Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living - August 2017

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

Cleaning Tips Kitchen Appliances Kitchen Tips

My Dishwasher Can Do What?

Dishwasher

As an eco-friendly cleaning company, we are all about multipurpose household items which is why we love the everyday dishwasher.  Yes, dishwasher.  Not only does your dishwasher save you the physical labor of washing your dirty dishes (and is actually more eco-friendly than washing dishes by hand),  but it can also help clean and sanitize other items throughout your house.

And, it can help you cook salmon (we’re not kidding–see below).

Let’s start with 10 things you can wash/sterilize in your dishwasher:

  • Baseball capsPlace baseball caps on the top rack of the dishwasher and they will not get bent like they do in the washing machine.  Then air dry your cap and it’s ready to wear!
  • Small toysPlace action figures and other small toys into a mesh lingerie bag and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher to sanitize.  However, don’t include the Barbie–her hair will come our looking like she’s been electrocuted!
  • Plastic boots and shoesJust remove the liners of rain boots and lay them horizontally in dishwasher; and hook flips flops to the tines in the top rack so they don’t fly around during the cycle.  Crocs are not dishwasher safe so don’t ever include those in your washings.
  • Sports equipmentThrow shin guards, knee pads and mouth guards all in for a cycle.  They can all be cleaned and disinfected from the top rack.
  • Random household coverssuch as fan grilles, switch plates, vent covers and light fixture covers can all go in the dishwasher as long as they are not enameled, painted, plated or antique.
  • Cabinet knobsThese do great if they are ceramic.  Place them right in the silverware basket.
  • Removable cup holdersWe’re talking about the ones from your car.  Take them out of your car and place them on the top rack.  These can be washed right along with your dishes.
  • Shower HeadRemove the shower head every three months and add it to the dishwasher for a deep cleaning to break up the hard water buildup.
  • PotatoesYes, the kind you eat!  Clean dirty potatoes right in the dishwasher. Set it on rinse only cycle with no detergent.  Helps when you’re making mashed potatoes for a full house at Thanksgiving!
  • Sponges Easily clean and sanitize your germ infested sponges by throwing them right in the dishwasher for a cycle!

We suggest doing a full load of these non-kitchenware items in between your next dirty dish cycle so that your makeup brushes, baseball hats and action figures aren’t mixed in with your pots and pans. Don’t forget, in order to properly sanitize, the water temperature has to be at the hottest level possible.

Okay, now we know you’ve been waiting for the instructions on how to cook salmon in the dishwasher.  It really is possible! Here’s how:

  1. Place your salmon fillet on 2 sheets of foil.
  2. Season your fillet with whatever you’d like – butter, lemon juice, spices, etc.
  3. Seal the foil very well and place it on the top rack wire basket. Make sure your foil is tightly sealed to keep the dishwasher from smelling fishy afterward.
  4. Do not add detergent.  Run the hottest wash and dry cycle. When the cycle is done, remove the salmon and enjoy your dinner!

Take full advantage of your dishwasher and turn it into a multi-tasking cleaning machine.

Talk to us:  What non-dish item do you put in the dishwasher?

home decorating Preparing for Guests

Turning a Child’s Room into a Guest Room

Turn Child's Room into Guest Room

Now that students are back on college campuses and making homes for themselves in dorm rooms and apartments, you might be thinking of what to do with the extra bedroom space. If you’re not ready to completely toss your little birds out of their original nests, use these tips for creating a temporary guest room space in your child’s room.

 

Clear out the Closet

If you can’t store extra items in a basement, attic, or spare closet (what a great time to purge & donate!), push items as far to one side as possible—leaving room for your guests to hangup their clothing if needed. Purchase some nice hangers (like these) to make your guests feel even more welcome. Do the same for your dresser, leaving at least one drawer for your guests to use.

Re-set the Nightstand

Remove any “kid items” that might have been left behind and replace with guest necessities such as a nice alarm clock, some tissues, a glass for water, and perhaps a good book for them to read. We also encourage you to get a small vase with fresh flowers right before guests arrive.

Add a Luggage Rack

We love this idea from Becky at Organizing Made Fun: “I have a luggage rack that I purchased at a thrift store for $5 and I use it at the end of the bed.” You can also use a bench or extra chair—just any place where guests can sit down their suitcase to unpack.

Offer Guest Amenities

We all love those little shampoos and soaps found in hotel bathrooms—why not create a basket of those goodies for your guests? In addition to beauty staples, be sure to add toothpaste, a toothbrush, a wash cloth and towel. We suggest just picking up these small items while you are shopping and store them in your linen closet.

If you will be having multiple guests, consider adding an additional sleeping area—such as an air mattress you can keep underneath the bed or a small piece of furniture that turns into a bed like this one from Walmart.

Need help clearing out the kid-clutter?  Give us a call and we can help you get organized and clean.

 

Talk to us:  What are you doing with your child’s bedroom space while he or she is away at school?

 

Photo by Ali Inay on Unsplash

green living pets

Recipes for Eco-friendly Dog Treats

Eco-friendly Dog Treats

 

Whether you’re celebrating Fido on National Dog’s Day (August 26) or just love showering your pet with love, it’s a great time to spread our environmentally-friendly lifestyles down to our pets.   Opt for organic, homemade pet treats to avoid exposing your canine pal to fillers, additives, pesticides, by-products and chemical fertilizers.

Top tips for the healthiest treats:

  • Does your dog have intolerances or allergies to certain foods? Study recipes before trying them to ensure they’re safe.
  • Choose organic ingredients whenever possible.
  • Steer clear or foods that dogs shouldn’t eat. Brush up on the most up-to-date list from the ASPCA.
  • Need a quick treat with no prep? Try frozen green beans, hard-boiled eggs or apple pieces, with seeds and core removed.

A couple of great recipe options from canine cuisine chefs on the web:

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

(recipe credit: www.livelaughrowe.com)
(Makes 5-6 dozen)

2 cups white rice flour
1 cup wheat germ
7.5 oz. can pumpkin
½ cup water
½ T. cinnamon
1 T. vegetable oil
1 T. honey
1 T. peanut butter

Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Roll out dough on floured surface to about ¼-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut into bone shapes. Combine dough scraps and continue to roll out and cut into shapes until all the dough has been used.
Place cookies on ungreased, foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325° oven for 30-35 minutes.

Grain-Free Dog Treats

(recipe credit: www.primallyinspired.com)
(Makes 50 two-inch treats)

½ cup chicken or beef broth
½ cup fat or oil of choice (bacon fat, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
1⅓ cup tapioca flour
⅓ cup coconut flour
½ t. sea salt
2 T. brewer’s or nutritional yeast
2 T. flaxseed meal

Preheat oven to 400° F.
In a small pot over medium heat, bring the chicken broth and fat/oil to a boil.
While that is coming to a boil, mix tapioca flour, coconut flour, sea salt, brewer’s yeast and flax meal in a medium bowl.
Once the broth/fat mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and add to the flour bowl. Mix well.
On a piece of parchment paper, press out the dough into a ¼” thick rectangle. Either cut into squares with a pizza cutter or use cookie cutters in desired shape.
Bake for 15 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. When the timer goes off, shut off the oven, crack the door and leave in the oven until cool (about 10-15 more minutes).

Talk to us: What’s your dog’s favorite homemade or ready-to-eat treat? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Photo by Isaac Moore on Unsplash

Cleaning Tips Stain Removal

Stain Buster: Honey

Honey

Not sure what you have planned for the weekend, but tomorrow is World Honey Day, so we suggest adding a little sweet honey-filled treat to your Saturday to-do list. Put together by beekeepers in the U.S., this day isn’t so much about celebrating honey bees as it is to promote their involvement in sustainable farming. Bee lovers everywhere fill their gardens with items that lure these great pollinators such as lavender, borage and marjoram, and this weekend, we get to literally enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Before you dive into one of these great honey-based recipes from the National Honey Board, be prepared for possible stains with these tips from Good Housekeeping:

Honey on Fabric

  • Scrape off excess honey.
  • Flush fabric under cold running water.
  • Pretreat with a prewash stain remover (we love these eco-friendly versions).
  • Toss into the laundry, using the hottest water that is safe for the fabric.

Honey on Upholstery

  • Scrape off excess honey.
  • Mix a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid (you can make your own eco-friendly dishwashing liquid here) with two cups of cool water.
  • Using a clean white cloth, blot the stain with the solution until liquid is absorbed.
  • Repeat until the stain disappears.
  • Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Honey in Carpet

  • Scrape off excess honey.
  • Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid (you can make your own eco-friendly dishwashing liquid here) with two cups warm water.
  • Using a clean white cloth, blot the stain with the solution until liquid is absorbed.
  • Repeat until the stain disappears.
  • Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

 

Of course, we can always clean that carpet and upholstery for you! Give us a call to book your service today.

Talk to us:  Share with us your favorite honey-infused recipe–Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

 

Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

recycle Reuse Shopping

4 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

Thrift Store Shopping

We are celebrating National Thrift Store Day by doing what we love to do best–searching for great finds of used clothing, furniture, and household goods. Check out some of these great NYC spots and follow these tips as you head out on your own vintage adventure.

 

The early bird gets the good thrift store items

Get to the store early to claim the best items. Thrift store shopping is a competitive activity, and as a beginner, you’ll be up against some seasoned professionals. It’s not uncommon for some savvy shoppers to have thrift store clerks on speed dial to stay informed on unique additions to the inventory. If you’re planning on thrifting on the weekends, plan your schedule around early arrivals so your day isn’t wasted on stores that have already been cleaned out by other shoppers.

Never pay full price

Thrift stores often hold discount days or offer a variety of discounts for different items. Save even more money when you research the discounts offered at your preferred thrift stores. Sometimes you can even bargain with the cashier if you’re eyeing a great item. Their job is to move items out of the store so they can make room for new donations, it’s in their best interest to work with interested shoppers.

Beware of bedbugs

Unfortunately, New York has gone bedbug crazy, and upholstered items and fabrics are the highest risk for bedbug infestation. Wood furniture can be easily cleaned, repurposed, or upcycled without risking a bedbug outbreak. Don’t forget to disinfect everything with green cleaning products before you add it to your interior design.

Don’t forget the kitchen section

You might be looking for furniture, but don’t ignore the kitchen section. This is where you’ll find vintage china, unique glassware, real silver, and bowls and platters for every occasion. All priced dramatically below department stores and vintage boutiques. This is a great place to look for hostess and holiday gifts. It’s never too early to plan ahead.

The only thing better than grabbing a great vintage find is coming home to a clean house.  Why not schedule your cleaning appointment while you’re out shopping?

Talk to us:  Share your finds with us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

College Life Eco-friendly dorm room

How to Create an Eco-Friendly Dorm Room

Eco-friendly Dorm Room

College students will soon be heading back to campus and if this is your child’s first year away from home, we want to ease at least some of your anxieties by giving you tips for creating a more eco-friendly dorm space.

Think Local

Yes, not many of us can resist arming ourselves with new dorm furnishings and products before we head off to campus, but shipping all this stuff across the country (or driving it there in a big energy-sucking, air-polluting truck) is not the best option. Students should buy dorm décor when they get to school, but if that doesn’t sit well with your freshman, purchase items from stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond where you can choose an in-store location for pick up of your online order. Also check out Ebay Local, Craigslist or even Freecycle to see if items such as shelves, desks, and lamps are available to purchase and pick up in your new college town.

Eco-Friendly Storage

We all know there isn’t a lot of room inside most dorms, so storage becomes a key pre-school purchase. Look for environmentally friendly storage solutions such as canvas or metal baskets or plastic bins made from recyclable materials. This also holds true for food storage—purchase small glass containers (we recommend Pyrex since it can go from freezer to microwave) that students can use to store leftovers or snacks.

Buy Smart Appliances

In addition to looking for energy-efficient appliances (make sure it’s energy-star or other low-energy certified), consider multi functional items like a 3-in-1 microwave, refrigerator, and freezer (we like this one from EdgeStar). Not only are they great space-savers, but they are designed to conserve electricity and reduce circuit overloads. Regardless of your appliance choice, remind students to unplug all electronics when not in use—even when they are “off” they are still using energy.

Go Paperless

Even students who spend the bulk of their lives connecting via cell phones and computers run into a paper-filled stumbling block when they get to college. Encourage students to take class notes on their laptop (great apps here), subscribe to newspapers and magazines online, and submit papers and reports via email instead of printing them out (with professor’s permission, of course). Also, check with professors about using e-books instead of regular textbooks or if you can share a book with your roommate or friend that is taking the same class. These options not only help save the environment but will save you some money.

Keeping it Clean

In between the studying and the socializing (heavy on the studying), we know you are hoping your child keeps his or her dorm room clean. Fill a reusable canvas bag with eco-friendly cleaning products, microfiber cloths, a handheld vacuum and a bottle of DIY air freshener (combine your favorite 10-12 drops of essential oil with 50/50 distilled water and alcohol).

Is your student headed to an apartment instead of a dorm? These tips still apply and you can also read “How To Be An Eco-Friendly Renter” for greater green ideas.

 

Talk to us: What is your best piece of eco-friendly advice for students headed off to college?

back to school Green Home

Back to School: Reuse, Reduce and Recycle

Back-to-School

 

Back-to-school is synonymous with pens, paper, books, new clothing and a return to the regimented days of classes and extracurricular activities. Whether you’re the one looking forward to returning to the classroom or you’re busy getting the little ones ready for the big day, you’ll be happy to know that you can stay green, even as the leaves turn brown.

Reuse

Last year may seem like a lifetime ago, but you’ll be surprised at the amount of school supplies you can use again this year. Check your storage areas for unused stockpiles of pens, paper, and other items. It’s easy to forget supplies that aren’t in plain sight; chances are you already have many of the items on your list.

Are old papers and used binders and folders just sitting around? Those are the type of items that you don’t want to throw away but have no idea what to do with. Good news! Try flipping over the paper and using the blank sides – staple them together to make a recycled notepad. Gently used folders can be turned inside out and used again.

 

Reduce

If you do need to make a shopping trip, take the time to make a detailed list of what you need. Impulse purchases are often unnecessary and result in excess waste. A list will keep you on track and save you money.

Look into buying supplies made from recycled materials. Everything from pencils, binders, and paper is available in an earth friendly alternative to traditional materials. Check labels for details.

Opt for non-toxic or vegetable-based ink, paint, and other supplies. They are better for your health and the environment.

 

Recycle

According to the EPA, waste from packaging is responsible for more than 30 percent of all the waste generated each year. Pretty packaging is nice to look at, but it’s not really necessary and it’s certainly not earth friendly. Buy in bulk when possible – you can always use the surplus next year – or look for items sold in minimal or recycled packaging. If you can’t get around purchasing the lavishly packaged items, remember to save it instead of throwing it away as soon as you get home. Pretty packaging is great for art projects, rewrapping or maybe even retooled as a decoration or table setting. Use your imagination!

Remember the first rule of friendship: share. Do you still have last year’s textbooks? Why not hand them over to a friend or a family with kids that might need them. Consider hosting a textbook swap and encourage neighbors, friends, and family to bring their old textbooks to trade. Add some food and adult beverages and suddenly you have all the ingredients for a back to school party!

Are you and your family having fun keeping your back to school preparations as green as possible? Encourage each other to start or join an environmental club at school! From cutting down on cafeteria waste – think of all the wasted paper products, plastic condiment packages, and discarded food – to implementing a building-wide recycling program, there are many opportunities to introduce the same environmental policies you use at home when you go back to school.

 

 

Talk to us: What are you doing to get ready for school this year? Share your best tips and tricks with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!