It’s Not Easy Being Green….

Maybe, just maybe Kermit the Frog’s signature song lament is not far from the truth when it comes to being a Best & Brightest Sustainable Company.  In a day and age of corporate unaccountability those of us in the area of green technology who stand firm and are fully committed to the missional call to protect the environment locally and globally find it increasingly difficult to stand against the sometimes overwhelming tide of those who place greed over green.  In the short time I have been employed as a regional manager and field consultant for Selestial Soap Natural Products of Traverse City, MI  I have seen an increasing trend away from being green for some of the most ignorant reasons.  Be it a cost factor, or the “We Have Always Done It This Way” syndrome it seems both corporate and private sectors have seen being green as too high a price to pay.  I firmly believe that anything that amounts to anything in life comes with a cost, but the questions that confront us are these: Are we willing to sacrifice the short term loss for the long term gain?  Are we willing to place the future of the planet above and beyond any and all financial compensation?  Are we willing to take the risk needed to make environmentally sound decisions that will positively affect our children and future generations?  Yes, “Being Green” may surely set you apart from the normal but in the end do we want the weight of making life changing changes just a matter of WIFM (What’s In It For Me).  It is more than past the time that we in this seemingly few and far between group continue without compromise and courage to be a voice to those that have no voice or the clout that we can bring to the green sustainable technology landscape. Here’s to Being Green, easy or not. 

The Greening Of Spring Cleaning

I don’t know about you but I love the coming of Spring.  Everything that has been dormant becomes new and for some after a long cold hard winter the warmer temperatures and frequent sunshine changes the attitude from depressive to delightful.  Also a right of Spring is the inevitable “Spring Cleaning” that always must take place after our places of residence have been closed up for the most part.  We want our windows to sparkle, our floors to shine, and the aroma of freshness to pervade.  Enter a new product from Selestial Soap Natural Products that we know will do all that and much much more.  In our almost 4 hours of creating, producing and distributing 100% natural, pure, and Made In Michigan cleaning and laundry products so many have asked us to produce a plethora of other offerings.  Being an upstart company does not always allow you to grant every wish but in the case of our newest product launch it was a no brainer.  It seems that everywhere we went in the marketplace and our in-store demonstrations consumers were looking for a truly natural all purpose cleaner that would not only disinfect but also be 100% natural and pure.  Enter Selestial’s brand new ALL PURPOSE CLEANER!   This newest addition  disinfects on contact! Hypo Allergenic, Pleasant Clean Smell, Leaves Surfaces Sparking Clean, No Streaky Residue, Good for All Appliances, Floors, Glass,  Wood, Tiles, and Counter Tops.  If your favorite retailer does not carry it ask for it by name and watch our Facebook page for account placements in your area!

March Madness

  In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.  But in the a case of the month of March  it turns to NCCA madness.  All the hoopla etc that makes this time of the year unnerving can certainly drive oneself to distraction let alone pure insanity.  Same holds true in the suds-less world of Selestial Soap Natural Laundry Products.   What maddens us is that most people do not realize the importance of using each one of our products as a laundry system to get their clothes “cleaner-whiter-brighter”.    Case in point…recently I had seen a Facebook posting on one our cloth diaper retailers whose customer was having an issue with a “fishy” smell to their child’s diapers while using our “Soft Bottoms” laundry detergent for babies sensitive skin Great For Diapers!  Stripping and other recommendations from fellow cloth diaper users simply was not getting the issue resolved.  While conducting one of our in-store demo’s at this retail location that same customer stopped by to converse on what she had been experiencing.  We finally narrowed it down to the fact that yes she was using “Soft Bottoms” for her infants diapers and clothing but using another UN-named national brand detergent for her and her husbands laundry.  Bingo!  What she was doing was basically cancelling out all the  beneficial benefits of our product by using a detergent for family laundry that contained chemical additives and UN-natural ingredients and added residue to their laundry machine which transferred into her babies laundry.   We see this so often where a  family like this will be so overly concerned about what they launder their infant or children’s clothes in and will spare no expense but yet will have no problem in laundering their own wardrobe in either a generic or national brand laundry detergent that is on sale this week at their local retail store.  Our line of 100% natural and pure products from Selestial have been developed so that their should never be a need to buy related products from another source.  We carry everything from the detergent to the fabric softener, the stain removal spray, and the non-chlorine bleach thus eliminating the need to go to an off or national brand for same.  That day I urged her to purchase our UN-scented 100oz laundry detergent for their family laundry.  Days later I received a posting on Facebook from this customer: “Hey Selestial Soap, the “fishy” smell in Elliot’s diapers are gone!  Thank you for your wonderful gift:) I will never go back to my old laundry soap again:) thanks again!”  Case of “fishy” diaper odor solved!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Safety Tips For Your Household Dryer

In October of 2011 we gave you “The Case Against Dryer Sheets” which gave you information of just how toxic and flamable dryer sheets can be in the daily home laundry regimen.  We want to further expand on that topic but this time offer some GREEN safety tips to help eliminate the possability of your dryer catching on fire.  First some facts….

According to a recent study from the U.S. Fire Administration, residential dryer fires were associated with 12,700 fires nationally, resulting in 15 deaths and 300 injuries annually.

Clothes dryers may seem harmless, but failure to provide proper maintenance can have deadly results.  Avoiding a dangerous situation is actually pretty easy in most cases, just think ‘air flow.’  A significant buildup of lint can block the flow of air, which can result in excessive heat which can result in fires.  Failure to complete simple maintenance, such as minor cleaning, is the leading contributing factor for clothes dryer fires in homes.  Here are some helpful steps to avoid creating a catastrophic situation.

*Clean lint screen and comartment and brush off any remaining lint before or after each use of the dryer

*If you are not using Selestial Soap Natural Laundry Products Softening Rinse and are using the national brand fabric softner you will discover that residue from that product will accumulate in your dryer causing static electricity which could potentially iginite your dryer.  Our suggestion is that you thoroughly wash your lint screen in warm water using our non-sudsing Selestial Soap Laundry Detergent eliminating that film buildup that restricts air flow and from then on make our Softening Rinse your fabric softener of choice.

*Inspect the screen for even lint distribution and tears, and replace immediately to prevent overheating or lint passing into the duct and restricting air flow. 

*Do not open the lint panel while the tumbler is in operation.

QUARTERLY

*Inspect the duct, dampers and access covers for damage

* Clean all removable parts and make sure they operate freely.

*Vacuum the duct to remove excess lint buildup.

*On The unit itself, wipe down the blower, drive motor, and thermostat

*Check the belt tension and condition and replace if worn or cracked.

OTHER PRECAUTIONS

*Know that vapors could ignite when heated

*Don’t dry items that have been cleaned or soaked in gasoline, dry cleaning solvents, vegetable or cooking oil, machine oil or anything containing wax or chemicals, such as mop heads, and cleaning clothes any flammable or explosive substances.

*Do not operate a dryer if it is smoking, grinding or has missing or broken parts.

*Disconnect electrical power or close the gas shut-off  valve

*Disconnect electrical power or close the gas shut-off vavle as applicable before servicing.

* And finally NEVER bypass any safety devices!

 

Turning Over A New Leaf

I don’t know about you but every new year I make a series of resolutions.  Here are some national top ten ones from the past:  10:  Get organized, 9: Help Others, 8: Learn Something New, 7: Get Out of Debt, 6: Quit Drinking, 5: Enjoy Life More, 4: Quit Smoking, 3: Tame The Bulge, 2: Fit In Fitness, and the number one new years resolution: Spend More Time With Family And Friends.  Great resolutions all but by days and weeks later they are soon forgotten and we are back in to our life of routine.  How about this year instead of making a series of resolutions that will soon be a faded memory and left for dead, how about we turn over a new leaf…at least a green one when it comes to saving our planet and your clothing.  So here are 10 ways to GREEN your laundry: 

1.) Make sure it’s dirty

Unless you ran a marathon or spilled ketchup on your shirt, it’s ok to wear your clothing a few times in between washings. The most wear to clothing comes from washing and drying, so make them last longer by hanging it back up and giving it a second (or third) round. 

2.) Get up-to-date 

If your washer and dryer are of legal drinking age, it’s time for an upgrade. Older top-loading models use twice as much water as newer front-loading machines. And since the majority of energy is spent heating water, you don’t want twice as much water to heat with each load! Consider an Energy Star rated washer to get you savings of up to $550 in its lifetime (essentially it pays for itself!) 

3.) Make the Trek 

Get your laundry done faster and more efficiently by heading to a laundromat. The industrial loading washers and dryers are more efficient than home machines, so gather those quarters and a good book and start loading! 

4.) Watch what you put in the water

Choose one of the many eco-friendly laundry detergents (we highly recommend Selestial Soap Natural Laundry Products)  out there that get the job done without all the harsh chemicals and phosphates. Even better – opt for the concentrated version – there’s no need to package and ship all that extra liquid before it reaches your door. 

5.) Go Natural

Instead of using fabric softener, many of which contain toxic chemicals, here’s an eco friendly idea: add  1/2 cup of   Selestial Softening Rinse to your final rinse cycle. It balances the pH in the detergent to leave your clothes oh-so-soft.  

6.) Wash cold. Every time

90% of the energy used by a washing machine is to heat the water. Choose an eco friendly laundry detergent (again we highly recommend Selestial Soap Natural Laundry Detergent)  specialized for cold-water and you’ll keep your whites white, while saving energy (not to mention money on your energy bill).

7.) Fill ‘er up! 

Make sure each laundry load is full (but not jam-packed) to get the most out of the water and energy used for each load. If you have to wash a small load, make sure to change the load size if your machine gives you the option. 

8.) Hang it out to dry 

Your dryer is #2 on your household energy users (after your refrigerator). Lessen your environmental impact by saving energy and hang-drying as much as you can. Avoid stiff-feeling clothes by using the dryer for 10 minutes, and then hang drying the rest of the way. To maximize your dryer’s energy efficiency, run loads right after each other and put it somewhere other than a freezing cold basement where it needs extra energy to warm up. 

9.) DIY dryer sheets

For sweet-smelling, eco friendly laundry without the chemicals that are in disposable dryer sheets, make your own lavender sachet! Simply fill a cotton muslin bag with lavender (or other herbs of your choice), add a few drops of essential oils, then sew or tie shut. Give it a few squeezes and toss it in your dryer for great smelling laundry, au natural. 

10.) Just say no to dry cleaning

Step one? Avoid buying “dry clean only” clothing in the first place. Most dry cleaning methods use perchloroethylene (or “perc”), a toxic chemical that is very harsh on you and the environment. Many “dry clean only” items can actually be hand washed safely, but for those tough items, there are a few eco friendly options. Try wet cleaning which uses special equipment and detergents to safely clean your delicate clothing, or Carbon Dioxide cleaning which uses non-toxic liquid C02 to safely clean your clothes.

So with these green tips in mind may you join us in turning over a new leaf and “Saving The Planet Within Your Budget” in 2012!

 

The Case Against Powder Detergents

In the beginning of the history of Selestial Soap Natural Laundry Products at a mega laundromat in Traverse City, Michigan  we began first as a powder using grated bar soap for the oil portion of the cleaning.  As you may know oils attract oils so their is a necessity of having some form of oil in the laundry soap.  Our product had no fillers in the powdered version, but powder soap never dissolved 100%, and over time caused build up in the dispensers of our HE machines.  It also left a slight residue on black pants, black sweaters etc.  We made a decision to discontinue the use of powder because with powder you cannot effectively use cold water only and again because of the build up in our machines.  When we switched to producing a liquid version of Selestial Soap, at first we still used grated soap which we melted and added to our liquid mixture.  Sure it cleaned but had to be shaken well before each use and even then would at times leave little lumps in the bottom of the container.  One day I received a call from a chemical company wanting to sell me a new type of propylene glycol.  I said, “I don’t use propylene glycol” to which he replied: “of course you do, all soap has propylene glycol!”  I shared with him what brand I was using in the production process and said it was pure and natural soap.  He kindly replied that no bar soap is without at least sodium hydroxide which is both caustic and harsh and unless it is a homemade bar soap, he would guarantee the bar soap contained propylene glycol.  In shock I called the company I purchased the soap in bulk form and asked them point blank if their bar soap contained P.G. and they replied: YES!  To say the least I learned quick after that and thus the end of the inclusion of bar soap in Selestial.  I promise you as a Selestial Soap consumer that there is absolutely no sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or propylene glycol in any of our 100% natural and pure products.  We will not bash other natural products being sold in the marketplace but will tell you that some do use grated bar soap in their liquid form which clumps badly.  Another brand of powdered “natural”  detergent uses grated bar soap while others contain surfactants (unnatural foaming agents which do not clean clothes).  Bottom line here are the reasons you should not be using a powder detergent to wash your clothing in:  Use too much, and you’re left with cakey white gunk all over your clothes—which requires extra rinse cycles, and thus more water. Also, in order for some powders to dissolve completely, it’s better to use warm water, and that can waste more energy than washing in cold water—something that is easy to do with liquids i.e. Selestial Soap.  Powder detergents carry as much surfactants (unnatural foaming agents)  as their liquid counterparts.  HE machines never recommend powdered detergents by the manufacturer as it forms a hard residue in the dispenser over time.  At the mat we have literally chiseled out powdered detergent “rocks” the size of mango pits from the machines from customers utilizing powdered detergents.  Laundromat owners would ban powdered soap if they could.     Selestial Soap, the natural, clear alternative!

The Attack On The Washing Machine

You can chart the course of human progress in terms of how clean our clothing is. In early times people used animal skins, had no change of clothing, and had no soap. By Adam Smith’s day, soap had improved in quality, was produced industrially, and was becoming available to the common man.

In fact, the Industrial Revolution, which is usually discussed in terms of iron, steam, and factories, was actually all about bringing products like soap and underwear – previously only available to the rich – to the common peasants.

Only after WWII did electric automatic clothes washers displace hand- cranked machines. Then detergent replaced soap in the washing process, and competition resulted in much more effective products.

In 1956 the product Wisk was launched as the first liquid laundry detergent. And in 1968 its famous “Ring around the Collar” ads came along.

Other companies followed with products that were even better. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, washing clothes went from a grueling full-time job to a weekly activity that could be accomplished by young children.

Demographic researcher Hans Rosling has called the washing machine the greatest invention in the history of the Industrial Revolution. It liberated homemakers from boiling water and washing clothes. For women around the world, it makes the difference between poverty and prosperity.

Only two generations ago, nearly every mother in the world slaved at washing clothes. Today, no one in the developed world does this. Instead, they can read, do professional work, teach children, hold parties, and generally apply their time to building civilization. As Rosling says, “even the hard core of the green movement use the washing machine.”

But government is working on systematically reversing these advances – attacking the washing machine’s workings at the most fundamental level.

In 1996, Consumer Reports tested 18 models of washing machines. It rated 13 models as excellent and 5 models as very good. They found that with enough hot water and any decent laundry detergent, any machine would get your clothes clean.

In 2007, Consumer Reports tested 21 models and rated none of them as excellent and 7 models as poor; the rest of the models were rated mediocre. The old top-loading machines were mediocre or worse.

Consumer Reports found that in most cases your clothes were nearly as dirty as they were before washing. The newer front-loading machines worked better, but they were much more expensive and had mold problems, and you cannot add a dropped sock once the machine is started. None of the top-loading machines performed as well as a mediocre top-loading machine from 1996.

The government’s meddlesome hand is at fault. Between 1996 and 2007 the government’s energy-efficiency standards were dramatically increased. In order to meet those standards, manufacturers had to switch to the inferior front-loading washers, which are more “energy efficient,” and to design models that used less water. Less water in the machine means the machine uses less energy to rotate the clothes with the water and detergent. It also means less rinsing, which is a vital component to getting clothes clean.

The result is that clothes come out of the washer still dirty. The easy stuff like sweat is mostly removed, but all the tough stuff, like grease and body oils, largely remains. Most people are unaware of this problem, either because they have an older model, they don’t do their own laundry, or they are just oblivious to this type of thing.

Among those who face this problem, the answers are few. Some do multiple smaller loads with larger water levels, but of course this results in higher – not lower – energy and water usage. Others have tried to solve the problem by using more detergent, but this usually does not help – it can make the situation worse – and it reduces the durability of the machine – yet another inefficiency.

So there you have it. Politicians, environmentalists, and meddlesome bureaucrats have teamed up to dream up another attempt to serve the public interest. Left to its own, the invisible hand of entrepreneurial competition would have naturally made doing laundry easier, better, cheaper, and more efficient. Instead we have more expensive, more inefficient, and truly ineffective clothes-washing machines.

Then there have been changes to laundry detergent, which have in combination with the “energy efficient machines” led to a return of “Ring around the Collar.”

The invisible hand of the marketplace is the foundation of a free society and the source of prosperity. The invisible fist of government is the foundation of plunder and the source of social problems.

If we chart social progress by clean clothing, it is clear that we are headed backward in time. But the trend is easily reversed with a small change toward laissez-faire.

Regards,

Mark Thornton
for The Daily Reckoning

Editor’s Note: Mark Thornton is a senior resident fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is the book review editor for The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He is the author of The Economics of Prohibition, coauthor of Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War, and the editor of The Quotable Mises, The Bastiat Collection, and An Essay on Economic Theory.

 

The Case Against Dryer Sheets

   Do you ever pass by a house when jogging or bicycling and know they are in the midst of doing their weekly laundry by the mere fact of the odor that is emanating from their outside dryer vent?  Sure you have.  And most likely it is one of the major producers of dryer sheets be it “Bounce” or any of its counterpart knock-offs.  Here is the case against such dryer sheets that should make you shudder.  Most commercial dryer sheets are impregnated with all sorts of toxic chemicals including Benzyl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Chloroform and Linalool; none of which are good or safe for the environment or you!  Some of these compounds are well known carcinogens (cancer causing agents).  Aside from the chemicals in the sheets themselves winding up in your clothing and therefore next to your skin, when heated, the fumes also are toxic as well as flammable!  Is it not interesting that our skin is our largest body organ, but yet we never think to use products in our weekly laundry cycle that will keep us from skin irritations and rashes and the like.  What we wash and dry our clothes in will be absorbed into our skin.   Is that not a cause for concern?  I would surely hope so be it infant, child, teenager, adult, senior citizen.     When using Selestial Soap Natural Laundry Products for your wash cycle and then using toxic dryer sheets defeats the entire purpose of keeping your clothes residue free.  What you have just washed your clothes in naturally which has removed the harmful chemicals, you have just placed back in by utilizing again those toxic dryer sheets.  Question then arises:  “how can I get my clothes smelling fresh and clean, eliminate static cling,  and given them a softness without using harmful products?”  Glad you asked.  Here is a simple recipe.  When desiring a “natural” scent to your clothes take 1/2 cup of water, add about 8 drops of essential oil (your favorite flavor) available at you favorite health food store, and soak it up with a sponge, toss into the dryer along with a balled up sheet of aluminum foil and you have natural scent and no static cling without adding back chemicals into your clothing!  We further recommend using “Selestial Soap Softening Rinse”  for its softening, whitening, anti-fungal, anti-microbial. and anti staph properties.  This product is a great protection against the cold and flu virus season and all done naturally.  This product contains Colloidal Silver and acetic acid, both of which are awesome against germs and Mersa Virus.

When Your Clothes Become A Target!

As we approach the fall season of the year I thought it would be appropriate to “target”, (pardon the pun), the hunting segment when in comes to laundry soap.  Many store-bought laundry detergents contain UV brighteners. These UV brighteners can actually be seen by animals when you’re hunting. If they spot you, they’ll run away and you won’t be able to get a good shot at them. Since you don’t want to be a walking advertisement, you need to find another way to wash your clothes.  Another common issues is that of scent.  Hunters do want certain scents on their gear to attract prey but not for their clothes to be washed in initially.  Here is a way you can do this and remain anonymous as well as scent free.  Purchase a  residue/scent-free detergent, such as ” Outdoor Extreme”  All Sports Laundry Soap from Selestial Soap Natural Laundry Products  available in a convenient 2oz (8 laundry loads)  travel size as well as a 16oz (50 laundry loads) .  This type of of laundry detergent contains no UV brighteners and won’t leave anything to glow and is scent free along with clean rinsing so no residue is left behind.  Dry your clothes as normal.  And finally a tip and warning:  If you get rid of the glow or smell in your hunting clothes, you’ll still scare off your prey if you move around. Being still is the key in hunting any animal!

Gettin The “Insects” Out

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “pesky” as annoying-troublesome.  That would sum up Summer insects be it a black sand fly or mosquito.  I have the type of skin that welcomes such pesky insects, probably because I am so sweet.  Seriously having tried all kinds of national brands that claim to be a defense against such,  I have not found one that actually did what it was supposed to do.  Not until we recently launched at Selestial Soap Natural Products “”I’ll Fly Away” all natural insect repellent.  Yes their are even so called “natural” products that  also claim to get the insects out of your way but sadly fail miserably.  But I can tell you from personal experience and that of my friends who have independently tried this product it not only works but actually does what it claims to do.  Made with only water, indentured alcohol, aloe vera, citronella, eucalyptus, essential oils, and cinnamon for a fresh natural scent,  “I’ll Fly Away” is super effective and safe for kids and sensitive skin.  Stated on our label for BEST RESULTS:  Spray liberally on body, clothing, and hair.  Spray liberally on hands and rub into face, of course avoiding the eyes.  Reapply as needed and always after swimming.  So for this or any season if you truly want to get the “insects” out of your life for good we highly recommend “I’ll Fly Away” 100% pure, 100% natural insect repellent from Selestial Soap Natural Products.  You will find us on line at www.selestialsoap.com.