Monday, November 22, 2010

When saving hot water is NOT a good idea

Have you ever been somewhere, turned on the tap and smelled that faint (or stronger) odor from the water faucet?  Maybe at your own house?  That's bacterial crud growing in your pipes. 

Years ago, I did the realtor gig for a while.  I always knew which houses had the water heater turned way down and that they didn't use the hot water tap in that sink often enough.  Yummy, mold stench...and someone is rinsing their mouth with that water??

We had the same problem here, but we plumbed our house with a Pex Manifold system, so we were able to disconnect each pipe, run a bit of bleach water into it and turn the faucet on to a dribble for a while to disinfect the pipes.  After that, the water heater went back up a notch and I started using the hot water tap more often.

If you don't have a way to clean those water pipes, you might want to consider different ways to save power.  Perhaps a timer on the water heater, insulating blanket if it's electric, pipe insulation over exposed pipes, or 'on demand' type water heaters in the bathroom and kitchen.  Beats mold in the pipes.

Going 'Poo-less?

I bet that caught your attention, but I'm talking about shampoo.

My initial reaction to the idea of going without shampoo was EEUUUUWWW.  I had visions of yukky, smelly hair, and put that idea into the mental file labeled 'too extreme for me'.

I guess I just needed a while to wrap my mind around the concept.  So I decided to take the plunge after watching the film, 'No Impact Man'.  I looked at a bunch of different recipes online and then started to look for traditional ingredients: Castille soap, glycerin, nice smelling essential oil.

We're rural, so had to do some searching for these things.  Here's what I found:
Castile: $14.99 plus shipping - couldn't find it within a 30 mile radius.
Glycerin: $9.99
Lavendar EO: $22.99 (gasp)

Besides not digging the idea of ordering something that had to be shipped, the thought of spending $48 for experimental shampoo just didn't sit just right, ya know?

Back to the drawing board.  I found another site that suggested Borax (yep, honest!) and vinegar for the primary ingredients  for shampoo and conditioner replacements.  I had both on hand already, so I was ready to go!
Shampoo replacement:  1 TBSP Borax mixed in 1 cup of hot water, stir to disolve, then allow to cool.  One cup Borax to one gallon of water if you want to make a jug of it.
Conditioner replacement: 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 or 5 parts water - I didn't measure.

The verdict:  It worked!!  I was shocked. 

I put each in one of those little ketchup squeeze bottles.  Since I was in the shower, my hair was wet when I got started.  I just squeezed some of the now cold Borax/water around on my scalp and worked it into the rest of my hair... the whole time thinking that this isn't doing anything.  No suds, no cleaning, right?  Or so I thought.  When I rinsed that out, I was surprised that my hair felt softer than what it usually did after using regular shampoo.  It also kind of squeaked, you  know, when you rub something really clean and it squeaks?

Now the vinegar/water conditioner - I did the same thing, just squeezed some on my scalp and rubbed it in the rest of my hair and rinsed.  It didn't smell as bad as I thought it was going to.

After I dried my hair, it looked clean and smelled clean with no vinegar odor. The best things were no tangles, more volume and shiny hair.  I also had an itchy bump that had been there for a while, and now it's smaller and doesn't itch.  I think I like this stuff.

It's weird, washing your hair with something that is watery and non-lathering.  I'll probably keep using it, but I'm not taking the regular shampoo and conditioner to the other bathroom yet.  I might decide to lather up once in a while.  Even if I just use the alternative every other time, I'll still be cutting my 'poo and conditioner consumerism plus the plastic bottles in half.

Later:  I now have used it twice, and honestly, I do like it.  It rinses out so much faster than gobs of suds, and seems to dry faster.  My naturally wavy hair seems a little curlier, too.  The purchased shampoo and conditioner probably won't be in my shower much longer.

This Changed My Outlook

I recently saw the film 'No Impact Man'.  And here I thought I was doing a good job of lowering my impact.  I have to admit that it inspired me to try to do more.

Today I tried to watch 'Meat the Truth'.  Tried and failed.  I couldn't stick it out just because I knew it was going to put me in a sad mood and I already knew some of what she was talking about.  But mostly because I was getting low, really quick.  And I'm in a really good mood today!  I'm sure it's a great film to watch, so I'll try it another day.

Another really good one is 'The Story of Stuff'.  It gave me a new prospective with everything I buy (what little that is).

There is also one about  how farmers ended up fighting Monsanto (the bastards).  I wish I could remember the name of that documentary.  One thing for sure, it left a HUGE impression on me, and was quite enlightening.  I did some research and found that Monsanto (the bastards) own a boatload of seed companies, so I will always get heirloom plants and seed from organic outlets that have NO connections to Monsanto (the bastards).  Do some research and you'll see how they are helping to starve poor communities with their suicide gene in all their seed.