Sunday, February 1, 2009

What IS Clean??

Keeping my house clean for my family's health is very important to me. Picking up cleaning products with labels of danger and ingredients that I am unfamiliar with can be quite unnerving. Over a year ago I decided to throw out all of my commercial "brand" cleaning products and to buy empty spray bottles and make my own cleaners. It was super easy, and anyone can do it. A few of the items may be something you haven't purchased before, but they are not hard to find or expensive. This method of cleaning is neither toxic or expensive, it's actually cost EFFECTIVE, and better for the environment because it limits the packaging that you buy since you are reusing the bottles each time you make another batch. Of the items I do not make on my own, I have replaced them with products that are safe and Eco-friendly.

For my friends at work, who are interested to know these recipes, this blog's for you!

What you need:
Spray Bottles
Baking Soda
Washing Soda
Distilled White Vinegar
Tea Tree Oil
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (I personally like the lavender for a nice scent)- or an eco-friendly liquid dish soap
Olive Oil

(I have copy/pasted these recipes directly from: HERE)

Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.

Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work for you it is probably because you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.

1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.

Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.

Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

Additionally, from my house to yours:

Instead of dryer sheets (very toxic - google it!) or liquid fabric softener, use 1 cup of white vinegar in your last rinse cycle of your washer. Your clothes will be soft and fresh, and no, they won't smell like vinegar!

We use straight washing soda in our dishwasher, and vinegar is the rinse aid.

I make my own baby wipe solution for my cloth baby wipes! Check my blog archive for that recipe!

I also recommend Charlie's Soap for your laundry detergent. It's fabulous, you only need 1/8 cup for each load, and it can get anything out!

What are / or where can I find these products??

You can get Charlies Soap, Dr. Bronners, and Tea Tree Oil all at Earth Fare.
Additionally, I have also found Dr. Bronner's at BILO and Target in the Organic Healthy & Beauty isles. Tea Tree Oil is also readily available at GNC. So far I have only found the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda at the Harris Teeter at Steelecroft (Hwy 160/49)- but haven't checked other H.T.'s. Here are some links for a few of the products as well.

Arm & Hammers's Washing Soda
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap
Charlie's Soap

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Little Things Add Up...

You don't have to do big and earth-changing things to make a difference. I bet like me, you have a pile of receipts... you log them... or don't ever look at them again, and then they go into the trash right? Well, how many of those receipts do you REALLY need? How about those little ones from the gas pumps? Do yourself and the earth a favor next time and when it asks if you would like a receipt, select "NO"!!! It will be one less receipt printed, one less piece of trash for you to get rid of!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clover Schools Goin' Green!

I thought this article was relevant and wonderful.... right from the local Lake Wylie Pilot! It is comforting to know that the school system my child is in, cares about something like this. Now between home AND school, she is not being exposed to the use of any toxic cleaning chemicals as much as possible. Healthier schools = Healthier children! Yay! (Click article to enlarge to read) or it can be found online HERE!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Green Living For Dummies

What an awesomely-green find! I credit my ingenious husband for this great stocking stuffer! -run one- -run all- to the $1 bin at Target. They have a huge variety of "For Dummies" books.... little paperback purse size or for perfect bathroom reading material (ha!) Green Living For Dummies... the "pocket edition" has great tips on why to be greener, how to make your home healthier and more efficient, minimizing trash, and greening your diet!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Make A New Years Resolution

Making a New Years Resolution can sometimes be hokey and unrealistic. For 2009 make a vow to change your life.... to better your family, your health, and the planet. Small changes over time add up big! Switch out some ordinary light bulbs to CFLs. Buy a faucet mount or pitcher purifier and give up your bottled water. Check the local thrift store or Goodwill before splurging for brand new threads at Target. Commit to educating yourself about something you are unfamiliar with such as organics, cloth diapering, or vaccinations. Take control of your life in '09 by "Greenin" your life up!

ps. after an almost 3 month hiatus I am back online! Stay tuned, I have lots to say!

Wanna-Be Green Girl