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.

Antibacterial Ingredient Declared Toxic – But Not Here!

Canada is about to declare Triclosan, a controversial chemical found in many antibacterial products, as toxic to the environment. Triclosan was created more than 40 years ago as a surgical scrub for hospitals. It is now found in commonly used products like soap, toothpaste, furniture and toys. Several scientific studies have shown the chemical may alter the regulation of hormones in lab animals. The FDA says other studies have shown triclosan may contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Canada.com reports that once Canada makes that declaration, health officials will begin work to phase out triclosan especially in personal care products.

Meantime, half of all liquid hand soaps sold in the U.S. are antibacterial or antimicrobial. The FDA plans on reviewing the safety of triclosan in the coming months. Right now, the FDA says the agency does not have sufficient evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan.

What's the Best Time to Sell Your iPad2?

Are you thinking of trading in your iPad2 for the next iPad that’s expected to be released in the coming months? NextWorth.com, an electronic trade-in site, predicts there will be a steep decline (20-25 percent) in the value of the iPad2 in couple of weeks before the iPad3 is unveiled which is expected to happen in early March. They’ve looked at similar trends with the first iPad and the iPhones. NextWorth takes unwanted electronics to recycle and says they will guarantee and lock in their prices for 21 days. Visit NextWorth.com for more information on selling back your device for top dollar.

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’.

Going Green Goes High Tech

We’ve all heard the excuses about going green – it’s too time consuming, too expensive, and just too difficult. Now, some high tech tools are making it downright easy to be energy efficient and save money. Do Your Part to find out which ones you can incorporate into your family’s life to make a powerful impact.

Recycling on Steroids

 

Do you ever drive around your neighborhood and notice who the big time recyclers are – or aren’t? Do you ever feel guilty when you put something in the trash because you don’t feel like walking to the recycling bin? Do you toss food scraps in with the other garbage? If you said yes, you’re not alone. Only a third of the trash that could be recycled or composted actually is. No wonder the average household trash can is always overflowing! That means we can all do a bit better. I want to share some simple techniques to Do Your Part and put your recycling routine on steroids.

Hurry! Earn Tax Credits Before 2012

We’re in the season of shopping but don’t forget, this is also the time to make improvements to your home to make it more energy efficient. That’s because certain upgrades made in 2011 will earn you a federal tax credit. Some tax credits will be given for new insulation, roofs, HVAC units, water heaters, windows, doors, and more. For a complete list possible tax credits, click here.

Top 5 Surprising Sources of Formaldehyde in Your Home

Have you heard about formaldehyde in pressed wood furniture – or in your flooring? They release the most formaldehyde in our homes – which is a leading cause of indoor air pollution. Do Your Part to track down other surprising sources of formaldehyde. Here are my top 5.

First up – nail polish. Formaldehyde is often used in them to act as a preservative and hardener. One solution is to pick polishes that are water-based and formaldehyde free.

Next – hair products. Formaldehyde is actually released from preservatives found in many personal hair care products.

Seeing the ingredients quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea formalin and methylene oxide on the back of any bottle should raise a warning flag.  So, just avoid them.

And, if you’re at a salon. Ask questions about what they’re using…especially if you’re getting a hair straightening treatment.

Source number three – bedding. So-called “wrinkle free” bedspreads, sheets, and pillowcases are usually loaded with chemical products which release formaldehyde which can’ be washed away. Opt for bedding made from flannel or cotton jersey.

Then, there is kids’ hard plastic dishware. Avoid ones made from melamine resin. One way to tell if it’s labeled not safe for microwaves.

And air fresheners come in at number 5. Formaldehyde is a basic ingredient in the popular brands. But you have many natural options including sprinkling baking soda in problem areas, airing out your home, or lighting a soy candle.

Formaldehyde causes all sorts of problems from asthma to cancer. When you Do Your Part to keep it out of your home and our environment we’ll all breathe easier.

Appliances: Repair or Replace?

With any appliance, there comes the day when you ask yourself should I repair it or replace it? Do Your Part and make the best choice for you and the environment.

The best rule of thumb for appliances like your dishwasher, microwave, fridge, stove, washing machine, and dryer is to fix it – unless it’s already well past its life expectancy. Worried you can’t handle the job? You might be surprised just how simple some of the fixes are!

When Terri’s dryer stopped working she was really worried. She thought it would be an expensive and time consuming fix. But, the replacement part cost less than $10 and took minutes to install. The dryer was running again in no time.

Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself handy. The ‘Virtual Repairman’ tool on PartSelect.com can not only help you figure out what wrong, it’ll show you exactly what you’ll need to make the fix and step by step instructions. That way, you won’t just be saving money, you’ll save a whole lot of time.

If one day you do decide that you need to upgrade, make sure to responsibly recycle your old appliances. Many contain dangerous components that should never be dumped in a landfill. Earth911.com will help you find recycling resources near you.

Do Your Part when making decisions about your appliances because sometimes a little elbow grease can make all the difference in the world.