Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ten tips for a cleaner, greener home - Green Mama: Green your Clean!

Going green can save the planet and
your pocketbook. By using a few basic, inexpensive products, you can reduce your global footprint while reducing the amount you spend on cleaning products. Here's some easy ways to go green inexpensively while simplifying your

cleaning routines.

1. Make bathroom cleaning a breeze! Keep a bottle of natural disinfectant on hand along with some rags and give everything a quick clean after you brush your teeth. I keep a spray bottle near the toilet filled with diluted Mrs. Meyers all-purpose cleaner for a quick wipe down every evening. Mrs. Meyers is concentrated so I keep diluted bottles of it handy and can easily make more at a moment's notice. Sometimes I even let Connected Son have a rag and the bottle while I do my hair. It keeps him occupied and its safe for him to handle!
(Photo credit: Daniel Foster)

2. Switch to cloth! If they make a disposable version, you can make a cloth version. We recycle old t-shirts and socks into rags for cleaning. I keep stashes in the bathroom and kitchen. After use I toss them in with the laundry. Using old clothes this way reduces dependence on paper towels and reduces waste.

3. Freshen things up! My favorite green tip is for a natural air freshener. Simply put a few drops on a cotton ball, place it in your vacuum filter and vacuum. Your house will smell fantastic without your family choking 0n aerosol fumes!

4. Soften and deodorize towels naturally by adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar kills all those yucky germs that leave towels smelling musty even after a thorough wash. I add a downey ball of vinegar to every load to keep towels dinfected and fresh.

5. Befriend your local thrift store! We all need to simplify our lives and one of the easisest ways is to reduce clutter. While it can be tempting to dump it, consider dropping it by the local thrift store or putting it up on your local Freecycle.

6. Harness the power of the sun! Cloth diaper moms know there's no better stain buster than leaving diapers out in the sun for the afternoon. I've discovered it works to brighten my clothes and even removes food stains from shirts and pants (chicken curry, anyone?) While a clothesline is ideal, you can also lay things out on your deck. In the winter, hang items in windows that see a lot of sun.

7. Recycle your morning cup o' joe! Coffee grounds can be repurposed for use in your garden. Simply use them like any fertilizer. You can also utilize grounds to make natural body scrubs - some people even claim applying it to skin for 30 minutes can act as a natural tanning solution! Simple mix the grounds with a couple pinches of kosher salt and an egg white and smooth onto clean skin. Wash off 20 minutes later. (Photo credit: DeaPeaJay, Creative Commons)

8. Think outside the bottle! Preventative methods aren't just for medicine. Instead of waiting to clean once a week, take steps to prevent dirt build-up by adding a few quick things to your morning or evening routine. Sweep all hard surfaces daily. Keep a spray bottle handy and wipe down bathroom counters with the washrag from your shower. And my favorite? Hang a squeegee in the shower and simply squeegee off the extra water and soap residue before you step out from your morning shower!

9. Disinfect naturally! Ditch the bleach and harsh cleaners and invest in vinegar and tea tree oil. Both naturally disinfect without damaging skin or leaching toxic chemicals. Love the convenience of cleaning wipes? Make a green alternative by cutting wipes from a non-raveling fabric, rolling them up and putting them in a mason jar. Then wet them with the following mix: 1 cup water, 1/4 cup vinegar, and a couple drops of tea tree oil or another essential oil.

10. Stock up on the basics! Make sure you always have vinegar, baking soda, castile soap and essential oils in your cupboard and you can make almost any cleaning product quickly and safely. Not only are the products inexpensive, they have a long shelf life. Some can even serve double duty as cooking ingredients!

Going green doesn't have to be a hassle and it could be the perfect way to make your home the clean house you've always envisioned.

September is Green Family Living month on Connected Mom! Join us on Facebook to share your green tips!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Mrs. Meyer’s blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”


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