Laundry Hacks – Natural Solutions

Laundry happens, all day every day! Throw in a few kids and your pile will double if not triple! That pile of laundry is full of dirt and germs that need to be conquered before it gets out hand! Get it done quickly, easily, and with these sustainable tips!

 

Don’t Be Afraid of Cold Water

By washing your laundry with cold water, you are not only saving yourself money, but saving your threads! Cold water will keep colors bright, reduce wrinkling, and also aids in fighting stains! By choosing the cold water option, you are also giving your hot water heater a break in turn giving your energy bill a break!

Keep The Dirty Clothes Separated

By setting up a 3 hamper system you will save yourself tons of time and stress when it comes to getting the laundry done! Separate the clothes into whites, colors, and delicates as you go!

Stop Buying Bleach

Bleach is harmful and is not necessary to clean your whites! Instead, you can try a few different options. Try using a 1/2 cup of lemon vinegar (white vinegar with lemon peels soaked for a few days). For a really tough stain, apply a small dab of our Grammy’s Sweet Lemon Laundry Sauce for an extra all natural boost.

Wash Full Loads

Make sure that you are filling your loads. This will decrease the amount of energy used to wash your laundry and give you a break on your power bill. When you wash small loads, this still takes an incredible amount of energy to wash and dry! Think about how long those machines have to run!

Clean Your Machines

Taking good care of your washer and dryer will ensure that you are fully utilizing each cycle. Make sure that you regularly check your gaskets and clean around the edges of the machines! Mold can grow in places you cannot see which can contribute mold and mildew in the laundry. Try our all natural Multi-Purpose cleaner and check those hard to reach areas around the top of the wash bin and the gasket around your dryer door.

Clean your dryer’s lint filter after each load!

Ditch the Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are not eco-friendly and most are very toxic. Do yourself a favor and invest in a few wool dryer balls or tennis balls can do the trick as well. Throw them into your dryer with wet loads to help circulate air and reduce dry time.  The best part is that these balls work as a fabric softener and reduce static!

Dry Outside

If it’s warm outside, hang a dry line and invest in some clothes pins! Your clothes will thank you for it! It takes a bit longer, but you will drastically reduce your energy bill by just hanging your wet clothes up outside!

 

The January Gardener Blues

Gardening in January

January can be a slow and cold month. Many people find this time of year to be dreary, but what we find is it is a great month to start planning ahead to get over those gray day blues. Seed catalogs are showing up in the mail, so why not start daydreaming about the months ahead!

In Oregon, we are blessed to have access to the OSU Extension office. They are always a wonderful resource for information if you are looking for what crops would be good to start planting now!

Order Seeds

The first thing that we recommend is drawing out your garden on a piece of paper. Create a diagram! This tip will save you time and money in the long run!

The Last Frost

As tempting as it is to get your seeds in the ground. It is important to wait until the last frost of the year. This date will vary by your location and can vary a bit year to year. Figuring out this date is the most important thing you can do during January.  Everything you want to do in the spring and summer will depend on it!

Crops to Start in January

You will want to start most of your seed indoors. In general, you will be planting the cold loving crops that take a long time to grow, but that you can move outside later in the season.

Vegetables and Herbs To Start in January

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Cilantro

The last frost date for our area in the Umpqua Valley in Oregon is May 15th. So if you are from a different area, double check your frost dates and adjust the planting schedule accordingly. These crops can be planted in the ground once it is warm, but if you are looking at more frost in your area covering your crops would be recommended.

Chores

Soil preparation is a hugely important part of any garden. January is a great time to work with your dirt. As long as it isn’t frozen, this is a great time to start turning it. This will expose insect eggs and larvae for the birds to take care of.

If you are rearranging the structure of your garden or building new beds, January is a perfect time to work on it!

Fertilizing

Seedlings that are started indoors don’t really need a lot of fertilizing. When they grow a few inches, they can benefit from a diluted application of fish emulsion, or another organic fertilizer.

Compost

Turn to your compost pile! Then turn it again and maybe one more time for good measure. Begin adding the composted organic material to your beds!

So, if you are feeling down and wish you could get started in the garden now, fret not. You can! Just bundle up and get to work!

Pallet Garden Blunders –

At first glance, the pallet garden idea seems great. It is easy on top of simple, with convenient spacing and rows, right? We thought so last spring and were more than a little disappointed by fall! It just didn’t pan out the way we had hoped. After dumping out dirt and restructuring the garden this week, we felt the need to advise other gardeners looking for new methods against using this one!

Here is what we found out:

  • Wooden pallets are susceptible to vermin and insects infestations.
  • Soil compaction leads to smaller crops and difficult tending.
  • If a pallet has gone across a border, they require fumigation – which is often performed with methyl bromide, a highly toxic, ozone-depleting chemical. Scary!
  • Shipping pallets contain e. coli and Listeria, and are prone to mold growth when left out in the elements. Not ideal for a gardening in Oregon.
  • Contamination from chemicals used to treat the wooden pallets can leach out onto whatever is placed on them or into the air. Which can also compromise soil quality!
  • Wood pallets made with “engineered wood” components contain urea formaldehyde – a known carcinogen.

We are all about using recycling materials where possible, but we now strongly advise against using pallets in the garden, as tempting as it may be! It looks nice, but is not worth the risk or time spent on a system that can only lead to small crops.

So I am including a short list of articles found online – both pros and cons – to let you make your own informed choice about whether or not you’ll use pallets in your garden.
Are pallets safe to reuse?
Don’t reuse wood pallets.
Recycling wood pallets and packaging.

What are your thoughts on reusing pallets in the garden or as furniture?  Have you done it already?  And will you do it again?

BLEACH – SCARY STUFF

DO NOT USE BLEACH OR CLEANERS WITH BLEACH!

Did you know that bleach has chlorine in it and has been linked to cancer? Eek!

According to the National Poison Control Center website, 43,518 calls concerning bleach were reported in 2016. Using all purpose cleaners that contain bleach, or sodium hypochlorite are almost always dispensed in a spray bottle. Sodium hypochlorite poses many health risks including asthma and respiratory concerns, skin allergies and irritation, cancer, and environmental risks.

There is a specific risk when bleach is put into a machine such as a dishwasher or washing machine where the bleach is heated and then released as a gas when the machine is opened in the home!

multi-cleaner

USE AN ALL NATURAL ALTERNATIVE

Unintended Farms spent a few years developing a safe, yet effective bleach free All Natural Multi-Purpose Cleaner. Utilizing the power of Tea Tree essential oil and castile soap, it is perfect for cleaning surfaces in your home: kitchen tables and counters, floors, bathroom sinks and counters, granite, tile, handles, knobs and beyond…

This handmade all natural, non-toxic cleaner is anti-bacterial and works hard on grease, dirt, and grime. Use on any non-porous surface and wipe with a soft cloth. This also works great on stainless steel, granite counters, and our microfiber couch!

 

Unintended Farms shall not be held responsible for any damages to property or for any adverse physical effects (including injury or bodily harm) caused by improper use of a product.

What is Borax and is it safe?

The question of what Borax is and also whether it’s safe comes up a lot online and at the market. It is a main ingredient in our Grammy’s Sweet Lemon Laundry Sauce as well as our Dishwasher Detergent and Dish It Up Soap. We absolutely love it! However, like everyone else we wanted to dig into the nitty-gritty and find out what the fuss is all about?

Borax is sodium tetraborate or sodium borate. Many people confuse this with boric acid, hydrogen borate. Borax is actually a salt of boric acid and does not have the same chemical characteristics.  If you have ever googled articles about the dangers of Borax and have read articles in opposition to Borax  typically they are referring to boric acid please take them with a grain of salt, literally. They are comparing apples and oranges.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral. The product safety data on Borax combines borax and boric acid cautions, and it is unclear which substance the various warnings pertain to. The most extreme warnings about borax mention skin contact, eye contact or eaten in high doses. There are everyday items in our kitchen such as vinegar, essential oils and even organic pepper can have these same effects. That does not make these things unsafe but just that they must be used correctly and in moderation. Borax is alkaline and when it is not diluted it can cause irritation.

Here’s the full material data safety sheet if you want some light reading.

That data sheet does give borax a safety rating of “1” which is the same as baking soda and salt. (I wouldn’t recommend putting those in your eye or rubbing large amounts on the skin constantly or ingesting large amounts daily either)

The Environmental Working Group lists Borax as a safety rating of 5-6, though again, the studies used contained both borax and boric acid and the warnings referred to ingestion, eye contact or prolonged undiluted use.

So Is Borax Safe?

We did not find any evidence  that was compelling enough for us to avoid using Borax in our cleaners. We do not recommend that you eat it or rub it on your skin without first diluting it.All of our products use a safe, diluted amount and are not recommended for uses other than cleaning.

Consider the warning labels on major box store brands and then weigh the risks for yourself! Borax is an effective natural cleaner and a safer alternative either way you cut it. Yes it can be used as a pesticide, but it’s a natural one.We mix it with a bit of sugar and leave it out for the ants when we see them!

Our favorite brand is Mule Team Borax and it is considered pure and natural.

Please let us know! Do you use Borax? Do you consider it safe?

Start Healing with Raw Local Honey

Honey has been a staple in the human diet since ancient times. It has an unusual chemical composition which prevents it from spoiling. Archaeologists have unearthed pots that are thousands of years old that are still good. Honey is low in moisture and high in acid, making bacteria and microorganisms unable to grow. Bees add glucose oxidase, an enzyme, to it that creates hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct. Honey is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Honey is great for:

Soothing a sore throat or cough –

Do you have a nagging cough? Kids can’t sleep? Give them 2 TBSP of honey and you’ll be good to go! Honey provides natural relief from sore throats by coating the throat and reducing inflammation! This is a much safer go-to than drug store cough syrups!

If you want to give it an extra kick, pour your jar of honey into a saucepan with a few sage leaves, and some ground up ginger. Add in fresh squeezed lemon juice. Simmer for 30 minutes on med-low. Let it cool and put back into the jar! Keep this syrup in the refrigerator for up a year. Add to a hot cup of water, spoon it out for the kids, or enjoy in tea! The taste is wonderful! You can play with adding other spices if you enjoy more of a kick! Cloves, garlic, or turmeric also add a power punch to this syrup!

Treat Wounds –

Honey has been found to kill all strains of bacteria in wounds. For the treatment of burns and wounds, WebMD notes: Honey is applied directly or in a dressing which is usually changed every 24 to 48 hours. When used directly, 15 mL to 30 mL of honey has been applied every 12 to 48 hours, and covered with sterile gauze and bandages or a polyurethane dressing.

Why use synthetic rub on creams when you can just go to the kitchen?

Natural Sweetener –

Processed sugars are a thorn in our country’s side. Surprisingly honey can be added to most recipes in place of sugar. The conversion is really simple:

For every 1 cup of granulated sugar, replace it with 1/3 cup of raw honey!

Honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, riboflavin, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Seasonal Allergy Relief –

We strongly believe that by taking 2 TBSP of honey a day you can naturally ease the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Honey contains traces of flower pollen, and exposure to small amounts of allergens works as a good treatment to combat daily symptoms.

Again, a sweet bite of honey is a lot less complicated than a synthetic alternative. However, if you need an over the counter aid after trying the honey then do so! We advocate in trying the natural option first, every time!

Kills bacteria –

In clinical studies, medical grade honey has been shown to kill food-borne illness pathogens like E. coli and salmonella, as well as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

While we aim to learn more about the beekeeping process over the next few years. We distribute honey at the Umpqua Valley Farmer’s Market each weekend for our friends at Humble Bee Honey! Their local raw honey is fabulously rich and you can’t beat the flavor!

Make life a little bit sweeter and reach out to your local Farmer’s Markets and Bee-Keepers  today to add more local honey into your diet! You wont regret it!

Flea & Tick Spray

 

Our All Natural Flea & Tick Spray

We are the proud fur parents of 2 Australian Shepard/Chocolate Lab mixes named Molly and Buster. They love to be outside, but need to be inside with us, warm at night. The fleas and ticks love their white fur!

As much as we don’t want them to suffer from bugs, we also don’t like using the toxic drops full of harsh chemicals. The main ingredients in our Flea & Tick Spray are Apple Cider Vinegar and a trifecta of tea tree, lavender, and lemon essential oils.

This mixture is safe and gentle enough to use on most animals, however we discourage using on our feline friends. Cats just have a hard time processing essential oils!

You can spray directly on them, rub it into their fur or brush it on.  Generously spray down any rugs, carpet, blankets, or beds they may have come into contact with!

Apple cider vinegar has a multitude of beneficial uses for you pets. It is great for their skin and hair, anti-fungal, and can help ward off unwanted health issues. The baking soda and salt help dehydrate any eggs that might be living on them, while the essential oils work their magic by repelling ticks and killing the fleas while calming your pet down.

This product can be helpful in fighting “hot spots”. Molly literally has a brown spot on her lower back that she just wont leave alone some days. Once applied, the lavender oil helps calm her down and go back to her normal self.

Flea & Tick spray is also recommended for human use! Did you know that ticks carry Lyme Disease? They transmit the very harmful and long term disease. Protect yourself and loved ones by spraying yourself down before leaving the house to go outside to work or play! Specifically in long grass or brush filled areas.

 

On Molly, our dog, we use it on what we refer to as her “hot spot”. She digs and bites at it, even without a bug problem. The lavender oil helps calm her down and not want to dig!

As always we have fresh batches weekly at the market and offer orders by mail!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us!