Clean Green

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As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review.Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The January Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected with the theme of getting a fresh start for the New Year. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

ACURE Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes ($6.99 for 50 ct.) ACURE was founded on sustainable principles and reasonable pricing to steer people away from toxic chemicals, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice health for beautiful skin and hair. These cleansing towelettes gently remove makeup, dirt, sweat and environmental toxins. They are easy to throw in a bag when you’re on the go and they really work.

IMG_0191Visit http://www.acureorganics.com/ to find out more about ACURE products and use the promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order and get free shipping on any order of $25 or more.

Rustic MAKA’s Calming Fields Pachy Deodorant (travel size $7.95) This deodorant smells like heaven and really works! I am seriously in love. My plan was to let my tween daughter test this product but I couldn’t stop myself from trying it first because it smelled so amazing. Don’t worry, I will be buying one for her because… it really works! I am even going to pick up one for my husband to try, he is very stubborn about his deodorants so I am continuously trying to find something healthier for him that he’ll actually use.  Each Rustic MAKA’s deodorant is carefully formulated with rich, organic plant-based oils and butters, along with pure powders and plant extracts. They DO NOT contain aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrances or propylene-glycol.

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Go find out where you can get your hands on this product, visit http://www.rusticmaka.com/ and use promo code “EcoMom15” for a 15% discount. I’ll see you there!

Simply Earth Natural Air and Fabric Freshener ($6 for 2.5 oz.) This product is literally a life saver. Simply Earth gives 13% of the profits to human trafficking victims. The air and fabric freshener uses a natural odor eliminator that actually traps the odors and essential oils to make your home and clothes smell amazing. I put it to the ultimate test. My oldest daughter’s cheer team put on a cheer fun night for the younger kids. The fun included learning a few cheers, a pizza party and so on. My husband and I volunteered to pick up the 32 pizzas needed for the evening. We got the pizzas, dropped them off and quickly discovered that, although the pizzas had left the car, the strong pizza smell was remaining. Thankfully, I had Simply Earth’s Natural Air and Fabric Freshener and I used it to deodorize the car… and it really worked!

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Check out http://simplyearth.com/ to find out more about this amazing company. When you’re there use promo code “EcoMom” for 10% off your purchase.IMG_0194

 

Tangie Stain Remover Bar ($5.00 for 3 oz.) This natural stain remover is made with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, soap nuts liquid, oxalic acid, sea salt, citric acid, lemon essential oil and love. This product is tough on stains but gentle on the environment. My youngest daughter loves to wear ballet pink but loves to play tag, football, basketball, soccer, etc. at recess. This results in stains every day so this product has been vigorously tested and has passed with flying colors.

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Visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/ilovetangie to find out more and check out their other great products. Use “Ecomomships” for free shipping and free Laundry Past (up to 12 loads) with purchase.

Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Tablets ($6.99 for 25 ct.) I already use this product and love it so I gave this sample to a friend for her to try. The whole Ecover product line is amazing and they have fragrance-free products as well. Ecover has been a pioneer in plant-based cleaning products for more than 30 years. 

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To find out more about Ecover and find a store in your area that carries these products, visit http://us.ecover.com/.

ENLIGHTENED Crisps – Roasted Broad Beans ($1.50 for 1 oz.) OH. MY. GOODNESS. These crisps are delicious!! ENLIGHTENED Crisps are lightly roasted in sunflower oil, sprinkled with sea salt and seasoned to perfection. They only have 100 calories per serving, are certified vegan, gluten free, non-GMO Project verified, OU kosher and wheat free. And have I mentioned they are SO yummy?! My eight year old talked me into letting her try some and she loved them too. This would be a perfect snack to have in my bag for all those times when people get a little cranky because they need some protein (7 grams per serving).

IMG_0196If you live in the San Francisco area, you can run out to the store right now and pick up this delicious snack, if not, visit http://www.eatenlightened.com/to purchase the crisps online.

Sweater Stone ($8.99 one stone) I love this product not only because it really does remove the pills from my favorite sweaters but because this product is made utilizing the Seattle areas sheltered workshops. In case you don’t know, sheltered workshops are places that provide opportunities for increased independence and self sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

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Visit http://www.sweaterstone.com/ to find out where you can purchase your own Sweater Stone and make a difference in the life of someone else (along with extending the life of your favorite sweaters). 

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH WEDNESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, Turn your radio to AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: After being cooped up in your house all winter long, it’s (finally) time to fling open the windows, The Clothesline by Caleighshoo away the cobwebs and tackle your annual spring cleaning. When you’re organizing your spring cleaning keep in mind that switching to green cleaning products will improve your health, lessen adverse environmental impacts and save money.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of the 2,863 most commonly used chemicals only 7% have complete toxicity data and 43% have NO toxicity information available.

A few of my favorite green cleaning recipes/tips:

GLASS CLEANER:

  • Mix white vinegar and filtered water in a spray bottle. Reduce waste by using a soft cloth or newspaper instead of paper towels (and they leave a better finish).

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER:

  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water, or;
  • Mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water.

TUB AND TILE:

  • Mix 1 & 2/3 cups baking soda, ½ cup liquid castile soap and ½ cup water. Add 2 tablespoons white vinegar, or;
  • Use half a lemon with a sprinkle of baking soda on it. Rinse with water or white vinegar.

For more green spring cleaning recipes, visit Green Tip – Spring Cleaning.

Shopping tips:

Look for products with the Green Seal. Green Seal, Inc. is the only organization that comprehensively evaluates non-toxic products.

READ LABELS. Companies are not required by law to list all product ingredients so only purchase brands that advertise full ingredient disclosure so you know what you’re bringing into your home.

Take a look at my review of Earth Friendly Products. Their cleaning products are healthier for your family and the planet… and they work!

And while you’re at it, here are some other ways to green up while you clean up:

  • Avoid air fresheners. Those chemicals in commercial air fresheners have been linked to developmental and reproductive hormone abnormalities as well as cancer. Air fresheners are used in about 75% of U.S. homes, to the cost of approximately $2 billion a year. This spring, consider tossing the chemicals and trying natural fresheners like baking soda or essential oils. Or, just simply open the windows.
  • Hang dry your laundry. Drying your clothes in an electric or gas dryer isn’t just hard on your clothes; it’s also hard on the environment. Don’t stop with natural laundry detergent. Stay green every step of the way and install a clothesline in your backyard. If space (or aesthetics) is an issue, look for a “retractable clothesline” which takes up virtually no space when not in use. Weather permitting, line-dry your clothes outside to reduce pollution, cut your energy bill, get more exercise, enjoy the sunshine, and extend the life of your clothes. And they’ll smell like a clean breeze, not a fake “clean breeze scent.”
  • Add a little greenery. Clean up your indoor air by installing living air filters — houseplants. Some of the most efficient air-cleaning houseplants include Spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants, and peace lilies.
  • De-clutter your wardrobe. Donate gently worn items to charity, where they’ll get a second life, and donate torn and stained items (if they’re made of an absorbent fabric) to your rag collection, where they’ll replace wasteful paper towels.
  • As you’re packing up your winter sweaters, replace your mothballs with a more natural alternative. Try cheesecloth-wrapped cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, or whole cloves.
  • Avoid using disposable products. Save trees, cash and landfill waste. You can buy specially-made, washable cleaning and dusting cloths (in all types of fabrics from cotton to microfiber). Or you could use what you already have and give an old piece of cloth (stained towels, ratty sheets and pillowcases, too-small T-shirts, etc.) a new life. Simply cut or tear your old item into smaller squares (if you want to get fancy, finish the edges with a sewing machine).
  • Swap out your single-use mop pads. Instead of continually buying expensive single-use mop pads, invest in a reusable mop. E-Cloth makes a Deep Clean Mop that works like a dream. Their mop heads can be washed in your washing machine, hung dry, and used again and again—well worth their moderate price tag.

Source: 25 Green Spring Cleaning Tips: Good for You, Your Home and the Planet by Liza Barnes

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

HGTV Gardens

Visit HGTVGardens.com to get design ideas, expert tips, gardening basics and more. One of my favorite sections is their Garden to Table section where you can get expert tips on growing, preserving and preparing your own food.

 

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GREEN TIP: Sustainable laundry practices will keep your family healthy and looking great while saving money and the environment. Look for eco-friendly laundry products, conserve energy and be good to your clothes.    

Our Six-Year OldThe main problem with laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers is that they contain petroleum, phosphates and synthetic chemicals that leave residue on the clothes. These ingredients cause allergies, irritate the skin and eyes and carry other severe health risks.

Then they get washed down our drains and into our waterways polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas and are toxic to fish and wildlife.

Look for Eco-Friendly Laundry Products

Consider using eco-friendly laundry products. Always read labels and pay attention to what you’re buying, just because a product claims to be “natural” doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic.

Look for labels that indicate that the product is readily biodegradable, made with plant- and vegetable-based ingredients (instead of petroleum-based), contain no phosphates, and no allergy-inducing scents.

Ingredients you should avoid are butyl cellosolve (dangerous toxic chemical), petroleum, triclosan and phosphates. Also try to avoid chemicals known as phthalates that are used in detergents with fragrances, they have been linked to cancer.

If you must use bleach, try a non-chlorine product, use an oxygen-based cleaner instead, it is better for the environment and for your health. Or, I found a recipe for a safer bleach alternative at Grit.com.

Here’s the recipe:

12 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Mix. Add 2 cups per wash load or put in spray bottle and use as a household cleaner. For all the details, visit http://www.grit.com/blogs/Safer-Bleach-Alternative.aspx.

Conserve Energy

About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water.

Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

o  Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
o  Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
o  Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
o  Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
o  Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
o  Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
o  Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
o  Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Be Good to Your Clothes

The folks at Green Living Ideas have some great tips for extending the life of your clothes:

o  Limit dryer use to save energy, money, and threads. Your dryer can wreak havoc on clothes by fading the colors and affecting the quality of the fabric.
o  Add a couple of teaspoons of table salt in with your detergent to make your clothes brighter and prevent colors from running.

For more tips about using salt in the wash, check out HowStuffWorks: Uses for Salt: Doing the Laundry.

Also visit 5 Tips for Fresher Laundry.

o  Add baking soda or distilled white vinegar to detergent to clean, deodorize, and brighten clothes.
o  Turn your clothing inside out in the washer and dryer. This prevents the outside from getting worn out.
o  Switch to cold water wash—doing so not only saves energy but also prevents colors from bleeding or fading, which tends to happen with hot or warm water.
o  Make sure to button and zipper up your clothes. This prevents snags that could ruin your clothes after several washes.
o  Keep lights, darks, and delicate clothing separate to keep colors bright and clothing in good shape.

Source: Green Living Ideas

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Sometimes I come across a product that I know I will love, sight unseen. That was the case with e-cloths from mycleaningcloths.com. The company approached me about reviewing one of their products and, after reading about their products, I was sold. But, to provide a fair review, I have been using my e-cloth (kitchen cloth) daily for over two weeks. Well, except for one brief day after I had washed it and thought I lost it… it was found in my daughter’s doll house. Apparently, it looked like the perfect bath towel for her doll. E-Cloth

I am always encouraging non-toxic cleaning for the health of our families and the environment. The e-cloth is the ultimate chemical free cleaning product. You just use water. I don’t have to worry about my daughter’s helping me clean with it (or “dry” their dolls with it) because there aren’t any toxic chemicals on the e-cloth.

Here’s why you should use e-cloth:

  • Chemical free cleaning. There are no toxic cleaning products needed, you just use water. And a recent study conducted by the Silliker Group showed that (using just water) e-cloths removed over 99% of bacteria, locking them away inside the cloths’ fibers, where they stay until the cloths are rinsed. For more information about the study, visit http://www.mycleaningcloths.com/what-is-e-cloth/. And, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most common store-bought cleaning products that are stored under kitchen or bathroom sinks contain ingredients that are considered hazardous waste.
  • Saves you money. The cloth takes the place of paper towels, disposable sponges, etc. and you don’t need to purchase a myriad of cleaning products because you just use water with the e-cloth.
  • Saves you time. Just add water and clean.
  • Reduces your waste. You don’t need to purchase disposable cleaning products that just end up in a landfill. According to the EPA, every day 3,000 tons of used paper towels are discarded in landfills. And it takes 51,000 trees per day to replace those paper towels.

I found that the kitchen e-cloth worked great for removing grease and grime on my stove top. It worked beautifully Kitchen e-clothon my counter tops. It made my stainless and sink shine. There is also a scrubbing pocket attached to the e-cloth which was perfect for removing stuck on messes. The e-cloth can also be used dry for dusting.

So, I love it and will continue to use it. I’m also going to purchase the Deep Clean Mop because, frankly, I’m tired of cleaning my floors on my hands and knees and I completely trust that the mop will perform like the kitchen e-cloth has performed.

For more information about e-cloths, visit http://www.mycleaningcloths.com/.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Switching to green cleaning products can improve your health, lessen adverse environmental impacts and save money.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of the 2,863 most commonly used chemicals only 7% have complete toxicity data and 43% have NO toxicity information available.

Here is some wonderful green cleaning advice from Green Living expert Sara Snow:

1. Take a less is more approach to products

These days we have such an overwhelming assortment of cleaning products that require many different products (disposable pads and so on) to accomplish each task. It’s expensive and an overwhelming waste of materials.

Use multi-purpose products and, overall, take a “less is more” approach to cleaning. Simple dish soap and vinegar, each mixed with water, could clean almost anything.

2. Look for recycled and multi-use products

Look for recycled paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and napkins.

Recycle old t-shirts and socks into cleaning rags.

Use reusable sponges or cloths for your everyday cleaning.

3. Avoid fragrances

Though it may only say “fragrance” on the ingredients list of a product, that single word could stand for up to 200 chemical ingredients, leading to a variety of reactions and disorders ranging from dizziness to skin irritation, rash and other cold like symptoms.

The Institute of Medicine placed “fragrance” in the same category as second hand smoke when it comes to triggering asthma in adults and kids.

Fragrances also contain phthalates, a class of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive disorders.

Instead choose fragrance-free products or those scented with plant extracts and essential oils, like citrus oils, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, orange or magnolia.

4. Avoid chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach, also called sodium hypochlorite, is a highly corrosive agent. It can irritate your skin, your eyes, and your airways. When chlorine is mixed with other cleaners, such as those containing ammonia or acids (as is the case in some toilet bowl cleaners) it creates a lung-damaging gas.

But perhaps the most concerning is what happens when chlorine bleached is rinsed down our drains into our waterways where it can create organochlorines, compounds that are suspected carcinogens as well as reproductive and neurological toxins.

Choose products with non-chlorine bleach, like those containing percarbonate, which is primarily oxygenated water.

5. Use basic, inexpensive products to accomplish all your cleaning

Vinegar inhibits mold and bacteria growth, and will cut through grease and soap scum in your kitchen, bathroom or anywhere else in the house. Use distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider to avoid staining surfaces, the smell dissipates as it dries.

  • For a basic all over the house cleaner, mix together equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Use on countertops, glass and floors.
  • Clean your floors with a mixture of ½ cup white distilled vinegar and a ½ gallon of warm water. No need to rinse. Just wipe and go.
  • For windows, fill a spray bottle with water and a quarter cup of white vinegar or lemon juice. A great way to recycle your newspapers is to use them in place of paper towels for a streak-free finish.
  • Clean your disposal and drains by pouring 1 cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain. Let it sit and flush.
  • A ½ cup of distilled white vinegar added in to the rinse cycle of your washing machine will act as a natural fabric softener and will rinse clothes cleaner, getting out excess soap and detergent.
  • To freshen a toilet bowl, pour two to three cups of white vinegar into the toilet bowl, let sit for a few hours then scrub and flush.

A basic liquid soap (non-petroleum based and free of dyes – castile and other plant-based soaps are a great choice) will clean anything.

  • Use a touch of soap and warm water to wash down countertops.
  • Clean wood floors using a large bowl of warm water and a tablespoon of soap with rags.
  • Sprinkle a grimy surface with baking soda and follow up with a soapy sponge

Olive oil is great for moisturizing and conditioning.

  • Mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice for an all natural furniture polish.
  • To keep brash from tarnishing, rub with olive oil after cleaning.
  • Rub olive oil onto stainless steel surfaces to remove streaks and prints.

Baking Soda is a fantastic scouring agent and an odor neutralizer

  • Get rid of carpet odor: sprinkle them with baking soda before you vacuum.
  • Mix a small amount of baking soda with liquid castile soap to get your countertops, sinks and tubs shiny. For a ‘fresh smell’ try adding a few drops of rosemary, orange or lavender essential oils.
  • To clean your oven mix together three parts baking soda with one part salt and one part water. Spread the mixture across the oven surface and allow it to sit up to eight hours. Scrape and wipe clean.

For more fabulous tips, visit SaraSnow.com.

Source: SaraSnow.com

If you’re looking for someone to do your spring cleaning for you, contact a green cleaning company in your area. For a fantastic one in Fargo, contact Clean & Green Cleaning. They’re awesome!

Here’s their contact information:

Bethany Grahn, Clean & Green Cleaning Service LLC
Phone: 701.356.3777 or Email: cleanandgreenfargo (at) gmail (dot) com
Call today for more information or to receive a free estimate over the phone

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Enviroblog
The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) blog. Smart discussion of the latest science and news on toxins in your food, water, and air, and what government agencies should be doing to protect public health. Written by EWG staff.

A wonderful article to read before you begin your spring cleaning: Could be hard to avoid these 7 cleaning ingredients, but you should try

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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Avoid toxic chemicals and antibacterial overload by using green cleaning products or make your own.

I recently read a wonderful article on Green Cleaning at Sara Snow’s website. It was full of great tips and some of the reasons we all should avoid toxic chemicals. Here’s some of Sara’s great advice:

CHEMICAL OVERLOAD

A study by the New Scientist (1999) found that moms in homes where aerosol sprays and air fresheners were used were 25% more like to suffer from headaches and 19% more likely to suffer from depression.

Babies less than six months old in the same environment had 30% more ear infections and had 22% higher rates of diarrhea.

Toxic chemicals can create toxic results. It’s much better to steer clear of these harsh products and favor natural alternatives instead.

ANTIBACTERIAL OVERLOAD

Antibacterial products make up 75% of the cleaning product market. They are the only cleaning agents under regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency because their active ingredients are classified as pesticides.

It may be because we rely so heavily on these “pesticides” to keep us clean, that the bacteria around us are getting stronger, and our bodies are getting less and less able to fight them off on their own. Today scientists and studies are pointing to the abundant use of antibacterial products in our homes for the rise in resistant microorganisms. In short, our bodies are finding it difficult to cope with the germs they come into contact with.

DISPOSING OF OLD PRODUCTS

It’s generally ok to pour old products that you no longer want to use down the drain. Just don’t pour anything containing bleach or ammonia together because the mixture creates toxic fumes.

Contact your sanitation department for heavier duty product disposal.

1. Beware of Product Overload

These days we have such an overabundance of products with a different product (with disposable pads and such) necessary for each different job. It’s expensive and an overwhelming waste of materials.

Opt for multi-purpose products and, overall, take a “less is more” approach to cleaning. Simple dish soap and vinegar, each mixed with water, could clean almost anything.

2. Opt for Recycled and Multi-Use Products

Look for recycled paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and napkins.

Recycle old t’shirts and socks into cleaning rags.

And try reusable sponges, cloths or a shammy for your everyday cleaning.

3. Skip the “Fragrance”

Though it may only say “fragrance” on the ingredients list of a product, that single word could stand for up to 200 chemical ingredients, leading to a variety of reactions and disorders ranging from dizziness to skin irritation, rash and other cold like symptoms.

The Institute of Medicine placed “fragrance” in the same category as second hand smoke when it comes to triggering asthma in adults and kids.

Fragrances also contain phthalates, a class of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive disorders.

Instead choose fragrance-free products or those scented with plant extracts and essential oils, like citrus oils, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, orange or magnolia.

4. Steer Clear of Bleach

Chlorine bleach, also called sodium hypochlorite, is a highly corrosive agent. It can irritate your skin, your eyes, and your airways. When chlorine is mixed with other cleaners, such as those containing ammonia or acids (as is the case in some toilet bowl cleaners) it creates a lung-damaging gas.

But perhaps the most concerning is what happens when chlorine bleached is rinsed down our drains into our waterways where it can create organochlorines, compounds that are suspected carcinogens as well as reproductive and neurological toxins.

Choose products with non-chlorine bleach, like those containing percarbonate, which is primarily oxygenated water.

5. Look Outside the Cleaning Isle

Vinegar inhibits mold and bacteria growth, and will cut through grease and soap scum in your kitchen, bathroom or anywhere else in the house.

It last forever and it’s cheap!

Use distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider to avoid staining surfaces, the smell dissipates as it dries.

-For a basic all over the house cleaner, mix together equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Use on countertops, glass and floors.

-Clean your floors with a mixture of ½ cup white distilled vinegar and a ½ gallon of warm water. No need to rinse. Just wipe and go.

-For windows, fill a spray bottle with water and a quarter cup of white vinegar or lemon juice. A great way to recycle your newspapers is to use them in place of paper towels for a streak-free finish.

-Clean your disposal and drains by pouring 1 cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain. Let it sit and flush.

-A ½ cup of distilled white vinegar added in to the rinse cycle of your washing machine will act as a natural fabric softener and will rinse clothes cleaner, getting out excess soap and detergent.

-To freshen a toilet bowl, pour two to three cups of white vinegar into the toilet bowl, let sit for a few hours then scrub and flush.

A basic liquid soap (non-petroleum based and free of dyes – castile and other plant-based soaps are a great choice) will clean anything.

-Use a touch of soap and warm water to wash down countertops.

-Clean wood floors using a large bowl of warm water and a tablespoon of soap with rags.

-Sprinkle a grimy surface with baking soda and follow up with a soapy sponge

Olive oil is great for moisturizing and conditioning.

-Mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice for an all natural furniture polish.

-To keep brash from tarnishing, rub with olive oil after cleaning.

-Rub olive oil onto stainless steel surfaces to remove streaks and prints.

Baking Soda is a fantastic scouring agent and an odor neutralizer

-Get rid of carpet odor: sprinkle them with baking soda before you vacuum.

-Mix a small amount of baking soda with liquid castile soap to get your countertops, sinks and tubs shiny. For a ‘fresh smell’ try adding a few drops of rosemary, orange or lavender essential oils.

-To clean your oven mix together three parts baking soda with one part salt and one part water. Spread the mixture across the oven surface and allow it to sit up to eight hours. Scrape and wipe clean.

For more fabulous green cleaning tips, visit SaraSnow.com.

Source: SaraSnow.com

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

SaraSnow.com
SaraSnow.com
is full of wonderful information for living a greener more sustainable lifestyle. You’ll find informative videos, delicious recipes, green cleaning tips, and much more.

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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When you’re organizing your spring cleaning keep in mind that switching to green cleaning products will improve your health, lessen adverse environmental impacts and save money.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of the 2,863 most commonly used chemicals only 7% have complete toxicity data and 43% have NO toxicity information available.

A few of my favorite green cleaning recipes/tips:

GLASS CLEANER:

  • Mix white vinegar and filtered water in a spray bottle. Reduce waste by using a soft cloth or newspaper instead of paper towels (and they leave a better finish).

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER:

  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water, or;
  • Mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water.

TUB AND TILE:

  • Mix 1 & 2/3 cups baking soda, ½ cup liquid castile soap and ½ cup water. Add 2 tablespoons white vinegar, or;
  • Use half a lemon with a sprinkle of baking soda on it. Rinse with water or white vinegar.

For more green spring cleaning recipes, visit Green Tip – Spring Cleaning.

Shopping tips:

Look for products with the Green Seal. Green Seal, Inc. is the only organization that comprehensively evaluates non-toxic products.

READ LABELS. Companies are not required by law to list all product ingredients so only purchase brands that advertise full ingredient disclosure so you know what you’re bringing into your home.

Do something good for your family, the environment and orphans in Africa! How? Purchase Shaklee cleaning products through Lindsay Erhardt and 100% of the profits go to help babies in Africa. For more information, go to Lindsay’s blog: A Journey in Joyful Living.

And while you’re at it, here are some other ways to green up while you clean up:

  • Hang dry your laundry. Drying your clothes in an electric or gas dryer isn’t just hard on your clothes; it’s also hard on the environment. Don’t stop with natural laundry detergent. Stay green every step of the way and install a clothesline in your backyard. If space (or aesthetics) is an issue, look for a “retractable clothesline” which takes up virtually no space when not in use. Weather permitting, line-dry your clothes outside to reduce pollution, cut your energy bill, get more exercise, enjoy the sunshine, and extend the life of your clothes. And they’ll smell like a clean breeze, not a fake “clean breeze scent.”
  • Add a little greenery. Clean up your indoor air by installing living air filters — houseplants. Some of the most efficient air-cleaning houseplants include Spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants, and peace lilies.
  • De-clutter your wardrobe. Donate gently worn items to charity, where they’ll get a second life, and donate torn and stained items (if they’re made of an absorbent fabric) to your rag collection, where they’ll replace wasteful paper towels. And as you’re packing up your winter sweaters, replace those stinky mothballs with a natural and better-smelling version: stuff a lonely unpaired sock with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and whole cloves and tie it at the end.
  • Ditch the paper towels. Save trees, cash and landfill waste. You can buy specially-made, washable cleaning and dusting cloths (in all types of fabrics from cotton to microfiber). But better yet? Use what you already have and give an old piece of cloth (stained towels, ratty sheets and pillowcases, too-small T-shirts, etc.) a new life. Simply cut or tear your old item into smaller squares (if you want to get fancy, finish the edges with a sewing machine).
  • Swap out your Swiffer. Instead of continually buying expensive single-use mop pads, invest in a reusable mop. Casabella is one brand that’s widely available in health food stores and general stores. Their mop heads can be washed in your washing machine, hung dry, and used again and again—well worth their moderate price tag.

Source: 25 Green Spring Cleaning Tips: Good for You, Your Home and the Planet by Liza Barnes

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Organic.org
The goal at Organic.org is to educate people on the benefits of organic agriculture, food and products. With an increasingly crowded marketplace of organic goods, it is crucial to understand what the word ‘organic’ means, what type of products are available, the significance of purchasing them, and finally, how someone with little knowledge about organics can begin to take steps towards an organic lifestyle.

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GREEN TIP: When you’re organizing your spring cleaning keep in mind that switching to green

cleaning products will improve your health, lessen adverse environmental impacts and save money.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of the 2,863 most commonly used chemicals only 7% have complete toxicity data and 43% have NO toxicity information available.

Some of my favorite green cleaning recipes/tips:

OVENS:

  • Sprinkle baking soda ¼ inch deep over the bottom of your oven. Spray with water until thoroughly damp, but not flooded. Let sit overnight, add water as necessary to maintain dampness. In the morning, the white baking soda residue left behind is easily wiped off, unlike commercial oven cleaner residue that is intensified the next time you use your oven.

GLASS CLEANER:

  • Mix warm water with either white vinegar or lemon juice in a spray bottle. Reduce waste by using a soft cloth or newspaper instead of paper towels (and they leave a better finish).

FABRIC RINSE/SOFTENER:

  • Add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the washing machine’s rinse cycle to remove detergent completely from clothes, eliminating that scratchy feel. This will not leave your clothes smelling like vinegar!

DETERGENT BOOSTER:

  • To reduce the amount of laundry detergent you need to use, add baking soda or washing soda, which softens the water and increases the detergent’s power.

FURNITURE:

  • Combine 2 teaspoons olive oil, 20 drops of pure essential lemon oil and ¼ cup white vinegar in a spray bottle. Mix well and apply using a soft cloth.

WOOD FLOORS:

  • Apply a thin coat of equal parts oil and white vinegar and rub in well, or;
  • Combine 1/8 cup liquid soap, ½ cup white vinegar or lemon juice, ½ cup fragrant herbal tea and 2 gallons warm water in a large bucket. Mop as usual.

AIR FRESHENERS:

  • Set out cedar blocks, an open box of baking soda or sachets of dried flowers and herbs.
  • Simmer whole spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves or allspice in water on the stove top.
  • Diffuse essential plant oils like lemon verbena and lavender.

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER:

  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water, or;
  • Mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water.

ALL-PURPOSE DISINFECTANT:

  • Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons white vinegar, ¼ teaspoons liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) and 3 cups hot water.

TUB AND TILE:

  • Mix 1 & 2/3 cups baking soda, ½ cup liquid castile soap and ½ cup water. Add 2 tablespoons white vinegar, or;
  • Use half a lemon with a sprinkle of baking soda on it.

Here are three favorites from Jennifer Taggart, The Smart Mama:

  • To clean your garbage disposal (or snow cone machine), make vinegar ice cubes. Just put 1 cup distilled white vinegar in an ice cube tray, fill the balance with water, and freeze. Once frozen, drop a couple down the disposal (or put in the snow cone machine) and run it. The vinegar helps disinfect and the ice helps remove any food stuck on the blades.
  • To clean your microwave, just use lemon slices. Place some in a microwave safe cup or bowl with 6 ounces or so of water. Heat on high for 3 minutes, let sit for 3 minutes (without opening the door), and then open and wipe clean. Crusted food should lift easily and your microwave will smell lemon fresh without hormone disrupting phthalates.
  • Dr. Bronner’s rose liquid castile soap and baking soda. I use this combination as a soft scrub for sinks and counter tops, and also to clean my toilet. Just mix them until you get a consistency you like. I prefer to place them in a old squeeze bottle and stir with a chop stick. If you are cleaning your toilet, just squirt under the rim and let sit. After 5 minutes or so, follow up with some vinegar and let foam. Then flush.

Some great shopping tips:

Look for products with the Green Seal. Green Seal, Inc. is the only organization that comprehensively evaluates non-toxic products.

READ LABELS. Companies are not required by law to list all product ingredients so only purchase brands that advertise full ingredient disclosure so you know what you’re bringing into your home.

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Enviroblog
The Environmental Working Group’s blog. Smart discussion of the latest science and news on toxins in your food, water, and air, and what government agencies should be doing to protect public health. Written by EWG staff.

A wonderful article to read before you begin your spring cleaning: Could be hard to avoid these 7 cleaning ingredients, but you should try

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

The Christopher Gabriel Program tote

The Christopher Gabriel Program is giving away a fabulous gift every week day from December 1st to December 24th. THE GREEN CLEANING GIVEAWAY IS TODAY (12/02/2009)! Donated by My Green Side, the prize is a fabulous The Christopher Gabriel Program canvas tote filled with some of my favorite cleaning products (when I’m not making my own). LISTEN TO WIN FROM 9AM TO NOON CT!

GREEN TIP: Replace those toxic cleaners with a greener version or, better yet,  make your own cleaning products. The ingredients you’ll need: water, baking soda, white vinegar, castile soap and elbow grease.

I recently read a wonderful Grist.org piece by Umbra Fisk, Umbra on making eco-friendly cleaning products. Umbra breaks down the ingredients:

  • Baking soda is the scrubber. Abrasive, soluble in water, and anti-fungal (or at least anti-some-fungi), baking soda requires a bit more elbow grease than chlorinated powders but leaves you with a working windpipe.
  • Vinegar is the deodorizer and sanitizer; its mildly acidic nature is anathema to bacteria and mold.
  • Soap is the … soap. It cleans away dirt. Don’t mix it with vinegar. Castile is a mild cleansing soap, usually liquid in form.
  • Other components of a good, healthy cleaning regimen include hot water and arm strength.

More great advice from Umbra:

Resist the television-induced notion that typhoid fever lurks in every corner of the house. In general, the kitchen is Bacteria Central and is the place that needs special attention. To wit, use common sense when handling meats, change dish rags and sponges often, keep the sink clean, and practice other habits recommended by Karen at the USDA. For most other places — the living room, the bathroom, the porch, etc. — soap, vinegar, and hot water are all fine.

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

LoveEarthAlways
LoveEarthAlways founders Glenn and Donna Fay created the site with a passionate commitment to sustainability, renewable energy and social responsibility. Their goal is to bring you information and opportunities to participate in changing the world through their blog and their outstanding products.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (Central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Jennifer Taggart is a mom of two, an environmental and consumer Jennifer Taggart with sonproduct attorney, a blogger and author of Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

Basically, I try to make more sustainable choices. Being green isn’t about buying green, but more about making do with what you got. That doesn’t mean that I don’t use the power of my purse to make green choices when I shop. When shopping, I prefer to buy from companies that support sustainable principles in all aspects, not just one product line. At home, we do all the basics- turn off lights and electronics, recycle, etc. My one big thing is trying to avoid disposable plastic. We use re-usable bags for shopping, including our produce bags. I buy in bulk when I can. The kids have re-usable stainless steel containers. It doesn’t always work – my husband bought a container of plastic wrap from Costco eight years ago that we are still using because I loathe it and hardly ever use it.

Your book, Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure, should be required reading for anyone who has children in their lives. What was your impetus for writing the book?

Thank you for the recommendation! I’ve gotten a fabulous response. One reader even tweeted that she tested her home for radon after reading my book, and found elevated levels. She is getting it fixed. That’s what motivates me, helping people out. But the impetus for the book was two miscarriages before the birth of my son. Those unexplained miscarriages prompted me to consider whether anything in my environment was causing or contributing to the miscarriages. Then, after having my son, I attended a weekly new mom/breastfeeding support class. Given my background and my interests, I was routinely asked questions about how much fish was safe, or how to read information from a termite company. The facilitator asked me to teach a class on going green and non-toxic for new moms, and from that, the book just flowed. I really wanted to provide a resource with easy-to-understand information for parents and caregivers.

I recently heard you on Martha Stewart radio giving some great green cleaning advice. What is one of your favorite green cleaning tips?

I have a couple. To clean your garbage disposal (or snow cone machine), make vinegar ice cubes. Just put 1 cup distilled white vinegar in an ice cube tray, fill the balance with water, and freeze. Once frozen, drop a couple down the disposal (or put in the snow cone machine), run it and voila! The vinegar helps disinfect and the ice helps remove any food stuck on the blades.

To clean your microwave, just use lemon slices. Place some in a microwave safe cup or bowl with 6 ounces or so of water. Heat on high for 3 minutes, let sit for 3 minutes (without opening the door), and then open and wipe clean. Crusted food should lift easily and your microwave will smell lemon fresh without hormone disrupting phthalates.

Finally, my favorite is Dr. Bronner’s rose liquid castile soap and baking soda. I use this combination as a soft scrub for sinks and counter tops, and also to clean my toilet. Just mix them until you get a consistency you like. I prefer to place them in a old squeeze bottle and stir with a chop stick. If you are cleaning your toilet, just squirt under the rim and let sit. After 5 minutes or so, follow up with some vinegar and left foam. Then flush.

You recently blogged about a new regulation that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued exempting various materials from the lead content limits for children’s products in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). As an expert, what kind of clothing would you tell parents to look for to ensure that their child is not getting exposed to lead?

The CPSIA has banned lead in children’s products above 300 parts per million (ppm) and in paints and coatings above 90 ppm. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that you don’t still find children’s products with lead. Most fabrics do not have lead in them and that is why the CPSC issue the exemption for certain materials, including textiles. After testing thousands of fabrics, the only fabrics I have found with let are some synthetic felts, certain leathers and some screen prints. However, you can find lead in some buttons, rhinestones and crystals, zippers, eyelets, etc. Most of those aren’t going to result in an exposure to a child, however. Lead is also sometimes used to stabilize polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. PVC plastic must be stabilized and it is usually a metallic salt, often lead. PVC is also bad for the environment and can contain hormone disrupting phthalates. So, I always recommend that people skip PVC, which includes many fake leather items.

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