Zero Waste: Stain Stick

Zero Waste: Stain Stick

Confession #1: I am super lazy about laundry.

Laundry used to consume WAY too much of my time, so last year I established a designated laundry day once a week. It works great [so long as my partner doesn’t sneak loads into the washer – which he does FREQUENTLY] except that a week between washes means that I have to be more proactive about stains.

And I’ve already admitted that I’m super lazy about laundry. Historically, if one of the kids have played with their pasta sauce or rolled around in the mud outside or poured hit chocolate down their front – well, I would set the clothing aside until I threw it in the laundry. And quite honestly, if it didn’t come out in the wash…well, who cares? These little kids clothes are like $5 for a pack of three.

Well, times have changed. Or rather, I have changed. It is no longer okay for me to trash stuff that I am just too lazy to clean properly. I am so embarrassed that this used to be my attitude toward clothing, as if it is disposable just because it is inexpensive.

[I could go off on a huge tangent here, but I will spare you in this post.]

Part of zero waste, minimalist, and simple living is about taking care of your stuff. Dare I say, it is a HUGE part. So, it’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and handle my home like I actually value everything in it.

Confession #2: I used to “Shout it out.”

You are all familiar with the Shout stain-remover, right? Miracle worker, really.

There have definitely been occasions when I spilled something on my favorite t-shirt or – god forbid – a shirt I borrowed from a friend and had to do an emergency Shout session. [Shout sessions consist of soaking and spraying and scrubbing and praying – on the knees if necessary – and then repeating until the stain is gone.] I mean, for real, that stuff works!

BUT, Shout comes in a plastic bottle that I would rather not buy again. So when I stumbled upon the stain stick, I was super excited to give it a try.

Remember that aforementioned hot chocolate incident? Well, here you can see the aftermath. The other shirt has a banana stain that has already been washed and dried [oops].

I followed the instructions on the stick: “Wet stick and stained area. Run into fabric and lather. Wash as usual.” Very simple.

And voila!

Good as new!

The banana stain, however, didn’t fare as well, so I have learned a valuable lesson: pre-treat IMMEDIATELY.

I’ve been using the stain stick to pre-treat all our messy clothes with excellent results. And we have A LOT of messy clothes. I have four children under the age of six, folks. Things get really messy around here.

Confession #3: I’m not perfect and that’s okay.

Sometimes, despite my best intentions, things sit dirty and stain and it’s a bummer. But I am only human. I’m trying to do my best. And I think the stain stick over the plastic bottle is a step in the right direction.

🧺 🧺 🧺

Karis

Why I decided not to DIY laundry detergent

Why I decided not to DIY laundry detergent

Since we began reducing our waste, I’ve been changing the products that we purchase, but I’ve also been changing the way that we make purchases and even the reasons that we make purchases. So, when our laundry detergent ran out, I didn’t just head to Walmart to replace the bottle as I may have done in the past. I also didn’t scour the couponing world to see if I could find some for super cheap.

Instead, I thought about how to find [or make] an effective and no waste alternative. I read recipes. I read reviews. I read tips and tricks. I read pros and cons. [Geez, trying to be a responsible consumer is time-consuming!] But, in the end, I realized there is no purely waste-free option available to me [outside of growing and harvesting my own soap nuts]. Even if I make my own detergent, I will have to buy washing soda and borax and citric acid or whatever else – and it will all come in packaging. So, I would be making my own detergent [yay, me! I’m so crunchy and thrifty] but still creating waste from the packaging of several different ingredients that I need to make the detergent in the first place.

So instead of making my own, I decided to purchase my detergent from an eco-friendly, responsible company who cares about our planet and also about getting my clothes clean.

Turns out, this brought to light an even greater need than just my own waste reduction: the need to support businesses that are reducing waste.

Environmentally-friendly, ethical companies NEED our consumer dollars. We need to support businesses that protect and preserve natural resources, that value quality and sustainability, and that treat their employees right. And we should EXPECT to pay more for these products because it costs more money to produce a product ethically and responsibly. If we do not support these businesses then they will not be able to stay in business. And I won’t be able to buy ethically sourced, environmentally-friendly laundry detergent.

So then the choice becomes what organization do I want to support with my business?

I decided to go with the company that I am already using for my cloth diaper laundering. I’m not sure why I had a separate detergent for diapers, as if the “natural” detergent was not good enough for my regular clothes. But, regardless, I’m consolidating down to one brand, one detergent, purchased in as big a box as I can find and paying whatever they want me to pay, because my priority is the earth, not money. Which feels great, by the way. It is an honor to support companies that share my values – even if they cost more.

I love that Biokleen is family owned and operated, that their products are made in the USA [guaranteeing a fair wage for their employees and supporting the American economy], and that they are producing “natural and effective cleaners…with a passion for innovation, dedication to performance and a guiding commitment to our planet.”

These folks are right up my alley.

I also chose them because I have already been using their products and think they are great.

[No, I’m not making money off this advertising – you’re welcome, Biokleen!]

In fact, the only thing that would make them better would be if they were local to me [rather than in Vancouver, WA] because I really like supporting local businesses.

Of course, there are plenty of other eco-friendly companies out there to support. I also really like Charlie’s Soap and will probably purchase their detergent in the future too.

I’m not ONLY trying to reduce my personal waste. I want to reduce ALL waste. So by supporting the businesses that are being responsible with our natural resources, I am doing a much greater thing than just buying a product without packaging. While I think both are important, the former will change the way products are made and the latter is only going to change how the product is packaged.

Anyway, time to do some laundry!

Karis