Switching to Family Cloth (aka reusable cloth wipes)

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I’ve been using family cloth for about a year now. If you told me two years ago that future me would go full blown hippy and start using cloth wipes instead of toilet paper I wouldn’t have believed you. The truth is, I didn’t make the switch for the reasons you would think. I didn’t do it because it’s more environmental friendly (sorry), I didn’t do it prove anything to anyone or to fit into a particular stereotype, and I didn’t do it to because other cool bloggers said I should. Hah. I did it almost out of necessity. Almost.

Because of my IBS, I would find myself running to the restroom 5-10 times a day, depending on how reactive my stomach was. This led to the problem of going through crazy amounts of toilet paper. Buying toilet paper for the house became my particular responsibility since I was the reason we were out all the time. And let me tell you, buying a large bundle of toilet paper every other week was getting expensive and really really annoying. Along with the expense, I was also having issues with really irritated skin. I decided to switch to wet wipes to which my husband immediately got on my case about due to the damage it makes to the plumbing. I knew this of course but I honestly didn’t really care. Sorry, not sorry, I was desperate. I jumped on google to try to find biodegradable wet wipes which would be much better for plumbing (I think) when I came across the term “family cloth”.

Family cloth are essentially cloth wipes that you use instead of toilet paper. You wash/dry them and they will last for years. 

What do I need to get started?

Clean Storage: I use a discrete wicker box with a lid that sits next to my toilet. I store 24 wipes in there at a time which lasts through the week. Your storage can be anything; it can be a drawer in your bathroom or you can even just leave a stack on the toilets tank. It’s up to you. 

Dirty Storage: You need a place to store your dirty wipes. I use a wet bag that hangs on my toilet roll hanger. It has a waterproof layer so you won’t get any leakage. The soiled wipes are in the bag for no longer then a week so I’ve never had any issues with odor. If you wait longer to wash them then you might have a problem with your bathroom stinking up. Etsy has some really cute wetbags but if you don’t want to use a wetbag then your other option is a small trashcan with a reusable liner. 

Wipes: You can either buy your wipes or make them. I personally use flannel and birdseye cotton wipes but your fabric choice is 100% up to you. I would recommend trying an assortment of fabrics to see which you like better. My other suggestion is that you use a thin fabric. I’ve found that my birdseye cotton wipes are just too thick and rough so I don’t recommend them. I bought my wipes at Green Mountain Diapers and I suggest you try out their sampler pack. It should give you a good idea of which fabric will work best for you. 

For my Lichen Sclerosus peeps, I recommend you use a soft, non-dyed, natural fabric (like flannel) and blot instead of wipe when going #1 to reduce the friction/damage to your skin.

So how do I use them?

You use them like you would use toilet paper except instead of throwing the wipes in the toilet, you put them in the wetbag. My wet bag, pictured here, can fit all my wet wipes if needed. Everyone is different but I like to use my flannel wipes as wet wipes (I just run it under the faucet) and my birdseye cotton wipes as dry wipes.   

How do I clean them?

Cleaning your cloth wipes is simple. I run my 24 wipes through the wash, twice, on my lowest capacity setting. I wash twice because my washer only uses cold water at the moment (it’s a long story) and I want to make sure the washer really gets them clean. You only need to run them through once if you use hot water. You don’t need to use a special detergent. I use Tide free and clear for both washes and it gets the job done. You can either dry them in the dryer or hang dry. I like to hang dry because it dries faster outside here in San Diego and the sun dulls the stains.

I wash my wetbag with my wipes every other week. The wetbag must be hung up to dry becuase the dryer might melt the waterproof PUL fabric. 

How do I get rid of the stains?

Run them through the wash like you always do, then soak them in oxiclean or super washing soda until the stains are gone. I like to use super washing soda because it simply uses less chemicals. Once the stains are gone you can either run the wipes through the wash again or rinse them out by hand. I personally don’t bother with the stains since I’m the only one who ever sees them.

So that’s everything that I can think of when it comes to family cloth. I will update this post as I continue using my cloth wipes and if I find a brand that I LOVE I will be sure to share it with you. Please post any questions you have in the comment section!!!    

 

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6 Awesomely Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for Tea Lovers

You guys! It’s almost Christmas!!! Well, it’s still November but whatever. I’m one of those annoying people that immediately starts getting ready for Christmas the second halloween is over. Hah, sorry, not sorry. Christmas is literally my favorite time of year. I love going to the mall and seeing it all decked out in Christmas decorations. It makes me all warm inside. One thing I used to hate was Christmas shopping but with the internet it’s become so much easier to shop for people and I find stuff thats way cooler then anything I would find at the mall. 

I’ve put together a list of really cool things that I’ve found for my tea lover out there. There are no affiliate links here so even though I sound a bit salesman-like I’m actually just really excited for these products. 

Enjoy. 

6-awesomely-unique-christmas-gift-ideas-for-tea-lovers


1. Pumeli Tea Gift Sets {My top pick}

Ok, I know what I want for christmas. This is the most epic present you can find. Look, I put it in bold; that means it’s important! Get. This. Gift. As a fellow tea lover, one of the best parts of tea is finding super cute, one-of-a-kind, mugs/bags/products that no one else has. Pumeli gift sets is pretty much that; random tea finds, in a box. They sell gifts sets that combine hard to find or, dare I say, rare tea products like handmade tea cups, infusers, unique creams and lotions, and pair them with equally unique tea blends. I have yet to try these box sets but, this being my favorite find, I will definitely be dropping subtle hints for the hubby to get me a box set for Christmas.

Go check them out! I think my favorites are the yellow and teal one. *They also have coloring book tea sets!*

2. Tea Subscription Box

Anytime I see an Amazon shipping box sitting at my doorstep it feels like Christmas. It’s never anything cool; its usually clothes I ordered for the husband or a vitamin delivery. But still, there’s that 3 seconds of excitement before I remember it’s just socks.

A subscription box is a great gift because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Sign up for a couple months subscription and have the first one come in before christmas so they will have something to open on christmas morning {don’t forget to wrap it all pretty-like}. Make a cute homemade “You have a bla bla month subscription!” certificate for them for an added personal touch. Or you can just tell them. That works too.

There are so many different companies out there that offer a variety of products and tea. I made a few suggestions down below.

If you’re having trouble picking a tea subscription company here are a few that I would love to try out.

My Top Picks:

Monthly Muse: The subscription Box for Books and Tea {My top top pick!}
Just Add Honey: Tea and Honey Subscription Box
Art of Tea: Hand blended tea from around the world
Timely Tea: Unique and delicious teas that will expand you pallet to tea perfection
Simple Loose Leaf: 4 different varieties of loose leaf tea in each box plus some extra goodies {This is a good option if you have no idea what kind of tea they like}

3. One-of-a-Kind mugs and Tea cups

I mentioned earlier that unique mugs are {almost} the best part of enjoying a warm cup of tea. Here are a few I found around the interweb. I’m not going to lie; I had a lot of fun finding these.

If these aren’t the style then head over to these sites:
Etsy
Anthropologie
World Market
Think Geek

4. Blooming Tea

This is a fun visual experience. Blooming tea consists of a bundle of dried tea leaves wrapped around one or more dried flowers. When brewed, the flower opens up in a pretty little show of color. I have never tried this type of tea but the word around the interweb is that, as far as tea goes, it’s pretty weak. But it’s worth giving it a shot; you’ll get a little show out of it.

Photo cred for the people over at Serious eats. Check out their article to learn more about blossoming teas and how to brew them. 

Here are a few companies to check out that sell these little gems:
Teavana
Numi Organic tea
Mountain Rose Herbs
Primula
Teavivre

5. Funky Gifts

Funky gifts are fun. Direct your attention to the series of images below. On the top left we have a self watering herbal tea kit. Think hydroponics meets tea garden. On the top right we’ve got an adorable t-rex teapot. I’m a sucker for dinosaurs. This Etsy shop has a lot of colorful options to check out. The bottom left is a stackable tea tin to store loose tea. This is useful for the tea lover that likes to create his/her own herbal mix. Here are more color options and styles. The bottom right are real clover honey spoons; A great natural sweetener and goes well with most tea flavors.

6.Practical Gifts

I’m a practical lady. As much as I love the Pumeli gift boxes, I would probably get more use out of these practical gifts. These are products that I would probably buy for myself. The top left are reusable, organic, non-dyed cotton tea bags. These are great for the health conscious tea lover; no toxins leaking into to your cup of tea here. I would snatch these up in a second. If you’re handy with a sewing machine you could even make them yourself. In the top right we have a glass perfect tea maker. I personally have the plastic version that I received as a gift. It works great, I use it everyday, but if I had a choice I would have gotten the glass version. Heat makes plastic leach toxins more readily, so brewing hot tea in plastic isn’t the most ideal situation. This one is glass so you won’t have that problem. The bottom left product is a cold brew dispenser. My husband loves iced black tea so for someone like him it would be perfect. I would save us from having a literal pot of tea in the refrigerator. And, last but not least a Teavanas Perfect Tea Spoon. I use my measuring spoon set to measure out my tea but it would be nice to have a dedicated spoon. It would be cute for my tea/coffee station. 

Ok, well, I got carried away. I added way more things than I anticipated and I’m pretty much in love with everything on this list. So, friends and family, if your looking for a Christmas gift for me you can literally get anything on this list. I would be totally stoked. 

I also hoped it helped you guys out with your Christmas shopping. If nothing here looks enticing enough then check out this cool site. It has a bunch of fun random stuff. I’ve already bought 2 Christmas gifts from that site. 

What’s your favorite tea accessory? 

 

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Glass vs Stainless Steel: Which Plastic-Free Container is Best?

One way to make me cringe is to microwave a plastic food container in front of me.

Do it, I dare you. 

Microwaving plastic causes it to leach toxic chemicals in your food. When you apply heat to plastic, you are breaking down its chemical bonds. This causes chemicals to essential fall away from each other and into your food. You can’t see these chemicals but they are there. Some of these chemicals are something called estrogenic chemicals, which are chemicals that mimic estrogen. And that’s a bad thing. BPA was found to be an estrogenic chemical and has since been banned in baby bottles in the United States and many companies are stepping away from its use. But, even if you are using BPA-free plastic products, there are still other chemicals being leached into your food, potentially more dangerous chemicals. In this study, researchers tested plastic products both BPA-free and BPA containing products for estrogenic chemicals. Not only did all the products have detectable amounts of leached estrogenic chemicals but some BPA-free products actually had higher levels of it than BPA containing products. Kind of crazy. 

But my plastic containers say “microwave safe” on them, so they must be ok to use in the microwave.

NO! This really gets to me becuase manufactures are banking on the fact that you assume this. “Microwave safe” just means that your container will not MELT in the microwave. That’s it. It does not refer, in any way, to the safe use of that product in the microwave. 

So please, for my sake, stop using plastic containers. If you are having a hard time throwing them away then at a minimum stop using them for hot food and please stop microwaving them. My husband loves plastic containers and we still have a bunch crammed into our cabinets so I feel you. They are easy to use, light, and they won’t shatter on you. I’ve been slowly replacing them as they wear down. 

Below I have outlined the best plastic-free options for you and your family and I have found that glass and metal containers are the best options that we currently have in the market today. 

Enjoy.  

Glass


Pros:

  • Won’t leach any chemicals into your food (yay!)
  • Microwavable
  • Oven-safe(pyrex) options available: Bake them and then store leftovers directly in the fridge 
  • Good for hot and cold items
  • Transparent: easy to identify what’s inside when stored
  • Leakproof options available 

Cons:

  • Breakable 
  • Heavy
  • Lids are generally plastic so it’s not 100% plastic free
    • Don’t microwave them! 

What’s in my kitchen

Glasslock 18-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set

Rubbermaid Glass Food Storage Container, 22-piece Set

Stainless Steel


Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable and won’t shatter: Great for kids
  • Leakproof options available 
  • Stainless Steel lids make it 100% plastic free

Cons:

  • May leach Nickel and Chromium into your food 
    • Stainless steel cookware has been found to leach chemicals into your food. Studies have not been done for stainless steel containers so, until more studies are conducted, only use these containers for cold food products. (Email me if you found a study on this! I would love to read it.)
  • Not microwavable 
  • Not oven-safe
  • Good for cold food items only
  • Not transparent: may make it hard to identify items when stored

 

The Verdict 


Glass is the best option for at-home storage and adult use for on-the-go meals. I use glass containers for almost all of my food storage as well as my on-the-go lunch containers. Stainless steel containers are best used for small children for meals on-the-go. Some schools allow kids to use microwaves during lunchtime so make sure your kids know that metal containers can’t be microwaved.

Sources


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23984718

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