I’ve mentioned it before: I’m a hand soap whore. It’s something I’ve always felt a little guilty about because I can’t commit to one brand and end up bouncing around, going through several bottles a year. I recycle when possible, but I know I could do better. I’ve tried all kinds of refillable dispensers but haven’t had much luck. The practical plastic ones leave a lot to be desired. The “stainless steel” ones have actually rusted out on me (I’m guessing they weren’t 100% stainless steel). My favorite glass dispenser fell to its demise one morning during the before school/work hustle. (Cleaning up shattered glass and a pool of liquid soap from the bathroom floor isn’t my favorite way to wake up. Ironically, soap is terribly difficult to “clean”.)
One of my friends told me she uses a refillable, automatic soap dispenser in her kids’ bathroom because it’s the only way she can get her kids to wash their hands. I thought it was a genius idea, but then she told me it was horribly ugly and required batteries. Hey, you do what you gotta do!
So when the folks at simplehuman asked if I wanted to take their new foam cartridge sensor pump for a spin I was game…skeptical, but game.
The pump itself is made of high-grade stainless steel (for real) and houses a recyclable, snap-in soap cartridge. Thanks to patented air-induction technology, it takes only a small amount of liquid soap to create a rich foam which means the cartridge lasts longer than traditional soap of the same volume.
A hinged top opens to reveal a power button that controls the amount of soap dispensed, a cartridge release button and a recharge plug. Yes, you read that correctly, recharge plug. NO BATTERIES REQUIRED. A solid green ring lights up to indicate a full charge. One charge lasts up to three months! When the soap cartridge is empty, simply press the orange release button, remove the old cartridge and snap a new one in its place. NO MESSES REQUIRED.
I snuck one in the kids’ bathroom and you would have thought I put a unicorn in there by their reactions. “Mom! That soap thing is SO COOL!!” It’s not like they’ve never used an automatic soap dispenser before. (Hello, restaurants and gas stations.) But I think they were so surprised because the simplehuman pump doesn’t look like your typical automatic soap dispenser. It’s metal, not plastic. It’s sleek, not boxy. And it’s meant to be placed on a horizontal surface, not wall-mounted. (The kids’ vanity doesn’t have a ton of countertop space, and the pump fits perfectly.) All of a sudden my kids think hand-washing is fun?! I’m going with it.
I love the new pump because I’ve yet to find globs of unused liquid soap around the sink. Also, the touch-free sensor means NO FINGERPRINTS REQUIRED. #notacrimescene (If fingerprints do surface, the pump is water-resistant and can be rinsed in the sink.)
I love the pump so much that I added a second one in the kitchen to hold dish soap. This might sound persnickety, but being able to add soap to my dish sponge while simultaneously holding a dirty dish is pretty freakin’ awesome. Luckily for promiscuous me, several different hand and dish soaps are available for use with the pump. I especially like the lavender hand soap and verbena dish soap.
It’s especially user-friendly when it comes to washing out paint brushes, for big and little people.
We’ve been using the pumps for a few weeks now and we’re all impressed. We’ve yet to have an issue. The pumps are proving to be robust, and it seems like the cartridges will last for weeks to come. One thing I’d love to see in the future is reusable simplehuman soap cartridges that can be (re)filled with homemade foaming soap and used in conjunction with the sensor pump.
Today, simplehuman is giving one lucky reader a foam cartridge sensor pump and an assortment of hand and dish soaps. Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and happy hand/dishwashing!
*This post sponsored in part by simplehuman which offers tools for efficient living.
We’ve been living with TWO bathrooms for almost a year. It still feels like a luxury after sharing one bathroom for nearly three years. I get a lot of questions wanting to know how the main bathroom is or is not working for us. Now that we’ve lived with it a while, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on the space: things I’m loving, things I would change if I had it to do over and how I’m keeping the room looking as good as new. (Hint: It has something to do with The Honest Company and their promise to deliver safe and effective products at an affordable price point. I’ve been using their products for years on my own, unsolicited, and am happy to share a discount from Honest at the end of this post. If you aren’t interested in the offer, feel free to skip it but I hope you still find this post helpful when/if you’re brainstorming a bathroom renovation.)
First up, the tub and its DIY cradle base are solid. We LOVE them. I was really nervous about losing the claw feet and adding the wood base (which we kind of made up as we went) but the setup turned out beautifully. Steve did a superb job contouring the wood cradles to match the profile of the tub because the tub hasn’t budged, not even a wiggle. The cradles are protected with Waterlox so inevitable bath time splashes aren’t a problem.
I’ve only managed to take one bath in the deep tub but it was glooooorious. It needs to happen again. And I’m even not a fan of baths. Scratch that. I made it happen last night.
Many people warned us about cumbersome showers in an old cast iron tub, claiming water would spray everywhere and the curtains would stick to wet bodies. Surprisingly, neither of those things have been an issue. As long as we remember to close the curtain (there are actually two separate liners that enclose the entire tub), water from the shower head stays in the tub. Using liners with weights along the bottom and running the ventilation fan during showers prevents the liners from billowing into the shower and doing that annoying curtain-to-skin-contact thing.
If there is one thing I would go back and change, I’d add recessed wall niches near the tub, if possible, to hold toiletries. As is, we only have a small rack on the plumbing kit. It’s big enough to hold the kids’ shampoo + body wash and a bottle of bubble bath from The Honest Company but it would be nice to have a little more room for rinsing cups and guests’ toiletries.
By the way, we’ve been using the shampoo + body wash as a family for years and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Steve even uses it. Real men use body wash. Ha! Obviously, the combined function is ideal for small bathrooms. It’s one less bottle in the shower. It’s naturally tear-free (it contains no added numbing agents like other tear-free products) and super gentle which makes it perfect for kids AND color-treated hair. Plus, it smells delicious. My favorite part, though, is that since it is soap-free we don’t get the nasty pink build-up caused by bacteria feeding on residual soap scum. It’s a win-win-win situation.
One thing that was a little unexpected is the height of the shower head. It’s slightly lower than what we’re accustomed to. It’s because the floor of the tub is higher than a standard tub or shower pan, and the ceiling is 8′ so we didn’t have extra vertical space to work with. It’s not a deal breaker, just something we’ve noticed. Steve and I have taken showers in the bathroom with no problem. Oh! And we remedied the leaky shower head. The company sent us a replacement. Problem solved.
Overall, I would do this whole tub / cradle base / shower setup again but I’d consider the addition of a wall niche or two.
I wouldn’t change a thing about the wall and floor tile. I’m so happy we took the subway tile to the ceiling in the tub area and then carried it around the rest of the room at a height of ~41″. It’s super easy to wipe down and, with kids, that’s definitely a pro. I’m also glad I threw in the pencil liner detail at the last minute but, in my opinion, the best part of the bathroom is the hex tile on the floor. It was an absolute pain to install but totally worth it in the end. The black travertine hex paired with a light gray grout has proven to be extremely kid-friendly. Our boys seem to be, um, distracted when using the bathroom. Still, their stray streams (if you catch my drift) haven’t discolored the tile or the grout.
After trying various store-bought and homemade cleaning solutions on the travertine hex with subpar results (I was usually left with a hazy film on the matte tile), I turned to Honest‘s bathroom cleaner and couldn’t be happier. It cleans mean and smells nice.
As for the square toilet, it’s a good thing it’s cute. It’s comfortable to the tush (inquiring minds want to know) and I love the modern shape against the old tub, but I didn’t even consider how difficult it would be to clean the interior of a square toilet. (!) Without giving away too many repulsive details, the corners can get pretty gross. I avoid chemical-based toilet cleaners because I like this planet we live on, but my homemade concoctions were no match for this toilet. I needed something thicker that could be easily directed toward the offending corners. Enter Honest‘s toilet cleaner. The natural ingredients work like a charm and have the faintest, most pleasant eucalyptus scent. It’s the best. Ever. Hands down. Seriously. HAVE YOU ORDERED THIS TOILET CLEANER YET? Yes, I’m attempting to proselytize toilet cleaner. This is what happens when you own a square toilet. My only words for someone considering a toilet with a square bowl are “How bad do you want it?”
I wasn’t sure how the double handle sink faucet would go over with the kids but it’s worked well. If anything, we’re using less hot water because it’s easier for them to just turn on the cold. I’m NOT a fan of the vanity. Save for a basket (which I added) and a small drawer too low to be of much use, the vanity provides no real storage. If I had to do it again, I would go with a white version of the same floating Ikea vanity in our master bathroom. Yes, it’s ubiquitous, but for good reason. For starters, it’s affordable. The deep drawers provide ample storage and the floating design is practical for small bathrooms. The recessed medicine cabinet is totally saving my a$$. We’d be lost without it.
Not having to share a bathroom with the kids means the master bathroom stays cleaner longer. We like having a bathroom close to the main living area, too. And I think our guests appreciate not having to pass through our bedroom to use the bathroom anymore. That always felt awkward. I love you second bathroom.
And, obviously, I love Honest products. This is a sponsored post which means I’m being compensated to share my thoughts about the company with you. But it’s easy when it’s a brand I’ve been subscribing to and paying for on my own for years after buying and reading The Honest Life. Without being preachy, the book raised my awareness of what’s really in the products we bring into our home. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about making informed decisions. The subscription service ensures that I have only what I need when I need it. I can easily edit my bundles and shipping dates to suit my family’s needs. Typically, I receive orders 4-6 times per year.
I regularly order the shampoo + body wash, conditioning detangler (necessary for combing through Mabrey’s mane!), toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaner, dryer cloths and stain remover. Honest let us try the bubble bath and foaming hand soap for this post :) When Mabrey was a baby, I also used the wipes and organic healing balm. Looking ahead to the winter flu season, I added the organic breathe easy rub to my last bundle. Fingers crossed I don’t have to use it.
Do you subscribe to The Honest Company? Which items are your favorites? If you’re interested in trying safe and effective household essentials in your home, Honest is offering an exclusive 25% discount to House*Tweaking readers on their first bundle. Use the code HT25OFF at checkout.
*Offer valid only for first-time bundle buyers at Honest.com now through November 30th, 2015, 11:59 p.m. PT. This offer can only be redeemed once per customer and cannot be applied to international surcharge, taxes, shipping, previous purchases, current bundles, the purchase of gift cards or gift bundles. Offer cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with any other coupons or promotions. Terms of offer are subject to change. This post has been sponsored by The Honest Company who provided products and payment. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking