When you are shopping for your favorite Murchison-Hume cleaning product, you may notice a few ingredients we stay away from, and you may wonder why we choose the ingredients we do and why we stay away from the ones we do. We thought we’d cover a few of these whys and why nots in this week’s article. We believe that it’s important to choose ingredients that are not only effective for the job they do but are healthy to use and healthy to make. Murchison-Hume cleaning products are healthy to use in your home, and the ingredients are chosen with the health of the planet, and it’s many special creatures in mind as well. In this week’s article, we’ll cover a few of the products we avoid when making our plant-based cleaning products.
Say No To Palm Oil
You will see that we do not use palm oil or palm oil derived products in any of our plant-based products. For those of you who do not know, palm oil is an oil that comes from the palm fruit of the African oil palm tree. While this crop is grown in many countries, 85% of it that is used in products in America comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. The problem comes in the practices used to clear land to make room for this crop. Clear cutting of rainforests is something that environmentalists have fought against for decades, and every time one section of the forest is saved, it seems that another one is endangered, and all the diverse animals that depend on the forest. Two remarkable and now endangered animals that are being driven to extinction by this type of clear cutting are the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger. This, plus the fact that children are often used as labor on these plantations, are reason enough to say no to palm oil.
At least for the past few decades, there has been increasing awareness of ingredients that are used in common everyday products. While no one can argue that parabens are a highly effective preservative, the mechanisms by which they preserve products is under scrutiny. They are thought to act by penetrating the cellular membrane of bacteria and inhibiting DNA and RNA. Scientists are looking to make sure that parabens are safe, and for ways to make them safer, but for now what has been discovered is that, for instance, when applied to the skin in sunscreen, the UV chemical reaction, in combination with the paraben, can create a DNA change in human skin. There is also a concern with their level of estrogenic activity. Many people are also concerned that parabens may have endocrine interrupting properties and prefer to avoid them until scientists can give firm answers to these questions.
Murchison-Hume works hard to make sure that there is a balance in our products. We products highly effective products that smell great, but that are plant-based and contain no harsh chemicals. If you have not already tried them, do so, and we know you’ll be convinced of how great they are. If you have tried them, then you know how great they are, and we encourage you to give them as gifts for housewarming parties to share the clean green power of Murchison-Hume.
Be kind, be creative, be clean.
Your Guide to Cleaning Granite Countertops
Granite and stone kitchen countertops are a beautiful way to add texture and depth to your kitchen. But they are expensive and prone to staining and cracking. With the right products and a little extra care, natural stone can be a practical and even durable choice that will enhance the look and value of your home for decades. But how to clean them without resorting to specialty cleaners and labor intensive polishes?
Stone is naturally porous and is therefore more susceptible to staining and marks than their man-made options like Corian, or tile. We love stone for its natural beauty, but harsh cleaners can destroy the surface and reduce the lifespan of your costly surfaces. If you decide to invest in granite or stone kitchen counter tops, swapping out your regular supermarket stuff to something without bleach, ammonia or the usual chemical nasties is a really good idea.
The First, Most Important Step
Granite is a natural material. It’s a stone that’s been used for building for a long, long time. Before it arrives as a ready to install bench top, it’s been quarried, cut, and polished. Since it is a stone, however, it must be sealed. There are a couple of ways to do this. Professional and DIY options abound. We recommend having it done professionally at installation before going it alone with an at-home sealant.
You should always check with your manufacturer to get full instructions on sealants and how often to reseal, but typically, granite should be sealed about once a year. Sealing helps to protect your lovely countertops from heat, spills and standing water that might mark the surface. Good to know: When water stops beading on your granite surface, it’s probably time to re-seal.
Let’s Get Cleaning
First of all, don’t stress about it. Cleaning granite is actually incredibly simple. If you choose the right cleaning products, you can clean as often as you like without worrying about harming the finish.
For light, everyday cleaning, use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner like our Counter Safe All-Purpose Cleaner. Just spray and wipe with a dry, lint-free cloth and you’re done. Easy.
For a more serious deep clean, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and gather your materials. Here’s what you need:
- A small bucket (or large bowl)
- A mild plant-based dishwashing liquid
- A clean, non-abrasive sponge
- A clean, lint-free cloth for drying
Start by taking everything off the counter. Don’t skip this step (seriously). If you do, moisture can gather under things left on the counter and if allowed to sit there, can damage your surface.
1. Sweep clean (get rid of crumbs, etc.) you can use a dry cloth or just a damp paper towel.
2. Start with soap. We recommend using a mild, plant-based Dish Soap and warm water. We typically dilute to a 90% water-to-soap ratio (you only need a small amount of soap) depending on the type of stone and size of your countertop. If in doubt, use less; it’s always easier to add more soap than to start again.
3. Use your sponge to gently clean your worktop, working from the back to the front. If you start to see a white lather, dilute with more water. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to rinse them, just buff to dry. You’ll want to rinse your cloth in clean, non-sudsy water often to make sure you’re not just moving dirt around.
4. Dry your counter. Buff it till it shines. Your sealant will have a built-in sheen, but once properly cleaned and polished, it will positively gleam. There it is!
Granite worktops are durable, practical, and beautiful. If you use the right products, they can also be deliciously easy to clean. Preventative sealing, followed by daily maintenance using gentle, naturally made products, and the occasional deep clean, will keep them looking gorgeous for years to come.
Be kind, be creative, be clean.
I love a good professional blow-dry. Who doesn't?! But obviously, time and money constraints place a practical limitation on salon visits and my Dry Bar habit.
So, I’ve had to improvise! My at-home blow-dry game is pretty strong because I had to perfect my technique way back in Middle School. Perms were big back then and when Brook Shields got one I embarked on a Summer long campaign to nag my Mother witless until she finally relented and took me to the local salon. Sadly, puberty and a too-tight perm came together in a perfect storm to forever change the texture of my naturally wavy hair to a robust Roseanne Roseannadanna frizz bomb. Hawt! I still blame the perm.
Faced with this frizzy dilemma. I did what any enterprising 13-year-old would do, I became a blow-dry Ninja! I've been practicing the fine art of stretch and burn hair straightening since before it was even a thing. My current weapons of choice: The Con-Air IonShine 1875 for the straight and sleek or The John Frieda Hot Air Brush (for more bounce + beachy waves).
You can of course, find a more sophisticated and expensive blow-dryer with tricky gadgets out there and honestly, I’ve tried them all. Whatever you for me, the key is the brush attachment. Without it you can't get a grip on your own hair (the heat + stretch is what straightens it). These get the job done quickly and as well as any pricey ceramic dryer if you have the right accessories.
My Blow-Dry arsenal includes:
1. A seriously good round brush. Because Mason-Pearson (my usual go-to) does not make a round brush, I’ve had to go further afield. I found this one at Violet Grey. It is, without question, the best blow-dry brush I have ever used. Lightweight and with the perfect boar to (plastic) bristle ratio that really grips your hair and smooths it into submission.
2. Good Hair clips. I've been using Goldwell Sectioning Hair clips forever, but I found these Y.S. Park Pro clips at Violet Grey when I bought my brush. They're pricey, but I prefer them as they leave less of a dent on freshly dried hair. First world problems, but still!
3. A good hair cream/heat shield. Don’t laugh, but I actually use my own Hand Cream on the ends of my hair and even rub it into my scalp when it feels dry! It’s made with Shea Butter, is 98% natural and smells absolutely delicious.
Here's how to do it:
1. Towel-dry your hair and apply a little Hand Cream directly to damp ends. Now do something else: Wash your face, do your make-up and get dressed while allowing your hair to air dry a little bit. This is key to the perfect blow-dry, as you don’t want to blow it straight from soaking wet because that's very damaging to hair.
2. Section off your hair and pin it up. The smaller the sections, the better the blow-dry. I do about a 3” section at a time. I pin up the top and sides of my hair and start with the nape of my neck, working forward, but do whatever feels right to you.
3. Starting with your section of hair, collect and pull your hair section using your round brush.
4. Secure and sandwich your hair section between the round brush and the brush attachment of the blow-dryer.
5. On the highest setting, slide down away from the scalp, pulling the hair section taut between the round brush and dryer brush. Curl under, curl out or pull straight to the ends. Whatever takes your fancy, Beautiful!
6. That's it. You're done. I use a final pump or two to seal the ends and smooth down flyways up top. So much better than hair spray, which can be drying.
I can do my own hair from wet to sleek in less than 15 minutes. It will take as few times to perfect your technique, but I guarantee you that with some practice, you will emerge from your own bathroom with same sleek, bouncy hair with movement that you get at for favorite salon!
OK, so it’s Father’s Day again and you’ve seen all those cards and badges around that say stuff like WORLD’S BEST DAD or GREATEST DAD IN THE WORLD, and so you think, 'Should I have bought one of those for my dad? I mean, did he deserve one? Is my dad really the greatest dad in the world? Is he really better than all the rest?’
But hold on. Stop. Think. What does being “the greatest dad in the world” even mean? Does it mean that if there were a boxing ring big enough to hold every dad in the world at the same time, your dad could beat every other dad in a huge all-in-no-holds-barred-every-dad-in-the-world dad-fight?
And if not, does that necessarily mean he’s not the greatest dad in the world? I mean, sure, he might not be able to beat up every other dad in the world but maybe that’s because he’s the most peace-loving dad in the world ... or maybe he’s just too smart to try to take on every other dad in the world ... hey, maybe he’s smarter than all those hot-headed, tough-guy fighting dads.
Maybe your dad makes better tables than any other dad, maybe your dad tells better jokes than any other dad or maybe he’s better-looking, wiser, funnier and knows more about alternative music from 1977 to 1984 than any other dad.
Anyway, the point is that it’s really very hard to figure out if why your dad is the greatest dad in the world, so take our advice and don’t even bother. Do something that you can do, which is spend Father’s Day letting your dad know that he is the luckiest dad in the world because he is the father of you – the greatest child in the entire world!
Wishing you and your dad a very happy Greatest Child in the World Day!
Be kind, be creative, be clean.
If we asked you to name the germiest place in the house, you’d probably say “the bathroom.” Wrong! It’s your digital devices (especially that slippery germ brick otherwise known as an iPhone that you’re holding to your face right now).
According to a recent article in Forbes:
“A variety of studies and reports over the years have put the average bacteria per square inch on a toilet seat somewhere between 50 and almost 300 for household potties and over 1,000 for the public varieties. Yet our own handheld electronics harbor even more bacteria than that.”
Really? More bacteria than a public toilet?! Yep. You’re staring down the barrel of bacteria colonies like: streptococcus, bacillius mycoides and maybe even fecal coliforms (otherwise known as poo). Ewwwww.
The article goes on to list the worst offenders:
Your Phone: You take it everywhere, right? You put it down on the bar and on restaurant tables; taxi seats and maybe even a public bathroom tank or sink. Then you bring it home and put it on the dining table, kitchen counter or your bedside table.
Hello, bacteria counter! According to another 2012 study at the University of Arizona, our smartphones carry up to 10 times more bacteria than most public toilets seats. Other studies have put that number much higher.
1. Your iPad/Tablet: Basically your phone with a bigger surface area (to hold more germs)
2. Game controllers: Those sticky little fingers aren’t always great about washing hands after going to the bathroom, are they? So it’s really no surprise that controllers are a whopping 5 times dirtier than a toilet seat on the average. Ugh.
3. Your Keyboard+ Mouse: Frankly, we thought this one would be higher up on the list. They host merely 3 times more germs than the average public loo. Nice.
4. Remote controls: We never touch the remote in a hotel room until we’ve given it a generous spritz of cleaner. Fact. And even though it’s cleaner than the loo seat (talk about lowering the bar) we’re not taking any chances.
So. Now that you are totally grossed out, here’s what to do to fix it:
1. Wash your hands. It’s the simplest thing and you’ve heard it before, but you would be SHOCKED to know how many well-dressed grown-ups just swing out of the bathroom with dirty hands.
2. Notice where you put your phone down! This goes for any hand held device. Use a napkin or better yet, keep it in your pocket or bag at dinner. That's what you’re supposed to do, anyway!
3. Clean your stuff. Make it a Friday afternoon ritual to clean your mouse, keyboard and all your devices before you head out for the weekend. That way, you’re (literally) starting with a clean slate on Monday. You just need a simple, alcohol based cleaner that’s safe for use on electronic devices. And spray the cloth, not the device. Duh.
Be kind, be creative, be clean.