Doing Laundry The Non-Toxic Way

Switching from conventional laundry products, loaded with preservatives, artificial fragrances and a toxic soup of hazardous chemicals, to safer, natural laundry products can be confusing and frustrating. Years ago, when I was making the switch, I noticed the natural detergents would often leave my clothes, well… not as fresh-smelling as a mountain breeze. I wanted those “fresh scents” back to mask the odor. Later, I realized my laundry wasn’t even getting really clean, whether I used natural detergents or not, because I wasn’t using them right!

Three children later, I’ve found the cure for the stinky-laundry blues, using pure, biodegradable, septic- and gray-water-safe Lifekind products:

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Pre-treat

Grease Stains: For grease stains like salad dressing, apply All-Purpose Cleaner & Degreaser directly to the spot on dry fabric, vigorously rub the area together, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then rub and rub while rinsing under hot water. (Hot water is more effective than cold at dissolving and rinsing away oil.) Next, apply more of the product to the spot, leave it in, and put in the wash. *Use hot water if the fabric’s washing instructions permit it.

Food and other stains: Generously spray Stain & Odor Eliminator, with live enzyme cultures, on the spot and rub-rub-rub, then rinse, using cold or warm water. Hot water kills the “live” enzymes, so don’t use hot water. Now ring out the water and spray some more Stain & Odor Eliminator on the spot, then it’s ready for the machine.


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Washing

Machine: Front loaders are more efficient, use less water, do a better job, and are gentler on fabrics than top loaders. Many front loaders have special settings that are very helpful and can save you time and energy, like “sanitize” and “hand wash.”

Detergent: Choose all-temperature Laundry Powder, which contains Oxygen Bleach, or use Laundry Liquid. Both are safe for people with sensitive skin or allergies and for HE machines, septic systems, and gray-watered plants. Both are super concentrated, saving money and resources. If you’re not sure whether to choose liquid or powder, check out Grist’s “Ask Umbra” column What kind of laundry soap is lightest on the land?

Boost: Oxygen Bleach is a non-toxic, chlorine-free, color-safe powder bleach that whitens, brightens, and softens fabrics. It can also be made into a paste by adding a bit of water to use as a pre-treatment for spots. For washables that have been tainted with unpleasant smells or mildew, I always add a healthy dose of Stain & Odor Eliminator directly to the wash cycle (remember – cold or warm, not hot water).

Please, No Fabric Softener: According to the Environmental Health Association of Ontario, fabric softener is the most toxic product produced for daily household use, and the neurostimulant/irritants and central-nervous-system toxins used in these products are known to produce an addictive-type response that may cause a user to experience a feeling of pleasure when the product is directly inhaled. Well, I’ve never been a fan of oily fabric softeners anyway, because I like my towels to actually absorb water, rather than just smear it around. But if you’re like me and you don’t like crunchy towels either, just add ½ cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle.

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Drying

No Dryer Sheets: Aside from the Amish way, hanging out to dry, the healthiest advice I can give you is DO NOT USE DRYER SHEETS! Chloroform, A-Terpineol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Acetate, Ethanol, Pentane, Ethyl Acetate, Camphor, Linalool, Phthalates, and Limonene are some of the chemicals found in dryer sheets. And people add this stuff to their already cleaned clothes! Stick to the baking-soda-in-the-washing-machine trick. And you can try wool dryer balls, found in most natural-food stores and online. Add 2 drops of pure essential oil to the dryer balls and you’ve got “fresh scent.”

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Ironing

Synthetic-Free Ironing Board Cover: Use an Ironing Board Cover that is free of synthetic and chemical flame retardants to avoid ironing chemicals into your fabrics.

No Aerosol Spray Starch: The chemicals in conventional spray starches are no better than the fabric softener’s plight. You can find natural alternatives for sale online or at your natural-foods store, or you can make it yourself for just pennies. I never iron anything. Ever. So I haven’t tried the homemade kind, but Bren did. Check out her blog post here.

Folding

Sorry, I can’t help you with that. But enter your email address above to subscribe to our blog and receive future posts, and you may see me demonstrate the magic of folding a fitted sheet.

 

Sources:

http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/laundry/techfact/keychar.htm

https://www.lifekind.com/laundry-cleaning

http://saferchemicals.org/2014/08/21/is-your-laundry-clean-or-just-greenwashed/

http://www.naturalnews.com/034617_fabric_softeners_toxic_chemicals_laundry.html#

http://www.ehaontario.ca/help-with.htm

Ask Umbra reference: http://grist.org/living/what-kind-of-laundry-soap-is-lightest-on-the-land/

Bren Did blog: http://brendid.com/3-ways-make-non-toxic-spray-starch/

Decide the Winner of the Lifekind Staff Pumpkin Contest

The staff at Lifekind decorated pumpkins for Halloween but we need your help in picking the best pumpkin.

Vote in the comments for your favorite and help us pick the winner. Voting is ongoing through October 31st:

 

Black Cat Pumpkin

Black Cat Pumpkin

Zombie Pumpkin

Zombie Pumpkin

World Pumpkin

World Pumpkin

Marker Pumpkin

Marker Pumpkin

Walt Pumpkin

Walt Pumpkin

Halloween City Pumpkin

Halloween City Pumpkin

Cinderella Pumpkin

Cinderella Pumpkin

ECV

Clampers Pumpkin

Grumpy Cat Pumpkin

Grumpy Cat Pumpkin

Leaves Pumpkin

Leaves Pumpkin

MummyJPG

Mummy Pumpkin

OHmy

Oh My Pumpkin

skeleton

Skeleton Pumpkin

What’s in a Name?

That which we call organic by any other name would be as clean…right? Well, maybe not. The other day I ran across an article on the SFGate website that got me thinking about the importance of the language used by manufacturers of “organic” nonfood items. As the author of the article pointed out, there is a clear set of standards that makes the distinction between organic food and that which is genetically modified, irradiated and/or exposed to pesticides. That is to say, any food item that bears the name “organic” must actually live up to it! Unfortunately, the same is NOT true when it comes to nonfood items. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does little to oversee use of the term “organic” on items that are not edible (and neither does the Federal Trade Commission, for fear of “duplicating” USDA duties). So basically, there are no government regulations set in place to distinguish between the truly organic and the naturally-sourced “chemical soup” when it comes to cleaning products, personal care products and textiles. Calling your shampoo “organic” could be about as subjective as calling your computer “cute.”

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So, what does this mean for the consumer?

Should we even bother shelling out the extra cash for products that may or may not be as pure as they claim to be…? The good news is that there ARE third-party certifications out there that can help us make informed decisions about our organic purchases. When it comes to personal care products, the National Sanitation Foundation and the American National Standards Institute have formed a private certification called “NSF/ANSI 305.” And for those who live by the adage “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin,” the USDA label can be found on personal care items that are composed of at least 95% organic “food.” For textile products — items like clothing, sheets and mattresses — consumers can verify purity by looking for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certifications.

USDA Organic, GOLS and GOTS logo

Other things to look out for…

Organic” is not the only term that can be misleading. The term “natural” is generally assumed to mean that an item is minimally processed and does not contain particular additives. However, this word does not have an established legal definition…therefore, there is no standard by which to substantiate this claim — whether we are talking about food or nonfood items. Similarly, terms like “green,” “eco-friendly,” and “earth-friendly” have no real meaning because there is no scientific or regulatory basis for them.

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Using our resources…

Taking the time to research products that are truly organic may seem like a chore, but it is certainly worth the extra effort. Keep in mind that most certification programs not only oversee the ingredients that go into the products, but also the way in which those ingredients are obtained. So when we choose items that are certified organic, we are not only protecting ourselves and our families, but also our environment. Let’s take advantage of our educational resources, so that we can be better stewards of earth’s resources!

** Use the links on this page to learn more about third-party organic certifications and find lists of the manufacturers who hold them. Also, check out this website for some excellent information about deciphering the language used by manufacturers of bedding and mattresses.

 

Turning The Tide on Convenience – statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags

Great news! California Governor Jerry Brown just passed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. Starting in July 2015, large grocery stores in California will no longer ask “paper or plastic,” because they won’t have plastic! Are paper bags the best option compared to reusable? Nay. But I’d like to hear more conversation about what’s going into those bags.

Convenience is a pill offering instant gratification, but can leave one with feelings of regret and dissatisfaction. Three words from my mom two decades ago, like a prophet’s counsel – “don’t cut corners” – ring through my mind ironically as a remedy for complexity and chaos. The idea is that you expend a little more energy now to save you later. This idea has saved me bundles of time and money over the years, has spared me from buying items that were cheaply made, and reminds me to evaluate whether I really needed certain items in the first place.

Landfill

Speaking of complexity and chaos, have you seen the news lately? It’s really hard to look at humans and animals suffering, effects of global warming, Ebola outbreaks, and plastic and toxic chemicals in everything, everywhere, without wanting to fix it. What I like to focus on is what I can personally do today to help change the world for the better. Knowledge is my leverage. The more I learn about which chemicals are where and why, for example, the easier it becomes to change my ways. One good habit builds upon another. That’s convenient. Since I’m bringing my own cloth grocery bags shopping, for example, I automatically have a place for reusable produce bags and bottles to refill with bulk liquids. Pop it in the trunk of my car and I conveniently have them when I go to the store.

Check out this one-minute National Geographic Video:

Other examples of toxic convenience in the average American’s life are: fast food, driving when you can walk, dollar store and GiantMart shopping, microwaves, spraying chemical herbicides to kill weeds, using chemicals in your home to “clean” it, and buying cheap clothes to fill a closet. Just say no! Or at least start saying no to more of these things. Don’t wait until there’s a universal bag ban. Ban the bag on your own.

grocery_bags

I realize everyone has different circumstances and most people can’t afford organic food and goods all the time, but reevaluating what we really need and how it gets to us is something we all can do. Imagine if EVERYONE was willing to carry their own clean, cloth grocery bags into stores! With a little effort and forethought we can all make a huge difference.

Image of landfill:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landfill#mediaviewer/File:Wysypisko.jpg

Can you Eat an Organic Latex Mattress?

What is an organic mattress?

Just like organic food, an organic mattress is made entirely out of all-natural materials such as certified organic wool, organic cotton, and/or natural latex. An organic mattress does not contain chemical fire retardants. Conventional mattresses are made primarily of man-made materials derived from nonrenewable resources, such as natural gas and petrochemicals.  Conventional mattresses are drenched in chemical fire retardants.

Can you eat an organic mattress?

Yes, the question has been asked.  And no, you cannot.  A lot of people have never even heard of an organic latex mattress.  Nowadays, pretty much everyone knows the benefits of organic food, but what are the benefits of an organic mattress?  People used to think just about their comfort when it comes to a mattress purchase, not about what it is made of.

 

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Conventional Mattress Interior

 

 

Sleep Safe by Walter Bader

It is a healthier choice to sleep on organic materials and avoid many of the synthetics and chemicals that have become industry standards. Walter Bader, owner of Lifekind and author of the book Sleep Safe in a Toxic World, sent several mattresses to an Atlanta-based lab. A memory-foam model was found to emit 61 chemicals, including the carcinogens benzene and naphthalene.

 

When you choose an organic mattress, the benefits to your family include everything from reducing chemical exposure to helping the planet. 

 

Euro Cutaway

Lifekind Euro Organic Mattress Interior

So in conclusion, while an organic mattress is a great choice for your family, I do not recommend eating it.

 

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Lifekind.com Redesigns its Website

images We are very excited to have finally launched our new website!

Hopefully you will find this new design extremely user friendly.

 

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A few of our goals for the new website were to make it faster and easier to navigate for users and to incorporate customer reviews. Lifekind’s best salespeople have always been our customers, so we thought, why not let our customers speak for us?  We don’t have many reviews yet because we literally JUST launched, but we are sooo looking forward to our customers’ comments.  We also have a long-asked-for Wishlist and other great features.

Our organic products are everywhere, from the White house to Hollywood.   If you take a look around the site I think you’ll get a pretty good idea of why Lifekind is America’s most trusted name in organic mattresses.

Please share your thoughts about the new design in the comments section below, or, if you’ve purchased from us, go to our site and review your favorite products.

My personal favorite product is the Molded Rubber Pillow. I don’t leave home without it.  The molded pillow isn’t currently on sale, but you can enter the Lifekind promo code EXTRA2 to get an extra 2% off your entire order.

lifekind molded pillow

If you run into any unpleasant issues, please let us know.  We want your entire experience with us to be memorable in a good way.

 

Lifekind Summer Catalog

Product Specialist at LifekindSomething to start with…

Though some of the Lifekind customers in the Eastern U.S. thought it might never arrive, summer is finally here. It’s a time when we can put the rigors of winter behind us, take a deep, relaxing breath, and enjoy the benefits of living in a healthful, organic home.

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Through the years, our Super Summer Sale has grown into a highly anticipated event. It’s our 9th Annual this time around, and we’re celebrating by offering 20% off almost everything in our catalog — including mattresses and foundations — as well as bumping the discount up to an impressive 30% on our All-Season Wool Comforter. You’ll find the same 40% discount you’ve come to know and love on our luxurious Pure Organic Sheet Set, plus a whopping 50% off our Pleated Crib Skirt. Add free shipping for almost every item for orders over $149 or over and you’re looking at a sale you won’t want to miss.

As always, we thank you for being a loyal customer and supporting the growth of truly organic products here in the United States. It’s making a difference for all of us.

Wishing you a happy, healthy summer,

Summer Brings out the Bugs – How to Protect your Organic Pillow from Bed Bugs

BUGS!     Bed_Bug

Summer brings them out, and we keep them out of our organic pillows with our Certified Organic Dust-Mite and Bed-Bug Barrier PILLOW COVERS.

Lifekind Organic Pillow Barrier Cover
We guarantee that our certified organic barrier covers will keep dust mites allergens and bed bugs out of your pillows, unless they’re already there, :( in which case the barrier cover will cut off the dust mites’ food supply (flakes of your skin).  Without  food, the dust mites will starve and die.  The barrier cover will keep bed bugs out of your pillow, but if they are already there then it is time to get new bedding.

As an added bonus, barrier covers keep your organic pillow in pristine condition.  Which is great, because our organic pillows can’t be washed.

Use one of our certified organic barrier covers on a new organic pillow and it will protect it for its entire product life.

Bed_BugLittle

 

 

 

 

 

Lifekind Organic Mattress Profile: The Combo Natural Rubber Latex / Innerspring

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The Combo organic mattress is often the best choice for people who prefer the traditional “bouncy” feel of an innerspring mattress yet want the cushiony comfort of natural rubber latex. It’s also ideal for sleepers of different weights and statures who share a bed.

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Lifekind Combo Organic Mattress cutaway

Available in two versions, the one-sided, non-flippable Combo has a two-inch layer of natural rubber added to the top of the innerspring core, and the two-sided, flippable Combo has two inches of natural rubber added to both sides.
Either version of the Combo can be supported by a boxspring for added “give” and softness, or by a wood-slat foundation or platform- style bed for a firmer, more stable feel.

Click here to view more details and pricing: http://goo.gl/YmokOa

As always, Lifekind’s Product Specialists are happy to answer all your product questions or help you decipher which firmness or type of mattress is best for your personal needs, and can be reached between 7:30 and 5:00 Monday through Friday Pacific time at 800-284-4983. Give us a call!

Our independent third-party certifications are shown below:

GOLS •  Certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

 

GREENGUARD_Gold_RGB_Green

•  20-year limited warranty, and meets the GREENGUARD® product emission standard

 

 

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• GOTS prohibits the use of ingredients like formaldehyde, GMOs, heavy metals, copper, fumigants, fluorocarbons, aromatic solvents, and chlorophenols in any part of the production process. Raw materials known to be toxic (to the earth, the ozone layer, or any living organism) are also prohibited. Additionally, GOTS explicitly requires that organic materials do not come in contact with non–organic materials.

Best Organic Kids Mattress

Kids breathe and absorb toxic chemicals on an ordinary mattress!

A kids mattress SHOULD be nontoxic. Conventional mattresses are made from an array of petrochemicals, synthetic materials and chemical additives (flame retardant chemicals, mercury, boric acid, and formaldehyde).  Kids spend a lot of time on their mattresses especially when they are very young.  Sleep is important for healthy development, not to mention their mood. Do you spend the extra time to provide your kids with healthy food to put in their bodies?  Don’t you want your kids to spend the time that is supposed to rejuventate their minds and bodies in a clean, nontoxic environment?

The Shasta – Best Organic Kids Mattress

ShastaKOw_bed1000

Lifekind’s Hand-Tufted Natural Rubber Organic Mattress (The Shasta) is the best organic mattress for kids.  It is our most budget-friendly natural rubber latex organic mattress.

Fire Protection Done Wrong 

Conventional mattresses are drenched in toxic chemical flame retardants.  Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used in conventional mattresses to lower the risk and slow the spread of fire.  How many kids do you know who are smoking a cigar when they go to bed?   When kids sleep at night, they breathe in the PBDEs that offgas from the mattress. 2010 study found that “children with higher concentrations of PBDE congeners in their umbilical cord blood at birth scored lower on tests of mental and physical development between the ages of one and six. Developmental effects were particularly evident at four years of age, when verbal and full IQ scores were reduced 5.5 to 8.0 points for those with the highest prenatal exposures.”  There is a ton of information on the internet about the risks of exposer to PBDEs, so why not avoid the risk altogether?  

Other flame-retardant chemicals currently approved for use in mattresses include:

Antimony, a metal that may be more toxic than mercury
Boric acid, a toxic respiratory irritant used as an insecticide
Formaldehyde, which has been classified as a known human carcinogen

Fire Protection Done Right 

My favorite thing about Lifekind certified organic mattresses (that’s a mouthful!) is the absence of chemical flame retardants.  Not only are their organic mattresses made completely from certified organic materials, but they aren’t dipped in chemical flame retardants.  A lot of companies that, claim to be organic use kevlar as their flame retardant. Kevlar is a petrochemical material used in bullet-proof vests. Not Lifekind – we just use naturally safer Wool!  The Shasta organic kids mattress has passed the same flame retardant tests that chemical laden mattresses pass, so you are not risking any fire danger by choosing the organic option.  The secret? The Naturally Safer® pure wool under the cover is packed tightly.  I know, it seems so simple.

Lifekind’s Organic Mattress Factory’s Burn Test – OMI

Organic Certifications

GOLSThis organic kids mattress is filled with GOLS certified organic latex rubber and has layers of Naturally Safer® pure wool beneath the certified organic cotton surface of the mattress to create natural flame protection.  

 

GREENGUARD_Gold_RGB_GreenLifekind’s organic kids Shasta mattress is Greenguard Certified, which means that it has extremely low chemical emissions.  Why is that important?  It lets you know that you can trust Lifekind’s claim that this product is safe, that a third party has tested it.  Your child will be sleeping in a high-quality, nontoxic, organic natural mattress.  Reducing your child’s exposer to harmful chemicals at night.

 

gots-logo_cmyk_epsKOLifekind’s factory, located in Northern California, is the first and only large-scale 100%-organic mattress Eco-Factory™ in North America. Oregon Tilth has certified our entire facility to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). That means that every product that is made in this factory is organic.

 Provide your child with safe and healthy sleep.

DanielwithFlag

This is my son, Daniel, on a Lifekind organic mattress. Made in America!

Here are some of the features of the Shasta that make it such a great organic option for children:

•  Filled with 6” of pure shredded natural organic rubber

•  Layers of Naturally Safer® pure wool beneath the surface of the certified organic cotton cover, which provide extra cushioning and natural flammability protection

•  Medium-firm feel

•  Mold-, mildew-, and dust-mite resistant (reduces allergy exposure)

•  Metal-free

•  Available in twin and twin extra-long only

•  Depth: Approximately 7”

•  Handmade in the USA

•  90-Day Comfort Exchange

•  20-year limited warranty

Can you reduce your child’s chemical exposure at night while a chemical mattress is still in their bedroom?

An Organic Barrier Cover can help reduce your childs exposure to dust mites, but not to toxic outgassing.  You should not purchase a plastic cover because it will offgas on its own.

Use a HEPA filter to clean the air

Vacuum your child’s room option

Use a wet cloth to remove dust

Use organic pillows

 Lifekind’s other Organic Options

Lifekind also has several other organic mattress choices for kids that also ship free the month of May 2014.  My 3 boys spent their early years on a Lifekind Organic Natural Rubber Crib Mattress, which I am now handing down to my little brother.  This organic mattress was built to last.  I used organic flannel and moisture pads on it and it still looks brand new, 9 years later.  I am glad that I reduced my children’s exposure to chemicals.

Sources:

Sleep Safe in a Toxic World

Organic Mattresses, Inc. passes CPSC flammability audit

Dr Mercola article – Is your mattress making you sick

http://www.achildgrows.com/organic-twin-matresses-what-to-look-for-and-where-to-find-them/

http://livewholebefree.com/wordpress/how-to-avoid-harmful-toxins-in-mattresses/

http://productguide.ulenvironment.com/ProductDetail.aspx?productID=20871

Greenguard.org

Prenatal Exposure to PBDEs and Neurodevelopment

GOLS certification