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Eco-Spring Cleaning9 Tips for an Eco-Spring Cleaning!

Eco-friendly designer Robin Wilson, president of Robin Wilson Home in New York City, who is one of the pioneers of eco-friendly design and is an ambassador for The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, offers these tips for taking spring cleaning to another level:

1. In the bathroom, get rid of your vinyl shower curtain because it holds mold more easily and off gases. Use a nylon curtain instead. It’s also less expensive. Use non-toxic cleansers, always lower the toilet seat when flushing and fix a leaky faucet (which will also save you money!)

2. For bedding, use synthetic pillows over feathered ones if you suffer from allergies or asthma, wash your pillow case once a week, your pillow protector at least once a month and replace pillows every three years. Cover your mattress with a hypoallergenic cover and wash every two months and make sure that it is non-toxic without formaldehyde-based fire retardants.

3. Use non-VOC paints in your home which won’t off gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor and stir up asthma or allergies. You can’t even tell the difference in how it looks on the wall.

4. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Each Spring, remove everything from the room as if you were moving, and mop or steam clean the floor.  

5. Check for mold in dishwashers, under the fridge in the water pan, and regularly change water dispenser and icemaker filters.

6. One of the biggest trends today is eco-friendly cabinetry because it has no formaldehyde adhesives and is made with low VOC stains.  Consider frameless cabinets which won’t collect as much dust.

7. Wash or freeze your child’s stuffed animals to kill dust mites.

8. Consider using slipcovers, which can be washed regularly on your upholstered sofas and make sure to limit the use of drapes as they are “dust catchers.”

Bruce Yacko, the dedicated founder behind JAWS International, Ltd., took the time out of running his environmentally-friendly company to answer a few questions for Tiny Green Mom. His commitment to the environment is evident in the end product of the 4 JAWS cleaners, with which you will find simply fabulous for cleaning your home!

An Interview with Bruce Yacko, Founder of JAWS International, Ltd.

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

JAWS International, Ltd. is a technology company committed to protecting the environment and making innovative products to that end. We created and market JAWS® (Just Add Water™ System), a patented cleaning system designed to reduce the environmental impact of packaging used in conventional spray cleaning products. While reducing plastic waste and the landfills that result, we’re able to offer high performance, highly economical cleaners. JAWS delivers ultra-concentrated, eco-sensitive and highly biodegradable cleaning chemistry in patented refill cartridges for use with reusable bottles and sprayers. JAWS is a simple, effective solution that gives everyone the chance to care for their home and take care of the planet.

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

I buy local, which can have a tremendous impact on our environment and transportation costs. And I recycle, reduce and reuse plastic whenever possible. With landfills closing at a rate of one per day, eventually, where are we going to put it? Lastly, I continue to invest my personal finances in JAWS with hopes that it helps us all become better stewards of the world’s resources.

Guilty green pleasure?

I started growing fruits, vegetables and herbs a few years ago and working in the garden has become one of my favorite things to do.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Running a business in today’s climate requires tremendous focus, courage and passion. Having a talented and committed group of people who share your undying vision is essential. Additionally, a healthy fear of failing along with believing what we’re doing is important helps keep me motivated.

*Image provided by JAWS International, Ltd.

It’s time to get down and dirty this Spring as you feather, spruce and clean your nest with the best planet-friendly cleaners available! Take a peek at the latest in planet-friendly cleaners, laundry & dishwasher detergents, soaps, and more to help you fight grime – naturally, of course!

Whole Foods Market All Purpose Citrus-Scented Spray Cleaner

Wipe away the dirt and grime on any surface with this eco-conscious cleaner new to Whole Foods Market! Lightly scented with revitalizing citrus essential oils, this will lift your spirits as you clean! Phthalate-free, phosphate-free, and chlorine-free, even the packaging is fully recyclable. Locate a Whole Foods Market near you by going to www.wholefoodsmarket.com.

Whole Foods Market All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner

Another newbie to the Whole Foods Market line-up of eco-fabulous cleaning products is this concentrated cleaner that makes mopping floors a (pine-scented) breeze! Dust bunnies will run for cover when you bring out the mop and bucket of warm water graced with this cleaner that is phosphate-free, chlorine-free, and phthalate-free, and has just a hint of all-natural pine essential oil! Learn more at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.

JAWS (Just Add Water System)

Reduce, reuse and recycle is the mantra behind the JAWS cleaning system! One bottle can be used multiple times – simply insert a new cleaning cartridge into the fully recyclable bottle, and add water. Each JAWS bottle arrives with two extra cartridges for use, and after the initial purchase, the cartridges are sold separately at a fraction of the price. (Read: 2 full bottles for less than $2 each!) Four JAWS cleaners are now available, including JAWS Glass & Hard Surface Cleaner, JAWS Multi-Purpose Cleaner/Degreaser, JAWS Bathroom Cleaner/Deodorizer and JAWS Disinfectant Cleaner Degreaser. For more information about this effective, eco-friendly new cleaning system that encourages you to reduce waste, visit www.jawsclean.com.

Earth Friendly Product’s ECOS Magnolia and Lily Detergent

Freshen up the laundry room with the scent of Magnolia & Lily! For planet-friendly cleaning of all of your bedding, clothing, blankets, throw rugs, and more, Earth Friendly Product’s ECOS Magnolia and Lily Detergent is non-toxic and suitable for all types of fabrics! It is 100% biodegradable, chlorine-free, enzyme-free, and petroleum-free. Plus, it is also available in a fragrance-free version, for extreme sensitivities. Check out www.ecos.com.

Produce Magic by Vermont Soap

It’s magic! This one little spray can do it all – naturally washing away the residue from pesticides, fertilizer, dirt, road grit, mold, fungi, the wax coating on fruits, and more! Produce Magic is an eco-friendly alternative for avoiding contaminated produce and food-borne illnesses that strike 48 million Americans each year. Plus, this planet-friendly, organic fruit and vegetable wash is biodegradable and free of artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives, animal products or gluten. A spray or two goes a long way in keeping the fruits and veggies in your home fresh and contaminant-free! Produce Magic can be purchased throughout the country (and beyond) at health food, gourmet and specialty stores and online at www.vermontsoap.com.

*Companies generously provided images, information, and samples for this article.*

When spring rolls around each year, the first thing on the mind of many people is when they can get their spring cleaning started. Opening the windows with rolled up sleeves; you can make your home fresh all over again. The problem that a lot of people have during this time is the harshness of the cleaning products. However, by making a few easy changes, you can clean without causing any harm to your own health, as well as that of your children and pets.

“Green” Up Your Spring Cleaning!

The best way to green up your spring cleaning is to get rid of all of the commercial cleaning products that you have in the home. Most of them will contain chemicals that can actually be very harmful. The fumes can cause the air in the home to be polluted and you can just imagine the damage they cause after they are drained into the sewage. Whether you choose to buy green cleaners or make your own, you will find your spring cleaning goes just as smoothly as it would use the commercial ones.

All-Purpose/Glass Cleaners

One of the first things to consider is what type of all purpose or glass cleaners you use. Many of them contain ammonia, which can be very harmful to the lungs, as well as are an irritant to the eyes. A green alternative to these are to use a mixture of 2 gallons of water, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, and just ½ cup of liquid castile soap. If the vinegar smell is not to your liking, you can substitute it with lemon juice and get the same results.

Toilet Cleaners

You can also green up your cleaning by changing up your toilet cleaner. Many of the cleaners you find will contain bleach, which again, can be very unsafe. The best way to clean your toilet safely is to use one or two denture cleansing tablets. Let them soak in the toilet overnight and, in the morning, you will have a sparkling toilet. You can also use the mixture of 1 cup of borax with ¼ cup vinegar and let that sit overnight, as well.

Bathtub and Tile Cleaners

For a lot of people, cleaning the bathtub and tiles are the worst. The cleaners used for this purpose often have a chemical called sodium hydroxide, which can cause chemical burns to the skin. To get a good scrubbing agent for this tough area, you can mix ¼ cup baking soda with ½ cup of white vinegar. When you want an aromatic cleanser, you could choose to do a mixture of a teaspoon of the liquid soap, 1 cup of baking soda, and just enough water to make it more liquid. Add in a few drops of aromatic oil, such as peppermint oil and you have a great smelling cleanser.

If you want to green up your spring cleaning and the above sounds just too difficult, you also have the option to buy organic cleaning products. You will want to look for those that do not contain any harmful ingredients. It is also important to consider the packaging, as the last thing you want to do is use those that are not package with the environment in mind.

About the Author

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for 3 years about a variety of topics; she recently contributed to articles dealing with finding savings online and how to prep for the DMV written test.

5 Ways to Keep Your Carpet Clean and “Green”

Your carpet can be one of the dirtiest places in your home. Pets, people, and food are constantly coming in contact with your carpet on a daily basis, so it is important to provide proper care for your carpets and rugs in your house. Unfortunately, there are many cleaning products that can be toxic if ingested or if you breathe them, and it is often unsafe to leave chemicals around the house when there are young children present. Some dangerous chemicals can include pesticides, acids, lye and even formaldehyde. Side effects from these chemicals can result in an allergic reaction, respiratory illness, and/or a weakened immune system.

Going Organic at Home

Fortunately, there are many ways to go organic and reduce chemical dependency for cleaning products at home. Here are some easy ways to stay green and avoid any health risks while cleaning your carpet:

1) Start by installing organic carpeting throughout the house. Many non-organic carpeting brands can contain traces of polypropylene and other toxic chemicals, especially in the padding underneath. Organic carpets are typically made of wool and cotton and are never saturated with chemical residue.

2) Vacuum regularly. Vacuuming can help bring a lot of particulates and dirt out of the carpet that would otherwise be ground in over time, allowing stains and grime to set deeper into the carpet fibers. Not only will the carpet look better, but air pollutants are also minimized if the carpet is vacuumed about once a week. A tip for unwanted pet hair – Use a wet rubber dish washing glove on your hand to rub over surfaces and quickly pick up pet hair.

3) Natural Spot cleaning – Use equal parts of white vinegar and water and let the solution sit on the stain for a few minutes. Use a sponge to blot up the excess liquid, and pat dry. Repeat as needed, depending on the severity. For very difficult stains, make a paste with baking soda and vinegar, and apply to the stain. When dry, vacuum it up. Reuse old clothes to wipe up stains, such as old socks and t-shirts, instead of buying rags at the store.

4) Maintaining your carpet – For best results, professionally clean your carpet once or twice a year. There are local “green” carpet cleaning companies that do not use any hazardous chemicals, and they do deep vacuuming and clean way down to the padding, so stains that are deep-set will no longer come through. These “green” cleaning companies use “Green Seal Certified” techniques and proper disposal methods for the cleaning solutions, and are less expensive than you’d think. They also use vacuum cleaners that are “Green Labeled Approved” to help improve air quality while cleaning.

5) Being mindful of what cleaners and materials you bring into the home will allow you peace of mind, as well as provide a safe environment for you and your family!

About the Author: S. Sparks is a writer for small businesses and online stores with an emphasis on health and beauty. Some of her most recent work includes articles at TVTopTen.com and Carpet Cleaning San Diego.

To save $1.00 on any Seventh Generation product for the household, visit SeventhGeneration.com for your printable coupon. Their entire line is earth-friendly and contain absolutely no toxic chemicals or phosphates.

*This is not a paid advertorial.*

Spring Cleaning Tips from Martha Stewart

There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean. For many people, however, the idea is overwhelming and the pleasure comes only after the work is finished. While spring cleaning will never become effortless, below are some suggestions from Martha Stewart to help you get started and make things a little more manageable including eight steps to perfectly clean windows.

And to make things even easier and keep you from breathing strong, harsh chemicals while cleaning, Martha and The Hain Celestial Group recently introduced Martha Stewart Clean, a new line of effective, eco-friendly cleaning products for the home. The collection includes 10 products that are available in Home Depot, Giant Eagle, Publix and A&P stores and online at Amazon.com.

Previously, consumers had to choose between reliable or natural cleaners. Martha Stewart Clean products are both trusted solutions for removing dirt, grease, and grime, and non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Made with 99+% plant-and-mineral-based ingredients of the highest quality, Martha Stewart Clean contains no added fragrances or artificial colors, and comes in recyclable packaging making these products safe for use in homes with children and animals. Visit www.marthastewartclean.com for information about the products, helpful cleaning videos and more.

Eight Steps to Perfectly Clean Windows

1. Schedule the project Choose a time when the sun is not shining directly on windows. Its hot rays can cause the cleaning solution to dry, which will result in streaks.

2. Clean the surface With a soft-bristle brush, dust away cobwebs and loose dirt from windows and frames. Don’t forget hinges, sills, and tracks. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, especially if the frames are old and splintery.

3. Make the cleaning solution Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part hot water.

4. Prevent a mess Before cleaning the inside of each window, place an absorbent terry-cloth towel along the windowsill to catch drips.

5. Wet the glass Using a sponge, wet (but don’t drench) the windowpane with the vinegar-and-water solution, and rub away the dirt. As much as possible, keep the solution from coming into contact with the window frames.

6. Prime a squeegee Wet the rubber blade; a dry one will skip.

7. Wipe the glass Starting at an upper corner of the pane, draw the squeegee down in a straight, confident stroke. Wipe the rubber edge of the squeegee with a sponge or a lint-free cloth. Return to the top and repeat, slightly overlapping the first stroke. Finish by pulling the squeegee across the bottom of the window. Dry the sill.

8. Clean the frames Wipe surfaces using a cloth dampened with a non-ammomia all-purpose cleaner and water. Rinse them thoroughly with a clean, damp cloth to remove cleaning solution, and dry immediately by wiping with a clean, dry cloth.

For more Spring cleaning tips and ideas visit http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/gentle-reminders-spring-cleaning.

Love the scent of lemons? How about using a lemon to clean your microwave? Yes, that’s right! Simply cut a lemon in half, squeeze the contents into a glass bowl, throw in the peels, and add water. Place the dish in the microwave and microwave for 1 minute. Take the bowl out of the microwave and wipe the inside with a clean, damp cloth. The bits and pieces left inside on the walls will come right off easily, and the scent of lemons will leave the air smelling fresh!

For an extra burst of lemon + cleaning power, place the rinds in the garbage disposal, and turn on! Voila! Your garbage disposal’s odors are now gone!