Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living - March 2015

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning House Cleaning What you are not cleaning

5 Things You Think You Don’t Have to Clean (But You Do)

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You may be doing a great job at cleaning your countertops, floors and bathrooms, but when it comes to keeping your home truly clean and healthy (especially healthy!), there may be a few things you are missing.

Here are five things you should be cleaning:

Toothbrush Holder
According to a post from CafeMom.com, a 2011 study named the toothbrush holder the third most germ-infected place in your home and because that place houses your toothbrushes, you run a high chance of transferring those germs into your body.  Rinse the holder with hot water and use a pipe cleaner to reach inside the holes to scrub the inside clean.  Fill the holder with mouthwash (click here for some DIY mouthwash recipes), allow to sit for 2 minutes, rinse with warm water, and let air dry.

Trash Cans
Even if you regularly use trash bags, you need to still clean your trashcans every two months, suggests BrightNest.com.   After you have emptied the trash itself, take the cans outside and spray with a hose (if you don’t have access to an outdoor hose, use your shower or bathtub).  Spritz with vinegar to absorb odors and wash the inside with a scrub-brush.  Let air dry outside if possible—sunlight will help kill any additional mold.

Phones
Spray a clean cloth with a natural all-purpose cleaner like our Ecospirit brand (or make your own mixing 2 cups of water, 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and ¼ cup of lemon juice) and wipe down your phones and cords.  Apartment Therapy suggests also dipping a tissue in alcohol to clean the mouthpiece and earpiece—especially if someone in your home has been sick.   This same trick works great for cleaning remote controls too!

Reusable Grocery Bags
You are doing a great job of saving the planet by taking your own bag to the grocery store, but when is the last time you washed it?  While many may be machine washable, A Drop of This blog suggests using a DIY disinfectant spray made with a mixture of vinegar, distilled water and your favorite antibacterial essential oil (I am loving clove oil).  Spray your bags after every grocery trip and let air-dry.

Air Vents
Try this great trick from Home Sweet Homebodies:  Grab a metal butter knife and a clean soft cloth.  Wrap the cloth around the knife, spray the vent with an all-purpose cleaner (use the recipe above) and insert the knife between the metal slats. Clean side to side, readjusting the cloth as necessary so you have a clean area to use. Rinse and repeat.  This trick works especially well for apartment dwellers who may not be able to remove their vents to clean.

Talk to us:  What is the one spot in your home that you don’t think about cleaning?

 

image courtesy of flickr/CC 
Cleaning Ingredients DIY cleaning solutions eco-friendly cleaning solutions

5 Must-Have Ingredients for DIY Cleaning Solutions

lemons

Quick, what’s in your pantry?  Chances are you already have the ingredients you need to whip up some all-natural (and effective) cleaning solutions—just in time for your spring cleaning tasks and projects.

Here are 5 ingredients you should always have on hand:

Baking Soda: A must-have product for it can be used to freshen up carpet and rugs (just sprinkle on your carpet, let sit for 10 minutes & then vacuum), remove stains and alleviate odors from your kitchen. Read: 10 Reasons Why Lemon and Baking Soda Are All You Need under the Sink

Lemons or Lemon Juice: Lemon juice can be used in a variety of ways to remove dirt and rust stains on numerous surfaces throughout the home. Read: Cleaning with Lemon: 10 Surprising Ways to Make Your Home Sparkle

Olive Oil: Great product for hydrating wood or minimizing scratches, olive oil can also be used as a furniture polish when mixed with lemon juice. Read: Clean Your House With Olive Oil

Vinegar: What can’t you do with vinegar? Vinegar helps cut through everything from tarnish to soap scum and actually stops some bacteria–such as E. coli–from growing on your surfaces. Read: 6 Unique Ways to Use Vinegar

Salt: Scouring a pan or counter surface? Salt is one of your best options. Mixed with other products such as lemon juice or vinegar, salt becomes a great way to get rid of tough stains and mineral deposits. Read: 20 Household Things You Can Do with Salt

 

Talk to us:  What is your “go-to” ingredient for a DIY cleaning solution?

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Andrew Comings

 

 

bathrooms DIY Home Improvement Interior Design Small Spaces

5 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Appear Bigger

Small Bathroom Space

Whether you have a cozy powder room or you are utilizing one cozy, little main bathroom, you don’t need a full bath remodel to make the space seem bigger.  Try these five tips for creating a more spacious space in even the tiniest of bathrooms.

Paint It All
Consider painting the ceiling and walls the same color, especially if you have weird angels in your room.  “Painting everything a unifying color will make those unusual shapes disappear, and the space will visually expand,” writes Carla Aston on her company’s blog.  If you feel the need to have a contrasting color in the space, use it in a smaller feature such as a low cabinet or light fixture.

Think Small
The vanity is usually the one piece that takes up the most space, so downsizing will make the room instantly feel larger.  There are stylish petite vanities available for really small spaces like this one from Fresco Pulito, and what I am really loving are the furniture-style vanities that do not include lower cabinet doors like this one from Wayfair.com.  Cabinet doors can weigh down a small space.

Utilize the Door
With wall space at a minimum, using the back of your bathroom door as a storage area will help keep the room looking less cluttered.  Invest in some over-the-door towel racks like these from The Container Store or over-the-door storage baskets from Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Still have things to store?  Invest in a medicine cabinet with a mirror–allowing your over-the-vanity wall space to not only be useful for your morning routine, but a great, stylish storage area. Click here for ideas on how to keep a medicine cabinet organized.

Keep Accessories Clear
For items you need to store on an open shelf or countertop (think cotton balls), invest in glass containers such as these canisters from Crate and Barrel.  “Glass containers will look light and airy in a small bathroom,” writes Bob Vila.  This trick also works for showers–replace your shower curtain with a sliding glass door.  Worried you can’t keep it clean?  Purchase our great eco-friendly bathroom cleaner.

Change Your Lighting
Bathroom lighting is often harsh, causing even large spaces to feel smaller.  By simply changing your lighting, the entire room will feel more spacious.  Opt for an interesting overhead light such as these found through School House Electric.  Not only will it add style to the room, but it creates what IES Light Logic calls “a vertical path for vision”—when the eye is inclined to look up or down, rooms appear to be bigger.

Talk to us:  What is the one trick you use to make a small space look bigger?

 

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Juhan Sonin
Eco-Friendly Office Supplies Home Office Home Office Organization

4 Eco-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Home Office

Home Office InspirationWhether you have a dedicated office space in your finished basement or a small cove in your kitchen, the home office is one of the busiest places in your house.     It is usually the epicenter of family management—the place where you keep important documents, you do important work and you schedule important events and activities.  Shouldn’t this space be organized and inspiring?

Here are four ways to keep your home office organized, eco-friendly and inspiring:

Get Reusable Supplies
Many home office trashcans are filled with checked-off paper to do lists, post it notes and old file folders. Give your office an instant eco-friendly upgrade by investing in reusable products such as erasable binder clips (we love these from PileSmart), file folders (like these from The Container Store) and cool looking dry erase memo boards made of stylish, eco-friendly materials like bamboo (checkout this one from SeeJaneWork.com).  The erasable messaging lessens your frustration when you make a mistake or need to change the contents of a folder.

Reuse What You Have
Before tossing out supplies you no longer use, consider reusing them in new and interesting ways.  For example, use your old Rolodex to keep passwords for all your accounts or to categorize weekday dinner recipes, place old rubber bands around the ends of a kitchen cutting board to keep it from slipping or repurpose an old bubble wrap mailer into a simple case for your tech.

Head to the Kitchen
Several items you will find in your kitchen will actually help you keep the home office organized.  Use ice cube trays as desk organizers or dish drying racks to house folders (the place reserved for utensils makes a great storage spot for pens and pencils).  You can also use glass jars (think baby food jars) for storing small materials and hang the magnetic strip usually reserved for knives next to your desk to keep items such as scissors and letter openers handy.

Spend Time at the Flea Market
At GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning we are big fans of flea markets (so much so that we actually had a blog post about some of our favorite NYC fleas) and have found great products to spruce up and organize our home office spaces.  Look for mason jars to house writing utensils or paper clips, antique letters and magazines for wall art, old drawer pulls for creating stylish hanging spaces and even vintage serving trays which can be used as a stylish way to gather and display much-needed items like staplers and tape dispensers.

Talk to us:  What tricks do you have for creating an inspiring home office space?

 

image courtesy of flickr/BY CC 2.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employees Green Office Solutions & Ideas Increase productivity

4 Things to Add to Your Office to Make Employees Happier

4 Things to Add to Your Office to Make Employees Happier

If you are trying to recruit and keep top talent (and what company isn’t trying to do that these days?) do not overlook the importance of your internal office environment. Obviously, as an eco-friendly cleaning company that specializes in both commercial and residential services, we think that a clean office produces happy employees and impressed clients (call us to help you with that!).  But, we also think there are some other things you can add to your space to make your team more productive and content.

Here are four things you should consider adding to your office space:

Add a Kitchen Table
Yes, you may have a table in your office kitchen area, but does it really feel like a “kitchen” table?  Head to your local furniture store and invest in the kind of table you would like to sit around with your own family (or, if you’re handy, make this cool table from disassembled shipping pallets) and some comfy chairs.  This small addition to your kitchen space will change the entire dynamic of the office.  Oh, and while you’re in the kitchen, make sure it is green—click here for tips.

Write on the Walls
Facebook encourages employees to write on the wall and you should too.  It will not only help build morale and stronger bonds between employees, but it will unleash the creativity inside the minds of everyone on your team—from marketers to accountants.  Hang a chalkboard or whiteboard in a prominent location and add a daily or weekly question to get people thinking.  Visitors to the office?  Encourage them to participate in the fun as well.

Ditch Open Concept (but not entirely)
The open office space concept was created in hopes of increasing productivity and team building.  However, studies are finding that open layouts are not making employees very happy.   Before you move back to the golden age of cubicles, consider creating private spaces within your open concept office such as a private meeting space that can fit entire teams, casual collaboration areas with multiple seating options and put single seating in small spaces like tiny alcoves or hallways so people have a place to go if they need to focus on a task.

Make Personal Lives Easier
If you are a startup, you might not have the money to invest in some of the fancy perks enjoyed by companies like Google (who wouldn’t love free gourmet snacks and food?), but you can offer cost-effective perks to your employees that will help make their personal lives better.  Partner with a local dry cleaner to offer free pick up/drop off services, have a local restaurant offer discounts on ready-to-eat dinners that can be picked up on the way out of the office or coordinate with a tutoring company to provide after school services for employees and their children.

Talk to us:  What are you doing with your office space to make employees happier at work?

Eco-Fashion Eco-friendly clothing Green Clothing sustainable fashion

Which Brands Lead the Way in the Green Garment Movement? (infographic)

Between Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the red carpet styles from Hollywood award shows, green fashion is making a statement in big, bold ways this season.  Here is a great infographic (via Bluegala Fashion Blog) that shows the growth of the green clothing industry.

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DIY Recycling Reuse Upcycle

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Stuff

It’s March—which means spring is just a few weeks away and soon we will be up to our elbows spring cleaning our homes, outdoor spaces and offices (need help with the cleaning?  Give us a call!).  Before the cleaning begins, we encourage you to start getting rid of things you no longer need.  And, since we are all about recycling and reusing, we wanted to share with you some ideas we have for upcycling products you may be ready to toss.

6a011168642488970c01157108663e970c-800wiTrashcans into Planters
Talk about literally turning your trash into treasure.  Both metal and plastic trash cans can easily be turned into planters for your patio, porch or garden.  You can spray paint them to make them more fancy, but we love the natural look (especially for metal cans).  Be sure you drill holes (about ¾ inch) on the bottom sides for drainage.  And those leftover lids?  Use them to help turn your compost pile.

 

 

DSC_0686-001Mason Jars into Lights
There are so many ways to use old mason jars (checkout 50 great ideas from CountryLiving.com), but with spring just a few weeks away, we are turning them into a string of lights for our outdoor space by adding galvanized cable and tea lights.  Click here for the complete tutorial from Simply Bold.

 

 

 

IMG_2280Rulers into Hook Boards
If you are tempted to throw out those promotional yardsticks you picked up at a tradeshow or toss the broken rulers found at the bottom of your child’s backpack, checkout this great idea from MySalvagedTresures.com.  With a few additional products (inexpensive lumber, old coat hooks, etc.), you can turn those rulers into a unique and useful hook board.

 

 

 

Make-a-DIY-Crayon-Holder-From-an-Old-Knife-Block-10Knife Block into Crayon Holder
Many people ditch the big wooden knife block you sometimes get with a new set of cutlery (just look at your local thrift shop—there’s usually an entire shelf of knife blocks without any knives), which is why we loved this idea from Thrift Diving Blog.  A little drilling, painting and nailing and this kitchen staple becomes the centerpiece of your craft room.

 

 

 

m224459380Magazine Rack into Kitchen Wrap Organizer
Those magazine holders piling up in your home office will work wonders for helping you organize your kitchen.  Use them to store kitchen wraps such as aluminum foil and parchment paper or have them hold your growing assortment of cutting boards.  To save even more space, you can attach the holders to the inside of a cabinet door.

 

 

 

Talk to us:  What is your upcycle claim to fame?  We’d love to see what you’ve created!

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