Monday, May 13, 2013

Quick Ways to Green up Spring Cleaning

We're all still waiting for spring. Personally, I would have thought it would be nice enough out so that I would have forgotten about staying indoors and cleaning anything. But it is still cold you want to spruce up your house a bit before you get to abandon it completely for a few months as we move outdoors. :-)

For those of  you who were unable to attend my Green Cleaning seminars at 2 different Goodness Me! locations, here are some quick ways to keep your house sparkling without doing damage to your indoor air, the environment, your skin or your lungs. 

First, make sure anything you throw out is going to the appropriate place. Paints and paint thinners, car oil, old computers, old phones and printers.....look online to see where these items need to go. It is NOT in the garbage.

When doing laundry, get rid of your fabric softener, whether you use dryer sheets or a liquid in your washing machine. Instead, use a small amount of inexpensive white vinegar in your automatic rinse dispenser. You will not believe how effective it is! And no, your laundry will not smell like vinegar. A top loader needs about a quarter cup; a front, high efficiency washer needs only a tablespoon. Add a few drops of essential oil (I use lavender, but lemon and orange are attractive, too) to the automatic dispenser if you like, you don't have to. Your towels without the greasy buildup you get from liquid softener or dryer sheets will be 25% fluffier. No static! Good for you, your clothes, and the environment.

If summer ever gets here, hang at least some laundry outdoors to dry. I don't have an official clothes line, but, you can buy fold out metal drying racks, and, I even use lawn chairs when needed. It's amazing how fresh your clothes and sheets smell when hung outside! Your clothes dryer is one of the high energy appliances in your home. A bonus will be a lower electrical bill.

Avoid ALL synthetic air fresheners!! They contain man made chemicals that pollute your indoor air. Manufacturers are not required to list ingredients, as these are considered "proprietary formulas." Under the heading of "parfum" or "fragrance" you will find, not listed, phthalates (a known hormone disruptor) or formaldehyde (a known carcinogen.) Instead, open the window! Or, if you simply can't let the fresh air in,  take one cup of water in an empty spray bottle from your local dollar store, add 15 drops of essential oil of your choice. Shake vigorously before spraying your room for a natural, non-polluting spray. 

Castile soap cleans EVERYTHING. It's fantastic on hardwood and ceramic floors....the counters...pretty much anything! Just don't use too much. Two teaspoons or less in a small pail full of water is plenty.

What castile soap won't clean, vinegar and baking soda will!! Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. Diluted half and half with water, it can clean shower stalls, countertops, glass and mirrors. Warning: don't use vinegar on marble or other porous surfaces. Baking soda is slightly abrasive, but doesn't scratch. Perfect for stainless steel, sinks, toilets and countertops.

Surf the net for how to clean any and everything....safely! Just type in what you are trying to clean, and the words, "Green" or "natural" and "clean" and you'll have your pick of recipes and solutions.

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