Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living - March 2016

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

DIY cleaning solutions Green Cleaning Green Cleaning Solutions

4 DIY Cleaning Solutions You’ll Love

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According to a recent post on TODAY.com, Pinterest has declared DIY cleaners as one of the biggest home trends of 2015.  Not surprising–after all, more and more people are looking for all-natural, cost-effective solutions for their home and the DIY cleaner is at the top of the list.  While there are some good green commercial alternatives (checkout our products!), we are sharing our 4 favorite DIY cleaning recipes:

 

All-Purpose Cleaner
This is an easy and effective recipe for an all-purpose cleaner from Leslie Reichert, author of “The Joy of Green Cleaning.”

Ingredients

  • 3 drops liquid castile soap
  • ¼ cup washing soda, not baking soda (click here for tutorial on turning baking soda into washing soda)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 4 drops tea tree oil
  • 8 drops essential oil for scent (optional)

 

Instructions
Microwave vinegar until boiling. Add washing soda and stir until totally dissolved. Add castile soap, tea tree oil, vodka and essential oil. Then shake.

 

Glass Cleaner
WellnessMama has perfected the all-natural glass cleaning solution, a product she proudly boasts is as “good (or better) than conventional cleaners.”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice-(optional- but it helps cut the vinegar smell)

 

Instructions
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean windows. A microfiber cloth works best with this recipe. If you have always used commercial window cleaners, consider mixing a couple of drops of liquid castille soap in some of the mixture the first time you clean to remove detergent residue.

 

Bathroom Wipes
Nothing is quicker than wiping down the bathroom with the very convenient bathroom wipe.  Many of the commercial brands are filled with toxins which is why we love this recipe from PopSugar (includes a DIY decorative container to keep them in!).

Ingredients

  • 64-ounce plastic container (an extra large yogurt container is perfect)
  • Newspaper
  • Spray paint
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s soap (or your favorite dish soap)
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Serrated knife
  • Scissors

 

Instructions
Wash, dry and spray paint your plastic container & lid.  Set aside to dry.  To create the solution, mix together the water, lemon juice, vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a small bowl.  Now add the baking soda and the soap.  Cut the paper towel roll in half with a serrated knife, remove the cardboard center and place one half inside your container.  Pour the mixture over the half roll. Using sharp scissors, cut a small hole in the middle of the plastic lid and feed the center of the paper towels through the hole.

 

Carpet Cleaner/Deodorizer
Carpets harbor more than just dirt, they also trap smells.  This recipe from DIY Natural is a quick way to keep your carpets fresh and deodorized.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil (or your favorite scent–we love a citrus smell of lime, lemon & orange)

 

Instructions
Combine baking soda and essential oil in a mason jar, cap and shake well to combine. Remove cap and replace inner lid with construction paper. Secure rim and cut off excess construction paper. Poke holes in the construction paper.  Apply liberally to carpets and wait at least 1-2 hours. Vacuum thoroughly.  You can reuse other containers as well–like an empty parmesan cheese container that already has holes built into the lid.

 

image courtesy of flickr CC/Susy Morris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Projects for Spring Easter Projects Upcycle Easter Eggs

4 Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Easter Eggs

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If your Easter celebration includes those little plastic eggs filled with candy, you may want to think twice before tossing them into the trash.  According to GreenDivas.com, we are drowning in plastic.  “Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.”  To help keep our planet a little more free of plastic debris, consider upcycling your eggs into one of these fun (and useful) DIY projects:

 

 

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Desktop Bullet Planter 
Bullet planters appear to be all the rage with home design, but you can bring that same hip look to your desk or countertop with this great idea from Apartment Therapy.  Made from upcycled plastic Easter eggs and a few pieces of wire, this simple DIY is the perfect way to bring a little bit of spring into your home or office.

 

 

 

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Bird Feeder
A little Mod Podge, scraps of fabric, string and birdseed turn those plastic eggs into beautiful bird feeders–especially perfect if your outdoor space is small. Click here for step-by-step instructions from A Subtle Revelry.

 

 

 

 

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Pineapple String Lights
As soon as Easter is over we begin to think about warm weather parties under the stars…or under the pineapple lights.  This great idea from blogger Jennifer Perkins turns those plastic eggs into something you can enjoy all summer long.  Be sure to use low-temperature lights so they don’t melt your eggs.

 

 

 

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Tea Lights
The bottom of your plastic eggs is actually the perfect size for a small tea light candle. blogger Taylor from Taylor Made used 11 plastic eggs to create what she calls a “tea light flight”.  The tiny tea lights will add great ambiance to any room–or outdoor space–in your home.

 

 

 

Talk to us:  What are you doing with those leftover plastic eggs?

 

 

main image courtesy of flickr CC/sweetjessie

 

 

 

Cleaning reusable water bottles Eco-Friendly Cleaning

How to Clean and Disinfect Water Bottles

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As the temperatures get warmer and spring sport schedules begin to blossom, reusable water bottles become a family’s best friend.  These great inventions help us stay hydrated and eco-friendly, but if we fail to clean them on a regular basis (every night is recommended), we may be creating a wonderful place for bacteria.

First and foremost, invest in a long-handled bottle brush like this eco-friendly option from Lola (the bristles are actually made of Tampico plant).  This will help you maneuver around narrow openings and thoroughly clean the inside—removing any sticky residue or mold that may be lingering in small crevices.

In most cases, you can simply wash your bottles in warm, soapy water and let air-dry overnight—or, if they are dishwasher safe (most stainless steel and glass options are), you can toss them in the dishwasher.  However, if your bottles are smelling a bit off or it’s been awhile since they’ve been cleaned, you will want to give them a little extra TLC.

Here are 3 ways to clean and disinfect your reusable water bottles: 

Baking Soda
After washing your bottle with warm, soapy water, mix one or two teaspoons of baking soda with warm water inside the bottle and let soak for several hours.  After the soak, do a another quick soapy wash and rinse with warm water.

Vinegar
Fill your water bottle about half-full with white vinegar and fill the rest with water.  Let soak overnight.  In the morning, rinse it out and you are ready to go.

Denture Tabs
While there are several water cleaning tablets on the market, you can get the same effect by plopping a couple of denture tabs into a reusable bottle filled with water.  Let it sit overnight and thoroughly rinse (using the above bottle brush to remove any residue) before using.

Don’t forget to also wash and disinfect your bottle caps!

 

Talk to us:  How often do you wash and disinfect your reusable water bottles?

 

Keeping your office clean Office Cleaning Tips

5 Things You Aren’t Cleaning in Your Office (but you should!)

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Several months ago, our CEO wrote a blog in Huffington Post about the 5 things you are forgetting to clean in your home. Since then, we have been asked by our commercial clients if there are 5 things in the workplace that they are forgetting to clean–and, of course, there are.

Here are 5 things you should be cleaning in your workplace, but are probably missing:

 

Kitchen Sponge
It’s easy to take ownership over the kitchen sponge when it is in your own home, but in the workplace kitchen those little pieces of bacterial heaven become an even bigger breeding ground for germs. At the end of each day, soak sponges overnight in a mixture of 1 cup of hot water, ½ cup white vinegar and 3 tablespoons of salt.  The next day, rinse and toss in the microwave on high for at least one minute (but not more than 2 minutes)—make sure the sponge is still very wet and use caution when removing it from the microwave. Don’t get too attached to kitchen sponges.  The rule of thumb is to discard after 3-4 weeks of use.

 

Small Tech
Studies show that the typical TV remote is one of the dirtiest items in a home–can you imagine how dirty that remote is sitting in your conference room or break area?  Small tech items such as remote controls, headpieces, and computer mice are usually used by numerous people in the office making them great landing places for germs.  Mix a 50/50 combination of alcohol (or vinegar) and distilled water and use it to wipe down all your small tech items–including keyboards.  Use a cotton swab to get in between the small spaces and crevices.

 

Broom
Yes, the office broom–that wonderful piece of cleaning equipment used to sweep up daily messes could be keeping some pretty serious germs and bacteria in its bristles.  Clean the bristles by taking the broom outside and gently hitting it against a hard surface or use the handheld attachment from your vacuum cleaner to help loosen debris.  Once a month, let the broom soak in warm, soapy water for at least an hour–let air dry outside if possible—sunlight will help kill any additional germs.

 

Kitchen Appliances
From the coffeemaker to the toaster, the small appliances in your workplace kitchen go through a lot during the week.  Take some time to run a mixture of vinegar and water through coffeemakers, remove and clean the bottom of the toaster (crumbs galore!), and stick a lemon and some water in the microwave (instructions here) to clean away those stubborn stains from lunch heat-ups gone wrong. In addition to making your environment tidy, keeping these small appliances clean will make your food and drinks taste that much better.

 

Trash Can
This item makes the list for both home and office–but, especially the office.  Between used tissues, disposable food containers and crumpled papers, your trash can is a haven for harboring bacteria and germs.  Once a week, after your trash can is empty, take it outside and spray with a hose (or, if the weather is too cold, use your sink).  Spritz with vinegar to absorb odors and wash the inside with a scrub-brush.  And, just like your broom, let air dry outside if possible.