Moldy Front Loader Washing Machine

I got my high efficiency, front loader washing machine 9 years ago when I moved into this house and my daughter was 3 months old. I was pretty thrilled with my new washer, which was top of the line at the time. It didn’t take long for my love affair with my new laundry machine to sour. And it wasn’t just the endless loads of laundry I found myself doing as a new mother. It was the dark mold that was starting to stain all my pretty pink and purple bibs and jammies.

The mold was developing in the rubber seal. I scraped it out with paper towels, sprayed it with bleach, hand dried the glass door and the rubber after every load and left the door open to air dry in between loads, just like everything I had read on the internet instructed me to do. But the mold came back anyway. It wasn’t as plentiful as before, but it was still there… stinking up the towels and occasionally leaving a dark stain strip on a pretty shirt or sheet.

20120707-215716.jpgLook at how gross my washer was getting!  I was starting to consider selling the damn thing on Craigslist and getting a top loading, old fashioned washer to be honest. Then I started using Shaklee’s laundry detergent. I was using it because I had purchased a Get Clean Starter Kit in the hopes to help my kids health. I’d read about the chemicals in many store bought detergents and their links to asthma and allergies. As both of my kids had been diagnosed with asthma and suffered many bouts throughout the year, including multiple missed days from school and activities (including missing their own birthday parties!) I was eager to do anything to help them out.

Removing all toxic cleaners and air fresheners and replacing with all natural products had helped immensely with my kids health, but that is another story. The surprise benefit in all of this is that the mold stopped appearing. As it turns out, the phosphates in many store bought detergents don’t just encourage algae growth. It encourages mold growth as well, apparently.

After I noticed that the mold wasn’t really coming back, I decided to do a deep clean on the machine so I could start from scratch. I used Basic G to spray out the rubber, and then I poured a little diluted basic G into the detergent cup and ran a load. Since then, about 15 months ago, I have not had another problem with mold stains or odor! Not only that, but I’ve even gotten a little careless with the machine and left a load in overnight with the door closed and still nothing!

The liquid detergent also works fabulously as a pre-treater. Really a great product.

Phosphate Free Dishwasher Detergent that Works!

As of July 1, 2010, sixteen states have banned phosphates in detergents. Phosphates are harmful to the environment because phosphorous is like a fertilizer. It increases algae and aquatic weed growth in water bodies. Too much algae depletes oxygen needed for healthy fish and aquatic life. In short, the fish and aquatic life are being suffocated in their own homes.

While this is a great milestone for the environment, many consumers are unhappy.  In the May 18, 2011, article titled “Dishes Still Dirty? Blame Phosphate-Free Detergent” by Elizabeth Shogren,  NPR reported that consumers were disappointed with the results of their new eco-friendly detergents and were going to great lengths to find alternatives, even if it meant ignoring the ban and seeking out toxic ingredients.

So why aren’t these cleaners actually doing what they are meant to do? Why aren’t they CLEANING?

  1. There is a misconception that to be clean, something has to shine or smell or make a lot of bubbles. Many also feel that you need a lot of detergent to get your dishes clean.  But a lot of detergent can add up to a lot of residue on your dishes.
  2. Many of the companies making phosphate-free detergents as a response to the ban are unfamiliar with really effective green methods of cleaning.  In many cases, they took their usual chemical soup recipe and simply removed the phosphates, without updating the ingredients with green, eco-friendly, effective alternatives. Or worse, they just added bleach which creates a new suite of problems.

I’ve been using Shaklee’s Dish detergent for over a year.  Shaklee has been producing phosphate-free automatic dishwashing detergents since 1991.  These products have a 100% money back guarantee that they are safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic and effective.  My dishes are just as clean as they were when I was using the toxic pods in my dishwasher.  Additionally, I’ve saved money because I only need a very small amount of detergent to get my dishes clean.  As a result, I only buy dish detergent 3 times a year. I used to use Cascade and I would go through a container every two months.  I was spending $60 a year on Cascade and now I am spending $30 a year on Shaklee.  AND, I’m doing something good for the environment.

I’m not the only one who’s impressed with this dish detergent.  It won a PTPA award.  PTPA provides an objective means to discover, appraise and promote new products designed to enrich family living. Awards are presented to companies whose products are deemed exceptional by a knowledgeable and unbiased panel of experts.

Happy Independence Day! Are you free?

I really love the fourth of July.  It has always been a fun holiday for me.  When I was a kid we would decorate our bikes with streamers and bells and in the morning on the fourth, we would ride through the town in a parade with clowns, firemen and retired military while our families and friends cheered and clapped for us on the sidewalks. After the parade we’d go to a friend’s house for a cookout.  We’d run in the sprinklers, eat fresh corn on the cob with butter dripping down our chins and laugh till our cheeks hurt.  Even a little rain couldn’t spoil our fun.  By dusk we’d drive to the golf course or the river to stake a spot to watch the fireworks.  Adrenaline and excitement for fireworks would keep us awake despite the long, hot day.  It was a great time.  These are the memories I have of fourth of July.

Now, these simple pleasures are so complicated for me. I see corn and I think of GMO’s and massive food industry putting corn syrup in a multitude of foods.  I go outside with my family in sun and I think of how difficult it is to find a sunscreen that will not harm them more than the rays from the sun.  At dusk, when the bugs come out, I hope that the all natural bug spray that I’ve mixed at home will keep them comfortable and free from bug bites.  I am frustrated that there aren’t safe alternatives in bug sprays available in stores.

And when the music plays, and when we talk about freedom and liberty, I wonder why it’s so hard to get legislation passed to make sure that foods are properly labeled so that we have the freedom to choose what we put in our bodies.  And why is it so hard to get companies to remove toxic chemicals from our personal care products?  This is something they already do in other countries, so why won’t they do it for us here in the “land of the free?”

The face of cancer is no longer a wrinkled grandparent who has lived a full life, whose death is unjust because it is painful and unnatural. The face of cancer is now a mother with three kids in elementary school, a 6th grader with braces, a father with 2 boys in high school.  The face of cancer is too young, too rampant and too cruel to those who have not yet lived, or who are in the middle and the highlight of their living.  And why are we not livid?

I love this country, but I no longer feel like I live in the land of the free.  I feel like we are living in the land of the secretive. The land of the “put it off for later.” The land of the “someone else’s problem.”

But, the truth is, this still is the land of the free, which is why I am free to write this post and tell you that the choices you make every day add up.  Let them add up to a long life filled with vibrant family memories.  Don’t let them add up to a bunch of toxins that you have put off for later, only to find that later comes far sooner than you would ever expect or want.