Taking the Toxic out of Spring Cleaning

Every year, spring weather prompts homeowners to pull out the cleaning products and freshen up their homes. In the process of cleaning your home, toxic fumes and ingredients in commercial cleaning products cause multiple health problems and create dangerous living conditions for your family and pets. Even eco-friendly cleaners contain mystery ingredients. By making your own cleaning solutions, you control the ingredients and create eco-friendly, non-toxic and effective cleaning agents that leave your home clean and fresh.

Eco-friendly cleaning solutions require eco-friendly tools. Make your own cleaning equipment from mismatched socks, torn cotton T-shirts and cloth diapers. Instead of purchasing disposable sponges or mop cloths, purchase long-lasting microfiber cloths and reusable mops. Limit waste without sacrificing cleanliness.

To mix an all-purpose cleaner that cleanses countertops, appliances and other surfaces, add lemon juice to white vinegar. Lemon juice neutralizes the strong vinegar odor, freshens your garbage disposal and removes countertop stains. Every home should invest in these two ingredients that serve as antibacterial and all-natural cleaning agents.

Make the bathroom the cleanest room in the house without using harsh chemicals. To clean and disinfect the toilet bowl, pour ½ cup of borax and ½ cup of vinegar into the bowl. After an hour, scrub the toilet to remove any residue. Combine one part vinegar, two parts baking soda and your favorite essential oil to create a heavy-duty sink and tub cleaner that leaves your entire bathroom smelling fresh.

Clean your vinyl and tile floors by combining vinegar, borax, liquid soap, essential oil and warm water. Instead of using a steam machine to deep clean your carpets, invest in dry carpet cleaning. With low moisture, you reduce drying time and lower the chance of mildew development. You can make your own non-toxic powdered cleanser. In a glass saltshaker, combine borax and essential oil. Shake the powder onto your carpets and allow it to sit for several minutes. Vacuum the carpets and remove harmful allergens without harming the environment.

After you create a sparkling clean home, wash your car with common kitchen ingredients. Combine 10 drops of dishwashing liquid and a gallon of water. The liquid soap contains degreasing materials that effectively remove accumulated grime. This homemade solution also protects the Earth and costs less than a commercial car wash.

Clean your vehicle’s tires with a baking soda and water paste. Wet the tire before applying the paste with a hard-bristled brush. Allow the paste to sit for several minutes before rinsing it off. Pressure washers are excellent for this part of the job.

These environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions will give your home and vehicle a fresh, clean appearance and smell. Save money and provide a clean, safe and non-toxic environment for your family this spring.

About the Author

Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys DIY projects that help her live a little greener. Her most recent activity is making her own toothpaste – yet another use for the baking soda she already has on hand! Read her work at Eat Breathe Blog.

When it comes to cleaning, environmentally friendly or ‘green’ cleaning is all the buzz. But it’s about more than simply protecting the health of the environment. It’s also about avoiding exposure to dangerous chemicals and cleaning practices that could affect your personal health.

Cleaning experts at The Maids Home Services, a residential cleaning service, have offered Tiny Green Mom readers their top 5 green cleaning tips for a sparkling, eco-friendly home.

Top 5 Green Cleaning Tips

  • Resist the urge to grab a roll of paper towel when cleaning. Opt instead for microfiber cloths that trap dust and allergens, eliminating them from the air you breathe. Look for cloths that are appropriate to your cleaning task, be it dusting or buffing.
  • Let your home get a breath of fresh air as often as possible. Pollutants indoors are often higher than outside. Open the windows and let them out!
  • Choose natural air fresheners, like daffodils or simmering cinnamon sticks. Synthetic air fresheners often emit VOCs, volatile organic compounds, that can exacerbate health issues producing skin, eye and respiratory reactions.
  • Look for eco-friendly ingredients in cleaning products. Seek those with plant-oil disinfectants such as rosemary, sage or eucalyptus.
  • Invest in a vacuum cleaner that utilizes a HEPA filtration system. These advanced filters can capture the tiny bacteria and particulates that cause allergy sufferers distress.
  • Steer clear of chlorine bleach. It can burn skin and eyes and once released into the environment, can wreak havoc. Hot soapy water is an effective and safer alternative.

*Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

New Year, New Green You with Eco-Me!

Eco-Me’s family line of natural cleaners speaks to their customers with honest labeling, the safest and most effective ingredients and exciting, engaging packaging. Cleaning should be effective, safe and fun. Their use of all-natural ingredients and their friend’s and family’s names reflect Eco-Me’s company values where natural/eco-friendly/environmental actions start in the home with family – from their family to yours.

Here are some tips from Robin Kay Levine, Founder and Jenn Mihajlov, Vice President of Eco-Me for a sparkling household in no time!

Take inventory of all your belongings at home and get rid of whatever you don’t use. The less stuff you have the less cleaning you have to do. Simple!

Go through and properly dispose of all toxic cleaning products and replace with non-toxic, green cleaners. There are three components to look for when purchasing products that are TRULY non-toxic and green. They are:

· Ingredients: Make sure ingredients are FULLY disclosed. They must be natural, meaning sourced from a natural ingredient (i.e. plant/food source) and should not be manufactured in any way with synthetic and/or petrochemicals (meaning from petroleum) – many ingredients are processed with this highly toxic ingredient.

· Fragrances/Colorants: Both should not be synthetic. There is no truly natural, non-synthetic colorant available currently for personal or cleaning products. Fragrances usually contain phthalates (which are dangerous chemicals that effective your endocrine systems and hormone levels). So, avoid products that have dyes and colorants and look for items with natural essential oils as the scent/fragrance.

· Packaging: look for plastics or glass that can be recycled. Best plastics to stick with are #1.

· Also, look for products that are top-tier green level Eco Tier at Whole Foods, have the Green Seal certification and NPA Seal (natural products association.org); and always good to choose products with leaping bunny seal (this means the company and product does not test on animals or use animal bi-products)

Floors

Carpets – Maintenance is key. Vacuum frequently to keep dirt from getting ground-in. Freshen up carpets for the New Year every time you vacuum with Matt Carpet Deodorizer by Eco-Me.

Wood Floors – Great for all household wood sealed surfaces. For use on wood furniture, cabinets and floors. Olive oil works to reduce bacteria build up and naturally polish surfaces without any sticky chemical build up. It is recommended to use a microfiber cloth after polishing to remove any excess.

Tiled Floors – Go easy on the product you use – Dave All-Purpose Floor Cleaner by Eco-Me is a great choice – a little goes a LONG way.

Windows

Use a newspaper or a clean old cotton rag to wipe down windows – this will help get you into the habit of using less paper towels too! Bill All-Purpose Cleaner by Eco-Me is great for all household cleaning including windows!

Laundry

Give up conventional laundry detergents!

Choose laundry products that are concentrated, plant-based, and biodegradable such as Emma Laundry Soap by Eco-Me. Emma gets linens super-clean, without the harsh ingredients other detergents use, PLUS no softener needed. Also great for anyone who is allergy-prone, has sensitive skin, washing baby clothes, and hand-washing delicate items.

Kitchen

Toxins permeate food and remain on surfaces, so think twice before overdoing it with harsh, toxic cleaning supplies.

Dishwashing: When shopping for an eco-friendly dish washing soap, try using a pure vegetable-based soap to wash dishes such as Suzy Dish Soap by Eco-Me; also gentle enough for hand-washing your fine china!

For tougher jobs and pots/pans, sprinkle a little bit of Kate Scrub Cleanser by Eco-Me on stainless steel, iron, or copper pots and scrub to clean. Kate is great for all kitchen cleaning needs – use on ovens, stove tops, cook and bakeware too!

Bathrooms

These spaces are typically more of an enclosed area with not-so-great ventilation and a ton of humidity, so green cleaners make a lot of sense, especially here.

Phil Toilet Bowl Cleaner by Eco-Me has an essential oil blend that reduces bacteria, germs and odors. Sodium Bicarbonate is an effective abrasive for toilet bowls. Remove odors and germs, safe for septic systems too.

Bill All-Purpose Cleaner by Eco-Me is safe and super-effective for all household cleaning including bathrooms. For use on windows, mirrors, tile, counters, vinyl, grout, stainless …proven to eliminate and reduce bacteria in 60 seconds. That’s fast cleaning!

PUMP up the CLEAN with Mia Hand Soap by Eco-Me. Mia is a foaming hand soap with invigorating scents such as Wild Jasmine, Citrus, Sage and Fresh Mint. With over 150 uses per bottle, one pump is all you need. Wash hands in hot water, suds up, and rinse. Germs be gone!

About the Author

Tips and article provided by Robin Kay Levine, Founder and Jenn Mihajlov, Vice President of Eco-Me.

 

The New Year is a great time to renew and refresh your home with a clean sweep – from recycling unused toys and clothing to finally vacuuming under the bed before you stash the holiday decorations! Now, for anyone who has made a promise to be a little more “green” in 2012, ECOS Earth Friendly Products makes it easy to clean your home from top to bottom with no worry about using toxic chemicals.

After a lively New Year’s Eve celebration, your dishes will shine with a little help from Almond Dishmate – not to mention, they will smell fabulous, too! Made of 100% biodegradable ingredients and scented with pure almond and cherry oils, this dish soap is effective without being harmful. A tiny bit goes a long way, too! Dishmate is available in Apricot, Grapefruit, Pear, Lavender and Free & Clear (for those with sensitivities).

For hard surface areas, such as stainless steel, corian counter tops, and porcelain, the Creamy Cleanser is a naturally abrasive cleanser that gets the job done! 100% biodegradable and non-polluting, the Creamy Cleanser will not scratch surfaces and is not harmful to the skin. With a light lemon scent from lemon oil, this is one cleaner you will be reaching for often in the New Year!

General cleaning, especially in the kitchen area, has never been more refreshing than with Parsley Plus All-Purpose Cleaner! Non-toxic, all-natural and 100% biodegradable, this lively spray will clean and refresh the area immediately.

For more information on ECOS Earth Friendly Products, to view the entire line, or to locate a retailer near you, visit www.ecos.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Eco-Friendly Household Supplies that will Save You Money

For a large number of Americans, the devastating effects of a prolonged recession have forced a collective abandonment of the budding “green” movement which had swept the nation. While concern for the health of the environment has surely not waned, shrinking budgets have compelled many families to purchase inexpensive household cleaning supplies rather than eco friendly products. Unfortunately, this misguided attempt to save money does nothing but further jeopardize the natural world while failing to deliver the advertised savings. With a little research you can easily find vendors which specialize in providing affordable, eco friendly household supplies like all natural laundry detergent, recycled paper towels and organic shampoo and conditioner.

The recognized leader in the world of green cleaning supplies is SeventhGeneration.com, a brand which includes a diverse assortment of eco friendly products ranging from diapers to disinfectant. A thorough tour of the Seventh Generation website will soon illustrate both the abundance of green household supplies to choose from and the affordability the offer when compared to their chemically based counterparts. A great choice for budget conscious mothers is baby wipes which use only plant based derivatives to soothe a child’s skin, while containing no harmful dyes, fragrances, alcohol or synthetic cleaners. Biodegradable diapers are another terrific product for moms who are searching for an alternative to the environmental scourge of petroleum based plastic diapers. You will also find an array of non toxic, biodegradable household cleaners, from shower to tub and tile to toilet bowl, all of which contain naturally derived plant extracts which clean surfaces as effectively as dangerous chemicals. The true beauty of using green products like those sold by Seventh Generation is that they will save you money when compared to environmentally harmful standards like Pampers, Clorox and Comet.

Many mothers also follow traditional natural cleaning techniques to avoid overspending on household supplies. A spray bottle filled with a solution of water and distilled vinegar can become a proverbial wonder-cleaner, removing stains from a soiled carpet, degreasing the barbecue grill or scrubbing the kitchen floors. You can also use apple cider vinegar and a bit of baking soda to create a naturally cleansing abrasive paste, similar to that created by Ajax and water, for scrubbing kitchen or bathroom tiles at a fraction of the price presented by chemically based versions. One useful trick is to run a combination of warm water and white vinegar through your coffee maker about once a month to remove any buildup of mineral deposits.

With a little imagination and the motivation to try eco friendly household supplies, you will soon find yourself saving money and feeling better about your contribution to preserving the environment. With a combination of plant derived green products and natural cleansers like vinegar and baking soda; you can easily adopt an environmentally friendly cleaning routine for half the cost of typical, chemically based regimens. We all have a responsibility to protect the environment and being able to do your part while still saving money is truly a wonderful thing.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson writes for Illinois PO Financing. With purchase order financing you can grow your business and pave the way for more.

The Original Spaghetti Scrubs

Cleaning has gone au naturel! How about using corn cobs and peach pits to scour and scrub sinks, dishes, pots, and pans? NO soap needed! Goodbye Detergent’s Original Spaghetti Scrubs are simple to use – just moisten with water and roll into a ball for all of your general cleaning around the kitchen. Due the naturally abrasive action of the corn cobs and peach pits, no soap is needed, but can be added sparingly for tackling items with heavy grease. The special shape of the Spaghetti Scrubs makes them conform easily to corners and hard-to-reach places, such as behind faucets. When finished cleaning, just rinse and hang to dry thoroughly – it leaves no odors like a smelly & germy sponge!

Plus – both green-minded & budget-conscious people will appreciate that Spaghetti Scrubs last for months!

Why Use Spaghetti Scrubs?

•Reusable scrubs last for months
•Unique pliable shape
•Great for peeling vegetables
•Lack of mold and bacteria
•No smell or rust
•Save money and the environment by reducing the need for soaps

To learn more about Goodbye Detergent’s various natural cleaning products, or to order your own set of Spaghetti Scrubs (sold in set of 2), visit GoodbyeDetergent.com.