Ugh. Is there anyone that actually likes doing laundry? This has really been on my mind lately since I am thinking of trying cloth diapers with this little one expected in July. I tried them with my oldest son and it didn’t work out, for several reasons. I was too chicken to try with my second son. Now this is the last one and I am thinking of all those disposable diapers going into the landfills and all that money wasted on them! Which brings me back to the laundry. I hate it anyway and to add more on top of that! I think it might be worth a shot though…

Ways to Green Your Laundry (without too much trouble):

  • Buy commercial laundry detergents that are more eco-friendly. Some brands to consider are Bi-O-Kleen, Seventh Generation, Ecover, Life Tree and Earth Friendly Cleaner. These are vegetable-oil-based without synthetic fragrances.
  • Castile soaps like Dr. Bronner’s also work great, although it would be wise to prep your clothes before switching from detergent to soap by washing them initially with 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar for a full load to prevent yellowing. Adding 1/4-1/2 cup baking soda is also useful to prevent build-up of soap.
  • Add 1/2 cup washing soda to wash cycle will act as a booster for heavily soiled clothes.
  • Add 1/2 cup baking soda to rinse cycle to deodorize and brighten clothes.
  • 1-2 cups of vinegar added to the rinse cycle will act as a fabric softener.
  • Use cold water to wash and line dry when you can. Always use cold water to rinse.

Happy Earth Day 2008!

What are you doing today?

  • Have you shared the importance of recycling with your kids? Make an art project using recycled materials.
  • It’s also TV Turnoff week! Use this to discuss energy usage and find fun things to do together during times when you might normally use the tv or computer.
  • Try taking the bus, walking, or biking instead of driving a car.
  • Compost! Buy a compost bin or start a worm bin. Collect food waste (another important lesson in consumption) and garden waste for healthy compost for your yard.
  • Going shopping? Take a reusable bag! Whether it’s the grocery store, mall, local boutique, etc. using a reusable bag will cut down on waste, some of which is not recyclable anyway, and some stores even give a discount! Don’t have any? Most craft stores have plain canvas bags that would be fun for kids to decorate.
  • My personal favorite: a nature walk! Walk around your neighborhood, go to a local state park, find a guided walk near you. Use this opportunity to show your kids great reasons to reduce, reuse, recycle!
  • Educate yourself on the issues and use that knowledge when voting. Oregon’s primary is still coming up! Make your voices heard!

There are some great ideas out there. Even if you just do one!

Earth Day 2008

It’s almost here! This weekend there are so many great activities to choose from to celebrate Earth Day
with your family!

Earth Day started with an idea in 1962 by Senator Gaylord Nelson. The idea was to put the environment into the political limelight through a huge grassroots protest over the state of the environment. Nelson thought to use the great energy of the anti-war movement and infuse it into the environmental movement. By the time of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, 20 million people were involved in their local communities due to the spread of the spontaneous grassroots organization. Now more than half a billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year.

Will you be joining them? Here is a sampling of activities from the Portland area:

Sat., April 19: City Repair Project presents “Dance of the Dinosaur,” a festival with music, food, kids’ activities and 150 vendors and educational booths, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at Overlook Park, N Fremont St. at Interstate Ave., Portland. Free.

Sat., April 19: Join Shift to Green, a 12-mile bike tour of Portland businesses taking steps to reduce global warming. Registration is at 9:30 a.m.; tour starts at 10 a.m. from EcoMotion, 1625 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland. Tour winds through inner Portland, visits five businesses and concludes at City Repair Project’s Earth Day celebration at Overlook Park in N Portland. $10 suggested donation covers t-shirt/food. Details at

Sat., April 19: Earth Day celebration at People’s Food Co-op offers workshops, tours, music (“scratchy vaudevillian 20’s and 30’s vocal jazz”) and free organic cotton tote bags while supplies last, noon-4 p.m. at the co-op, 3029 SE 21st Avenue (between SE Division St. and Powell Blvd.). Free.

Sat., April 19: Friends of Trees and SOLV will lead volunteers in weeding, mulching and watering newly-planted trees and plants, 9 a.m.-noon on the riverbank at Willamette Park, SW Macadam Ave. and Nebraska St., Portland. Free. To volunteer or find out about other events related to Earth Day: 503-282-8846 or

Sun., April 20: Oregon Zoo presents “Party for the Planet,” Includes games, crafts and polar bears playing with Boomer Balls and ice blocks. Environmental film festival begins at noon (see listing below); additional film charge applies. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland. Requires Zoo admission; $6.75-$9.75.

Sat., April 19/Sun., April 20: “Seeds of Science: A Look at Sustainability in the Food We Eat and Grow” at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. both days. OMSI is at 1945 S.E. Water Ave., Portland. Admission: $9-$11. or 503-797-6674.

SOLV IT Earth Day Activities: Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism (SOLV) has organized over 100 Earth Day clean-up activities from Cathedral Park in North Portland to the South Waterfront area. You can choose from tree planting, litter pick-up, invasive plant removal, school yard landscaping, trail maintenance and watershed renewal, among other options. Saturday, April 19, 9:00am to 12:00pmĀ

Spring Cleaning: A Few Green Recipes to Try

Has anyone actually started their spring cleaning yet? I haven’t, but I really am going to do it this year! Especially now that I have found a few good eco-friendly, homemade recipes to try. Hopefully you have amassed all of your main ingredients and are ready to put them into action.

Here are a few simple recipes to get you started:


All-purpose cleaner

  • Combine 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar or 1/2 tsp liquid soap (castile soap) and 3/4 cup warm water into a spray bottle. Shake to blend. For bigger jobs: 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar, 1/4 cup liquid soap and 2 gallons of warm water in a bucket. Stir to blend.

Glass/Window Cleaner

  • Combine 1 quart warm water with 1/4 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp lemon juice into a spray bottle. Shake to blend. You can also use just apple cider vinegar to get the cleaning properties of vinegar with a nice scent.

Crayon Mark Remover

  • Parents should always have this tip handy! It is so simple too, although I have yet to use it since I learned about it, so you’ll have to let me know how great it is.
  • Rub area with toothpaste and a damp cloth. For use on walls (do not use on non-vinyl wallpaper), floors, counters, cabinets, and furniture.

Hand Wash Disinfectants

  • Get rid of those alcohol based hand sanitizers! The EPA recognizes that soap is a legitimate disinfectant, why shouldn’t you? Look for vegetable oil based soaps wherever you shop.
  • Tea tree oil is antibacterial and antifungal. Put 10 drops of tea tree oil to 4 ounces of liquid castile soap into a pump container. Be sure not to ingest orally. Discontinue use if there are any signs of an allergic reaction.

That should get us off to a good start! I intend to add more in the coming weeks as well. Please note that I did not include any recipes with Borax. Borax is considered to be potentially toxic, particularly to children and pets.