giving green a shot

Although I am not a “save the earth” type of person, I’m all about saving some dough and making my house a little healthier- and if it saves the planet too- wahoo!
A few ways we’ve gone green are cloth diapering, cloth wipes, homemade laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies. We are always looking for ways to be more energy efficient too like having an energy audit done on our home and finding ways to make the most of what we have.
I already shared my laundry detergent recipe here.
I feel like a semi-hypocrite saying we cloth diaper. We really don’t anymore. We made the switch at 18 months and did cloth for about 6 months. Atleast we gave it a shot right?? We were thrilled with BumGenius 4.0 with snaps. I bought them at Cottonbabies.com and LOVED everything about this place. Also I got most on sale through their “seconds sale”. We also bought 4 flip covers (they look exactly like the BG, but they are just the outer shell) that I used with prefolds, and one Kawaii cover. Not impressed by the Kawaii because he has such chunky legs and these seemed to have a slim fit. I think we own 15-18, which lasted us 2-3 days. I also have a planet wise wet bag purchased on Amazon. LOVE this thing.
Luke has always been big and I think he just eventually grew out of them. With him pushing almost 35 lbs, I just think he has too much pee pee to be contained in the diapers. He was waking up wet every night (even after stripping, changing out the inserts, making them more bulky, etc.)  which was causing horrible sleep for us all. I do plan to keep my stash (that I spent less than $200 on) for our next child, so that’s where I see us saving the cash. For our next I also plan to ditch all the microfiber (totally NOT impressed), and get hemp or bamboo inserts. We’ll see when that time comes.
He is super cute in his cloth though:
Cloth wipes were something I never thought of before having a baby. But they make so much sense and are super easy to make. I had a friend ask if I would make her some and as I was making them I decided we would make the switch as well. I think Luke was around 6 months old. Here are what my wipes look like: one side terrycloth, the other flannel.
Although the traditional size of cloth wipes are about the size of a washcloth (which folded in half fit perfectly in a disposable wipe box), I made a few half that size. I use the big ones for poopy and the smaller ones just for pee pee. We actually prefer the smaller wipes- which is funny because I only made a few small ones because I was running out of terrycloth. Also the flannel was cut up baby blankets. We received SO many blankets (winter baby) and we never were able to use all of them.
Now onto the wipe solution. There are a couple schools of thought about this. Some people take their solution and pour it over the wipes in the wipe box, so they’re wipes are ready to go. I didn’t do it this way, mainly because I worried about mold and the wipes seem like they’d be too wet. Luke does NOT like a cold bottom and this just seemed like it would be cold.
We mix our solution in a peri- bottle from the hospital. We somehow accumulated 2 (and I never even used them because I had a C). We keep 2 always filled and ready to go. We squirt the wipes at each diaper change, and throw the dirty ones in the laundry. Seriously this is 10 times easier than I ever imagined it could be. We don’t wash the wipes any differently than normal laundry (although if there is a major poopy I may do a rinse cycle first). I do try to scrape most of the poo in his diaper so there isn’t a lot of it sitting in the laundry.
I fill the bottle almost to the top with water, put 2 squirts (about 2 teaspoons) of the baby wash, and 2 tsp of baby oil. Yes there are organic and more ecofriendly options when it comes to baby wash- but I’m cheap and I still have these from baby showers! (2 years later- isn’t that CRAZY??).
I seriously can’t believe how easy it is. Also I am always up for making cloth wipes for anyone. Just e-mail me. I charge $1 a piece (for the big size) and I recommed having about 30 if you plan to do laundry every 2-3 days. Of course the older they get the less you’ll use. But these are also good for boogie and face wiping too.
We also make our own all purpose cleaner (about a cup of vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle), and I use baking soda and vinegar as a drain cleaner.
I can’t give up Lysol and Clorox toilet bowl cleaner- there’s just something about a fresh toilet. (especially after a weekend like we just had- puking and all). And I still use shower spray: although I did pin a recipe for shower/tub cleaner that uses dawn and another that uses grapefruit. Very interested to try these. But I don’t think I’ll ever give up the toilet cleaner! I also won’t give up windex, although the next bottle I got is the windex with vinegar. It probably isn’t eco friendly at all, but it makes me feel better. I also don’t use paper towels to clean. I’ll use old cut up t-shirts or old washcloths to clean counters/windows/and to dust. I keep them with my supplies in a wipe box.
I have almost completely ditched dryer sheets (I’ll occasionally use a dryer bar, and I am going to make a wool dryer ball for the other days).
We have also tried not using plastic grocery bags. Sometimes they are inevitable, but I’ll only get paper bag at Ingles if my trip uses more than the bags I have. I found some ADORABLE reusable bags at The Container Store that I carry all the time in my purse. The blue shows how big they get and the green shows how small they roll up! Love these things and LOVE that CVS rewards it’s customers with the green bag tag! I never get a bag at CVS becasue of this wonderful perk!
We recycle any and everything we can to shrink the size of our garbage. Every piece of paper, cardboard, and plastic is recycled. We have a great system in our house set up that works for us. A trashcan in a closet for paper (of course important things get shreded). We keep a laundry basket in the laundry room to put plastic and cardboard. This is a holding area. When it gets too full, we’ll take it out to 2 large trashcans we’ve set up outside- one for cardboard and one for plastic. Once a month we’ll take a load to the recycling place and everything’s pretty much already sorted.
Josh lowered the temperature of our hot water heater to get some savings there. We also switched out our old thermostat for a new one. Of course a brand spankin’ new a/c unit would help our energy savings… dream on right?
I feel like we’ve made these changes for us. It saves us money to not buy paper towels all.the.time. I am not a wipe nazi and we do still have disposable wipes on hand for weeks that laundry is just too overwhelming or if he’s sick. Sure, I’ll use plastic bags when I just am not thinking. Luke is in pull-ups (required by daycare) so we are contributing to the landfill that way (of course using coupons for every purchase!). But the small changes we do make such a difference in our home. I am so glad my husband’s on board too. This would be impossible if he refused to touch a cloth wipe/diaper or recycle!

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