Giveaway! e-cloth – Perfect Cleaning With Just Water

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There is a mirror in my bathroom which has long annoyed the crap out of me. I can’t get it clean.  I walk by the bathroom 40 times a day and see the mirror, full of wipe marks. The natural light from the bathroom window hits the mirror just perfect to showcase every single streak from my unsuccessful cleaning attempt. It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Up until now, I had been using Windex and a paper towel. I had tried vinegar and that was worse. I even tried generic microfiber cloths from Costco that my husband uses to wash his truck.  Fail.  The natural stuff didn’t work. The chemical stuff didn’t work. What’s a girl to do?

When the kind people from e-cloth contacted me last month offering to send me some cloths to review, I jumped on the offer. You see, e-cloths are various forms of fiber cloths which require ONLY WATER to work.  They make specific cloths for all types of cleaning: glass cloths, general purpose cloths, dish cloths, auto cloths, shower cloths, and many more.  The even have packs for bathroom, dusting, floors and more.  They even come in vibrant colors, which makes me feel like the Carrie Bradshaw of cleaning!

Here are some facts about e-cloth which I found enticing:

  • YOU DON’T NEED CHEMICALS.
  • By combining e-cloth’s special fiber technology with water, the cloths break up, lift and hold grease, grime and bacteria.  Which things like paper towel and other cloths leave behind.
  • Each e-cloth has 1.6 million strands per square inch.  That is why they are so effective at cleaning and are super absorbent.
  • Research done has shown that e-cloth removes over 99% of bacteria.  With just water.  How awesome is that?
  • The cloths are not expensive.  They have free shipping too!  I love a good deal.  I might just buy them all.

Experiment #1 – Glass & Polishing Cloth

Window

Of the three cloths e-cloth sent me, of course the Glass & Polishing Cloth was the one I was most excited to try.  That mirror…

I am really excited to say that this cloth delivers!!

Mirrors.  I dampened the cloth and wiped the mirror.  The first thing I noticed is that it gripped to the dust on the surface of the mirror, which nothing I have tried in the past has been able to do.  Usually the dust just gets wet and smears around, right?  Does anyone else’s toilet paper make an insane amount of dust in their bathroom?  I feel like I should hold my breath when I’m handling it.  Ridiculous amount of dust.  My e-cloth picked up the dust no problem.  It left some water on the mirror, but when it dried, it was perfectly clean!  As in ZERO streaks.  Success!

Perfectly clean mirror!

Perfectly clean mirror!

Windows.  I also did a test run on my large front window which had fingerprints all over it.  Sticky fingerprints, greasy fingerprints, I-don’t-want-to-know-what-that-is fingerprints.  With just water, the Glass & Polishing Cloth cleaned the window better than anything else I have tried.  No fingerprints or streaks were left behind.  I was getting excited by this point.

Experiment #2 – Stainless Steel Cloth

stainless

Having spotless stainless steel with a toddler in the house is impossible!  Anything at my son’s level is covered in fingerprints.  We’ve been using a “green” cleaner to wipe our refrigerator since we bought it a few years ago.  There are still smears on the lower half that will not wipe off.  I was hopeful this cloth would help.

The Stainless Steel Cloth is double-sided.  One side has soft fibers, similar to the General Purpose Cloth below.  The other side is striped with a tough fiber.  This side is for brushed stainless steel, while the soft side is for polished.

steelecloth

If you get this cloth, make sure you follow the directions.  The first time I used the cloth, I just wet it and wiped.  My refrigerator looked TERRIBLE.  Like, if it wasn’t just water I would have panicked that I ruined it.    The instructions clearly state to spray with water, wipe with Stainless Steel cloth and then finish with Glass & Polishing Cloth.  The second time around I followed instructions and has much better results.

Shiny, happy tea kettle.  Thank you Stainless Steel e-cloth!

Shiny, happy tea kettle. Thank you Stainless Steel e-cloth!

I also tried our stainless steel electric tea kettle and the cloth polished it beautifully.  I used the tough side to gently buff off anything stuck on it and then used the soft side to polish it.  It looked brand new!

Experiment #3 – General Purpose Cloth

gen purpose

The third cloth I tried was the General Purpose Cloth, designed for cleaning stainless steel, enamel, ceramic, glass, chrome, granite, marble, slate, quartz, tile and wood.   According to e-cloth, it removes thick dirt, grease, oil, grime.  Due to its electrostatic properties, when used dry it is also an effective dusting cloth.

Dusting.  I used this cloth to dust while it was dry.  I dusted some wood surfaces in our home and it worked well.  There were no dust-bunnies left behind, which I usually have.  The cloth grabs on to dust, no chemical sprays needed.  Win.

Next, I wet it to rinse out the dust.  After wringing out all the water I could, I decided to try dusting my ceiling fans.  It was awesome!  There was no dust or smears left behind, and no dust fell on me.  Another win!

Counters.  The last thing I tried the cloth for was the kitchen counters, which are usually a mess.  I almost didn’t want to dirty my new cloth on them, but I wanted to see what the cloth can do on counter top.  We have a dark speckled laminate counter top, so it is hard to see when it is dirty.  So I rinsed the cloth clean and got to scrubbing.  The cloth did well for normal spots and dust.  There was a spot of really stubborn bacon grease which would not come up, but my natural cleaner hasn’t gotten that spot clean either.  I needed something more abrasive for that.

I would recommend having a designated cloth for kitchen use because I felt like using my General Purpose Cloth there was going to destroy it a lot faster than just dusting and cleaning elsewhere in the house.

This is a good time to mention:

How long will e-cloths last?

As long as the care instructions are followed, with normal use e-cloths will last for several years and are guaranteed for 300 washes. There may be some loss of color or staining, but this will not affect performance.   In order to care for an e-cloth, simply wash in your washing machine without any fabric softener.  They make chemical-free cleaning really easy!

GIVEAWAY! e-cloth will send one winner ALL 3 CLOTHS!

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

If you share my mirror frustrations, you will definitely want to enter this giveaway.  One winner will receive one of each of the cloths I described above: the Glass & Polishing Cloth, the Stainless Steel Cloth and the General Purpose Cloth.

To enter, please do the following:

  1. Visit ecloth.com and sign up for their email list.  Leave a comment below telling what cloth you want to try most! You need to leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway.
  2. Follow e-cloth on any of their social media.  Leave an additional comment for each one you follow.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/eclothUSA
Twitter: @ecloth
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/eclothUSA
Instagram: @eclothUSA
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/eclothCleaning

Please enter between 5/25/2015 6:00 am CT to 6/1/2015 6:00 am CT.  This giveaway is open to Continental U.S. residents only.  Must be 18 years old to enter.  Winner will be chosen from the comments below using Random.org.

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*I received free e-cloths in order to write this review, however all opinions are my own!

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The Easiest Produce Wash

Easy produce wash to remove dirt and little critters! #naturalliving #lifehacks #naturalkitchen

Washing fruit and veggies is something I haven’t thought out too well.  Although I’ve heard time and again to not do this, I use a tiny bit of watered down dish soap to wash produce with tough skins like apples, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.  As for things like berries with a soft, absorbent skin, I just rinse in tap water.  This bothers me for two reasons.  One, I don’t drink my unfiltered Chicago tap water for obvious reasons, so why would I wash my absorbent berries in it.  Two, I’ve become aware that parasites are all around us, including at the grocery store.  I don’t feel confident that a rinse in tap water will remove all trace of parasites from the fruit.

Recently, I came across a great way to wash berries and other veggies that does not change the taste and makes me feel a lot more secure about getting them clean.  It’s as simple as this:

  1. Fill a bowl with about 2 cups of filtered water, the kind you drink.
  2. Add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar.
  3. Stir a bit, add your fruit or veggies and stir gently.
  4. Allow to soak a few minutes.
  5. Strain out the water.
  6. Rinse under cold water.

I’ve been doing this a lot lately with strawberries because they are in season here, and delicious.  After the soaking stage, I pull the strawberries out by hand to look in the leftover water.  Every time I find bugs.  All different kinds.  I am glad my organic fruit is clean enough to host bugs.  I am also glad that my fruit wash is effectively removing bugs I can see.

What about the bugs I can’t see?  Good news, vinegar has been shown in studies to reduce bacteria and viruses from strawberries by upwards of 90%.  (Source)

I have not tried this wash on produce other than berries, but in my research I have found that people use it for all types of produce.  A great idea I came across is to make a large batch and wash all your produce at one time, even if you’re not going to be eating it all at that time.

Regarding pesticides, I have read that vinegar (any type) will remove a portion of surface pesticides.  The problem with non-organic produce is that the pesticides are inside the produce as well as on the surface.  Rain water soaks the chemicals into the ground where it is soaked up by the roots.  It can soak into the plant when it is sprayed as well.  I firmly believe the best way to not eat toxic poison is to keep it really, really far away from your home and your food.  Buying organic is the only way to not consume toxic pesticides on your food.  I did a lot of research on organics which resulted in this post and this post if you are interested.

This is just one of the many reasons why you should keep raw apple cider vinegar in your kitchen at all times.  Happy washing!

Easy produce wash to remove dirt and little critters! #naturalliving #lifehacks #naturalkitchen

My First Grader Can’t Sit Still – How We Are Making it Work

I haven’t talked about my son’s health and related school issues in a long time.  I have some great updates to share.

A few weeks ago we attended a meeting at his school along with the school counselor, nurse, social worker, psychologist, his teacher, the special education teacher, and the occupational therapist.  The goal was to discuss his attention and behavior progress and whether or not he will need an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP.  The slightly arrogant psychologist began the discussion by letting us know that she had observed our son and said he was unable to pay attention longer than three seconds.  She immediately lost all credibility with me, as I found that unrealistic and slightly offensive.  My son has a great attention span when it is something he is interested in.  Thankfully the rest of the school staff was much better at assessing our son’s behavior and learning abilities.  His teacher expressed that she does not feel he has a learning disability, but definitely has trouble sitting still and focusing.  This matched what I have observed at home.  During our homework time he will fidget, rub his eyes and face repeatedly, yawn, look around the room and fall off his chair attempting to distract himself from whatever school work I am asking him to focus on.  I have been able to help him focus and complete work, and so I know wholeheartedly the “three-second” school psychologist is not correct in her assessment.

After we all agreed that my son needed a more tailored approach to his education, the school staff dropped the bomb that he will need a diagnosis to qualify for an IEP.  I have been avoiding having my son diagnosed with ADD or ADHD because I do not want any labels following him through life like a stigma.  Honestly, I feel that ADD and ADHD are over diagnosed.  I also do not feel that my son’s lack of attention on reading or writing qualifies as a disease.  Children are in a full day of school at 5 years-old and are learning to read, write and do basic math.  When I was in kindergarten 27 years ago, it was mainly focused on building social skills with some basic language and math skills worked in.  I can’t imagine how difficult it is for a 5 year-old to sit still at a desk and listen attentively for so many hours a day.  Kids should be filled with energy and imagination.  They should be dreamers and creators.  Of the other moms I talk to from my son’s school, many of their children have been diagnosed with ADHD, usually boys.  A lot of them.  It’s pretty ridiculous.  Maybe instead of trying to force these kids into a system which doesn’t work, they should instead design a system which works better for these little energetic dreamers.  Which brings me back to the IEP.

While I really do not want a “diagnosis”, I know that they can call him whatever they want, I will never tell my son he is anything but perfect.  So I begrudgingly agreed to let them all meet with him one-on-one in the coming weeks to determine his “diagnosis.”  We are now set to meet again in a few weeks to discuss their findings and what changes we can make to help him do better in school.

Even though we have not yet implemented an IEP, my son has actually been doing a lot better lately in school.  He is still behind, but we are nonetheless thrilled and relieved to see progress in his behavior and attentiveness.  I think a lot of it is him growing and maturing, but I have been doing some things at home to help him feel balanced.

#1 – Address Gut Issues / Food Intolerances

A few weeks ago, I listened to an interview with Pam Machemehl Helmly, CN, entitled “A Balanced Brain Makes for a Balanced Child.”  It was part of the Children & Teen’s Health Summit and unfortunately can no longer be accessed for free.  It was a very interesting interview regarding treatment of AD/HD in children.  Pam stated that between 70 and 80% of the individuals diagnosed with AD/HD were dealing with gastrointestinal issues.  In the interview, Pam shared that many important neurotransmitters are produced in the gut, such as serotonin and around 40 others.  Neurotransmitters are chemicals which send information throughout the brain and the body.  If a person is lacking adequate neurotransmitters due to gut dysbiosis, the brain cannot function properly.  This means that the gut is largely a cause of AD/HD in children.  If your child has food allergies or digestive issues, you will want to pay special attention to this factor.

My son has allergies to gluten and soy.  It is so easy to let him have a little gluten here and there, or go out to eat and know he’s eating soy in some form.  (It’s hidden in everything.)  I have noticed again and again that his attention and overall state declines when I get lazy with his diet restrictions.  Lately I have been making a huge effort to make sure his food is free of any ingredients which will make him feel unwell.

It is also important to give kids a real food diet with as little preservatives, artificial coloring, overly processed sugar and other franken-ingredients as possible, otherwise they will not be operating at their best.  According to the Neurogistics website:

Individuals diagnosed with AD/HD share similarities among behavioral symptoms. However, the underlying causes may be heterogeneous due to a combination of several, biological, psychological and social factors.

Additionally, research has indicated that several biochemical factors may play a role in AD/HD. This includes food allergies and sensitivity to food additives such as flavor enhancers, coloring agents, as well as preservatives. Heavy metal toxicities (aluminum, lead, mercury) and other environmental toxins from air, food and water, vitamin deficiencies (B1, B3, B6), mineral (iron, selenium, zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium) and amino acid (tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine) abnormalities, essential fatty acids (omega-3 series) and phospholipid deficiencies, thyroid disorders as well as genetic predisposition can all play a role in AD/HD.  (Source)

#2 – Vetiver Essential Oil

Dr. Terry Friedman conducted a study, which can be found here.  The study showed that inhaling Vetiver essential oil three times daily resulted in increased beta-theta brain wave ratio.  (Beta waves are in an alert state, theta waves are in a sleep or daydreaming state.)  Researchers concluded Vetiver essential oil was effective in promoting concentration.   I put this oil in my diffuser, which is a difficult task but is the only way I have been able to consistently have him inhale it three times a day.  The oil is very thick and syrupy so it takes a little time and work to get a few drops out, but I feel it is worth the effort.

If you are going to be purchasing essential oils, make sure to research your source and be certain they are 100% pure.  Contact me if you are interested!

#3 – Taking Breaks

It may sound like common sense, but taking breaks during homework time really helps.  Once the fidgeting starts, I let my son take a play break for 5 minutes.  I make sure he understands he will be coming right back to avoid a tantrum.  It gives him a little relief and he comes back a little bit fresher.

Usually when he comes back after a break, we will start working on a different homework page than the one we were working on when he left.  His homework is usually divided into multiple sections per page, and so it helps to switch it up between subjects.

#4 – Exercise

A while back, I listened to this video from Kids In The House which explains that exercise increases dopamine and epinephrine, which are neurotransmitters  which ADD medicines are designed to increase.  The expert in the video, Dr. John Ratey, has several videos explaining how exercise helps the brain learn better, pay better attention and even grow socially.  According to Dr. Ratey,

Kids and adults learn better once they’ve exercised for a multitude of reasons.  Three ways of thinking about it:

One, it makes the learner a better learner, makes them more receptive, more focused, more motivated, more interested, less worried about capturing the material;

Second, it prepares the brain to learn. It actually releases chemicals in our brain that help our brain cells, 100 billion of the, be optimized to grow. That’s the only way we learn anything, is we take in information and our cells grow.

The third reason exercise is helpful is that it stimulates something called neurogenesis or making new brain cells. Everyone wants to hear about this, but it’s probably the newest and most controversial aspect of why exercise helps.  Exercise, more than any other drug or factor that we know of, helps create new brain cells, especially in the area of the brain that is involved with learning.  (Source)

With this information in mind, my husband and I bought this mini-trampoline for our kids this past Christmas.  On some of the homework breaks I explained above, my son will jump on the trampoline.  Its a really useful thing to have on-hand for long winters or rainy days.

Incorporating all of these things has helped make homework less of a struggle and has helped my son pay attention better, at home and in school.

What methods do you use to help your kids pay attention?  Please share in the comments below!

Additional Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25078296

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22688187

https://www.neurogistics.com/TheScience/WhatareNeurotransmi09CE.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin