already dry.
The Whirlpool HE front load laundry pair, available at Lowes, has some cool features. 
There are sensors that gauge the weight of the load and how much water is needed.
There is a sensor that prevents over sudsing.
There is a compartment that holds enough detergent for 36 loads helping you to save you on wasting it.
Oxi Dispense Option – send oxygen through the load to help brighten clothes. So much better than bleach.
The dryer stops when the clothes are dry thanks to a sensor in the drum and
Laundry room accessories: 
I love the laundry room accessories from neatfreak, the fabric is called Everfresh, it’s environmentally friendly, they have 100% natural enzymes embedded in the fabric that helps reduce odour causing bacteria. 
Laundry Room Accessories Available At:
Of course every laundry room needs a clothes rack, air drying your clothes is one of the best things you can do for your electricity bill, the lifespan of your clothes and the planet too. In fact, if you used this in the summer only you would save 45 bucks on energy bills.  
The Blue Planet Laundry stackable laundry basket, it made from 75% recyclable materials and is recyclable. Love that! 

Blue Planet Laundry Basket Available At:

Wednesday, February 2, 2012

Gardening & Outdoors

Houseplants for Every Space