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Organic Wipes?

Flushable wipes cause sewer clogs. Image: www.foxmetro.org

Larry Plesent

Flushable damp wipes for keeping you extra clean are already very popular and becoming more so every day. But how flushable are those polyester wipes? And what happens to them after you flush them out of sight and mind?

Polyester is PET 1 plastic, and, while it may be flushable, it does not simply fall apart. They are not biodegradable. After all, this is plastic we are talking about, not paper. Even worse, these plastic single-use wipes are wreaking havoc in sewer systems across the country and around the world.

According to Candice Miller, Michigan’s Macomb County Public Health Commissioner, these wipes are, “Probably causing 90% of the sewer problems we are having now. They sort of get together, and they almost act like a rope…choking sanitary sewer pumps and causing huge backups.”

Another great idea ruined by plastic! So what’s a conscious consumer to do?

DIY-ers can find themselves a clean small fine mist sprayer and fill it with unflavored vodka. Your choice. Add a couple of drops of peppermint oil, shake lightly and voila! You have just made yourself several months’ worth of spray and wipe.

If this is for an especially delicate skin, skip the essential oils and dilute the vodka 50% with distilled water.

Keep away from flames and out of faces when you spray it.

For an off-the-shelf solution, try Izaroma. This product is just starting to appear in stores and is marketed to “Keep your toilet fresh between cleanings.” I tested Izaroma extensively as a toilet freshener and cleaner and for everything else I could think of and was duly impressed overall. It worked great on my hands without drying them out. The ingredients are simple (non-GMO alcohol, essential oils and water), and I liked the handy six ounce clear spray bottle. Give it a try if you are not into experimenting and making your own wiping, cleansing, people and toilet freshening spray juice.

Make a disposable applicator by wrapping your favorite unscented toilet paper three times around your fingers. After dry wiping (yes, we can be talking butts here), spray your alcohol and essential oil blend onto the paper twice quickly and wipe once to finish. Dispose of in the usual fashion.

This home-made system is great as a cleansing wipe for yourself. Some people even claim that alcohol and essential oils helps to shrink hemorrhoids. I like to use it on my reading glasses as it cuts through greasy film easily.

Here is a terrific recipe for an all-purpose spray cleaner or wipe:

Fill an eight-ounce spray bottle with the following:

Seven ounces of distilled water (put this into the bottle first)

1/2 tsp Vermont Soap’s Liquid Castile (your favorite scent!)

Optional: Add a couple of drops of essential oils to the blend.

Shake it once, and your nontoxic cleaner is ready to use. Great for all washable surfaces including glass, tile, and finished woodwork. Ball up newsprint and use it with the spray to make your windows shine!

You can upcycle an old flannel sheet or towel and cut it up into small squares. Keep a basket handy with these clean scraps and a pail in your laundry room for used wipes. When they are dirty, simply wash them out with Liquid Sunshine or Castile Liquid Soap and return them to the basket!

Larry Plesent is a writer, blogger and natural products formulator who lives off-grid in a hand built solar-powered cabin in the Vermont mountains. He is also the founder of Vermont Soap, a pioneering personal care products company dedicated to replacing yucky stuff with yummsuny stuff. Learn more at vermontsoap.com.

Please Note: Green Energy Times advocates exercise of caution in the use of potable alcohol as a disinfectant. While it can be very effective and can be used safely by anyone who could safely ingest it, some people can be negatively affected by it.

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