green cleaning

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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: 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.

The EPA also ranks indoor air pollution among the top environmental dangers, and much of this pollution comes from common cleaning products. Immediate effects of exposure to indoor pollutants can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as intensified symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Long-term effects (following long or repeated exposure to indoor pollutants) include respiratory diseases, heart disease, and even cancer.

“With spring upon us, it’s that time when millions of Americans are prepping for a major home cleaning,” according to EWG’s Director of Research, Renée Sharp. “But lurking in many available and widely used cleaning products are highly toxic chemicals associated with a number of serious health problems. The good news is there are plenty of products that will get the job done without exposing you and your family to these hazardous substances.”

Despite the potentially serious consequences of exposure to indoor air pollutants, the government doesn’t regulate or assess the safety (or even labeling) of the vast majority of cleaning products on the market. The EPA, meanwhile, only regulates cleaners that contain registered pesticides. This means that consumers are basically on their own when it comes to choosing safe cleaning products — a task that’s way easier said than done.

Source: Greatist.com and Environmental Working Group.

For reviews of the toxicity of hundreds of household cleaners, check out the Environmental Working Group’s guide at http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners.

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 web pick of the week:

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.

For more spring cleaning tips and the top cleaners to use and to avoid, visit http://www.ewg.org/release/spring-cleaning-ewg-s-tips-what-use-and-what-avoid.

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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 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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I LOVE to talk about companies that get it. The ones that understand we don’t want products that are toxic for our Earth Friendly Productschildren, our pets and our planet. That understand we want products that really work but we refuse to buy into the notion that to work they need to have ingredients that deplete our natural resources and make us sick. One such company is Earth Friendly Products. Truly, their name says it all.

Founded in 1967 by a chemist dedicated to providing superior cleaning results using only natural, non-toxic ingredients, Earth Friendly Products (EFP) has been built on science. Each of their products has been developed in their own laboratories to be tough on dirt yet gentle and safe for you, your family and the environment. All EFP products are made from patented non-toxic, biodegradable, plant-based formulas and are free of any petrochemicals, dyes, ammonia, bleach, dioxane or other harmful substances. And because they control their own manufacturing, EFP assures the highest standards of quality control and total commitment to sustainability. That’s why the United States Environmental Protection Agency has awarded them its Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative Champion level recognition, as well as a 100% Green Power User distinction for their use of clean, renewable energy from solar, wind and low-impact hydropower. They are also committed to supporting local economies and creating jobs in the USA. They source the raw materials for our cleaners locally and all of our products, even those sold overseas, are produced in our factories right here in America.

I was SO thrilled to receive a box full of awesomeness (is that a word?) from them. Here’s what was in the Safeguard Your Home box:

  • ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent: This 2X concentrated liquid laundry detergent cleans and protects your clothes.The Goddesses Made entirely from plants, with a built-in fabric softener. 
  • Dishmate Liquid Dishwashing Cleaner: Made from only plant-based, highest quality ingredients, Dishmate comes in five natural essential oil scents. This ultra-concentrated, tough-on-grease dishwashing liquid is so mild, you can use it as a hand soap.
  • Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner: Made with parsley essential oil and plant-based cleaners, this all purpose cleaner can be used on any water-safe surface. Safe for granite and stone surfaces. This cleaner was recently named “Most Addictive Cleaner” by Real Simple Magazine.
  • Wave Gel 2X Ultra High Efficiency: This is the first patented pH balanced dishwashing machine detergent. Available in Lavender essential oil or fragrance-free Free and Clear. Non-caustic and phosphate free (no alkalis or chlorines, either.) Cleans and shines dishes and glassware without etching. AND the lavender (which is NOP certified organic lavender essential oil) smells AMAZING. I’m a huge fan of lavender and very picky about the smell, this product has one of the most wonderful lavender scents I’ve ever smelled in a cleaning product.
  • Eco Breeze Fabric Refreshener: This product suppresses unwanted odors and clears them away. The all natural formula is safe to use in virtually any area where odor control is needed.
  • Window Cleaner: Using an age old ingredient, vinegar, and a little help from coconut based soap, this product cleans windows, mirrors and other hard surface areas. It doesn’t streak or leave a film residue after use.

I was struck by the smell of the products… they all smelled great and didn’t smell chemically. I was impressed by the Wave Auto Dishwasher Gelingredients. All the products were made with things I could actually pronounce. I was also impressed by what was NOT in the products. All the products are free of any petrochemicals, dyes, ammonia, bleach, dioxane or other harmful substances.

The bottom line… EVERYTHING did exactly what is said it was going to do and I felt confident that I was using products that wouldn’t adversely impact my family or the planet.

For more information, visit http://www.ecos.com/.

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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 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: 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.

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@gmail.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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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Detail the interior of your car yourself. You’ll save money and have a clean interior using safe, non-toxic and earth friendly products to protect your investment, your health and the environment.

The environment inside your car can impact your immediate and long-term health, as well as the world around us. Just as we have learned that the indoor air in our homes is polluted with off-gassing materials and the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) found in cleaning supplies, so is the air in our car interiors. This is important because the average American spends 400 hours or more a year here while commuting and running daily errands.

After a detailing at the local dealer, a car interior can be filled with chemical irritants from the carpet and upholstery cleaner, polishes, protectants, and perfumes used in the process. The promise of regaining that new car smell indicates the presence of these toxic chemicals. There are other ways to maintain the interior of your car and be health conscious. And staying on top of minor daily and weekly maintenance eliminates the need for the heavy cleaning artillery later.

Source: GreenCar.com

With some help from Diane MacEachern, author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, here is a list of green options for maintaining your car’s interior:

  • Clean your windows. Make your own window cleaner. The commercial cleaning products are loaded with toxic chemicals.

Recipe:  Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with two cups water in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of pulp-free lemon juice for fragrance (optional). Apply directly on a lint-free cotton cloth so the cleaner doesn’t spray all over the car. Once you wipe the windows clean, buff them with a micro-fiber cloth for extra shine.

  • Take trash with you. Whenever you leave the car, take your trash with you avoiding the need to have an air freshener to mask any nasty smells from something that should’ve been taken out of the car.
  • Open the windows for a few minutes while you’re driving to let fresh air circulate through the car.
  • Use hot soapy water to wipe down interior doors, handles and vinyl seats.
  • Rinse off floor mats. To clean really dirty mats, lay them on your driveway and pour white vinegar in them. Let sit. Rinse out vinegar and swipe clean. Avoid letting vinegar go into your grass, it will kill it. I poured my vinegar into the cracks in my driveway to eliminate the weeds that were growing there.
  • At a car wash, don’t let them spray the interior with air freshener when they finish vacuuming. If they’ve done their job properly, the car should smell just fine without it.
  • Use a whisk broom or hand-held vacuum to remove dirt and dust from the floors and seat cushions.
  • Keep a cloth napkin within reach so you can wipe up spills when they occur.
  • Dust surfaces with a damp cloth once a week to keep grime from building up.
  • For spots on the steering wheel or console, sprinkle a little baking soda on a wet towel and gently rub. Wipe with a clean damp cloth.

Source: Big Green Purse

Ingredients to avoid in car care products from Eco Touch:

1. Synthetic fragrances/scents – used to mask the smell of the chemicals used in the product. Manufacturers typically opt for the synthetic version of a chemical because it is far less expensive than their natural counterpart. Essential oils are a much better alternative than synthetics.

2. Synthetic dyes/colorants – change the appearance of a formula so it is more pleasing for the consumer. The majority of dyes derive from coal tars or petroleum. Coal tar contains various toxins and carcinogens.

3. Teflons, Fluropolymers– used by car care manufacturers as a gloss/protective agent for car surfaces. Traditionally found in quick detailers, car waxes and car wash products. During the production of teflons and fluropolymers, a hazardous chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is used. PFOA is a toxicant and carcinogen in animals. In people, it has been linked to birth defects, increased cancer rates and changes to the immune system.

4. Kerosene– a synthetic distillate which is used as a grease cutter. Kerosene can damage lung tissues and dissolve the fatty tissue that surrounds nerve cells. Found in all purpose cleaners and degreasers. [1]

5. Methanol – a solvent derived from wood and petroleum. It is acutely toxic and can cause blindness. Found in window cleaners and windshield wash.

6. Sodium Hydroxide (lye, caustic soda, white caustic, soda lye) – extremely strong caustic substance that damages skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Blindness is reported in animals exposed to as little as 2% dilution for just one minute.

7. Ammonia – a corrosive substance which causes burning of the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract and can result in blindness, lung damage or death. Boosts the nitrogen levels in soil and water which adversely affect marine and animal life.

8. Phosphates – phosphorus occurs naturally in rock formations in the earth’s crust, usually as phosphate. They are of high nutritive value to plants and animals at normal levels in the environment. However, phosphates are also used as detergent builders in some car care products, which causes aquatic plant life to flourish, thus decreasing oxygen levels for other organisms. Found in car wash soaps.

9. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)– Polyvinyl Chloride is recognized by the recycling symbol #3. PVC is highly toxic because during its production, it is mixed with softening chemicals known as plasticizers, the most common variety being phthalates. Exposure to PVC and plasticizers have been linked to an increased risk of the following: hormonal imbalance, reproductive problems, allergies in children, brain cancer and tumors. PVC is used in packaging for several major car care manufacturers. The sensible alternative would be to switch to #1 PET or #2 HDPE.

[1] – Healthy-Communications.com

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

GreenerCars.org  
This is the official site for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) Green Book. It is a unique consumer resource providing Green Scores rating the environmental friendliness of every vehicle on market. The site also includes green driving tips, news and resources.

Greenercars.org is part of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

ACEEE is a Washington, D.C.-based independent, non-profit research group dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. Read more about the organization at its site.

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

GREEN TIP: Switch to green cleaning products to improve your WDAY Green Tipshealth, lessen adverse environmental impacts and save money.

Did you know 25% of chemicals in the cleaning products used in schools are toxic and contribute to poor indoor air quality, smog, cancer, asthma, and other disease? There is a better way to clean. Source: Cleaning for Healthy Schools

According to Janelle Sorensen with Healthy Child Healthy World, “Luckily, safer cleaning products are now widely available and cost effective. As a result, child care centers and schools across the country are switching to green cleaners to improve health, increase staff performance, lessen adverse environmental impacts, reduce potential liabilities, and save money.”

Janelle wrote a fabulous article entitled, “Getting Your Child’s School or Child Care Center to Clean Green.” on the Healthy Child Healthy World’s blog. She gives us the steps on how to get your childcare provider or school to make the switch:

1. Get informed. Use the resources linked here to get up to speed on the benefits of going green and the tools available to help schools and child care centers make the switch. It’s much easier for them to address the “problem” if you have solutions in hand.

2. Talk to someone with the authority to do something. That may be your school’s superintendent, a school board member or the manager of your child care center, or they may direct you straight to whomever is in charge of maintaining the facility.

3. Approach every person you talk to as an ally, not an enemy. Remember the fundamentals of How to Win Friends and Influence People – like not criticizing people, showing appreciation for their work, smiling. Trust me, you will get much farther much faster if you employ kindness, gratitude, and diplomacy. You want to be seen as an invaluable asset, not as an incessant nag.

4. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they are doing their job to the best of their ability. School and child care professionals are typically overworked, underpaid, with a lot to do and inadequate funding to get it done. Make yourself available. Keep asking “what can I do to help?”

Here are some of My Green Side’s favorite green cleaning tips:

Tub and tile cleaner: Use half a lemon with a sprinkle of baking soda on it to scrub your tub and tiles. I also clean my kitchen sink and counter tops using this method.

Oven cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda in your oven and spray it with water, making it into a paste. Let it sit, periodically spraying it when it dries. Then wipe off. Your oven will be sparkling clean without the toxic fumes.

Window cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with water and ¼ cup white vinegar. Use a soft cloth or newspaper to wipe.

Also, check out The Green Guide, it has some great DIY Household Cleaners including this great tip: spraying hydrogen peroxide and vinegar right after one another is just as effective at killing germs as lung-irritating, stream-polluting chlorine bleach.

My Green Side’s weekly website pick:

Green Living Ideas
A great site that provides ideas, tips, and information to help you improve the environmental sustainability of every aspect of your life: home energy, green building and remodeling, cars, food, waste recycling—and everything in between. They’ve assembled the world’s top green living authors and experts to bring you the latest info on green and sustainable living.

Green Living Idea’s editorial voice is driven by founder Sean Daily, and implemented by an amazing staff of regular and guest bloggers.

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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