Green Cleaning

Household Cleaners Hall of Shame

The Environmental Working Group has just released its new report on the dangers of certain household cleaners and the organization is naming names. We know that many of the toxic chemicals we bring into our homes are actually found in our cleaning products. That’s because meaning popular cleaners people use each and every day are filled with chemicals known to cause all sorts of health problems – everything from cancer to asthma, to reproductive problems. Now, the EWG has released what it calls their Hall of Shame database.

You can read their full report here. In the report they disclose the chemicals that could be lurking behind the term “fragrance” in the ingredient list and also report that some so-called “green” cleaners are actually harmful to the environment. The Environmental Working Group also gives consumers tips to find safer cleaning alternatives.

 

Terri’s Top 7 Green Cleaning Secrets

Getting a deep, green clean means a healthier home and a healthier family. Terri shares her ‘Top 7 Green Cleaning Secrets’ to help you Do Your Part today!

1) White Vinegar Works Wonders

White vinegar is a natural disinfectant that works just about everywhere. Mix a half-and-half solution of white vinegar and water for a germ-busting disinfectant to clean kitchen counters, bathrooms, and even most floors. Add 1 cup of vinegar to your dishwasher to clean out its inner workings. Or cook ½ cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water in your microwave to loosen stuck on food and grease. One warning, don’t use vinegar on marble or other porous surfaces.

2) Baking Soda Solutions

Baking soda works well on most things in the kitchen because it doesn’t scratch. That makes it a good choice for countertops, oven tops, stainless steel, and the sink. If you have stubborn stains, make a baking soda paste. Just use 3 parts baking soda and one part water. Let it sit for awhile, scrub the area, and then wipe clean. And baking soda is also an excellent deodorizer for carpet. Sprinkle with baking soda, let stand for at least fifteen minutes, then vacuum.

3) Tackle Bathroom Blues with Borax

Borax is an effective mold killer and works well on hard water deposits. Use a paste to scrub the sides of the tub to a sparkling white, or mix a solution of 1 cup of borax with 1 gallon of warm water to eat away at mold in tile grout. Let 1 cup of borax sit in the toilet bowl overnight, and swipe it clean with a toilet brush the next morning.

4) Chose Air Fresheners Which Don’t Pollute

Most popular air fresheners contain dangerous ingredients like formaldehyde. Many times, they will also contain VOCs which can slowly emit toxic chemicals for years. Fresh air, baking soda (sprinkled in everything from garbage cans to tennis shoes), and soy candles are healthier options.

5) Green Your Laundry Routine

Green up laundry day by switching to a phosphate-free plant-based detergent. For softer clothes add ¼ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle as a natural fabric softener. For a more efficient use of energy and water, only wash full loads and set the water temperature to cold.

6) Break the Paper Towel Habit

Paper towels are made from the trees. Wean your family off of paper towels by keeping a drawer of reusable clothes. You can make your own by cutting up old t-shirts and towels, or invest in new sustainable bamboo dish clothes. Whatever you choose, the key is in quantity. Make sure you have plenty of options on hand for wiping down the counters or cleaning up a unexpected coffee spill.

7) Safely Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste includes common household items like old paints, used motor oil, batteries and more. These items should never be thrown in the trash where they can contaminate the land and water. Do Your Part and take your household hazardous waste to a proper recycling facility in your area. To find one near you, search for “Household Hazardous Waste” at Earth911.com.

The Main Sources of Pollutants at Home Could Surprise You

Do you know what’s in your home right now that’s polluting the air you breathe? Rodale reports that scientists at the Silent Spring Institute analyzed roughly 200 common products to get the answer. Here are their top 3 main sources of toxic chemicals:

1) Fragranced Products
That includes soaps, shampoos, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and more. Companies don’t usually have to reveal the chemicals used on their ingredient list either.

2) Vinyl Curtains and Bedding
Products made from vinyl (think shower curtains and pillow protectors) may contain hormone disrupting phthalates and BPA. And it’s tough to shop for ones without it because most aren’t properly labeled.

3) So-called “antibacterial” products
These days there are everything from antibacterial soaps to socks. Many of these products contain the controversial ingredient Triclosan. Not only can that ingredient cause health problems but our obsession with killing germs is creating a rise in drug resistant bacteria.

Disinfect Without Polluting Your Home

When it comes to cleaning our homes, most of us want to make sure of one thing – that we are doing a deep clean and actually disinfecting the rooms and surfaces in our house. Here’s the thing. You don’t need chemical-based cleaners to kill germs. Do Your Part and find safer and just as effective disinfecting options that will work for every spot in your home.

Top 7 Alternatives to Toxic Air Fresheners

You know what stinks? Using toxic air fresheners at home or in your car. They can release air-polluting chemicals that can actually make you sick. Some of the most popular air fresheners on the market contain phthalates, which are known to cause everything from birth defects to cancer. There’s nothing too sweet smelling about that. Do Your Part before you spray, plug in, or light some traditional air fresheners and check out Terri’s ‘Top 7 Safer Alternatives’.

Green Your Cleaning Routine

We all use household cleaners and the choices out there are endless. Do Your Part and choose eco- friendly cleaners that are better for your home, your family and the environment. The scary thing about chemical cleaners is that they aren’t even required to list the ingredients on the label. And some of those chemicals can pollute the air inside our homes and possibly cause all sorts of health problems – everything from asthma to allergies to reproductive problems.

How do you tell which ones are eco-friendly? One way, is to look for the government’s “Design for the Environment” logo. You can find it on hundreds of products and it means they only contain chemicals the EPA believes are the safest in their class. They also don’t contain any dangerous phthalates or heavy metals which can pollute the air your family breathes every day. Method and Clorox’s “Green Works” lines both carry the DfE logo.

But, it’s important to note that green logos and seals don’t tell the whole story. Seventh Generation products, for instance, opted not to put the government’s environmental logo on it’s products, saying they far out perform other government approved green cleaners and are much safer for the environment. And some good green cleaners can’t been found in the store. Shaklee is one of my favorites. Their products are plant-based and non-toxic. And, because you simply add a few drops of their cleaning solutions into reusable containers you are eliminating the need for so many plastic bottle refills.

And you can’t beat the cost of some basic green cleaners. All-natural vinegar and baking soda won’t harm the environment and mixed with some warm water they can become the perfect all purpose cleaner. Just don’t use vinegar on marble because it can damage it.

Think about it. The last thing you want to do when you deep clean is to pollute the air inside your home. Using chemical-based cleaners may get rid of the dust and dirt but you could be creating a whole other set of problems. So, Do Your Part to make your cleaning routine as green as can be.

To Learn More Visit:
EPA: Design for the Environment
Shaklee

Top 5 Ways Chemicals Sneak Into Your Home

Everyday we bring dangerous chemicals right into our homes. It could be from our shoes, a new piece of furniture we buy, or even the type of shower curtain we pick out. Here are ‘Terri’s Top 5 Ways Chemicals Sneak Into Your Home’ and the solutions you need to make a healthier home for you and your family.

Green Cleaning Recipes


Making your own green cleaners is easy and economical. With a few must-have ingredients you can make many different non-toxic cleaners like disinfectants or glass cleaners.  Here’s a list of recipes that can help you get started.

Must-have Ingredients:

    • vinegar
    • baking soda
    • lemon juice
    • borax
    • hydrogen peroxide or oxygenated bleach

Recipes

Air Freshener

Baking soda absorbs odors. Use shallow dishes around the home to absorb odors naturally.

Essential oils can be used to add a pleasing scent to your room. Use on cotton balls in shallow dish placed in inconspicuous places.

All Purpose Cleaner

Use 3 parts vinegar to one part water in spray bottle.

Bleach

Use oxygenated bleach products instead of chlorine bleach products to whiten whites and brighten colors. To remove stains, let clothing soak in a a solution of 1 gallon water and ¼ cup oxygenated bleach. Let sit for 30 minutes and then wash as usual.

Deodorizer

Control odors in garbage cans and cat litter boxes by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom before putting in a new bag or litter.

Absorb nasty sneaker smells by sprinkling some baking soda into the shoes. Simply dump it out before wearing.

Eliminate pet odors from bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda. Let it sit for 10 minutes (longer for stronger smells) and then vacuum.

To remove odors from carpets and rugs, sprinkle liberally with baking soda and let sit for 15 minutes. Vacuum clean.

Use 1 cup of vinegar only in the dishwasher or washing machine to remove mildew odors.

Remove odors from the microwave by filling a microwave-safe bowl with ½ cup of water and ½ cup of vinegar*. Heat until the liquid boils. Let it sit for several minutes and then remove and wipe interior surfaces with damp cloth to remove any remaining food.

*vinegar smells dissipate upon drying leaving your home naturally clean

Disinfectant

Use vinegar at full stregth to kill germs. Keep a spray bottle of vinegar . Do not use vinegar on porous surfaces like marble or grout.

Use full strength hydrogen peroxide in a dark colored sprayer to disinfect cutting boards or other surfaces.

Fabric Softener

Vinegar added to the final rinse cycle will remove soapy residue and leave your clothes naturally soft. High efficiency models need less than a tablespoon of vinegar, top loading machines can use up to ¼ cup.

Glass and Mirror Cleaner

Use a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar to clean glass and mirrors

Laundry Detergent Booster

Use ¼ to ½ cup of Borax to boost the cleaning power of your biodegradable, phosphate free detergent.

Mold Killer

Mix 1 cup of borax with 1 gallon of hot water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spritz the problem areas. Let it sit for a few minutes and wipe clean. You can also use this solution to A 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water can be used to kill mold and mildew in tile grout.

Produce Cleaner

Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, and 1 cup cold tap water in a spray bottle, shake well, and apply to your produce. Rinse with tap water before cooking or serving.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Pour 1 cup of borax into the bowl. Let sit overnight and scrub with a brush the next morning before flushing.

Wall Cleaner

Make a 50/50 mix of water and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe with a dry cloth. To remove crayon marks from walls, apply baking soda to a damp cloth and gently scrub the area to erase the unwanted art.

Wood Furniture Polish

Combine 1/8 cup olive oil and ¼ cup lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake contents and spritz cloth until damp. Use cloth to evenly polish wood surface.

NOTE: Olive oil will go rancid so it’s best to use all of polish within a month.

Read these features for other green cleaning tips:
Control Indoor Pests Naturally
Kill Outdoor Pests and Weeds Without Toxic Chemicals
A Better Mold Killer
Lighten and Brighten Your Laundry’s Load
Cleaning with Vinegar
Try Baking Soda Instead of Costly Chemical Cleaners
Green Your Cleaning Routine
Control Indoor Pests Naturally

Lighten and Brighten Your Laundry's Load

Laundry day is more than just a chore, it also takes quite a toll on the environment. But, there are easy and effective ways to Do Your Part to conserve water and energy and create less pollution even while you do the laundry.

Let’s start with what you put into the washing machine. it’s important to choose a laundry detergent that’s phosphate free. When excess phosphates enter the water supply it acts as a super-charged fertilizer for algae. When algae blooms, it depletes the available oxygen, choking the life out of the surrounding aquatic habitat. It’s also a good idea to seek out plant-based detergents like Seventh Generation, Method, and even Martha Stewart. Many of the conventional laundry detergents are petroleum-based which means they are made in part from crude oil.

Don’t use more detergent than you need. Wash only full loads of laundry and with cold water. Making the switch to the cold cycle will save about $60 a year on your power bill because you’ll be giving the hot water heater a break.

If you’re looking for a alternative to chlorine bleach, try a product that uses oxygen to naturally enhance the cleaning power of your green detergent. You can also use a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your full load of laundry to brighten your laundry.

I’ve got a dirt cheap solution for those who want an eco-friendly fabric softener. Simply add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle or the fabric softener dispenser. It’s absolutely non-toxic and your clothes will come out of the dryer softer because vinegar’s acidic properties help dissolve any soap residue left on your clothing. Don’t worry about smelling like a salad, the smell of vinegar disappears when it dries.

As for drying your clothes —there is no such thing as an Energy Star clothes dryer. That’s because they all use an enormous amount of energy. If you want an easy way to slash your utility bill but don’t want or have room for a clothesline, consider an indoor drying rack. This one is made by WindowDry and takes seconds to put up and take down. It also holds a full load of laundry.

Do Your Part to clean up your laundry routine and you’ll feel better about the whole dirty business!

To Learn More Visit:
WindowDry

Green Cleaning With Vinegar

Want an easy way to clean your home without harsh chemicals? You’ll be amazed all the things one jug of vinegar can do. Plus it’s all natural, non-toxic, and cheap.

You can use it instead of more costly and chemical-based glass cleaners. Fill a spray bottle with one part water and one part vinegar and you got a cleaners that’s just as effective on windows and mirrors.

Use that same half and half mixture in the bathroom to effectively clean sinks, countertops, tubs and floors.

In the kitchen, spray it on the sink, stovetops and appliances, to get them all sparkling.

An important word of caution, though. Don’t use vinegar on marble because it can damage it.

Or, add a cup when you run your dishwasher to give it a deep clean.

Another good use for vinegar is in the microwave. We all know it can get pretty nasty inside. Get rid of the smell and grime by combining 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Heat it until it is boiling. That will make it easy to wipe away any baked on food.

Vinegar can also work wonders on your hardwood floors. Just mix one cup white vinegar for every gallon of water.

And vinegar is also an inexpensive alternative to fabric softener. Add a quarter cup to the rinse cycle and it will make you clothes softer because it dissolves soap residue.

Do Your Part to use green cleaners in your home. You’ll keep those dangerous chemicals away from your family and out of the environment.