Become a water warrior – 9 recommendations for water conservation

It’s hard to commit to using less water because it involves everything fine and delicate: cleaning our bodies, our food, and our clothes. We have a level of comfort with cleanliness and nobody wants to be smelly. The United States is particularly obsessed with this (“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”). We use nearly as much water as China and they have four times the population.

And water conservation is a worthwhile cause, from the EPA:

In the last five years, nearly every region of the country has experienced water shortages. At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013, even under non-drought conditions.

We are in a drought.

Keep that in mind with these water conservation tips. Approach them with caution, do a little at a time, and find your comfort level. At times you may go too far and that is okay. Often I go too long without showering and am reminded, it’s time.

Water use in the home covers four areas: kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and outdoors. Which I break down into two categories – turn-off the running water and change your habits. The first is such a common sense idea, but we frequently keep the water running without doing anything. When you brush your teeth for 2 minutes and use the running water for 5 seconds. Or, when you pause in the shower to lather and ignore the gushing stream behind you.

I daresay these are easy changes:

  • Brushing teeth – brush, floss, and don’t turn on the water until you rinse your toothbrush and mouth. Use a cup to save even more water.
  • Cleaning dishes – Use running water after you scrubbed your dishes. A moist sponge can get you 90% clean. Make sure to place other dishes to collect the run-off.
  • Washing hands – turn off the water while you soap your hands.
  • Lathering in the shower – turn off the water for a few minutes while you lather, turn on to rinse off.

I know these are simple and common sense, but they are also habits. Repeated practice can save bucketfuls of water. Remember, the average American uses 100 gallons of water/day!

The second recommendation is for the water warriors. These require true determination, involving a substantial change:

  • Shorter showers – Five minutes is the goal, but four minutes will make you a legend.
  • Wash your clothes half as much – many clothing items, like jeans, can go weeks without washing.
  • No more dishwasher – some say that a full dishwasher is more efficient than hand washing, but the average dishwasher uses 4-10 gallons of water. Can you use less?
  • Watering the lawn – water less and less until you notice the grass slightly brown. That is the ideal amount to use.
  • Recycle gray water – Keep a pitcher next to the sink for recycling gray water. This is water free of soap and chemicals but containing food bits and such. Give it to your plants because they don’t mind a little dirt.

I have tested these recommendations and found them very livable. It took a few weeks to learn each habit, but now I’m proud of my water use. I think I’m becoming a water warrior!

Maybe I’m ready for the big challenges.

 

Continue reading Become a water warrior – 9 recommendations for water conservation

Why is Dentistry so out of date?

Brushing, flossing, white strips and mouthwash: Thanks for all the help, but your services may no longer be required. The end of the cavity could be upon us.

UCLA microbiologist Dr. Wenyuan Shi has developed a mouthwash that completely eliminates the most malevolent of the 1,000 species of bacteria that can live in your mouth—after just one use. In a clinical study, 12 subjects who rinsed just one time with the mouthwash experienced a nearly complete elimination of the baleful bacteria, Streptococcus mutans. Four days after the first rinse, their mouths remained mutans-free.

Shi’s mouthwash is currently being tested by the FDA . If the mouthwash passes that hurdle, it will be the first cavity fighter approved since fluoride 60 years ago.

“I actually had no dental training,” Shi recalls, laughing. But once he began teaching, he was struck by how, in a country where we can reduce the risk of heart attacks and diabetes, battle cancer and lower cholesterol, dentistry remained out of date. The scientist-scholar resolved to work toward converting dentistry from a surgical model to a medical model.

“Last year in American health spending, heart disease was No. 1, cancer was No. 2 and dentistry was No. 3,” Shi notes. “We spent about $100 billion. In part, because it’s so old-fashioned. Mechanical removal is still the primary tool.”

via UCLA Magazine

Homemade organic toothpaste: baking soda and water (that’s it!)

A few months ago I made the switch from store toothpaste to the homemade version. There were so many recipes available on the internet that it was hard to find the right one. After several months of experimenting I’ve found the perfect recipe:

Baking Soda + Water

I can’t believe it either, but it works really well. Baking soda is a natural cleanser that helps control pH balance and neutralizes any substance that causes stains or odors. This means that not only will your family’s teeth shine, but they will have much less phlegm.

This also allows you to help your kids skip all the chemicals in the store-bought toothpaste, including fluoride which has some controversy surrounding small children.

No exact measurements are required, but you will notice that baking soda tends to stay dry. So just add a little water every so often.

I store mine in a used plastic container and that’s it!

You really can’t beat this deal since baking soda is so cheap. Plus, you have no waste products, a great bonus considering that very few of those toothpaste tubes are recyclable.

Should you be tempted to try out some of the other homemade toothpaste recipes, here is some advice.

Absolutely skip the hydrogen peroxide. I can’t believe people recommend this but they do say it matches the “cleaning power” of store toothpaste. That’s a scary thought.

I’ve also tried adding salt, coconut oil, and vegetable glycerin. Only coconut oil wasn’t dreadful and is promoted as “naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral,” but I didn’t notice any benefit.

Finally, if you want some flavor I recommend cinnamon, but add just a dash as it is pretty powerful. Many sites also recommend mint but it hasn’t worked for me. I’ve even used fresh garden mint to no avail. Maybe I need to grind it to dust, mortar and pestle style.

I hope this helps you make the switch and make sure to let me know how it goes!

Classic magazine ad from Ipana.

Photos: CRZ (baby), Nesster (Ipana Ad)

Homemade organic toothpaste: baking soda and water (that's it!)

A few months ago I made the switch from store toothpaste to the homemade version. There were so many recipes available on the internet that it was hard to find the right one. After several months of experimenting I’ve found the perfect recipe:

Baking Soda + Water

I can’t believe it either, but it works really well. Baking soda is a natural cleanser that helps control pH balance and neutralizes any substance that causes stains or odors. This means that not only will your family’s teeth shine, but they will have much less phlegm.

This also allows you to help your kids skip all the chemicals in the store-bought toothpaste, including fluoride which has some controversy surrounding small children.

No exact measurements are required, but you will notice that baking soda tends to stay dry. So just add a little water every so often.

I store mine in a used plastic container and that’s it!

You really can’t beat this deal since baking soda is so cheap. Plus, you have no waste products, a great bonus considering that very few of those toothpaste tubes are recyclable.

Should you be tempted to try out some of the other homemade toothpaste recipes, here is some advice.

Absolutely skip the hydrogen peroxide. I can’t believe people recommend this but they do say it matches the “cleaning power” of store toothpaste. That’s a scary thought.

I’ve also tried adding salt, coconut oil, and vegetable glycerin. Only coconut oil wasn’t dreadful and is promoted as “naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral,” but I didn’t notice any benefit.

Finally, if you want some flavor I recommend cinnamon, but add just a dash as it is pretty powerful. Many sites also recommend mint but it hasn’t worked for me. I’ve even used fresh garden mint to no avail. Maybe I need to grind it to dust, mortar and pestle style.

I hope this helps you make the switch and make sure to let me know how it goes!

Classic magazine ad from Ipana.

Photos: CRZ (baby), Nesster (Ipana Ad)