A Disposable Life

I stumbled on more ridiculous items, this time for food and cleaning around the house.  When you come up with one convenience why not make twenty of  them?  Today I am taking a look at all the things we could waste money on around the house. First thing up is food.  I still remember making my baby food, it was super easy, just take what I was eating and toss it in a blender with liquids (if needed).  Fill ice-cube trays with the extras to freeze for another day.  Cost pennies.  Look what children are getting now.  A plastic pouch that they can basically drink their food from.  They never have to learn to use utensils.  And look how much they cost.  A chicken and casserole dinner costs $2.29, that’s just one meal or for a toddler part of a meal.  Best of all no dishes to wash.


I had a stack of ice-cube trays, some for making ice, some for freezing foods in.  But today we don’t have to waste our precious time filling trays of water and waiting for them to freeze.  Before a large get together or for really hot days I would even go so far as to refill my trays with more water, and keep a clean bucket in the freezer for the frozen cubes.  My trays cost very little at the time, but today, if you catch a sale, you can have your own ice-cube maker for only $179.99, it better clean my house as well for that price.


Speaking of cleaning the house, there is no need for the basket of rags anymore.  You can fill that basket with disposable wipes.   Forget the hydrogen peroxide that will remove stains for pennies you can now wipe away clothing stains and toss the rag in the trash.


Who doesn’t worry  about wine stains on their teeth?  Now you can carry disposable wipes to clean those stains quickly, are we still supposed to run to the little girls’ room with our friends when we clean our teeth?



We’ve all seen the glass wipes and wood polish wipes for furniture, but don’t forget your cell phone.  They do carry germs and can’t be cleaned without a special wipe.  Want to know how I clean my cell?  I very lightly dampen a rag with hydrogen peroxide wipe and forget about it.  I haven’t gotten sick yet.



Let’s not forget carpet and upholstery, they get dirty too.  Again I must be crazy for using a rag and brush to clean with my vinegar, water, and soap mixture when I need to treat a spot.  What was I thinking I could just pull a disposable wipe and toss it out when I’m finished.


I can’t forget pets, they need special care.  We love them so a disposable wipe is worth their comfort, isn’t it? This all in one wipe will remove pet odors, moisturize your pets skin and remove dander.


You know I”m looking at Zakk, exactly how is this product supposed to moisturize a Golden Retriever’s skin, try getting to it, as for dander a nice metal comb seems to be doing the trick.  Why would we buy this wipe when Zakk still needs a good combing to remove the loose fur?

No shoes needed here.


Can you believe that in addition to brushing my dogs I would give them a raw egg each morning for a healthy coat and garlic powder to prevent fleas?


I was never one you would find outside grilling, although anyone who wants to grill me some veggies and pineapple just say the word, I”ll be there. ;-)  But when my son decided grilling was his thing I pointed him to a wire brush to clean the grill and of course soapy rags to complete the job.  Today, it’s so much easier, just carry out these disposable  wipes and they will clean and condition your grill.  Does a grill need to be conditioned?



Out of curiosity I did a search for cleaning wipes, Amazon popped up often.  I found 20 pages filled with disposable wipes just for our skin.  I was shocked by how many carried “natural” and other terms to get us to buy them.  Bert’s Bees has a couple for babies as well.  I won’t bore you with any more pictures, I’m sure you see them all the time in the stores, unless you are like me and don’t go into the cleaning or health and beauty aisles.


I  would like to share a story with you that changed how I looked at the convenience products I was using.  It was 1987, and I had hired a Filipino woman as my baby sitter.  She treated my boys as if they were her own.  I was just starting to make changes in  my life at this point.  I was looking at food differently after being diagnosed with cancer, but I never thought about the disposable diapers or baby wipes.  That is until the day I walked into my house to find my infant son being held over the kitchen sink with a bare butt.  Laughing I asked what she was doing.  She replied that she used the wipes I told her to, but couldn’t leave the soapy residue on his skin, it might irritate it.  Every time she changed his diaper she used a disposable baby wipe to clean him, because that’s how I did it, then carried him to the sink and rinsed his butt off.


That night I gave a lot of thought to what I was doing.  What was in those wipes?  I returned to wash cloths to clean my children.  Today, I look at all the disposable wipes available and wonder if anyone thinks about the residue being left. If a wipe  for your grill conditions it as well, what remains?  Will it be absorbed into your food the next time you grill?


It’s not just about the garbage we are producing, it’s also about the health of our family and loved ones.  What is your opinion on the growing trend of disposable cleaning products?



37 thoughts on “A Disposable Life

  1. Smiling broadly here Lois as I have that image of the bottom wiping over the sink..While there were wipes when my children were babies… I saved them for visits out. lol as money was tight.. The nappies or diaper’s as I think you call them were terry towelling, I used to soak them then boil wash them.. and Whiter than white they were too :-)

    I know how I have despaired over the things I have seen bought my Granddaughter to munch or drink.. No such things as buying jars of this or that in baby foods. .. again far too expensive.. I would never add salt to cooking, and I didnt have a blender, just hand mix to blend smooth…

    I despair at times don’t you at the expense at these so called modern day products when soap and water and a little elbow-greece are all thats required.. Call me old fashioned… :-) xxx


    • Sue, glad you found humor in my son’s butt rinsing. Yes, I do despair at what I see the younger children eating. Even my grand children are given things to eat that I wish they didn’t. I can’t say much about it as I don’t want to be a meddling in-law/parent. I don’t use salt myself so never gave it to my children and they don’t offer it to theirs. Pepper on the other hand is available if they want to use it.

      Baby food is so very expensive and with each improvement (in packaging) it gets more so. I also worry about what is in the baby food. My one daughter-in-law asked me to show her what to feed her kids when they were ready for food, I couldn’t get over the number of baby foods that have high fructose corn syrup as a major ingredient in them. I also gave her my opinion that food dyes were dangerous as well. I gave her my immersion blender to help her make her own baby food. Now that they are older she is much more lax and has fallen prey to marketing. She will buy the packaged macaroni and cheese dinners because they say they are made with whole wheat, forgetting all about the chemicals in the cheese packet. She believes she is feeding her kids healthier.

      While things were tight when my boys were born I had acquired some things before that, like the blender, but would have used a little elbow grease if I had to. We are both old fashioned, but it’s a complement!


  2. Dear Lois. I am so glad you have bought this to our attention because I had no idea that most of these ‘wipes’ existed. Quite ridiculous and unnecessary.
    I cannot help but mention a bit of a calamity I had with a ‘wipe’ I used when I was visiting a hospital. I went into the loo and noticed they had a box of surgical type wipes. Ah! thought I “just like baby wipes”. After using one with gay abandon I found out very quickly that in fact the wipe was meant to sterilise the toilet seat. You could say this story has a sting in the tail. Mine.


    • Oh no! I can just imagine. My daughter-in-law wanted to clean up one of her children after a free chocolate chip cookie at the grocery store. She remembered wipes near the front door. It wasn’t until her son’s face became red and irritated a few minutes later that she went to see which brand it was and it turned out to be Lysol wipes for disinfecting the cart.

      I had no idea there were so many wipes either until this week. I spotted these advertised in a magazine article, then went online to see what else I could find and was overwhelmed by the vast number of wipes for every possible situation.


    • Kandice, you won’t like my answer as I never measure anything. I start with a one cup, measuring cup, I use 2:1 ratio of vinegar (2) to water (1), and then a few drops of dish soap, using a hand beater, or immersion blender mix it up. You don’t want to get the furniture too wet when cleaning, so using a rag that has been slightly squeezed till damp dab at the upholstery, then if necessary and not a fragile material you can use a soft brush (I use the same one I use to scrub veggies) rub out the stain. For carpet, I tend to get the spot wetter so it soaks into the stain better and then rub with the rag, if necessary will use the brush again.


  3. The ads for these products always make me ask, “but why?”. I have a drawer of cloths and rags that can do all of these things just as conveniently. It seems like just another way to have people waste money and create waste.

    That said, I did send my sister disposable face and body wipes in care packages when she was on her two tours in Afganistan. The showers were a 5 mile hike from camp and she appreciated them. I know they created waste, but it was a bit of nice in an otherwise unpleasant experience for her.


    • Heidi, I definitely understand the need for a disposable wipe in situations like your sister in combat. I will admit to sending disposable products to my son when he was on combat duty in Africa. Being sent to several third world countries and being exposed to things our immune system never had to face before, well I wanted my son to return home safely. I also sent him some packaged food as he needed things that wouldn’t spoil and was so tired of the MREs. I found small cans of tuna already mixed with mayo that came with crackers, and other types of food that didn’t need to be heated or ingredients added. He thanked me when he was stranded once (for two weeks) with extraction impossible. He had packed many of these and was able to have food, even if he had to ration it, when the MREs ran out. He also said they tasted a lot better.

      I’m like you, I wonder why people bother to buy all this stuff. I could clean anything in and around my home using 3 items. Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and white vinegar. The three items together cost less than $6, and that’s buying the largest container of each.


  4. Another wonderful post !! We are now being flooded with commercials about the need to use a wipe with toilet paper? clean on the go, that pump cleaner that all you have to do is put a paper towel over the top and push down and you have instant cleaner? I have to admit, I do carry a wipe in my purse just in case I get a can of soda and I want to wipe the top off, or I have to clean up after my dog in a park and I want to clean my hands afterwards.

    I didn’t know about the baby food, or the teeth wipes, lol, just crazy. When I buy things I always think about how much space it will take up in the landfill, what will I be leaving for the next generation. My favorite flip flops are made out of tire like material and they are broken, so I duct taped them. I will wear them in the privacy of my own back yard, but I saved them from the dump.

    If you ever come to NY, I will grill you some veggies and pineapple :)


    • It’s not often that I have to clean up after a dog any more, but I always carry my reusable water bottle and have cloth napkins, or rags, with me as I never know when a little one will need a quick wiping. I simply pour some of the water from my bottle on the napkin and wipe clean. When I still bought canned foods (it took me a while to try dried beans as I had never seen them until I was an adult) I always used a wet cloth to wash the top of the can before I opened it.

      I’m like you, I consider the end of the product before I buy any thing. It’s frustrating some days and I am glad I don’t shop much as it really is hard to buy, even food, without tags or packaging that can’t be reused or recycled.

      I bet your flip flops are very comfortable and broken in just for you. I would have duct taped them as well. I wear shoes until they are completely useless and have gotten a lot of remarks from friends about how I need to toss a pair when to me they were broken in just right.

      I’ll call before I stop over, looking forward to a grilled meal. ;-)


    • Live and Learn, thanks for sharing that the wipes do work for dander allergies. I can’t imagine getting any dander off a long haired breed with a wipe still though. Yes, marketing people are doing a great job, but people are buying them. Society has bought into the disposable lifestyle so easily it worries me. The changes have mostly taken place here since the mid 1980s, so it hasn’t been all that long ago, yet now it has taken over making nearly everything disposable. What will the next 30 years bring?


  5. I suppose I stopped using wipes when thinking of all the synthetic fibres going into landfill. I am also quite disturbed about the amount of chemicals in disposable diapers (all those yucky liquid-absorbing gels). I am really surprised there is such a thing as grill wipes – the high temperatures burn the food off the grill and it is easy to use a wire brush.


    • Dar, I was never big on disposable wipes, with the exception of the baby wipes which you now know why and when I stopped using them. At the time my boys were in diapers I hadn’t considered the chemicals in them although in hindsight I should have as I have an allergy to whatever it is they put in feminine napkins.

      I noticed, after posting, that the grill wipes are for non stick grills. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Just what I want is to light a fire on a grill rack coated with teflon, and after add more chemicals from these conditioning wipes. Of all the dumb uses for teflon/non stick coatings this has to be at the top of the list. Yes, we always “cooked” the racks after removing our food then used the wire brush. Quick, easy and free (after the purchase of the wire brush).


  6. You find the most amazing things! An ice cube maker, who would have thought we’d need such a thing? Dog wipes? I must be really old fashioned, I wash Ruby in the shower, sometimes I get my son to have a shower and wash her at the same time. I think though, my favourite was the wine wipes, wine is so scary, I can just see everyone at the table wiping their teeth…..


    • Jen, my take on the ice cube maker was that it is probably marketed to people who don’t have the automatic ice cube maker built in the fridge. Around here it’s almost impossible to find a fridge without it any more. While I loved my pets, and I know you love Ruby, I was not going to buy specialty products like those wipes for any of them. Yes, I made my puppy chicken and rice soup when he came down with pneumonia- suggested by the vet, Yes I made a lot of their food from scratch after that questioning the commercial foods available, but I draw the line at these kinds of things. When I spotted the ad for the wine wipes I read it a few times not believing what I was reading. I have had plenty of wine in my early life and still see others enjoying a glass of wine, never have I witnessed a table of people with red teeth, although that might be funny.


      • Now that you have reminded me, I did once get blue teeth from blueberry pancakes at a restaurant which was kind of embarrassing. I got rid of it my asking for some water and a slice of lemon which I rubbed on my teeth.


      • I spend a lot of time visiting with an elderly friend that HAS to HAVE every one of these gadgets, the ice maker is one of his favorites. Oh, and the REMOTE CONTROL for the lamps, etc.

        When I am alone, I still use the same ice cube trays I bought in college 30 years ago.

        I see products like “pre” made toast, pancakes, etc. with all the packaging and it makes me ill.

        Now instead of a rag and some vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, we have “specialty products”.



        • I couldn’t agree more with you, Michael. Your elderly friend may be trying to replace relationships with things if he’s lost many loved ones over the years. As for the pre-made toast, pancakes etc I can’t believe that they would taste very good. When my boys were growing up I used to make a large batch of whatever I was making, pancakes, waffles, muffins, bagels, etc and freeze them so the boys could reheat them at a later time. They enjoyed them but said they didn’t taste the same as before they were frozen.

          I wish I could say I still had my ice cube trays, but we had stopped using them at one point so I sold them at a yard sale. By keeping pitchers of water in the fridge there was less need for ice.

          I spotted an ad today for one of the departments stores showing all the products they carry in the store brand for cleaning your home on a budget. It was crazy the number of products they showed. There were disinfecting wipes and sprays, and so many different types of wipes I can’t make out from the picture. Like you and I, if people wanted to save on their budget vinegar, baking soda, and peroxide are much cheaper. For those who are suffering the most needing to rely on government assistance (like food stamps) the natural cleaners (vinegar and baking soda) could be purchased with their stamps saving them so much.


  7. I have used those convenient food pouches at times I must admit but the guilt about the plastic still sits heavy. At least the glass jars can be recycled.

    As for wipes, I came across the same when holidaying in Phuket. We took my poopy daughter out over a drain and used a cup ad water to rinse her bottom. I’m not sure about how sanitary poo in the storm water is but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than wipes. :) We try and cloth nappy and when we do we use cloth wipes. It makes it easier and you just wash them with the nappies. I chopped up some old bunny rugs for them.
    As for the chemicals in baby wipes, this article came to my attention a few years ago. A definite reason NEVER to use them on faces.



    • I am so sorry I posted a product which triggered guilt, but I’m sure you aren’t filling your pantry with these products and using them in place of better choices.

      That article is indicative of so much in the US as well. Until it can be proven to be dangerous, and even sometimes not even that, manufacturers will continue to use what is cheapest and easiest to get their product made. Their concern for the health of the consumer is so lacking and the government is so beholden to these large corporations that they turn a blind eye to everything.

      As for rinsing your daughter over a drain, the water probably goes the same place as any toilet water, if they have them there. I know here all our sewage goes out to the same treatment plant whether it’s from the toilet, shower or kitchen sink.


      • The guilt is good so no apologies needed. It inspires me to do better. :)
        I think these manufacturers are paid to dispose of these chemicals and since it increases their profit margins they’re not looking to stop any time soon. And all they will do is remove the offending chemical and substitute in an equally horrid slightly different one anyway. :( So much faith I have in bit corps.


        • Yes, I agree. It’s like each of these corporations have a deal to use whatever the other makes, like a giant monopoly. Even in our food. Do you have any idea how many chemicals are in a fast food milkshake? The list is huge, yet there are no real foods. How easy is it to make milk shake, milk, ice, and fruit for flavoring yet there are more than 30 chemicals that create that shake we buy.


  8. Another great post. Hasn’t it go ridiculous!! When I was working we were given little bottles of hand sanitiser to use, sometimes I would use it but couldn’t wait to get to my next clients house to was it off, I’m the same with wipes too. My pet hate is automatic room fresheners, I don’t want to sit in rooms with those going off. I just feel if I wouldn’t eat something I don’t want to be ingesting or absorbing it either. I changed years ago when I heard a news item saying studies on breast milk showed up over 200 products and chemicals in single samples – that hit home with me.


    • I couldn’t agree more, Wendy. I won’t use hand sanitizers, period, but I do understand the need to clean up after visiting some homes in many types of work. I made up bottles of sanitizer for friends and family one year using vodka, unfortunately while they used it, most returned to the chemical-laden commercial ones. There are many recipes for hand sanitizer online, I think I will do a post with my favorite two soon. As for room fresheners, I can’t be any where near them. It gives me a headache and to me smells horrible. Now if it is an aerosol spray, whether room freshener or even a spray deodorant it causes me to go into an asthma attack. It’s crazy because I outgrew my asthma as a young child and is the only situation that will trigger it.


      • I’d like to see those recipes. I make my own freshener now, was using a natural one but too expensive.
        It’s funny because when ypou stop using these things you develop such an intolerance for them, even after you’ve previously used them for years. I don’t like automatic fly sprays either.


    • I’m glad, Lou Ann, as that is exactly what I am trying to do. I didn’t highlight any of the body cleansing wipes as I know from working with the severely disabled that there are times it is necessary to use a wipe for hygiene or when a bath/shower isn’t possible. It’s not always possible to give a sponge bath when traveling and there are only so many appliances and special needs equipment you can fit in a vehicle. If it means a family can still travel then I am all for a convenience like that.


  9. enjoyed this …

    re the baby butt, I thought you were doing to say that when she was alone with baby, she did not use diapers, but let him piddle in the sink…I have read quite a few times that there are a lot of Asian moms who do not use diapers, but grab the kid and run to piddle place when kid gets “that look”..claim they train them early this way.

    you are so right about the chemicals in just about everything…


    • Lynn, many indigenous people train their babies as they don’t have diapers. It’s an interesting concept and one I wish I had heard about it years ago as I hear there are some people who have tried this and say it does work. No, my sitter didn’t have him diaperless while I was away, although if she had and it worked I would have adopted the practice if only to save money at the time.


  10. OH I love that she was washing your kids bottoms! Delightful! I can see me using the stain wipe, maybe, if it was in my handbag. And I know what others use the BBQ ones – they do get grotty. Not that I think it’s great to have the waste, you know I hate that! But I can see why they sell. Oh the things you call out – good on you! Making us all think.


    • Sarah it was hilarious seeing my son’s bottom being sprinkled with water when I walked in the door. My sitter went by the name Baby, she hadn’t been in the states long so I taught her about the things she had never seen before and she in turn helped me to question the conveniences I took for granted. Rather than using the stain wipe why not carry a small bottle with peroxide it works wonderfully on all organic stains from food to blood?


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