Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Hazards of non natural laundry detergent

In honor of "Washing Wednesday" we though we would revist why it is important to use natural laundry wash in your home. Check out the blog post written a few months back...

Have you ever wondered what ingredients are used in your laundry detergents? If you haven’t you should, just think at least 95% of your day your body and the bodies of your family members are in contact with clothing and linens that have been soaked in detergent. So what is in laundry detergents? If you are using non-natural laundry detergents the ingredients contain carcinogenic, hormone disruptors, and other hazardous air pollutants.
In a recent study by the University of Washington, researchers found that 25 organic compounds including seven hazardous air pollutants were released from laundry that was washed in non-natural detergent. Two of the chemicals are listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of cancer causing chemicals. If you are like me who runs at least 7 loads of laundry a week you are freaking out! How does this happen? Well, laundry companies are not required by law to list their ingredients. They also aren’t regulated like other products because they are not applied directly to human skin-even though we all know they are directly touching human skin constantly.
“Optical Brighteners” are used in non-natural laundry detergents. These are synthetic chemicals that are used to make your clothes “glow” under ultraviolet light. Your clothes look bright, but they are really deteriorating. These brighteners are built to stay on your clothes; they build up and prevent your cloth diapers from absorbing and your military uniforms glow like the sun when looked at with night vision. They also rub off onto your skin causing a rash that looks like a sun burn, and seep into waterways and build up inside fish.
Phosphates are often found in non-natural detergents. These phosphates work as a super-charged fertilizer for algae in your washing machine-ever have stinky towels? Chances are it is due to algae growing in your washer. If you use these products they can build up in your washer in your tubes, in the pump, in the door seal! Just about everywhere! If it isn’t cleaned up your stinking clothing will have to be tossed and so will your washer.
All of these chemicals find their way into the environment and end up in the water that we drink, the soil where our veggies are growing and into the animals that we eat. They are also constantly being released into the air from your dryer vents and finding their way into our atmosphere.
So now that we know how bad laundry products can be what do we do? First, check your detergents ingredients. If it contains benzene and acetaldehyde dispose of it with your other hazardous materials, these two chemicals are cancer causing. If it contains optical brighteners or phosphates give it the old heave-ho! If you can’t find a list of ingredients for your laundry detergent that should be a red flag, they have a reason for not showing you what it is made of. The easiest solution is to find yourself a natural laundry detergent, specifically one that isn’t afraid to tell you what it is made of. The University of Washington recommends that you don’t use more detergent than you need. Most of the time you are just washing sweat and fragrance out of your clothes, this shouldn’t require a ton of detergent. They also say to, “Wash only full loads of laundry and with cold water. Making the switch to the cold cycle will save about $60 a year on your power bill because you'll be giving the hot water heater a break."

If you are interested in making the change to natural laundry detergent (and I think you should) check out and our new laundry wash line that is safe for your clothes and skin!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Earlier this week a customer asked us if A Happy Green Life laundry wash was safe to use with graywater. Kristin and I were very proud to be able to say yes! The more we thought about the concept of graywater the more we wanted to share it with you guys.
Graywater system
Graywater is any washwater that has been used in the home, except water from toilets. Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water comprise 50-80% of residential "waste" water. This may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation (Some states do not include kitchen sink water or diaper wash water-these are called dark gray water and are not used).
Some of you know that I study environmental studies in school, and that my area of expertise is in sustainable living and urban development. Graywater plays a huge role in the development of sustainable communities, it is a way for the average household to reuse their wastewater or capture their rainwater and make it work for them. It is an amazing way to conserve one of our most precious resources.
example of gutter barrel to catch rain
There are systems available today to be installed in your home if you are willing to put up the money, for those of us who don’t necessarily have the cash on hand to install such a cool system you can do it the old fashion way. Use a bucket or cup to transfer your water to your plants, we have friends who keep a bucket nice and handy by the shower to capture all the water and use it to feed their garden. If you have a trash can you can attach it to your gutters and create a gutter barrel to catch your rain water! Check out the link below for a tutorial on how to build this!!
And remember that all A Happy Green Life products are safe for you and the planet and are great for graywater use!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Happy Green Life Book Club

Our August book for A Happy Green Life Book Club is...
How to Grow Your Own Food: A guide for beginers
If you havent noticed yet, we here at A Happy Green Life like food, and we love it to be fresh from the garden. We have had fans in the past ask us where the best place is to start when you plan on making a garden. I asked myself this same question when we started our mini urban farm, and I turned to this months book How to Grow Your Own Food: A Guide for Beginers  by John Clift and Amanda Cuthbert.
This great book will give you all the information you need to start your own garden, reagrdless of your location.
"Taking into account the limited space available to the urban gardener, Clift and Cuthbert have produced a tome that's perfect for the inner city horticulturalist. Growing fruit and vegetables is a big subject, and squeezing even a small selection of plants into such a small volume is no easy task. Happily the authors have done a good job of deciding what should go in, and what really had to be left out. For complete novices, this book is a helpful, unthreatening guide to their first few seasons as a gardener, whether they have a balcony, bare concrete, a patio or a larger patch of ground. It's not for committed gardeners but if you're looking for some measure of self-sustainability and aren't quite sure how to go about it, How to Grow Your Food: A Guide for Complete Beginners is an invaluable resource."
I am very excited to share this book with you, so excited in fact, A Happy Green Life has gotten an extra copy to share with one of our lucky readers! Enter today to win a copy of this amazing book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway -Amanda

Air Purifying Plants

1. Bamboo Palm: According to NASA, it removes formaldahyde and is also said to act as a natural humidifier.

2. Snake Plant: Found by NASA to absorb nitrogen oxides and formaldahyde.
 3. Areca Palm: One of the best air purifying plants for general air cleanliness.

4. Spider Plant: Great indoor plant for removing carbon monoxide and other toxins or impurities. Spider plants are one of three plants NASA deems best at removing formaldahyde from the air.

5. Peace Lily: Peace lilies could be called the “clean-all.” They’re often placed in bathrooms or laundry rooms because they’re known for removing mold spores. Also know to remove formaldahyde and trichloroethylene.

6. Gerbera Daisy: Not only do these gorgeous flowers remove benzene from the air, they’re known to improve sleep by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off more oxygen over night.