Archive | easy tips

Clean Your House With Only 5 Ingredients

 

 Clean Your Entire House with 5 Ingredients {TheGreeningOfWestford.com}

5 simple natural cleaners! That is all you will need to clean 93.3492% of the surfaces in your home.  OK, so clearly I made up that statistic, but seriously  most of your home can be cleaned with 5 simple, cheap, safe, readily available ingredients.  It’s probably what your grandma used.  And grandma is always right!

I could go on and on about how toxic the air inside your home can be, or how commercial cleaners are potentially dangerous.  Instead, I’m going to appeal to your cheap, eh I mean, frugal  side.  If you could get away with spending like $5 a year on cleaning solutions, wouldn’t you! ?  Again, pulling that $5 out of the air, but it’s not far off.

Ingredient – Natural Cleaners

1) White Distilled Vinegar – disinfects and deodorizes

2) Baking Soda – mild, scrubs without scratching

3) Hydrogen Peroxide – disinfects (recognized by EPA as a disinfectant)

4) Rubbing Alcohol – disinfects

5) Castile soap (or other liquid soap of your choosing, NOT anti-bacterial) – you need some sort of soap

I bet you already have these in your house.  

You will also need some empty spray bottle and labels!  You can find bottles at dollar stores, Home Depot, hardware stores, Walmart,Target among other places.   Do yourself a favor and label the bottles with the recipe and directions if needed so when they run out, they can easily be refilled. 

 

All-purpose cleaner (Cost $0.75, without essential oils $0.15)

This can be used on any hard non porous surface.  NOT FOR GRANITE OR MARBLE.

2 cups water
½ cup distilled white vinegar
Optional (10 drops lavender, 10 drops lemongrass, 10 drops lemon)

Combine all ingredients into a spray bottle.

If you don’t like the smell of the white vinegar, try infusing it with citrus peels first.

 

Granite Cleaner (Cost: $0.10)

¼ cup rubbing alcohol
3 drops liquid soap
2 cups water

Combine all ingredients into a spray bottle

 

Disinfectant (Cost: $1)

Put a spray top on that bottle of hydrogen peroxide.  Make sure to keep the hydrogen peroxide in the brown bottle.  Light will break it down.

Spray the surface – counter, doorknobs, faucet, lunch box, water bottle, .. .– with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit.  For lunch boxes and water bottles, I rinse after at least 10 minutes, then let dry. 

 

For extra disinfecting

Spray some  pure vinegar on the surface, then spray the hydrogen peroxide.

The mixture of the 2 creates a super disinfectant. Some sources claim this combination will kill Salmonella and E. Coli. Never combine the 2 into one bottle and store. This can create a bad combination to leave around your house. I use this on my counters on occasion, cutting boards, kids’ reusable bottles, anything I feel needs a little extra attention.

 

Inside Refrigerator

Baking soda mixed with a  bit of water to form a paste.

 

Oven

Sprinkle with baking soda
Spray with water to moisten
Let sit over night, might need to re-moisten
Scrub off in the morning

 

Toilet

Into the bowl – 1 TBSP of castile soap, 1/3 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup vinegar
Let it fizz for a few minutes
Scrub toilet
Flush

 

Windows (Cost: $0.30)

¼ cup rubbing alcohol
¼ cup white vinegar
1 TBSP cornstarch
2 cups  hot water

OK, so cornstarch wasn’t on the original list.  You caught me!  (good for you for making it this far!)  It can be left out, but I’m guessing you have some.

Combine everything into a spray bottle and shake well, each time before using.

May need to clean a few times to remove the ammonia residue from old cleaners. 

 

Floors  

For Hardwood or other sealed wood floors – mostly just pick up the dust with a soft dry mop or vacuum with a gentle vacuum – ie. No beater brush as you would use on a carpet. 

When you mop – use some white vinegar with warm water.  

 

Ceramic tile 

Same vinegar and water solution as above.

 

Grout 

Mix baking soda and soap into a paste. 
Scrub with an old toothbrush.  
Rinse

 

Foaming Hand Soap (Cost: $0.50)

¼ cup (2oz) castile soap
2 cups Water

Place this mixture into any foaming hand pump.  You can do this with any liquid soap.  Some people melt a bar of soap in water.  You can also get fancy and add essential oils for scent or glycerin for moisture.

With one more ingredient, you can make the BEST stain remover for clothing EVER!

What other cleaners do you use?

 

This post is part of Green Sisterhood’s Earth Month Blog Party.   For more great ideas from my sisters, check out the following blogs:

Almost All The Truth
ecokaren
Green 4 U
Green Talk
The Greening Of Westford
Jen and Joey goes Green
The Soft Landing
Eco-Novice: Going Green Gradually
 

 Earth Month Blog Party #earthdaygs

 

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6 Things That Make Going Green Easier

6 Things That Make Going Green Easier {TheGreeningOfWestford.com}

There are some things that make going green so much easier.  These aren’t super expensive items.  Just little things that make your life a little easier being green.  

I’m not talking reusable bags, water bottles, lunch boxes and the like.  I’m assuming you already have these items.  The things I’m talking about, make it EASIER to use these items or avoid others.

Disclaimer:  The links below are affiliate links which means if you happen to order these items though the links, I will received a little cash.

 

1) Bottle Brush   

Indispensable for cleaning waster bottles.  For years I used my baby bottle brush. I have since graduated to this one and I love it.   This one was about $5. 
 

   

2)  Small Cleaning Brush  

I use this to clean out my stainless steel reusable straws, but they also come in handy when cleaning out water bottle or sippy cup spouts.  This one is $6. 
  

Mine came with my stainless steel straws, but you can order them separately.  The straws are really cool though!  My kids love them.

If you need both a bottle brush and small brush, take a look at this combo for $10.


 

 

3)   Label maker 

A must for labeling reusable water bottles, lunch boxes, glass jars used for food storage, and general organization.  When you have reusable items, you want a way to label them so you don’t lose them.

My mother-in-law gave me mine as a Christmas gift years ago.  BEST GIFT EVER!  I never realized how pricey it was.  She said she got an amazing Black Friday deal.  I hope so, because it’s nice and all, but almost $90?!  I’d probably try this one if I were getting one now.  This one is listed at $15.99.

 

4)   Dry erase markers  

They work really well when you are in a hurry and need to label the top of a glass jar before putting it away.  Yes, the marker can wipe off if touched, but I’ve had pretty good luck.  You can find these any where pretty cheap.  I always grab a few during the back to school sales.

5)   Carrying bag for reusable bags  

Something to coral all the reusable bags so they aren’t floating all over the place really helps.  It’s so easy to grab this and go!  Anything will work.  I use this system I won in a contest, but any small tote bag would work.  Use what you have.

EsseBag

6)    Glass jars 

I save ALL glass jars that enter the house – spaghetti sauce, pickle, jelly, salsa jars are a particular favorite.  They are great for storing items in the pantry, refrigerator and even in the freezer.  Why are these green?  Because we can replace plastic containers and plastic wrap with these glass jars. These are basically FREE.

 

What are your must haves?

 This post has been shared at List It Tuesday, Natural Living Monday,Happy Healthy Natural Green Party, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

 

This post was featured at    

PicMonkey-Collage-250-Healthy-Hop1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 Green Tips For Earth Month 2013

Green Tip #27: Get rid of old prescriptions properly at a National Drug Take Back Day or at a pharmacy. Disposing of drugs properly eliminates the possibility of them entering rivers or oceans harming aquatic life.

Green Tip #26: As the weather starts to get nicer, hang you laundry outside to dry. This can save you up to 12% on your energy bill.

Green Tip #25: Children’s lunches can create 67 pounds of garbage per child per year. Consider buying reusable sandwich containers, water bottles, reusable utensils, and reusable snack bags.

Green Tip #24: All sorts of textiles (fabric) can be recycled.

Green Tip #23: Stop buying bottled water. Buy a reusable water bottle and save yourself loads of money. If you need more convincing, see the film “Tapped” – available on Netflix.

Green Tip #22: MA residents: Take advantage of your FREE energy audit. Schedule one today!
{This is an affliate link, so I will get a few $ if you sign up through my referral 🙂 }


Green Tip #21: From GREEN TIP TUESDAY: Recycle or Reduce your paper use: Each TON of recycled paper SAVES: 17 – 35’ Trees, 380 Gallons (2 barrels) of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4077 kilowatts of energy, 6950 gallons of water.

Green Tip #20: With regular oil changes and properly inflated tires, you can improve your gas mileage by as much as 3%.

Green Tip #19: Harmful chemicals can be in everyday cleaning products. Consider changing to eco-friendly ones or make your own green cleaners.

Green Tip #18: Indoor air quality is 2 to 5 times worse than air outdoors. Open the windows, often. Many common house plants will also help filter the air.

Green Tip #17: From America Recycles Day: how much should you rinse cans and bottles before recycling? 

Answer: You don’t absolutely NEED to rinse your cans and bottles before recycling because they will be cleaned during the recycling process. Dumping out the liquid inside your can or bottle will keep things cleaner and may lighten the load in your recycling bin, but your material definitely does not have to be squeaky-clean before you recycle it. Think of it this way: if you’re out and about, you don’t rinse out your soda bottle before placing it in an outdoor bin, and it still gets recycled!

Green Tip #16: Pay your bills online to save paper, time, transportation costs and stamps. Each bill paid electronically will save you $5.28 a year in stamps alone.

Green Tip #15: Recycle or donate your unwanted electronics. Proper recycling keeps harmful materials out of the air, soil and water and recovers useful plastics and metals while donating keeps something useful in use!

Green Tip #14: The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash each day. Can you decrease your trash?

Green Tip #13: Americans waste up to 50% of the food they buy. This waste contributes to climate change because more water and resources are used to produce this food that isn’t used. Save yourself some $ and use up those leftovers!

Green Tip #12: Instead of buying a book, check one out from your local library. Libraries also have movies, music CDs, and magazines.

Green Tip #11: Your trash could be someone else’s treasure. When you come across something you don’t need, think about donating it to a charity or offer it on FreeCycle.
Green Tip #10: Save money and packaging waste by making your own foaming hand soap

Green Tip #9: Green your laundry.  Wash your clothes in warm or cold water. Most of the energy its takes to do a load of laundry is spent in heating the water.

Green Tip #8: 100 million trees are used each year to produce junk mail. Reduce your junk mail, saves trees and reclaim your wasted time.

Green Tip #7: Eating just one meatless meal per week can reduce your carbon footprint. It is estimated that the meat industry generates almost one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Skipping one hamburger can save 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide and 280 gallons of water.  Ever tried Falafel?

Green Tip #6: Plastic bags of ANY kind cannot be placed in your curbside recycling bin. I would stake my reputation on the fact that this is true for ANY curbside program in the US. Take them to the grocery store along with all plastic bags labeled with a #2 or #4.

Green Tip #5: Plastic can leech chemicals into your food. Consider reusing glass jars to store your leftovers. Spaghetti, salsa and applesauce jars are some of my favorites.

Green Tip #4Old eye glasses can be recycled by the Lion’s Club. Drop off locations are located at the J. V. Fletcher Library , Nab One Stop and The Roudenbush Community Center, Inc. among others around town and beyond. This is a national program.

Green Tip #3: Electronics can be recycled at Westford Recycling Commission drop off event this Saturday 8am – 2pm at the Highway Garage. All are welcome, fees apply.

Green Tip #2: Refresh your memory on recycling rules. Whether you live in Westford or not, watch the latest Westford Recycling Commission video.

This information applies to any town that uses Integrated Paper Recyclers (like Chelmsford) but my guess is that most curbside programs in MA follow most of these rules as well. It will give you some questions to ask your own recycling program.


Green Tip #1: Upcycle all those Easter Candy wrappers. Bring any candy wrappers, big, small, any brand, to an Upcycle It! drop off point – J. V. Fletcher LibraryThe Roudenbush Community Center, Inc., or Westford Starbucks.

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15 Tips to Live Green




 

As part of Going Green With the Grizls Summer Blog Challenge, today’s topic is “15 Tips to Get Through Life”.


Putting my “green” spin on things, my top 15 are easy ways to go green.  These are low impact on you, but can add up to big impact for your wallet, your health and the earth.  In no particular order…..

Newsweek Ad in March 2012

 

  1. Get Informed  I cannot stress this one enough.  It amazes, infuriates and frustrates me to no end how little information is in the main stream media on, what I will call, green issues.  There are many people that believe we greenies go over board.  We make mountains out of molehills.  When my son was 3, his favorite snack was an apple. I thought I was doing such a good thing for him, giving him an apple each day.  Then I found out that apples are one of the fruits with the highest levels of pesticides.  REALLY!  I just want to give my son a @#$%^# apple!  Now we buy organic apples and applesauce.  Without reading, I would not have know that.  Find a source you like and just start.
  2. Get Rid of Junk Mail  I despise wasting my time with junk mail.  I’m never going to order whatever it is you are trying to sell me!  Stop wasting all the paper.  The US Post office will NOT help you with this.  They are trying to bail themselves out of bankruptcy by selling companies access to your mail box.   Try these tips to reduce your junk mail or these.  If you are crafty, make art with your junk mail.
  3. Recycle All You Can Curbside  Figure out your curbside recycling rules.  Look here if you live in Westford.  Trash costs municipalities huge dollars.  Recycling is much cheaper.  Towns/cities WANT you to recycle and compost.  They will help you reduce your trash. Find your town’s recycling website, Facebook page, flyer, or person to ask.  There is something I guarantee it!
  4. Recycle More Once you master what can go into your curbside bin, expand what you regularly recycle to include other items.  Did you know plastic grocery bags, bread bags,and cereal bags among other flimsy plastic items can most likely be recycled at your grocery store.
  5. Reduce Your Food Waste  In 2009, the EPA estimated that food scraps accounted for 14.1% of our national waste.   When you throw out food you are wasting money, costing more in trash disposal fees, not to mention all the resources that were wasted growing and getting the food to your house.  There are so many websites out there to help reduce food waste.  Menu planning helps, but once you have the food, other sites help you make something delicious with it or let you know how to make it last longer.
  6. Use Reusable Bags For the grocery store definitely, but other places as well.  The Mall, Warehouse store, pharmacy, anywhere.  If you routinely forget them, take a look here for some suggestions.
  7. Stop Buying Bottle Water  I’m sure there are times when this might be necessary, but not a regular basis.  Get yourself and your family a good reusable water bottle.  They are everywhere now!  If it’s plastic, make sure it is BPA-free.
  8. Switch ONE cleaner for a safer alternative Next time you find yourself needing window cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner, refill that bottle with stuff from your cupboards!
  9. Receive ONE bill electronically You will save the paper and, if you combine this with paying electronically too, the stamp.  Many bills can be paid automatically with a credit card or from your checking account.  I have done this with many bills and it saves me so much time each month and my bills aren’t late!
  10. Switch ONE personal care product Next time you run out of soap or shampoo, take a look at the skindeep database and pick one that doesn’t have parabens, sodium laurel sulfate or anything else potentially yucky.
  11. Replace ONE plastic food storage container with glass Next time you empty a jar of salsa, jelly or pickles, keep the jar and use it to store leftovers.  They are the perfect size for small amounts.   I now keep ALL glass jars and usually find uses for them – leftover in the fridge, dry beans, dried fruits, rice, chocolate chips, sugar….
  12. Add to your reusables Do you have a water bottle, travel mug for hot drinks, lunch bag, reusable snack bag, glass or metal straw ….  Look at all the items you use once, and try to replace just one.
  13. Open your windows as often as possible Indoor air quality can be 2 – 5 times worse that outdoor air.  Opening your windows once in a while to let new air in. For more ways to improve your indoor air, take a look here.
  14. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water  Most of the energy used to wash your clothes goes into heating the water.  Take a look at this website to figure out how much you could save.
  15. Don’t Buy Antibacterial Soap Most of these contain Triclosan.  According to Dr. Frank Lipman, Triclosan is A synthetic antibacterial ingredient that has been compared to Agent Orange.”  Save some money and your health and buy regular old soap.  It is JUST as effective against germs as long as you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Have any others to add?

 

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