Friday, May 21, 2010

Small changes again

I was overwhelmed a few days ago, but I decided I need to keep making small changes. One is with laundry pretreatment. I use eco-friendly detergent, wash in cold water, hang most things to dry (unless it's heavy stuff like blankets, or I need something right away), and when I do use a dryer, I reuse squares of aluminum foil instead of dryer sheets to reduce static cling.

However, I still use Resolve (formerly Spray and Wash) to pretreat stains. That's partly due to the fact that I can buy a huge bottle of the stuff at Costco, and because it seemed to be the easy thing to do with a young child who gets a lot of stains on her clothing.

So a few days ago I decided to check out Resolve's ingredients list on the company's web site, and then google some of the ingredients to see whether/how toxic they are. And yikes!, several of them are, such as the first ingredient listed after water, ALCOHOL C-12 C-16 POLY (1-6) ETHOXYLATE. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this compound is "A major threat to the environment in case of a spill. Immediate steps should be taken to limit spread. Can easily penetrate the soil and contaminate ground water and nearby streams. Very toxic to aquatic organisms."

So I found a recipe online for making homemade laundry pretreatment spray from water, glycerin, castile soap and borax*. I've made it and will try it. One logistical advantage is that you can spray clothing and let the stuff sit, whereas the instructions for using Resolve say that you must launder clothes right away after spraying it. (Or else what? Will it burn a hole in the clothing?) This recipe will save me the half-hour or more before doing laundry of endlessly spraying stains, plus I can treat stains right away, instead of waiting until laundry day.

Another small thing I'm trying to do is buy gas at someplace else besides Arco (which is part of BP). I found a Chevron station recently with gas just as cheap. I know that Chevron's environmental record isn't that great either (is there any oil/gas company that is?), but I think the current goal is to send a message to BP so that they take their responsibility for the Gulf spill and cleanup.


* Borax is toxic if ingested, so keep out of children's reach. Also, if you follow this recipe, be sure to read the tips and warnings at the end (under the ad links).

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