How to hand wash your dry-clean-only clothes

Category: How-To
Published: Sunday, 19 November 2017
Written by Super User


Hand-washing you dry-clean-only clothing at home is an environmentally friendly alternative, and saves money too!

 Wet Cleaning Wool and Silk

  • Hand wash in a sink by gently swirling the clothes in cool water; never twist or wring out wool or silk.
  • Use a mild detergent with a pH below 7 for wool, such as Infinity Heavenly Horsetail, available in health food stores. A mild liquid castile soap such as Dr. Bronner’s baby soap is best for cleaning silk, since it won’t strip the natural oils. Any harsh lye-based soap with a pH above 10 will destroy silk.
  • If necessary, spot clean with vinegar or lemon juice, but test for dye color fastness first.
  • Gently press water from the fabric. Block wool—lay it flat on a towel and stretch it to the correct size and shape—before drying; it will dry to the blocked size. Wool is resilient and recovers quickly from wrinkling if hung.
      Hang dry silk. 
        Read more:


  • Rayon absolutely must not be agitated at all; it is a weak fiber and shrinks easily.
  • Follow washing directions for cleaning wool and silk, with one big difference: rayon is an alkaline fabric, and acidic detergents can harm
    the fabric. Don’t spot clean rayon with acidic vinegar. Most all-purpose detergents will be fine to use, or a liquid castile soap.
    Even a harsh detergent won’t harm rayon.
  • Gently press out water, and hang dry.
        Read more:


Tip: it is the agitation of wool, silk and rayon that causes the shrinkage of the fabric, not just hot water. Even the agitation of the gentle cycle in a washing machine is too much agitation for these fabrics. Make sure to spot-test the fabric for colorfastness first

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)

Category: How-To
Published: Saturday, 18 November 2017
Written by Super User

B.Y.O.B (bring your own bag)

Every year nearly 380 billion plastic shopping bags are used by consumers across the nation, and only a small amount of them are recycled. Join Mid-Columbia Earth Month in dramatically reducing the number of bags used we use - Bring-Your-Own-Bag!

Many grocery stores offer bags for $.50 - $1.00, and more elaborate/designer bags can be purchased online from sites like and

Think about how many grocery bags you usually use to help estimate how many you''ll need (you can adjust throughout the month as needed). Some stores may even offer incentives for using your own bags!

Did you know?

  • According to the EPA, about 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year in the US.
  • Only 5.2 percent of the plastic bags and sacks in the municipal waste stream were recycled in 2005.
  • Plastic bags do not biodegrade - they photodegrade, which means they slowly break down into smaller and smaller bits that can contaminate soil and waterways.
  • Small plastic bags made up about nine percent of the debris found along various U.S. coasts in a five-year study.
  • One reusable shopping bag keeps about 1,000 plastic bags out of landfills over it’s lifetime!


How much of a difference can we really make?

276,000 people in Benton and Franklin Counties

2.1 people per household = 131,000 families

Approx. 6 plastic bags per week =

     - 112,286 bags per day

     - 786,000 bags per week

     - 40,872,000 bags a year

That’s a BIG difference!

How many plastic bags can you reduce? *Benton Franklin Trends,<>


Category: How-To
Published: Saturday, 18 November 2017
Written by Super User

Links and ideas for reducing trash, reusing instead of buying new, and recycling.

Reduce - stop waste before it even starts

Rent or borrow items that will only be use a few times
Sometimes the best way to reduce your trash is to borrow or rent something that you are not going to need for very long. If you decide you need to use something only once or twice, ask around. Your friends are usually happy to help, and if not many stores will rent items for short term use, which can also save you money.


"Precycling is the practice of reducing waste by attempting to avoid bringing into the home or business items which will generate waste. It includes such practices as buying consumables in bulk to reduce packaging, buying consumables in recyclable packaging over non-recyclable packages, avoiding junk mail, and using electronic media for reading materials, especially throwaway items such as magazines or newspapers." (Wikipedia)

While recycling is a positive thing, it still requires energy to transport, melt down, and re-manufacture materials. Pre-thinking your purchases now prevents waste later.


  • Buy in bulk and concentrates to reduce packaging.
  • Bring your own grocery tote shopping
  • Shop second hand stores and websites - see our list in the Community Guide (link)

Check out PlanetPal''s Top Ten List of Ways to PRECYCLE.

Reuse - keeping stuff out of the landfill can help keep money in your pocket

Reusable Containers: Invest in re-useable containers such as tupperware, coffee mugs, and water bottles. Some coffee shops give discounts for bringing your own mug! (Check out lunch containers like Bento Boxes and water bottles

Reusable water bottles: Americans buy more bottled water than any other nation in the world. Manufacturing plastic bottles, (which are most often used only ONCE) uses a lot of fossil fuels and pollutes the environment, and only one out of every six water bottles gets recycled. Choose bottles that are durable, easy to clean, andBPA-free.

"Real" plates, cups, and tableware. Reducing the amount of paper plates and plastic tableware you use can GREATLY reduce the amount of trash you generate.  And food just tastes better off a real plate!

Cloth napkins - they''re not just for fancy restaurants!  Keep a supply of small, every-day cloth napkins on hand to use at meals.  Use a dark color or busy pattern so stains don''t show up (or resign to the fact that they''re utilitarian, so stains don''t matter as long as they''re clean).  Throw them in the wash with the towels, and save tons of paper and money.  Purchase cloth napkins at the store, or make your own for a real inexpensive fix.

"Reusing items - by repairing them, donating them to charity and community groups, or selling them - also reduces waste and SAVES MONEY. Reusing products, when possible, is even better than recycling because the item does not need to be reprocessed before it can be used again."

More Reusing Ideas:


  • According to the EPA, 75% of Americans'' trash can be recycled, but only 25% actually is.
  • Recycling an aluminum can takes 96% less energy than creating a new one!

Recycling information can be found at or WA Department of Ecology Recycling Hotline website. Local recycling information can be found in the Community Guide (link).  You can also look in your phone book for the closest recycling center or call your garbage provider for information.

Can you get by for four weeks on one week''s worth of garbage? Take the One Can A Month Challenge!
Have you ever looked in the trash cans scattered around your house? What''s in there? Paper towels and tissues? Food? Plastic packaging? There is a lot of stuff in our garbage cans that doesn''t really need to be there, and EnviroMom''s One Can A Month Challenge is going to help you reduce the amount of garbage your household generates down to one curbside can a month. Really!

Reuse items already on-hand
Check out this great article: 20 Things You Can Use Twice Before Tossing. - Composting and Mulching Lawnmowers: Keep organic waste out of landfills and get free fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Visit the City of Richland Environmental Education website for composting and workshop info, and for mulching lawn mower info. Here’s one option for composting for smaller spaces, such as apartments or offices:

Repair items instead of buying new

Repurpose items that have outlived their current purpose, but can be used for other things

- Articles online: search "Repurpose Items" on google to find articles like 25 Things To Do With Old Jeans

- Some schools and other organizations can use your unneeded items for craft projects. Call or post them on electronic bulletin boards like or

Sell, trade, or donate items in good condition that are no longer needed
Donate items to a thrift store or sell at a consignment shop (see list below), join a group like Freecycle or 2good2toss, or check out the latest postings on CraigslistEbay and Amazon. Bonus: Buying used can save you BIG money!

Travel Green

Category: How-To
Published: Saturday, 18 November 2017
Written by Super User

Public Transportation and Carpooling
"Public transportation produces 95 percent less carbon monoxide (CO), 90 percent less in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and about half as much carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), per passenger mile, as private vehicles." (

Locally, Ben Franklin Transit (winner of the City of Richland''s "Green Business of the Year" award in 2006) offers bus service and vanpool/ridesharing. Visit their website,, for more routes and fares.

Walking and Biking
Not only will you help the environment - you''ll also save money, stay in shape, and enjoy the outdoors!  See the Outdoor Guide for more information.

Hybrid and Fuel Efficient Cars
A hybrid car features a small, fuel-efficient gas engine combined with an electric motor that assists the engine when accelerating. The electric motor is powered by batteries that recharge automatically while you drive.

Compare types of hybrid cars at

For local charging stations for EV''s see Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Emissions Testing
According to the Wa State Department of Ecology, motor vehicles are Washington''s largest source of air pollution. Well-maintained vehicles not only minimize air pollution, but will also result in better fuel economy and longer engine life.

Department of Ecology Emissions Testing Program:

Switch to Bio-diesel or Ethanol & Request More Filling Stations
Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. (Courtesy of the National Biodiesel Board).

Ethanol is a high octane, liquid, domestic and renewable fuel, produced by the fermentation of plant sugars. E85 has an octane of approximately 105, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, is biodegradable and does not contaminate water. Ethanol sells for approximately the same price as unleaded gasoline. It is domestically produced and promotes energy independence. Learn more from the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.

DOE Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center

Bio-Fuel Compatibility:
- Ethanol-10 can be used in any gas vehicle without modification. Ethanol-85 requires a Flexible Fuel Vehicle. Many cars are already compatible. Check to see if your vehicle can use E-85.
- Biodiesel-5 can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications.

Non-toxic Cleaners

Category: How-To
Published: Saturday, 18 November 2017
Written by Super User

Save money and the environment by making your own non-toxic household cleaners!

Check out an extensive list of recipes at the City of Richland website:

Or purchase ready-made products, such as Seventh Generation.