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5 Top Tips for a Germ-free Kitchen & A Giveaway (over) *!

Disclosure: I received free e-cloth products in exchange for a review on the blog.  Know that I am always 100% honest in my opinions on this blog.

So confessions time. People who know me, would maybe say I was a frazzled but laid back person, who has a cluttered house and semi-clean kids… So they would be shocked to know that… I used to be a germ-freak. Shocked? Well, no judgement from me- let’s not call me a “germ-freak“. I was a bit OCD though. I wouldn’t share soap, sit on any toilets (including my own), touch any handles, etc. Wow. Too much? Yes. It was.

Well, the best way to cure yourself of a fear is sometimes to face it head on… I had four kids, and after many years of diaper changes and trips to public restrooms….I am cured! I wouldn’t be able to function in my world if I had these old restrictions, but some things still linger. I like a clean house. Yes, it is cluttered beyond clutter. But having a blog that is food-centric, I need a clean kitchen. But what was the one thing that was keeping me from having a truly clean kitchen? ANSWER:  I use a sponge in my kitchen. 

Anyone who reads anything about germs, has to know that sponges are literally “sponges” for bacteria growth. My sister-in-law (who knew me back when I was a little germ-phobic), is always shocked by the fact that I use a sponge. She uses a dish-cloth. “Dishcloths are better,” she tells me. Is that true?

Well, it turns out both can be horrible. But I can’t very well give them both up, since licking the plates is just gross. So I did a little digging to find the least-germy way to have a clean, and low-germ kitchen without spraying chemicals or bleach:

Here are my top no-chemical cleaning tips found:

Assign each kid their own cup to drink from. I use color coded cups that they can re-use, so they don’t have someone else’s germs they are sharing.

Wash your kitchen drain. I did a post (here) on an easy way to disinfect with baking soda and vinegar. Just put some baking soda and vinegar in the drain and let it sit for 10 minutes- then run the hottest tap for 30 seconds to rinse it. That’s it – and it helps with weird smells too. There are some gross things down there. Try to clean this out whenever you think of it!

Disinfect the cutting boards. Better yet, make sure you have a specific cutting board for meat, and another one for veggies. Even after you “clean” them, bacteria can linger. For a natural way to disinfect a cutting board, soak a dishcloth in pure white vinegar (not any other kind) and rub liberally over a board (wood or plastic) let sit, then rinse and dry (especially if wood). You can add baking soda to this version too, if you want to super-scrub out any grossness!  An alternative method that smells awesome is scrubbing with a half cut lemon over coarse salt that has been sprinkled over the cutting board surface- also super effective.

Wipe handles and counters. This one seems obvious, but it needs more frequent attention in the cold/flu months of winter. Use any natural antibacterial spray.

Wash your dishcloths and sponges. Yep. I finally got to the main problem in my own kitchen. The sponge. My sis-in-law is right about the cloths being “better” in the sense that you can wash them in the washing machine! But not to be outdone, you can also disinfect a rinsed sponge by putting it in the microwave for one minute or the dishwasher for a wash cycle (in an empty silverware spot). I have done this, and it does seem to get cleaner. But my old phobias linger, as I have said. I want to wash the sponge in the washing machine. And you can if your sponge itself is washable. And of course, I found them from E-cloth. Of course. I love my E-cloth products as I have shared with you all before with the other cloths and Aqua Spray Mop.

e-cloth washing up pad

e-cloth washing up pad

This Scrub sponge (above) is great: has a cloth-side, scrub-side, and is washable. I love it. I runs $5-7 dollars depending on where you buy it, but think about that. You wash it. It is reusable. In my eyes, this is a bargain, and non-germy besides, because the E-cloth fibers keep away 99% of germs already! Also, I was able to try out the dish-cloths, (so I could make my sis-in-law proud!):

e-cloth wash and wipe dish cloths

e-cloth wash and wipe dish cloths

Like the package says, these are also great for wiping down the counters or any other surface to get the germs off! I loved the fact that you can toss these in the wash and they are good to wipe down any kitchen counter and also do my dishes. I am still a sponge-lover however, so the Washing-Up Pad won out in my comparison.

I was also sent the kitchen-towels, for drying the dishes (a thankless job!), and I liked these too. Not loved, but liked. I maybe just don’t like drying dishes…perhaps. What I do like is that they contain the same e-cloth fibers that fight germs, and they also shine the stainless and glass really well.

I hope you will try these. If you want to check them out, go to the E-cloth site here:

W: www.ecloth.com
F: www.facebook.com/eclothUSA
T: @ecloth
P: www.pinterest.com/eclothUSA
I: @eclothUSA
Y: http://www.youtube.com/eclothCleaning

Or Enter to Win! (you knew it was coming!)
*Open to U.S. 18+ until 12/22/15 11:59pmEST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sources consulted for content in this post on de-germing are here, here and here.

 Linking with
Erica Finds, Running with SD Mom, Katherine’s Corner,
Awesome Life Friday


Review: Block Island Organics 2 in 1, Sunscreen & Moisturizer

Disclosure: I received a free tube of Block Island Suncare Natural Face Moisturizer in exchange for writing a review on the blog. I was not compensated in any other way. As always I am 100% honest in my opinions on this blog.

safe sunscreen block island organics review

Remember when I was looking for a great sunblock for my family, that was natural and reasonably priced? Well, it took a little bit, but I I think I found my new products. Since it’s winter, I don’t need a sunblock all over my body, but I run or am outside a good deal of the time, and in winter the rays are reflected off the snow pretty harshly. So I think using an SPF can only benefit my skin routine all year around! Thanks to receiving a sample from the Block Island Organics Company, for the past month I have been using Block Island Suncare Natural Face Moisturizer SPF 30 with clear zinc as my every day moisturizer in the mornings. Why would I switch my brands up and try a new moisturizer, when I have super sensitive skin and it’s winter in the Northeast, so I rarely see the sun?!

Weeel. Let’s see some interesting points to note about Block Island Suncare Natural Face Moisturizer SPF 30:

  • It has broad spectrum SPF 30 sun protection. Every. Day.
  • It’s transparent. Read: Not crazy zinc-white that you can’t rub in. This is CLEAR my friends. Yes!
  • Has organic and natural ingredients like aloe, shea butter, green tea, sunflower seed and pomegranate.
  • It’s free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, dyes and artificial fragrances.
  • The company does no animal testing and is a vegan-based formula (like all of their products).

Nice right?

Better still, is that it doesn’t smell weird- I like– and my face didn’t break-out once from it- I like– and it blends in really well so I can wear makeup over it- I like.

And it’s SPF 30!! While I may not have worn SPF daily when I was younger, I am smarter now and know that any sun exposure is damaging and makes my skin worse. BI Organics has a great link to the effects of UV Rays, of which cancer is the ultimate damage. No thanks. I will try to prevent that one if I can since, come summer I like to be ON Block Island (Rhode Island) having fun in the sun, protected with a great, natural, inexpensive sunblock!

Oh, and it’s a small, family-run, local company. I like.

Try it yourself!

Through Tuesday 12/15 using code: barrie you can save 20% site wide!
*Please note you cannot combine this discount with other codes.

Website: http://www.blockislandorganics.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlockIslandOrganics/
Twitter: @BIOSuncare

safe sunscreen

Since it was night time, I thought you’d like a picture of the beach in December in the Northeast…(haha!)

Comparison of Spray-Mops: Review & Giveaway (closed)

Disclosure: I received a free e-Cloth Aqua Spray Floor Mop in exchange for writing a review on the blog.  As always I am 100% honest in my opinions on this blog.

eCloth spray mop Confessions. I love a good convenience product. No matter the chemicals or cost, the convenience factor is sometimes the determinant to whether I use a product or not. With food, it might be a can of condensed soup. Yup. I know how many crazy ingredients there are in that BPA ridden-can…but in a pinch, I love it. I have to confess that I do.  As far as the cleaning products in my house, I also must say, that I have loved some VERY questionably safe products, that have loads of toxic, endocrine disrupting buggers in them…but again, in a pinch, I have loved them.

What if the convenience food or product was as easy, and convenient as it is good for us?
Would we use it above all others? Choose it first?

I decided to put it to the test… with mops. Upon receiving a sample Aqua Spray Floor Mop from eCloth, I decided to test it against a well know spray-mop on the market, comparing apples to apples. Spray-mops, as opposed to mop-mops are made to replace the mop & the bucket. I detest the mop & bucket. So the spray-mop showdown is a winner; Either way, I get a clean floor without using a bucket.  Here’s my take on the comparison:

Using Chemicals

The best selling, wet-spraying floor mop (read: It rhymes with “wet/bet”) uses a chemical spray that smells like sunshine and you clean it up with a disposable cloth. It isn’t cheap, but it does work. They cost about $35 on Amazon for the starter-kit. But don’t let the low cost fool you. Since it uses disposable cloths, the replacements (20/pk) are about $12, and the cleaning solution, is at $11. So If I divide the work into 52 weeks, assuming I mop once a week (harhar!), in a year this would actually cost me:

· Initial investment: $35.00 (includes a mop, 2 pads, and a bottle of cleaning solution)
· Each disposable pad is $1.66 X 52 (weeks) assuming 1pad/wk= $86.32
· Solution for 20 cleanings: $0.55 per clean X 52 (weeks)= $28.60
· It takes 4 AAA batteries (at $2.50 a pack) to spray, assume you replace them once= $5.00
· Total cost for using the mop for one year: $154.92
· Total cost the second year, assuming it still works is the $154.92 minus the initial investment of the mop ($35.)= Cost after initial investment $ 119.00

Conversely, if you want a Chemical-Free Convenient spray-mop:

The e-Cloth version of the rhymes with ‘wet/bet’ is the new Aqua Spray Deep Clean Mop.
It has an interchangeable pad that fits the regular mop and also this new one, that is guaranteed up to 300 washes. It has the same e-cloth fiber technology that removes grease, dirt and over 99% of bacteria from hard floor surfaces using just water and the mop – No Chemicals Needed! Because it has the water build right in, in eliminates the need for a bucket- it is super convenient.

Cost= $49.99

As the website states, there are NO CHEMICALS to buy, so the cost savings is huge. You just wash the mop heads. Even if you only washed the mop head once a week, at 52 weeks a year, you’d have 5 ¾ years of use before you’d need to replace the pads!

It is literally LESS THAN HALF the cost (!!) of the “inexpensive” mop that they sell in the store! And the bonus is there are NO chemicals. If you have pets, infants, or children who tend to drop things and then put them in their mouths (5 second rule!) then you don’t want any nasty chemicals lurking on those floors! In sum: No chemical cleaners to buy, no pads to run out of, no batteries to replace, kills 99% of germs with just water.

To me it is a no-brainer. If:

It works.
It’s cheap.
It is environmentally safe.

A trifecta of winning. And I will choose it over the other guy, hands down.

Winner of the spray-mop comparison: e-Cloth Aqua Spray Floor Mops!e-cloth aqua spray floor mop

Check it out here:

W: www.ecloth.com
F: www.facebook.com/eclothUSA
T: @ecloth
P: www.pinterest.com/eclothUSA
I: @eclothUSA
Y: http://www.youtube.com/eclothCleaning

Win one here:
Giveaway open to U.S. 18+, through 11/24/15 11:59pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Erica Finds, Running with SD Mom, Katherine’s Corner,
Reviews Chews & How-tos, Sew Crafty, Party in Your PJ’s