Tag Archive | green living

What size scoop? 

Subtitled: Saving for a whole year off – income cut, not lifestyle cut tip number 6

You may have noticed that every Tuesday I have been posting my money saving tips. Our ways to save without impacting on our lifestyle are generally the lazy way out or the easy guide to saving. Little things that don’t take much effort. Things that can become routine and thus don’t involve much thought. They also tend to be environmentally beneficial, which is generally why I put them into place.

So onto my next tip.

I’m not really the world’s best housekeeper. I like a clean and tidy house, I just don’t have time nor inclination to clean much. 

Friends and family say I should get a cleaner. Been there, done that. One did an awesome job. But she got pregnant, damn her. (Only joking!) The others did really bodgy jobs. I resented paying for something not done properly. 

I’m just too tight-arsed now to pay for a cleaner. Even if I could be bothered finding one I was happy with, I’d rather spend my money on travel and our mortgage and clothes and our year off. 

I still sort of keep clean house, well not really, but I am quite fastidious with my clothes. So here’s one of my money saving tips around cleaning clothes. 

Again, this is not a new tip for this year on 80% of our income. Still, it’s one that allows us to save money where it doesn’t make an impact on our life but allows us to spend on things we like. And while it might be pennies, take care of the pennies and … blah blah blah you know the rest.

Tip number 6: Use less detergent than they say on the package to wash your clothes.  

You don’t need a full scoop to clean your clothes. I buy the top quality clothes detergent, mostly when it is on special. I don’t use pre-stain removers, except sometimes on white clothes. I don’t use a full scoop of detergent. Ever. Half a scoop is enough. Three-quarters if the clothes are really dirty.

Having an outstanding brand of washing machine (Miele), the best detergent and drying clothes in the sun means, in the main, stains and marks disappear. (Except for wool but that’s not going to change as you can’t bleach knitted clothes anyway.)

OK, we’re not mechanics or working in environments where are clothes getting really filthy. But then neither do most people. 

Really, you don’t need much of any product to clean anything – sinks, cupboards, door frames, floors. The water and rubbing gets rid of most dirt. Any detergent really does the same job. So buy fewer products all round and use less of it. Most liquid cleaning products are mainly water anyway. And scent. 

If you don’t believe me, here’s what Choice, the Australian Consumer Advocacy group says:

How much laundry detergent should I use?

Depending on which laundry detergent you choose, you may be able to use half (yes, half!) the recommended dose and still get a great wash, saving yourself money and giving the environment a bit of a break. In the past we’ve tested top performing laundry detergents and they performed just as well on all stains at half the recommended dose, while others performed well at half the dose on several types of stains. While we can’t test every dose variation, treat the dosing scoop or cap more like a polite suggestion and experiment with your detergent – you may find you can use a lot less than you think and still get a wash you are happy with.

I can’t stand it when clothes stink (and I use that word with full intent) stink, I say, of detergent scent. Doesn’t smell fresh to me. Smells overly perfumed with cheap artificial scent. If you can smell the detergent after the clothes have dried, you’re using too much. Use less. Dry in fresh air.

And this applies to all products for cleaning all things. Use less than the “recommended” amount on the packaging.

Save money. Save the environment. Chances are you will also get fewer headaches. 

Clean your shower with shampoo

Do you have some shampoo you just don’t really like? Maybe it’s a bit too harsh on your hair; maybe you just don’t like the scent. 

Well here’s a hint. 

Wash your shower screen, bathroom basin and bath with your shampoo. 

You will be amazed at how clean and shiny shampoo makes the bathroom. Better than any bathroom cleaner. 

I buy a nice, cheap, cruelty-free, Australian-made one just to clean my bathroom. 

No harsh chemicals to wreck your clothes or burn your skin. No headaches from overpowering chemicals. No lingering, chemical smell. And you can clean your shower while in the shower. Standing on shampoo doesn’t hurt your feet. 

Gentle enough to be used on human skin. What bathroom cleaner can claim that?

I have all these little hotel freebies and samples to use up but I don’t like the scent and they are a bit harsh for my bleached hair. Silly me! Why haven’t I used these instead of the one I buy especially?

So I am killing two birds – using up my stash and cleaning my bathroom. 

A bit doubtful about the cleaning power? Think you have to use bleach? Or disinfectants? Give shampoo a go and be impressed. As to needing to use bleach or disinfectants, read this, where it says it is more important to clean a surface than use disinfectant. And that’s from the Australian governments National Health and Medical Research Council. 


Recycling bath water

Subtitle: Guilt free bubble bathing. A how to guide. 

I use the water to fill my toilet cistern. 

Here’s the maths for those that are interested, as promised.

I use a 2 litre container. 

It takes 3 scoops to fill the cistern so my cistern is 6 litres. It doesn’t have half flushes. 

I kinda kept count of how many flushes I filled up the cistern. Give or take a couple, my bath gave me 15 refills. So my bath takes over 90 litres. 

I stop doing it when the water level is so slow I can’t fill the container and anyway by then there’s a bit of dust in the bottom of the bath. Not the best look. 

According to Yarra Valley Water the average half full bath uses 80 litres and the average full bath uses 140 litres so I am not doing too bad. 

I get to relax in my bath, know I am not using the water selfishly as I would flush my toilet and I save money. 

Today is raining. Best kind of weather to relax in a bath. I get the look up and see the rain through the window. 

Recycling bath water

I commented on Blueday Jo’s green and thrifty post about my use of bath water to fill the cistern. 

Unable to answer her queries about amount of water used in flushing the toilet with anything resembling an accurate approximation, I thought it best to look into the matter. 

I love a deep, hot bath. With or without bubbles. Always have. Macerating in my juices sounds like my idea of heaven. While I always felt a little guilty about the amount of water used, that guilt ramped up after Jo wrote about friends she had who had a farm in South Australia where water is so scarce. 

As a result, I had fewer baths. I checked the water temp as the bath filled so I didn’t have to let water out to readjust the temperature by adding more water. I didn’t delay getting into the bath so I had to add more warm water. Still, my deep bath uses a lot of water. 

So I started using the water to flush my toilet. I leave a plastic container in the bathroom just for this purpose. It wasn’t very successful so I only did this for urine flushing. 

Then our toilet handle broke. So Mr S removed the cistern lid. As luck would have it, our toilet is a non-standard antique-reproduction flusher. So it was beyond Mr S’s repairing skills. So the lid stays off. 

Which is brilliant for my conscience. 

I am able to fill the cistern with my container from my bath. It takes three scoops to fill the cistern. 

Guilt assuaged. I will flush the toilet anyway so I can have a bath guilt-free as I am reusing the water in a way that is water-use neutral. 

Our non-standard antique-reproduction cistern doesn’t have a half flush. But the full flush is not always very effective. Sometimes we have to flush twice. Actually, often we have to flush twice. (I am sure you get my meaning.) So using the bath water is actually quicker than waiting for the cistern to slowly fill. 

Not that I have a bath that often. 

So how many flushes does my bath do? 

That is a question I will answer in a few days. 

All my woes and stresses have soaked away in a bath tonight. I will keep a tally of cistern filling and let you know. 

And with the help of a calculator, I can work out how much guilt-free water I use in my bath.