You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2009.

washing on the line

A woman’s work is never done, or at least it feels like it when it comes to the laundry in our home.

I probably wash between 5-7 loads a week, which together with hanging out, folding and putting away feels like a never ending chore. But I do get inspiration in finding environment savers and ways of cutting corners.

My 3 EASY STEPS are:

> Use cold water – reduces washing machine greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and reduces your energy bills (but not recommended for woollens!).

> Wash with full loads – uses less water and energy

> Line dry – clothes dryers are a killer for chewing up energy and generating greenhouse gas emissions, plus most baby clothes can’t  be tumble dried, so don’t rush out and buy one because you have a new baby in the family (see 5 reasons to line dry your laundry).

My best shortcut is:

> Wash business shirts and other creasables on a creasables cycle – uses more water but saves on the ironing if they are hung up immediately on a coat hanger (plus saves on hanging later!)

3 INTERMEDIATE STEPS (may require a new purchase)

> Use phosphate free detergent – stops horrible algal blooms from developing in our waterways.

> Use a greywater hose – divert water direct from your washing machine to your garden (but make sure the detergent you are using is suitable to do this).*

> Use a concentrated washing liquid or powder and buy in bulk – as requires less packaging and is cheaper per wash.

My favourite is:

Earth Choice which is grey water and septic safe, Australian made and owned and contains no phosphorus (at $16.11 for 4 L comes out at 20c per wash).

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

3 ADVANCED STEPS (requires more expensive purchases)

> No detergent – not as insane as it sounds. I have an Enviroball which they say should last for 1,000 washes (at an upfront cost of $50 that comes out at 5c per wash).

> Install a greywater system – a bit pricey but with water prices going up it should save you in the long-term plus there are government incentives to help you out (see or Living Greener for more information).

> Buy a front loading washing machine – generally more expensive than top loaders but should save you money in the long term and are better for the environment, as they use less water, less energy and less detergent. Plus they wash more gently so your clothes should last longer.

*Apart from any wider environmental benefits I find one of the main benefits of reusing my laundry water is my lovely fern garden which is watered almost exclusively by the greywater hose!


I startled my children this morning, by dashing out first thing to clean our outdoor wooden table with a bucket of strong hot tea and a broom covered with a stocking.

When I told my son I had seen it on a TV show the night before, he thought I was joking or had gone a little crazy. As would you, if you had seen me in action!

Lush House on the Lifestyle channel (Foxtel) has been inspiring me about all manner of interesting cleaning methods that also have the benefit of being eco-friendly. Ultimately my efforts with the tea covered broom did have the desired effect of making our table not only cleaner but slightly darker than it had been previously (sorry, no before and after shots, my camera is broken 😦 ).

Below is a link to Shannon Lush’s cleaning kit, which I am hoping to put together for my own home and includes:

  • Bi-carb Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Methylated Spirits
  • Lavender Oil and
  • Unprocessed Wheat Bran

An interesting cleaning kit to say the least, but should be cheaper and greener than some of those nasty cleaning products currently lurking in my laundry cupboard!

Will keep you informed on the results…… 🙂

How to be Comfy Shannon Lush and Jennifer Flemming

How to be Comfy Shannon Lush and Jennifer Flemming

Thanks to my previous job (and the alluring coffee machine) I am now officially a coffee addict.

Now that I am spending a bit more time at home and occassionally in the corridors of government (no free coffee there, or at least not for me) I have decided my habit needs to become a bit more affordable and eco-friendly.

My standard large latte every morning and afternoon (average $3.30-$5 each) adds up in terms of cost and uses a lot of disposable cups! 


my plunger and coffee travel mug all in one

my plunger and coffee travel mug all in one

My new Bodum plunger cup (only $10 on sale) is already making me feel better. It will have paid for itself after only 3 uses and should save me around $30 week, (that’s $1560 a year!)  

Add to that the pile of disposable cups removed from landfill (or using energy going through the recycling process) and my organic, free-trade plunger coffee and it is all good. Three cheers for the new plunger cup!

I am a growing fan of e-cards, which are great for certain situations, use less resources than the hard copy version and are generally cheaper. They also increase the probability of the greeting reaching the person on time.

However I have found that free e-cards often have very limited choice but now think I may have struck the jackpot, as have discovered Care2 E-cards which are cute and quirky cards, at the right price (free!) and on top of this apparently for every eCard sent, Care2 makes a donation to an environmental nonprofit to save a square foot of rainforest (don’t know quite how this works, but I am sure there are more details on their website somewhere).

 See the below image of the e-card I just sent my Dad for Father’s Day, funky, retro, cool… a bit like him!

Source: Care2 e-cards

Source: Care2 e-cards

I have just found an interesting statistic which may help to explain why I have felt perpetually tired for the last two years.

Australian mothers with a child under 5 years old spend 23 hours a week doing housework and those with a youngest child 5-14 years old spend 20 hours a week (for more details see

Combine that amount of housework with paid work plus time spent parenting and playing with two active kids and you start realising where all those hours disappear to…..

Well I am aiming to find:

– inspiration in the daily household tasks


– finding ways to make housework FASTER

– using cheaper products that are better for the environment

learning MORE and having fun in the process!

After all the main homemaker generally decides the majority of daily household purchases and how they are used and as a result contributes to having a major impact on the health of their families and the planet (oh the power is going to my head!!)

So I am hoping to explore this further, document my journey and let you know how my experiments with environmentally sustainable homemaking, reducing housework (is it possible?) and staying sane as a Mum go.

Ciao EnviroMum