Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living

Create and maintain a clean environment of your very own.

Get Your Outdoor Space Ready for Summer

Posted on May 20, 2014



This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the summer barbecue season and is the time when we celebrate everything great about eating and entertaining outdoors.  Is your outdoor space ready?  Whether you have a magnificent backyard patio or a small urban deck, getting your outdoor space party-ready is the best way to say an official good-bye to winter and hello to summer fun.

Hit the Deck (or Patio)
Clear your deck or patio of weeds and winter debris and repair any broken fixtures before you even get your outdoor furniture out of storage.  You can use common household products such as vinegar and baking soda to wash down your deck or patio and pressure wash siding and steps for a quick clean.
Extra Eco Tip:  Keep the baking soda close by throughout the summer season– it is a great way to get rid of stains from suntan lotion and grill grease.

Check Your Seating
Make sure you have enough chairs and seating areas to accommodate your guests.  You can upgrade furniture you already have by removing rust stains (apply lemon juice and rinse after 20 minutes) and adding colorful pillows for comfort. Rearrange seating to create small conversational areas as well as allow for easy flow for party guests.
Extra Eco-Tip:  Repaint old folding chairs (with zero VOCs paint) in bright colors that go with your patio scheme.  Keep them folded in a closet until you need them—instant seating that will go with your other furniture!

Decorate with Plants
Potted plants and container gardens not only add color to your patio or deck, but they can hide ugly corners and define space.  Purchase pots that are similar in color or style–this will allow you to have a variety of different plants without the space looking unorganized.  While you can mix and match different plant types, you should combine plants that share similar water and light requirements which will make it easy for you to keep your plants looking lovely all season long.
Extra Eco-Tip:  Add containers of vegetables and herbs to your patio décor—allowing you to grow and use your own food for summer entertaining.

Add Some Light
Replace old light fixtures with more eco-friendly options such LED lights from LED Waves.  Not only do these options use less energy, but they provide a brighter glow—making them a great addition to your outdoor space.  If you do not want to (or are unable to) install lighting, use lanterns or mason jars filled with solar-powered lights or all-natural candles to light up tabletops and pathways.  Best part of these lighting elements?  They are moveable.
Extra Eco-Tip:  When purchasing all-natural candles, look for those that include essential oils known for repelling insects such as citronella or pine.

Get Grill Ready
Before you even think about flipping that first burger, make sure your grill is clean and ready to go.  A simple, green way to clean your grill from Organic Gardening:

  • Grab a stiff wire brush, a spatula, tongs, an old t-shirt or cloth and vegetable oil.
  • Preheat the grill for 15 minutes and turn the grill off.
  • While the grill is still warm, scrape the grill with the wire brush.
  • Grab the cloth with the tongs and dampen it with the vegetable oil.
  • Use the tongs to rub the oily cloth over the grill gate.

In addition to cleaning the grill, the vegetable oil will help prevent food from sticking, preventing additional build up throughout the grilling season.
Extra Eco-Tip:  Purchase reusable plastic utensils, cups and plates as well as serving trays and bowls.  This will alleviate worries about things breaking on your patio and will keep you from filling up the trash with Styrofoam or paper products after each party.

Don’t forget to stock up on all-natural cleaners such as our Ecospirit ™ All Purpose Cleaner and our Ecospirit™ Window & Glass Cleaner.  Keeping products like this on hand make it easy quick eco-friendly touch-ups just before company arrives.

Talk to us:  What food or cocktail will you be serving at your first outdoor party of the summer season?




image courtesy of NotLiz/CC BY 2.0








eco friendly Memorial Day Outdoor Living Summer Entertaining

Latest Posts

Coronavirus Reopening: How to Mitigate the Risk of COVID-19 in Your Workplace

In the turbulent times of Covid-19, business need to make critical decisions quickly. As we all learn to navigate our new "normal" with the Covid-19 pandemic, Greenhouse remains invested in working in tandem with our New York City business community to safeguard the health of their workforce. Contact Us Today!

Making an Eco-Friendly Move

  Cardboard boxes in apartment, moving day   Boxes, tape and bubble wrap, oh my! If you have a move on the horizon or have experienced one in the recent past, you understand well that the act of moving doesn’t lend itself to eco-friendly living at first blush. So much packaging can make the least green of us shudder. Rest assured, you can remain environmentally conscious and stay committed to controlling the waste during your move, while also keeping your transport emissions down. Just follow these simple tips: Box smart. According to, the average move uses about 60 boxes (see infographic below).   That adds up to a whole lot of trees over time. Keep usage down by getting the word out about your move as early as you can. If you know folks who are making a move before yours, ask them to save all their packaging, including bubble wrap and protective packing paper, so you can reuse it during your own move. Choose box alternatives. Before you buy new boxes for your move, make sure you’ve exhausted all possible resources for box alternatives. Pack in empty large plastic bins you own, borrow from friends or ask your mover if they supply or rent reusable bins. Not only is this a great green option, it takes some of the work off your plate as movers drop bins off ahead of time and take them away after the move. No need to break down boxes or recycle them, you can move on to decorating your new home. Fuel emissions. The size and distance of your move makes all the difference when it comes to emission of CO2. When interviewing moving companies, be on the lookout for green options such as these:
  • Fuel type—ask each company what type of fuel they use. Many organizations have converted trucks to biodiesel fuel, an upgrade that helps reduce your move’s carbon footprint.
  • Car shipping—if you’re moving an automobile, price out both truck and rail shipping options. Train transport can represent huge savings to you and lighten the moving truck’s load on the road.
  • Clean out before you move—whatever you can do to reduce the number of goods you plan to move will make a big impact on related emissions. Don’t pack mindlessly and hurriedly, instead, think about items you can donate before making your move.
Get things clean.  Make sure you leave your old space clean and healthy for the next inhabitants.  Use eco-friendly cleaning products for floors, countertops, and windows or hire an eco-friendly cleaning company—like us!—to come in and take care of dirt, dust, and debris. Grab this great online checklist from our friends at MakeSpace for all your pre- and post-cleaning tasks.   Talk to us: Have you made an environmentally conscious move in recent months? Share what you learned and your best tips for other readers below.

How To Buy An Energy-Efficient Stove Or Range

Energy-efficient Stove   Is your stove or range petering out or nearing the end of its life expectancy? Experts say the best time to make large appliance purchases is in September when manufacturers are rolling out their latest models and looking to make space by offering good deals on last year’s versions. Follow our shopping tips to ensure you’re getting the most affordable, energy-efficient model in your price range.
  • Look for the Energy Star® label. The Energy Star folks have done their homework to identify the most efficient models in every appliance category. This is a great place to start when you’re beginning your search to make sure you’re saving money and protecting the environment.
  • Buy for your space. Make sure to take precise measurements for the space your kitchen allows for a stove or range before you shop. Appliances function at maximum efficiency when located in a spot that allows for proper ventilation.
  • Use the EnergyGuide. All new appliances are required to have an EnergyGuide label affixed to the packaging or appliance so consumers can compare as they shop. Read each one carefully and take pictures of the labels with your mobile device, for a quick comparison. Having an image with key features, estimated yearly operating cost and estimated yearly electricity use at your fingertips will help with decision-making after you’ve shopped around.
  • Choose gas. When it comes to stoves and ranges, manufacturers often offer both gas and electric models. On average, it takes about three times as much energy to produce and deliver electricity to an electric stove, compared to a gas one. The California Energy Commission says that over time, a gas stove will cost about half as much to operate as an electric one. Gas stoves boast more ease of use as well; giving cooks more control of temperatures and cooking time.
  • Plan for long-term useIt’s no secret that consumers pay upfront for energy efficiency, only to reap the many benefits for themselves and the planet down the line. If you can, reach deeper into your pockets for this appliance purchase and others with the end goal in mind.
Talk to us: Please share your favorite energy efficient range and stovetop models below.   Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash

Now Is The Time To Check Your Fireplace

Fireplace   We're sure the last thing on your mind right now is lighting your fireplace.  But it really should be - at least the maintenance of it. Do not wait for cold weather to hit before you get your fireplace inspected and cleaned. Doing it now while the weather is nice--and while it’s still considered offseason--will have you ready to light that a match as soon as the first cold fall night arrives. Has it been at least a year (or more!) since your last professional cleaning?  Then definitely hire a professional chimney sweep so they can clean the flu and inspect the entire fireplace for hazardous cracks. If it’s been less than a year since your last professional chimney sweep…then you can easily clean and inspect the fireplace yourself by following these steps:
  1. Check the flu for nests, animals or leaves.
  2. Check the chimney. Use a flashlight and mirror to look up to the open damper.
  3. If you see blockages of any kind you’ll have to call a professional chimney sweep.
  4. Repair cracks in the chimney, firebox or hearth--making sure you use the proper materials. Click here for tips and DIY advice.
Once you’ve inspected your chimney, it’s time to clean it:
  1. Gather your materials: a vacuum, bucket, gloves, two cloths, mild dish soap, stiff-bristled brush, table salt, and water.
  2. Vacuum the soot from inside the chimney.
  3. Mix one ounce of soap with one ounce of table salt in just enough water in a bucket to make the mixture creamy.
  4. Thoroughly rub it into the brick with a cloth (wearing gloves if you so choose).
  5. Allow it to dry for at least ten minutes. Then use the stiff-bristled brush to remove the residue and scum from the bricks. Repeat if necessary until your fireplace is “shiny” and clean!
  6. Take another wet cloth and wipe away any leftover soap scum or residue.
Now, stock up on wood before it gets too cold.  Buy a full face cord or a half face cord of firewood to last you a full winter (or two).  Remember to purchase only local wood to prevent spreading invasive species.  Choose hardwood like walnut and maple for a clean, longer and hotter burn. Then sit back and enjoy your warm fires in your clean, safe fireplace! Talk to us:  What month do you usually light the first fire?  

As an essential business, Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning is continuing to serve our customers during the COVID-19 emergency. Learn about the steps we’ve taken to protect our customers and employees and our Coronavirus Cleaning and Disinfection Services that can provide extra peace of mind during these challenging times.