Easy do it yourself cleaning recipes to use in your home. They don’t have any chemicals that will aggravate anyone’s asthma or allergies.
1. All-purpose cleaner
Using cleaning products that don’t have harsh smells is a good start. You can also make your own using a few simple steps and inexpensive ingredients.
3 cups distilled water
1 teaspoon natural dish soap
3 cups white vinegar
A few drops of an essential oil of your choice (tea tree oil, lemon or orange oils are good choices)
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use the solution to clean countertops, floors and walls. A word of caution: Do not use vinegar solutions on marble surfaces.
2. Glass cleaner
3 cups distilled water
3 cups white vinegar
A few drops of an essential oil of your choice. I usually use lemon oil or lavender.
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use the solution to clean glass surfaces, including mirrors.
3. Furniture polish
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use the solution to polish wood surfaces.
Baking soda and white vinegar can clean toilets and showers.
If you want some abrasion to remove a stain, try sprinkling some salt on the stain.
After you’ve squeezed a lemon for a recipe, rub the inside of the rind in your kitchen sink. The lemon will clean the sink and keep it smelling fresh.
These glass squirt bottles are good if your using essential oils.
How to Keep Your Child’s Bedroom Tidy
Those with children will know that keeping your child’s room tidy can sometimes feel like a near impossible task. With clothes, shoes, toys and homework loitering in every available space, a quick spring clean can sometimes turn into a lengthy chore.
The spatial restrictions of smaller rooms generally mean there is not enough room to store or even put away clothes. If this is a scenario you’re familiar with then perhaps some new, space saving furniture could be the answer.
Specialised storage furniture is great for clearing away the clutter and these days you can find some beautiful, kid friendly designs. One particular brand to look to is the range from Kidspace Furniture. The current line features both bright and bold designs, complete with statement drawers, pull out fabric boxes and cube storage features.
These stylish designs will add a definite edge to your child’s existing room, whilst organising some of the clutter. Many of the featured designs come in several colours, meaning there is something to suit all children.
The Kidspace fabric storage boxes are a great option for those with lots of toys. Simply organise your favourite games, soft toys and books into the various fabric boxes provided and enjoy the benefits of a clean and tidy bedroom for a change!
Sticking to a certain colour scheme or, alternatively, creating a running theme is a great way to create an interesting and inviting bedroom space. You may decide to gear the bedroom towards an active boy with bright colours and statement designs. Alternatively, a girly girl may prefer something a little softer in style, complete with pastel shades and feminine embellishments.
Improving Your Life
The best thing about children’s bedroom furniture is the fact that it both organises and clears the room in question. Having a range of interesting areas to store both clothes and belongings will encourage your child to put his or her toys away – resulting in less work, and nagging, for you. Your child will also benefit from learning valuable skills about cleanliness and will be able to enjoy the time they spend in their bedroom to its full potential.
Many of today’s furniture options are available online and come flat packed. This makes the entire shopping experience a hassle-free process. Simply choose the pieces you desire, click on your virtual shopping basket and place your order. The hardest part of the shopping experience is waiting in anticipation for the order to arrive.
Here is a good recipe for home made carpet refresher. Every store sells the premade powder you can sprinkle on your carpets that is laced with chemicals and artificial scents, here is a better and cheaper alternative. This recipe has only a few ingredients and is very easy to make and store. This is the recipe I have used.
2 parts Baking soda
1 part Borax
Aromatherapy oils (some choices are lemon, Lavender, any citrus scent) I recommend a good quality oil with out chemicals added to it.
All you do is halfway fill a small mason jar up with baking soda and put a few drops of oils of your choice in with the baking soda. Shake the jar and reopen to see if the scent is as strong as you want. You can add a few more drops in. What I did was let the mixture sit overnight to absorb the scents and dry before using it on the carpet. Then take the lid and poke about 6 or seven small hole on top. Close the top and you can just sprinkle the soda mixture on the carpet. After sprinkling on the carpet leave it on the carpet for about an hour before vacuuming
Five Moving Tips to Create a Fresh Green Clean Start
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 40 million people worldwide move every year with one-third of all moves in the United States taking place between the months of June and August. That’s more than 13 million people who will be moving this summer – not counting seasonal moves to summer cottages and weekend retreats!
With summertime here and your family most likely on the go, Maid Brigade – the nation’s leading green cleaning company – offers you these five tips to get you on your way to a new, green-clean start wherever you hang your hat.
1. Purge and recycle before packing
Make it a family event to get rid of clutter as you prepare for a permanent or seasonal move. Let the kids help you go through their rooms and the entire house to identify clothes, toys, excess furniture, and unused electronics that can be recycled by donating them to a worthy cause in the community. If you are really brave, hold a yard sale and let your kids use the money they get for their things to pay for summer fun or something new for their rooms.
2. Make a list
Whether you do it on your smart phone, computer, or in a good old-fashioned notebook—before you fill up one box make sure to create a list of everything that you need to pack. This includes what you’re moving and where it’s going to go once you get there. Consider keeping a hand written list in case your computer runs out of battery power (and you packed the charging cord).
3. Use recycled boxes and supplies
You will need a lot of supplies if you are moving! Recycled boxes are readily available on the Internet and many moving companies offer this option including U-Haul, which provides a box buyback and exchange program. When the move is done, make sure that all of the cardboard and packing paper is properly recycled again. If you are using a moving company, ask them about this prior to contracting for their service. Most provide recycling as a routine option. If you’re moving yourself, arrange for the pickup of used boxes by a local recycling company or take them to the nearest recycling center. You can also ask around. There is almost always someone who is also on the move and needs boxes. You can help them out by selling yours at a modest price or donating them.
4. Label everything
Mark all boxes clearly with your end destination including the particular room if you’re moving. For any seasonal or weekend moves, label all clothes and duffels as things tend to get lost easily outside of the normal home environment.
5. Clean before you unpack
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six people in the United States suffers from food poisoning every year including a large percentage that contract it from their own kitchen. Before you unpack, ensure that the critical areas of a new home including the kitchen, bathrooms, and appliances are thoroughly cleaned to avoid unnecessary illness at a time when everyone wants to be at their best. Take the time to clean properly by spraying surfaces with a natural cleaning solution, allowing “dwell time” for the solution to remain on the surface before wiping. Use micro-fiber cloths instead of sponges to reduce the chance of spreading germs from one area to another. You can find recipes for many non-toxic green cleaning solutions and processes in the Maid Brigade Go To Cleaning Guide. For example, baking soda and water is great for cleaning sinks, tubs, and appliances, tackling grease stains on cabinets, and scrubbing grimy backsplashes.
Need to know even more? For healthy house cleaning tips and tricks visit www.maidbrigade.com.
Commercial cleaning products, even “green” ones like Simple Green, clean faster than soap and water can. But this is because they contain small amounts of the most powerful grease-cutting class of chemicals known — glycol ethers.
Overexposure to glycol ethers can cause anemia, intoxication, and irritation of the eyes and nose.
In laboratory animals, low-level exposure to glycol ethers has caused birth defects and damage to sperm and testicles. The most commonly used glycol ether, 2-butoxyethanol, has been shown to cause liver cancer in animals. AlterNet reports:
“You are exposed to the glycol ethers when you inhale them as the cleaner is used … Most glycol ethers can silently penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream … If that were not enough, the glycol ethers also go through natural rubber gloves and many types of plastic gloves without changing their appearance.”
The typical American home contains 3-10 gallons of toxic materials, in the form of about 60 different kinds of hazardous household cleaning products. That’s right, the very things you use to clean your house are actually the primary sources of toxins and indoor air pollution that Americans expose themselves to year after year. And many of the new “green” alternatives now being offered by major corporations are only green in name, as you will soon discover.
The Cost of Cleaning Your Home
Having a clean home should never cost you something as valuable as your health, but that’s exactly what you’re putting at risk when you use household cleaners and laundry detergents filled with many of the hazardous chemicals on the market today.
The problem is, when the chemicals in these common household products hit your skin and lungs, they go directly into your bloodstream, bypassing your body’s natural defense system against toxins (the liver and kidneys).
This type of indoor pollution is particularly harmful to your health because just one application of a typical household cleaner can leave dangerous chemicals lingering in your indoor air for hours at a time. For people who spend a large amount of their day indoors, this can amount to a frequent chemical attacks on your lungs.
So, which Ingredients are Toxic?
Some of the ingredients in common household cleaners, laundry detergents, and even “green” cleaners that can create a toxic indoor environment include:
Glycol ethers – Widespread use in paints, perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and foods. Cause fatigue, lethargy, nausea, and possible liver and kidney damage.
Phthalates – Cause reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, cancer, organ damage.
Perfumes – Cause headaches, sinus problems, asthma, may cause intoxication and “addiction.”
Phosphates – Manufacturers have reduced eliminated phosphates from laundry products, but no action has ever been taken on dishwasher detergents. Causes widespread environmental damage.
Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), a common ingredient in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe, and known to be a potent endocrine disrupter. It’s already thought to be the cause of male fish transforming into females in waterways around the world!
Formaldehyde, found in spray and wick deodorizers, is a suspected carcinogen.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including 1,4-dichlorobenzene – Cause nose and throat irritation, dizziness, asthma.
Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners may damage mucous membranes.
Butyl cellosolve, found in many all-purpose and window cleaners. May damage your kidneys, bone marrow, liver and nervous system.
Ammonia – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
Chlorine – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
Ethanolamines – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – skin irritant, eye irritant, potential cancer causer.
Why “Green” Cleaning Products May NOT Necessarily be Green!
As more and more consumers are learning about the dangers of the products they use in their homes, “green” environmentally friendly options have sparked an industry revolution with a growing number of companies offering their own versions of eco-friendly cleaners. Some examples are Clorox Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Simple Green, and Purex Natural Elements.
Unfortunately, the terms “green” and “natural” are nothing more than marketing terms; they’re not rigid well accepted scientific terms, and they do not automatically equate to safety. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who is even slightly familiar with how multinational corporations use marketing to manipulate the image of their products.
If you want a real treat, please pick up and read a highly recommended book on this subject called Subliminal Persuasion: Influence & Marketing Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know (SEE BELOW) This book reveals the systematic techniques used to form opinions or ideologies, in ways that we never suspect. Multinational corporations, like big drug companies, are using these techniques all the time to deceive you.
Many large corporations are chomping at the bit, eager to reach into the wallets of modern, environmentally concerned consumers searching for green alternatives to the toxic stew of chemicals found in conventional cleaning products. “Green” cleaning products are a growing niche market, with green cleaning product U.S. sales totaling $100 million in 2010.
But most “green” cleaning products like Simple Green are still loaded with glycol ethers, which are anything but good for your health when inhaled or when they touch your skin. Folks, the simple truth is that if a substance cuts through grease and dirt any faster than soap and water, then there are chemicals in there that most likely aren’t very good for your health.
Why Glycol Ethers are BAD for You
Glycol ether is a generic term for over thirty solvents derived from crude oil, all with different properties, which are used in applications ranging from paints to inks to degreasing agents and cleaning products. Generally speaking, glycol ethers are hazardous when they get on your skin or when they get in your lungs. This is especially true with cleaning products, which are often applied indoors and without proper ventilation.
The glycol ether named ethylene glycol monoethyl ether may be linked to lower sperm count in men, and has caused low birth weight and reproductive abnormalities in animal studies. Pregnant women and small children in particular should avoid expose to glycol ethers, as these groups are more susceptible to damage.
Reading the Labels Won’t Always Help
I always advocate reading the labels on the foods and cleaning products you buy, but in the case of household cleaners even the most meticulous eye for labels won’t get you very far.
Because many of the most dangerous chemicals will not even be on the label. The manufacturers have conveniently lobbied the government to exempt them from this requirement and can omit any ingredient that is considered a secret formula from its label. Many of these non-disclosed ingredients are actually toxic and carcinogenic.
Household goods are still very much an unregulated market. And, cleaning product manufacturers — even those that claim to be “green” — are not required by law to disclose all of their ingredients on their labels. So while it’s still better to read the label than not, be aware that a lack of ingredient on a label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not in the product!
How to Clean and Sanitize Without Harmful Chemicals
Some common household items, such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can get the job done just as well — sometimes even better — than their toxic counterparts. Here’s a simple starter list of what you need to make your own natural cleaning products:
Liquid castile soap
Organic essential oils (optional)
Micro fiber cloths
For a great video on how to use these ingredients and other tips for cleaning your home without hazardous chemicals, please review the article: How to Keep Your Home Clean Naturally. For example, vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer.
Cleaning mirrors and windows is as easy as adding a quarter-cup of white vinegar per quart of water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the mixture if windows or mirrors are really dirty, but be very careful not to use any that contain harmful antibacterial substances.
Most people know that baking soda is an ideal means to absorb odors in your refrigerator, but did you know it’s also a real powerhouse when it comes to cleaning?
Half-a-Dozen Uses for Baking Soda
Here are half a dozen examples of how plain and simple baking soda can replace dangerous commercial cleaning products in your home:
Use as a safe non-scratch scrub — for metals and porcelain.
To clean your oven — simply sprinkle a cup or more of baking soda over the bottom of the oven, then cover the baking soda with enough water to make a thick paste. Let the mixture set overnight. The next morning the grease will be easy to wipe up 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.
To unclog a drain — pour 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then slowly pour 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar in after it. Cover the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes. If it bubbles like a volcano, it means it’s working as planned. Flush with a gallon of boiling water.
Deodorize dry carpets — by sprinkling liberally with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes, then vacuum.
To rid your garbage disposal of foul smells — add vinegar to water for ice cubes, then let a few of them get chopped by your disposal.
To clean your silver — boil 2-3 inches of water in a shallow pan with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for 2-3 minutes more. Remove silver from the pan and wipe away the tarnish with a clean cotton cloth.
Genuine Green Products are Out There!
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, 18-in-1 Hemp Tea Tree, (SEE BELOW) has long made a natural castile soap free of toxic chemicals. This is just one of many truly “green” products available to consumers who are discerning and want to avoid the glycol ethers and phthalates found in most cleaning and laundry products.
For the past four years I have been researching a safe alternative to conventional laundry detergents that are typically chocked full of perfumes, solvents and bleaches that don’t belong anywhere near your skin.
I am pleased to announce that I have been able to develop a product that cleans your clothes just as good as conventional laundry detergent, but uses plant and vegetable enzymes to get the job done.
Final Thoughts on Green Cleaners
Don’t be fooled by the marketing, or by ingredients that are purposely left off of labels.
The toxic chemicals listed above are found in a wide variety of everyday cleaners and detergents and pose a significant health risk. We are starting to see that now with increased and unexplained cancers, increased infertility and difficulty in reproduction, exploding neurological disorders, ADHD and autism in our children.
These diseases are thought by many to be linked to environmental causes. And many of the toxic ingredients in cleaning products are among the suspected culprits.
Remember, if you have trouble finding safe alternatives, there is nothing wrong with natural soap and water for cleaning most surfaces. It will take a little more elbow grease, and you’ll have to rinse the soap off, but the benefit of avoiding toxic chemicals far outweighs any extra effort you might have to put in.
Story and photo Sources:
AlterNet November 23, 2010