Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living

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Apartment Living green living Moving Tips

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 Move.com, 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.

Appliances Energy-efficient appliances Kitchen

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

Fireplace Home Improvement Tips

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?

 

Cleaning Tips Clothes Laundry

3 Things to Consider before Heading to the Dry Cleaner

Dry Cleaner

With school and work schedules back in full swing, your dry cleaning bill may be eating into your monthly budget. Not sure you need to take so many items to the dry cleaner?  Real Simple magazine gives us three things to consider before tossing our clothes into the dry cleaning pile:

 

Read the Label

If the tag says DRY CLEAN ONLY, obey it.  If it says DRY CLEAN, that means that it is recommended but is not the only method for getting the garment clean.

Consider the Fabric

Unless the label suggests otherwise, silk, acetate, velvet, wool, and taffeta items should go to the dry cleaner. Cotton, linen, cashmere, polyester, acrylic, and nylon can usually be washed at home. Be sure to check colorfastness first by putting some mild detergent on a cotton swab and dabbing it on a hidden seam to see if any dye comes off.

It’s in the Details

Care instructions are usually for fabric only, not the accents. Before you wash anything with beading, sequins, etc., make sure they are sewen on (not glued) and colorfast (see above).

 

If you do decide to wash your garments at home, click here for tips.

 

Talk to us:  What items do you always take to the dry cleaner?

 

Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking Family Kitchen

Getting Kids in the Kitchen

Kids in the Kitchen

Now that school is back in session, your days are busier than ever. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get some help in the kitchen? Look no further than your own family—specifically your kids.

Getting your kids into the kitchen is not only good for family conversation, but it also teaches them valuable life skills such as how to cook simple and healthy meals and how to work well with others. Before you think your child is too young to help, try some of these age-appropriate ideas from The Kitchn.

18 Months to 3 Years

  • Pour dry and liquid ingredients into a bowl
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables (includes scrubbing potatoes)
  • Tear greens into pieces
  • Stir batter in a bowl
  • Pick herbs off the stem

4 to 5 Years

  • Roll out and knead pizza or bread dough
  • Crack an egg
  • Measure and level dry ingredients
  • Whisk a vinaigrette
  • Spread butter or jam

6 to 9 Years

  • Use a small paring knife
  • Cook with you at the stove
  • Peel fruits and vegetables
  • Grate cheese with a box grater
  • Scoop batter into muffin cups

 

Every child is different, so experiment with tasks to find out the ones that work best for your family.  Also, don’t forget the clean up—even very young kids can help get the kitchen back in order after dinner including putting silverware in the dishwasher, wiping down counters, and putting ingredients away.

 

Talk to us: What tasks do you have your child do in the kitchen?

DIY stain removers Stain Removing Tips

Stain Buster: Melted Cheese

Melted Cheese GEC

It’s really hard to say anything bad about melted cheese…unless that gooey deliciousness lands on your clothing, furniture or carpet instead of your mouth.  Fear not! We have just the DIY tips you need to clean up cheese stains.

 

Clothing

  • Carefully remove any cheese that comes up easily.
  • Using a laundry detergent with enzymes (click here for a great list, including some eco-friendly options), soak the clothing for at least 30 minutes before you toss into the laundry.

 

Furniture

  • Carefully remove any cheese that comes up easily.
  • Mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two cups of COOL water.
  • Sponge the stain with the solution.
  • Blot until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Repeat the above steps until the stain disappears.
  • Wet a clean towel and wipe down the area before drying with a towel.

 

Carpet

  • Carefully remove any cheese that comes up easily.
  • If the cheese is smashed into the carpet fibers, let it dry and pick out as much as possible.
  • Mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two cups of WARM water.
  • Sponge the stain with the solution.
  • Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Repeat the above steps until the stain disappears.
  • Wet a clean towel and wipe down the area before drying with a towel.

 

Talk to us:  How do you easily remove melted cheese stains?

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

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.