Monday, March 30, 2009

Going Green (or attempting to) Part I

I enjoy reading blogs where people share what they’re doing to be green and/or frugal (like passionatehomemaking or frugalgranola) and while I’m nowhere near where these ladies are in their efforts, or as hardcore about it, I thought it might be fun to post a few things we’re doing. Incidentally, my going green attempts are also money-saving options, which is nice these days since everyone can stand to save a little more moolah!

First off, and the thing most people think I’m crazy for, is that we use cloth diapers. Before you’re horrified, you should know that these aren’t your Grandma’s fold and pin cloth diapers. They’re actually very much like disposables except that you wash them. We use bumGenius one-size cloth diapers. You can check them out here. They have a snap system that allows them to grow with your child. They’re supposed to last all the way up through potty-training. Since Sam is, as my Mom lovingly refers to him, our little giant baby, he may outgrow them before he’s to the potty training stage, but I’m hoping they’ll get us close. We really love them. Mike even likes them, and it took some major convincing to get him to go for it. I think Sam looks super cute in them, too!

I also use cloth wipes. This is much easier than it sounds. I have a wipes warmer that I fill up halfway with my wipes solution (just a squirt of baby wash, a tiny bit of Burt’s Bees apricot baby oil, and a drop or two of tea tree oil, all mixed with warm water) and then I put a stack of folded baby washcloths in and let them soak up the mixture. The warmer keeps them nice and fresh and warm. I like to think Sam appreciates it! :) This really is easier for me than using disposable wipes because I can just throw everything into my diaper pail and wash it together, rather than having to separately trash the wipe and put the diaper in a different container.

Since this post is already getting long, I’ll just mention one other thing. I’ve been trying my hand at making my own “green” cleaning products. Plain old distilled white vinegar is a great cleaning product because it is a natural disinfectant. You can use it full strength for tough jobs, or dilute it with water for everyday clean-ups. The smell can be pretty strong, though. One thing I’ve tried that works well is to place the peel from an orange in a jar with vinegar (about a cup and a half per orange peel) and leave it in your pantry for a couple of weeks, giving it an occasional shake. Then, after 2 weeks or so, just strain the vinegar out into a jar and you’ve got orange infused vinegar that smells pretty good. I dilute this about half and half with water in a spray bottle and use it for most of my cleaning. There’s still a slight vinegar smell while you use it, but that smell dissipates as it dries and you’re left with a fresh orange scent. You can also use lemon peel, or combine the two. I’ve also been trying out some other cleaning product recipes, and I’ll update you with ones I wind up liking (if anyone is interested, that is!).

I’d love to hear your ideas for being green and frugal!


  1. I love your ideas! I actually have started your vinegar solution cleaner at my house. I add a few drops of tea tree oil that I already had (from my attempt at cloth diapers) and that really helps with the vinegar smell too. I really like your orange slice idea though!

  2. You know, the cloth diaper idea interests me. It is so wasteful to use disposable but oh man I bet it's easier! I'm excited to pick your brain about that. And the homemade cleaning stuff looks easy enough! I could do that!! Definitely keep writing about this stuff :)

  3. Well it's safe to say that Blake's guitar is NOTHING like Mike's! So to him it's just a toy :) Mike uses his in the better way than Blake. Maybe he can teach him a thing or two :)

  4. girl you are way better than me b/c i think that eric could do the cloth diaper thing, but i'm seriously doubting it. i told him if he wanted to wash them, then he could do it-haha!!!:)

  5. Wow Steph! You amaze me that you use cloth wipes & diapers! So what do you do w/ the diapers when you aren't home??

  6. Hey Tiearra! It really isn't hard to do the cloth. While we're out and about, I just be sure to have a plastic bag or two in our diaper bag and I put the dirty diaper in there and then take care of it when we get home. It's really no hassle at all. I do use disposable wipes while we're out though - the cloth ones get super cold when they're not in a warmer.