Women have always played an important role in promoting sustainability primarily because of their concern for quality of life–not only for their family in the present, but for future generations.
When women take on leadership roles in promoting environmental initiatives and programs, real and impactful change happens. As the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women noted, “Women can have a particularly powerful role in influencing sustainable consumption decisions. In addition, women’s contributions to environmental management, including through grass-roots and youth campaigns to protect the environment, have often taken place at the local level, where decentralized action on environmental issues is most needed and decisive.”
On this last day of Women’s History Month, we want to encourage more women to become leaders of the eco-movement in their communities and throughout the world. Are you with us? Here are some sites that will you give you more information and ideas for how you can make a big eco-friendly impact:
Women’s Voices for the Earth amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. They envision a world where women lead to create a healthy environment without toxic chemicals in our workplaces, homes, and communities.
Moms Clean Air Force, a special project of Environmental Defense Fund, is a national movement of more than 600,000 moms — and dads too! — who are protecting our children’s right to clean air. Moms Clean Air Force believes in “Naptime Activism” and makes it easy for parents to make their voices heard while their children nap.
To contribute toward its vision for the world, WEDO’s mission is to ensure that women’s rights; social, economic and environmental justice; and sustainable development principles-as well as the linkages between them-are at the heart of global and national policies, programs and practices.
MomsRising takes the most critical issues facing women, mothers, and families and educates the public as well as mobilizes massive grassroots initiatives–bringing the voices and real world experiences of women and mothers straight to our local, state, and nation’s leaders.
Talk to us: How has a woman influenced you to along your path of green living?
Puppies are energetic and curious little beings, but they also like to get themselves into trouble—in the cutest way possible. When you’re bringing a new puppy into your home, be sure to take into consideration all of the hazards or things that your new dog could get into. Before you bring the newest member of your family home, here are some of the things you should do to puppy proof your home.
Keep medications and cleaning supplies in a secure place
No more leaving them on countertops or tables, floors or low shelves. Instead, be proactive and keep your personal medications and any cleaning supplies you use in your home in a cabinet or closet—somewhere your new member of the family won’t have access.
Keep power cords out of reach
Hide them, block them from your puppy’s view, or move them somewhere your new animal won’t find them. There are even chew-proof tubes you can put around cords to keep your puppy from using it as a chew toy!
Keep trash secure
Whether in the kitchen, the bathroom, or another area of your home, curious puppies will be attracted to anything they can knock over, including trashcans. Sharp objects, food that’s not safe for puppies, or a number of any other things that your dog could ingest could be especially dangerous to them. Try trash bins with lids that lock shut.
Keep the toilet lid down and other low cabinets shut
Puppies could be tempted to jump into toilets, where they face the risk of drowning. In addition, childproof locks work as puppy-proof locks, too! To make sure that your curious little pup stays away from things not meant for him or her, these locks are a cheap investment that will give you peace of mind.
Talk to us: What are some tips you have for puppy proofing your home?
image courtesy of flickr cc/Tyler Allen
Make Spring Cleaning Easier and Fun with These App!
While we love coming up on the spring cleaning season, we realize not everyone is crazy about it. We wanted to share some apps that will not only make spring cleaning easier, but fun (yes, fun!).
This app helps you organize and manage household cleaning tasks and activities. Pick a room (i.e. bedroom), select the tasks you want to complete (i.e. make bed, dust, clean closet) and check-off when tasks are completed. One thing we love about this app is that it shows you what percentage of the room is clean — so you can quickly see which rooms may still need some attention. You can also set personal task reminders such as “Cleaning Supplies” that will remind you what to pick up at the store.
Want the kids to help with your spring cleaning chores? Chore Bank allows you to set up a chore list, assign a monetary value to each chore, know when a chore has been completed and make deposits into your child’s account. You can even download a chore calendar and text reminders to your kids!
This app is for what they call “Repeaty Stuff”–you know, those jobs around the house that you need to get done around the same time and same day. While this works for all sorts of routines, what we love most is the “Focus Zones” section. This where you can keep your own detailed cleaning list for each room or area of your place. These can rotate per day of the week, week of the month, etc.
If you’re looking for earth-friendly cleaning solutions at your fingertips, try Green Shine. The app contains environmentally friendly solutions for more than 100 everyday housekeeping tasks from simple window cleaning to stain removal.
There are also a handful of websites that help you keep things clean, organized and beautiful all year long. Checkout RealSimple.com for quick-read stories and cleaning checklists, HGTV.com for DIY decorating tips and, of course, our website, GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, for advice on how to have — and maintain — an eco-friendly home and lifestyle.
Talk to us: What app or website helps you with your spring cleaning tasks?
image courtesy of flickr CC/Cheon Fong Liew
There really is no better way to usher in spring than by giving your home a good spring cleaning and for us, that means a good spring GREEN cleaning. Before you roll up your sleeves and get started, make sure you have the supplies you need to not only get your home clean but to keep it healthy. Here are our suggestions for the tools and products you need for spring green cleaning.
- Microfiber Cloths & Broom: In addition to being a great product for removing dust, microfiber cloths & brooms are also known to remove allergens and bacteria. The cloths and broom head can easily be washed and reused, making them a great addition to your cleaning arsenal.
- Reusable Mop: Not that we don’t love the convenience of disposable brands, but you cannot beat the earth-friendliness of a reusable mop. Look for mop heads made from plant-based fibers that are free of dyes and plastics. After you’re done, you can wash them in your washing machine and hang them out to air dry.
- Stainless Steel Bucket: We recommend having a couple of buckets on hand since you can use them for all sorts of general cleaning projects. We recommend stainless steel buckets, which will not only last longer but are easier to carry around.
- Drying Rack or Clothesline: These may seem like odd objects to include in your cleaning supply closet, but a drying rack or clothesline will do wonders for your green cleaning efforts. In addition to using them to air dry your clothes, hang your rugs, drapes, and bedding outside for a clean air breeze.
- 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: 10 Creative Ways to Clean with Vinegar
- Borax: If you need to kill mold and fungus—we’re talking to you bathroom tubs and toilets—borax is your primary ingredient. Read: 25 Household Uses for Borax
- 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
While we always recommend having the above products on hand, you can also use some of our eco-friendly cleaners to help with your spring cleaning efforts. Better yet, check out our residential cleaning services and have us do all the work for you while you enjoy the great spring weather.
Talk to us: What must-have cleaning tools and products do you always have on hand?
photo credit: Susy Morris via flickr/ CC BY-NC 2.0
Be and Save Green Throughout the Entire Year
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! On this day when everything (and everyone) seems to be turning green, we thought we would share some easy tips for how you can be–and save–green throughout the entire year.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
Bringing your own bag to the store not only saves the planet, it could be saving you money. Some states now have ordinances that ban plastic bags and/or have added small fees to paper bag use. Click here for a pretty comprehensive list of bans and fees by state and county. In addition, some major retailers actually offer you a discount for using a reusable bag–Target gives a 5-cent for each reusable bag! Click here for a great list of current offers from retailers.
Really Turn Off Electronics
Although you may be in the habit of turning off TVs and computers when you leave a room, you may still be drawing “phantom energy”. Phantom energy is the electricity drawn from outlets when items are off but still plugged in. According to Cornell University and The Daily Green, phantom energy can cost you $200 per year (a more detailed look at the cost each household item is taking from you can be found here). The solution? Invest in a power strip so you can hook multiple items into one power source–with just a flick of the switch you are stopping the flow of electronic energy from multiple items.
Stop Rinsing Dishes
Stop rinsing dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Yes, stop rinsing them. Most dishwashers today are strong enough to get through the grime and you will be saving an estimated 20 gallons of water per load. Speaking of the dishwasher, make sure you use it in very energy-efficient ways such as always washing a full load, turning down the heat and air-drying clean dishes. TreeHugger.com gives you some great tips here.
Stop Pre-Heating the Oven
In addition to not rinsing dishes, you should also stop pre-heating your oven. The website 50WaystoHelp.com suggests turning the oven on when you put the dish in–unless you are making bread or pastries which benefit from a pre-heat. In addition, some experts suggest turning off the oven 15-minutes before the completion time.
Implement Meatless Monday
One day a week, go vegetarian for your dinner. In addition to being good for the planet (it is estimated that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef!) and good for your overall health, it is also good for your wallet. According to MeatlessMonday.com, eating one less meat meal a week could save you up to $80-$100 per month.
Talk to us: How are you really going green this St. Patrick’s Day?
image courtesy of flickr CC/Judith Doyle
Looking forward to celebrating everything that is green this St. Patrick’s Day? So are we! There is a great guide to St. Patty’s Day in NYC from Time Out New York, but if you are looking to create your own fun, use these 6 tips for turning your green-colored holiday bash into a truly green, eco-friendly celebration.
6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Party
Nothing says “Happy St. Patty’s Day” more than a corned beef dinner. If you are keeping with this U.S. tradition (corned beef is not really traditional Irish cuisine), buy organic beef from a local grass fed grower and then head to your farmers’ market for additional meal staples such as potatoes, cabbage, and other seasonal vegetables. You can ditch the corned beef completely and make this delicious Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.
Replace the artificially colored green beer with more eco-friendly options such as those brewed by New Belgium Brewery, whose operations are more than 70 percent wind-powered. For more great American organic beer selections, check out this list from Mother Nature Network. You may want to consider having a signature cocktail like this delicious Irish coffee made with your favorite eco-friendly coffee and organic whiskey like those offered by KOVAL who sources all of their grains from organic Midwestern farms.
Have party guests BYOP—Bring Your Own Plate—to cut down on wasted paper plates and flatware. If you do opt for disposable tableware, look for eco-friendly, biodegradable options. Party City has a great selection of “Eco Party” products that come in numerous colors (green!) and include everything you would need from plates to flatware to cups.
Really Wear Green
While it is all about the color of green, take this idea one step further and encourage guests to wear eco-friendly clothing. Look for clothing that is made from organic materials and uses sustainable dyes like these options from Patagonia. The best way to show your true green self? Wear clothing you already have—even a dot of green on a sock or sleeve will keep you in the holiday spirit.
A great playlist makes a great party and for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, create a playlist that includes traditional Celtic favorites as well as some additional “green musicians”, artists who promote a message of sustainability while also producing music that people love. Checkout our list of green music options to get you started.
Make It Easy for Others to Cleanup
Make sure there are trash receptacles and recycling bins located in areas where disposables will be used such as the bar and buffet. Double- or triple-line the trash cans, so there is always a clean bag once a full bag is removed. This will help minimize your after party cleanup. Still dreading the clean up once the party is over? Give us a call for our post-party cleaning services.
Talk to us: What are you doing to celebrate being “green” this St. Patrick’s Day?
image courtesy of flickr CC/Gioia De Antoniis
Hesitating to celebrate Pi (Pie) Day because of your desire to eat healthier fare? Good news–you can literally have your pie and eat it too with this healthier version of apple pie. Click here for more even more healthy pie recipes.
Double-Crusted Apple Pie via MyRecipes.com
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup ice water
- Cooking spray
- 10 cup thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 3 pounds)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon fat-free milk
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
- To prepare pastry, lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add ice water; toss with a fork until flour mixture is moist. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Gently press each portion into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover and chill 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap and place 1 portion of chilled dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove remaining plastic wrap.
- To prepare filling, combine apple and next 5 ingredients (through nutmeg); toss gently to coat. Spoon apple mixture into prepared pie plate; top with butter.
- Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap and place the remaining portion of chilled dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into an 11-inch circle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, over apple mixture. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Press edges of dough together. Fold edges under, and flute. Cut several slits in top of dough to allow steam to escape.
- To prepare topping, brush the top of dough with milk; sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over dough. Place pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet; bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 40 minutes or until browned. Cool on a wire rack.
This recipe was originally posted on MyRecipes.com.
The second Sunday of March at 2:00 AM, is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time–which means it is this Sunday (March 12th) when we need to “spring forward” and set our clocks ahead by one hour. In addition to changing our clocks, this bi-annual tradition is also a good time to change other things in your home.
Here are 4 things you should change when the time changes:
The U.S. Fire Administration suggests that we test smoke alarms monthly, but once a year as we change those clocks, we should also change the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is also the perfect time to change batteries in flashlights and weather radios as we prepare for possible spring storms.
You don’t need to buy a new mattress every six months, but you do need to change which side you sleep. If you use the time change as your reminder, the rule of thumb is “Spring-Spin” and “Fall-Flip”. Spin the mattress end for end so that what was the headboard is now at the footboard. Then, in the fall, you will flip the mattress the short way so that top becomes the bottom.
Experts recommend replacing your toothbrush once every 3 months, making the spring time change a perfect time to find a new one. Not sure you need one? Look at the bristles–if they are frayed and not standing straight, they won’t clean your teeth as thoroughly.
While spices may not spoil, they do lose their strength and even if they have been stored correctly, ground spices and herb leaves should really be replaced after one year. To determine if a seasoning is still good, use this tip from SpicesInc.com: Gently shake the spice container with the cap on. Remove the cap and smell the spice to see if the potent aroma of the spice is still present.
Talk to us: What is your favorite part of Daylight Savings Time?
According to a recent segment on the TODAY Show, something slimy is going on in the U.S. The new trend in middle and high schools is making homemade slime of all colors, scents, and consistencies. Click here for safe and easy homemade slime recipes.
Yes, this trend is causing kids to finally put down their phones and other electronics. But as it seeps from hands onto clothing, floors, and walls, it is causing a cleaning headache for parents everywhere.
Here’s how to clean up slime:
- Remove excess slime from your clothes.
- Soak the spot in vinegar for several minutes and then rinse with warm water.
- Toss in the wash as usual.
Carpet & Furniture
- Remove excess slime from the carpet.
- Pour vinegar over the spot and let soak for a few minutes.
- Wipe with a towel.
- Vacuum after it’s dry.
- Make a paste of cornstarch and water. Create a consistency that will stick to the wall or ceiling.
- Apply the paste directly to the stained area. Extra tip: Protect the floor underneath the stain by covering it with a towel.
- Let the paste dry completely. It could take up to two hours.
- Brush the dry paste off.
Talk to us: What is the strangest area where you’ve found the homemade slime in your home?
image courtesy of flickr cc/Josh Hallett