Archives for category: Budget-Friendly

Thanks to Purex, you can get a whole year’s subscription to Parents Magazine! How awesome is that?!

Just head over here and enter this code: PX1620

P.S. And I PROMISE to get up pictures and details of the recent Strawberry-Palooza over here. Freezer jam and strawberry-rhubarb pie!

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If you haven’t already heard, I’m a Purex Insider. It’s pretty neat. I get samples of their products and get to tell all you wonderful people about them.

This time around I got a sample of Purex Complete with Zout Free and Clear:

It’s a good concept, who doesn’t want to skip the step of pre-treating stains and just throw you laundry – stains and all – straight into the machine? How do they do it? By using “three powerful stain-fighting enzymes”*

  • Protease: works against protein based stains such as grass and blood.
  • Amylase: works against starchy stains such as chocolate and tomato sauce.
  • Mannanase: works against guar, which is used as a thickener in many foods, such as ice cream, barbecue sauce, and salad dressing because it’s super sticky.”*

They’ve got their bases covered, I think!

So what did I think? Well, first, I was a little wary of using liquid laundry soap again and of using it on a load that had relatively no stains. Would it be too harsh on my not-so-soiled clothes?

To give a completely honest review, I tried this on my highly coveted whitest-whites. I knew if this detergent would have an adverse affect on any load it would be this one (since I had worked so hard to rid them of liquid laundry detergent-induced yellow tinge). So, I held my breath, threw in the whites, added the detergent and pushed go. And waited.

Happily my whites came out still bright white and fresh smelling. And no harm done! I’d say if you’re looking for a good budget-friendly, good cleaning detergent I’d go with Purex with Zout (Retailing from $3.49 – $7.99). You can choose Free and Clear (like I did for a more “eco friendly” approach) or the traditional scented, which I love too (remember, Purex was always my go to prior to switching to all natural. It’s still my favorite scented detergent). Also, these detergents are compatable with HE machines.

Now how about what you’re all really here for:

The giveaway! (Hooray! Our first official giveaway on our blog!)

Here’s what you could win:

I have TWO coupons for a Free full sized Detergent for two lucky readers, compliments of Purex.


Here’s how to enter (only #1 required, #2-#4 are optional):

  1. Tell us how Purex with Zout could make your life a little easier
  2. Subscribe to The Little Green Homemaker
  3. “Like” Purex on facebook.
  4. Like The Little Green Homemaker on facebook.

Leave a separate comment for each entry. Enjoy!

Contest closes April 30th at 11 pm PST. Winners will be selected using Random.org and will be announced on the blog and emailed.

Good luck!

And while you’re waiting, why not request a free sample? 🙂

*All areas in quotations are taken from a Purex-supplied fact sheet to help you all understand their product.

I am SO STOKED for some of the upcoming road tests C and I get to perform. We have been super lucky to get some of this stuff for FREE! And the rest at reduced pricing with free shipping (yay for deals!)

Here’s our upcoming Road Tests:

  1. ALL NEW Purex with Zout! (this one will include a giveaway!) [this one is in thanks to being a Purex Insider. I received a sample to use and share my findings with you]
  2. ALL NEW Purex Fabric Softener Crystals [everyone click on this link! It’s an educational video about the crystals, and helps me in a contest for being an Insider – thanks!] – And as a bonus, these crystals are 92% natural!
  3. Scotch Naturals – all natural water-based nail polish…no fumes! This is one of the few nail polishes that is safe for kids and expectant mothers. I will also be reviewing the polish remover.
  4. Caldrea Sweet Pea Stain Remover – this stuff is AWESOME, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Seriously amazing.
  5. Every Man Jack Body Wash, Citrus Scrub – this will be reviewed by C. It’s a masculine, all natural body wash! No parabens, dyes or sodium lauryl sulfate.
  6. Earth Friendly Products WaveJet, Auto Dishwashing Spot & Residue Eliminator – this has great reviews online, and comes at a great time since we just ran out of rinse aid (which seems to be essential to our particular dishwasher)

 

It looks like we’ve got a lot of reviewing to do, but it’ll be fun. We don’t have a set schedule, but will be sure to let you know our schedule. It will be similar to the order we listed, but not necessarily followed to a T. Be sure to check back often for our reviews. Who knows, some of these might become favorites of ours or yours!

 

This Road Test got down to the nitty-gritty of cleaning: the toilet. It was the one area of the house I REFUSED to clean as a kid and always pawned off the chore onto someone else. I couldn’t imagine touching that thing! Eventually, I got over it (kind of one of those necessary evils).

Well, on our journey into the “natural” world I happened to look at the back of our standard, run-of-the-mill toilet bowl cleaner. It’s pretty scary. One of the warnings is “may cause irreversible eye damage.” Really? Just one little splash of that stuff and your eyes are toast. (Side note: have you ever looked up your cleaning products on Google to see if they’re safe? Many household cleaners call for haz-mat-esque cleaning if you spill the product. Haz mat? For all the things we keep under our sink and wash our clothes with? NO THANK YOU!)

So, I was off to find a hard-working toilet bowl cleaner that was all natural. After all, it is the toilet, it’s kind of the last thing you want to have a weak cleaner for. I decided that this product specifically needed more research. So, I headed off and read review after review for natural toilet bowl cleaners from major brands like Clorox Green Works, Method and Seventh Generation to the lesser-known obscure cleaners. The major winner out of the reviews was the Seventh Generation  and Method was a close second. (Surprisingly the Clorox Green Works didn’t have very good reviews nor is it very natural).

I headed to Target (since they carry both Seventh Generation and Method). I had two major deciding factors that would help me make the decision 1) the smell (after the Martha Stewart disappointment, this had to be a top factor) 2) price. The Seventh Generation had major headway in this area because I had a store AND manufacturer coupon for Seventh Generation products, but the smell was still a big factor for me.

Armed with coupons and the field narrowed down to two, C and I headed to Target. We looked at the prices of both and smelled both (we probably looked strange smelling toilet bowl cleaner). But luckily, in both arenas we had a clear winner. I had C smell both and his response to the Seventh Generation was “mmm…that doesn’t smell bad at all” (and really, that’s a big thing for this product category). AND to top it all off, we got a 32 oz. bottle for 99 cents after coupons!

[photo via Seventh Generation]

So does it work?

Absolutely! Garnered with the reviewers claims of a shiny toilet bowl, cutting through the hardest stains (though we don’t have any), etc. I had high expectations. And, I was happily reassured. I put the cleaner in and let it sit while I did some other chores and came back and had to do very little scrubbing. And yes, my toilet bowl was clean and sparkling! I’m not sure it exceeds normal Clorox or Lysol cleaners, but it’s definitely just as good (and it’s more natural AND smells better). I’d much rather have this around my house than the chemical-laden, irreversibly-damages-your-eyes kind.

Though, please note. This bottle does warn that it is a skin irritant. It contains d-Limonene, which is a naturally occurring item, but is irritating (and some people believe that this is an unsafe product). So, as it is natural, it is something you DEFINITELY want to keep away from children.

(Side note: one amazing quality of Seventh Generation as a company is they think that consumers have the right to know EVERY ingredient in their product. Most companies do not disclose what are in their fragrances because that’s considered a “trade secret,” so companies can hide anything they want in a fragrance. If you want to see Seventh Generation’s policy on this read it here.)

The final word on this product? It’s a new staple on my shopping list!

First off, I must say the week after being sick is probably one of the best ones. Mainly because after spending a week on the couch sleeping and barely moving and feeling utterly unproductive you have a week with sudden new found “energy” (although still not up to par, it’s far above last week!). I feel so accomplished already :).

Especially after my Walgreens shopping trip. The first reason being is I walked there. I’m blessed to live in an area where a lot of what we need is within walking distance. I’ve been carefully considering where I drive to and what I can feasibly walk to with gas prices on the rise. I thought Walgreens was a lot farther than it was, so I was a little hesitant to walk there, but I’m glad I did – it only took ten minutes! Totally worth the exercise and less gas use!

And the second reason is that I SAVED (56.4%!) – (I know, not as impressive as some of the crazy couponers, but I think I did well considering what I got!)

The first -most amazing deal was the Dove deodorant. Walgreens was having it on sale for $1.99, and I had a coupon for $2 off one and $1.50 off of two. I would have just gotten the one for free, but this happens to be the only deodorant I can use, so stocking up (for about 83 cents each!) made sense.

The Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom was on sale for 89 cents each. Not an amazing steal, but good nonetheless. It’s an easy go-to staple for us when we don’t feel like cooking (tuna casserole – the easiest meal ever).

Carefree was a pretty good deal for name brand. They had it on clearance for $1.19 and I had a 50 cent off coupon. (Though, I’ve seen this cheaper).

The other items where (inexpensive) splurges. We don’t really need toothpaste or any more body wash (really, we’re stocked up for years if they all last – some might have to be donated…), but with my recent research on all the chemicals in our cosmetics on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, I really am wanting to push us into the less-chemically stuff. Hence my purchase of the Burt’s Bees Body wash (sulfate, paraben, phthalate, and petrochemical free) and Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. (Both rate relatively low on the chemical hazards on Skin Deep compared to their main-stream conterparts).

The Burt’s Bees Radiance Exfoliating Body Wash was in the clearance section for $3.99 (on the Burt’s Bees website it retails for $8). And the Tom’s of Maine happened to be on closeout for $3.19 (originally priced at $5.29). Both of these were extra purchases, but happy finds :). It just goes to show that if you’re really interested in reducing chemicals there definitely are ways to do it for less!

(Side note: I read an article today on Healthy Child Healthy World called “What to Do About Chemicals in Pregnant Women: All Products are Eco-Products” that most babies are born already with 200 industrial chemicals in their bodies. There’s something wrong when our babies are being born with harmful chemicals already in their little bodies.)

And on a second side-note: we’re getting farm-fresh eggs from one of Chris’ co-workers – I’m super excited! (And they’re not too much more expensive than the non-organic eggs in the stores :))

C and I just recently caught colds. No fun.

One of the things I hate most about regular-old-colds is the scratchy, swollen, irritated throat that makes it hurt to swallow or talk and makes you cough when you try. But at least there’s a good remedy for it that’s super easy to make (and I mean really easy).

Hot Lemon and Honey

Squeeze enough honey to make layer on bottom of mug (if I was to estimate maybe a couple teaspoons?)

Pour lemon juice over honey (maybe 1/8 cup?)

Pour hot water over to fill mug, and stir.

Obviously this is not an exact science, and I prefer to make mine extra lemony and honey-y than the rest of my family growing up did/does. Make sure you add enough honey. Not only does it make it taste good, but it’s what coats your throat to ease that scratchy feeling. Adjust the recipe as you’d like for taste (and mug size).

I’ve been guzzling this stuff down for the last two days. So good.

And while we’re at it…take a look at this warm cozy mug. Being sick makes me want a mug like this to cozy up with and snuggle away the day.

[you can find this mug cozy at The Wayside Violet]

This little gem was a bit of a fluke. C and I were stopping by a local discount store (one of the ones that has all the stuff that didn’t sell at the department stores) looking for some bins to tackle our closet. We did not find these. However, we did stumble across some of Nellie’s Laundry Soda.

I had randomly seen some reviews of this product online and was curious. But, like most all-natural options, it’s more expensive than its chemical-laden counterparts. And, most reviews seemed to talk about using it on cloth diapers, not on normal laundry. (Supposedly it’s superb for cloth diapers, by the way.) So needless to say though reviews lauded it’s simple ingredients, cleaning power and scent-less result; I wasn’t too persuaded to buy it. In fact, I had little motivation to change our laundry detergent yet.

And then, the ultimate find: four perfect little canisters (albiet old packaging and dented compared to the above picture – hence their discount home…). They were HALF PRICED. Meaning we got a 120 load canister for $9.99 (that works out to $0.08 cents per load)! That was MUCH less expensive (nearly $0.06 per load cheaper) than our recent bulk purchase of a mainstream “cheap” laundry.  So I figured it was time to be eco-friendly AND frugal!

The Test: Does it actually Work?

I was really hoping that this would work. (I LOVE the packaging…so I was hoping I would get to look at this a lot in the future!) I immediately gathered a load of laundry when we got home to test this stuff out. I was a tad bit worried about using a powdered detergent again, we had switched to liquid because we were having trouble getting all the powder to dissolve in a front-loading washer with cold water. So I put in the tablespoon it required (yes – that’s really it!) closed the door, turned on the machine, and crossed my fingers.

I semi-impatiently waited for the end of the cycle. People had talked about clothes smelling like clothes and not “fresh mountain air” (have you ever thought what that actually was?) and being softer than normal detergent (presumably because it rinses clean, unlike traditional detergent), so I was hopeful for some laundry magic.  I heard the machine beep and pulled out the clothes and took a big whiff.

AND – it’s exactly what people said. No scent, but I noticed an almost naturally sweet smell. It’s not from the detergent but somehow the smell of the actual material (at least that’s my best guess). I pulled article after article out and all seemed unusually clean. As far as the claim that the clothes are softer, it seemed true for some clothes and not others – I think it has something to do with the fiber content.

So after my first run, I was almost completely in love. But I was still hesitant. It couldn’t really be that good, right?

So I made sure my next load was a dark one. If there were any undissolved soap bits, a cold wash dark load would be the one it would show up in. So I ran the test again. And again, I loved the results. There were no undissolved bits of soap, no artificial scent (and I haven’t missed it yet!) and several items seemed more soft coming out of the washer.

Well, to make sure it was really as I thought, I used it several times over the next week in hot, cold, light, dark, whites, towels, etc. And every result was awesome. If you could ever be in love with a detergent, I’m in love with this one. Until the novelty rubs off, I am in love with doing laundry!

So C and I went back and bought the remaining three canisters of detergent.

(To be completely fair, so far we haven’t had any really soiled laundry that needed a lot of stain fighting power, so I can’t attest to its power there.)

I just gave my mom a sample, to see how she likes it, and HOPEFULLY she’ll like it as much as me. Nellie’s sells their detergent in bulk – which even with shipping from Canada, is cheaper than main-stream detergents – so I’m hopping to split a bucket with my parents! (Even splitting the bucket in half gives us both about 500 loads of laundry)

I highly recommend this detergent.

The only downside is, now I still have about 1/3 of a jug of my “nasty” liquid detergent, that I really just don’t want to finish up!

Extra Tidbits

I discovered while researching and reading reviews that powdered detergents are better for front loading washers. C and I were having a hard time with our gusset molding (which is an extremely common problem). We would leave the door wide open and have to hand dry and wipe it out to prevent mold/mildew. It was frustrating to say the least. I read that when people switched to powder they had a significantly lower instance of mold. Apparently, part of the problem is one of additives in liquid detergent which coats the gusset, attracting growth. We haven’t used the detergent long enough to see a difference. Here’s hoping!

Also, all the products are made in Canada or the US – so closer to home, which means fewer fossil fuels for transport!

Nellie’s also sells an Oxy Brightener (also completely natural!). We found it also when we found the Laundry Soda. I’ve only tested it on a couple of loads, and it seems to work. So far I’ve just mixed it with the laundry soda because it didn’t seem to dispense from the bleach compartment. I haven’t used it enough to really see a difference, and again there wasn’t anything truly soiled. I used it on a white load to see if it would brighten it up. It seemed to but I had also just washed all of my comparisons, so it was hard to tell.

After discovering some dirty truths about our beloved dryer sheets (all the chemicals, don’t decompose, and makes your towels less absorbent), my next trial I would like to do is Nellie’s laundry balls. They’re similar to the blue laundry balls on the market, but seem to have higher reviews. (C had some of the blue laundry balls from before, and one split completely in half). The Nellie’s laundry balls have a 2-year warranty (so if they break, no biggie!), are PVC free (good thing since you heat them up!), and if you so desire, you can add all-natural scent sticks in the center if you miss having scented clothing. They also boast cutting drying time in half (though I’m a little skeptical). The one downside to these is the cost, but I’m hoping that they do last and save on energy and dryer sheet costs. If we get our hands on some, only time will tell!

 

Coming soon…Road Test: Martha Stewart “Clean” Bathroom Cleaner.