non-toxic cleaners

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Sophie Uliano is a girl after my own heart, she understands that living sustainably is all about common sense and she makes it all Do It Gorgeouslyhappen with grace and charm. I was excited to get a copy of her newest book Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products and was overwhelmed (in a good way) with the plethora of awesome information.

Do It Gorgeously is a fabulous collection of green projects and recipes covering nearly all areas of life. There is so much information packed into this 375-page book, from Organic Teething Biscuits and Double Mint Foot Lotion to Deodorizing Car Spray and non-toxic cleaners. Not only does Sophie give us fantastic recipes and tips, she explains why we should keep ourselves and our homes toxin free.

This book is a must for anyone who wants to live healthier while staying within your budget. It’s also a great gift idea. You could make, for example, a jar of Lavender and Rosemary Moisturizer and give it and the book to one of your favorite people.

And to make the book even more impressive, Sophie is donating 10% of the profits to Canswerlink. They provide non-toxic cleaning supplies and services to cancer patients going through chemo/radiation/hospice.

I came away from this book with a renewed sense of empowerment. I can make my own beauty products and save a bunch of money. I can fix a leaking toilet and save a call to an expensive plumber. I can make my own organic mustard. There are so many things we can do daily to improve our lives and our environment.

Learn more about Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products at GorgeouslyGreen.com.

Thank you Sophie for sharing your gift of chic green living!

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by Wendy Gabriel

I just discovered an awesome new website. And, no it’s not Twilight Earth where I Mighty Nestrecently became a contributing writer… a dream come true… but I digress. It’s a site aptly named, Mighty Nest, and it promises: simple choices, mighty impact and since we’re all about the Simple Tips here at My Green Side, I was hooked at the tagline.

A little background. Mighty Nest is the creation of husband and wife team Chris and Kristen Conn who were incredibly frustrated by the amount of research they had to do to make sure their first child was safe from toxins in their home. Not only did they have to research each chemical but then they had to scour the web to find safe products. They decided they would create a better way… and MightyNest was born.

This is basically the same reason many blogs were started, including My Green Side, only they went us one better. They don’t just blog about it, they give you all the information, shopping and blogs all in one place.

MightyNest.com consists of three sections:

LEARNING: A collection of carefully selected articles from a variety of trusted sources combined with original content. This section is a resource center for parents, intended to shorten their learning curve and save them time. Articles are organized by topic (e.g. Building a Healthy Nursery, Cleaning the Healthy Way) or concern (e.g. BPA, Phthalates, Lead) making it easier for them to find what they need. Parents can also find tips on simple and effective ways to create a healthier home for their families.

SHOPPING: An online store offering products that are not only non-toxic and eco-friendly, but also unique and well designed. Parents can learn more about each product through a combination of user and expert product reviews. At launch, MightyNest features a selection of products from more than 30 companies including Plan Toys, W.S. Badger Company, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Mod Green Pod, Klean Kanteen, Snack Taxi, Mimi The Sardine, Green to Grow, Naturepedic, Chapter One Organics, Kinderville and more. And they promise to continuously add products and new companies that meet their standards.

BLOGGING: A compilation of blogs bringing together parents with various points of view to discuss the rewards and challenges of providing a healthy home for their families.

“Our dream is for MightyNest to be a place where people feel motivated and empowered to make changes, not discouraged and judged,” said Chris Conn, co-founder, MightyNest. “We truly believe that everyone can make simple choices that have a mighty impact on the people they love and as a result, on the world around them.”

I know where I’ll be headed the next time I have a questions about providing a healthy environment for my little ones. I’ll see you there.

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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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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:   Use a half a lemon with a sprinkle of baking soda on it to scrub your tub!

I learned this green cleaning tip on a radio show.  Two of the guests on the show, Meg and Tara, own their own cleaning company and they only use healthy, non-toxic, biodegradable products and cleaners.  

Since having children I have tried to use non-toxic cleaners.  I use baking soda, vinegar and water to clean almost everything with the assorted Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyers products thrown in.  I was also using a few drops of lavender essential oil to make everything smell better.  And since lavender is a natural disinfectant I thought it was giving the vinegar an extra boost (my hubby finds the scent of vinegar abhorrent). 

What I discovered was the lavender you get at the health food store is only good for making things smell good.  It doesn’t have the other benefits because it’s not therapeutic grade.  I didn’t know that! 

Now I have to find a therapeutic-grade lavender oil supplier (luckily, I think I can get it through Meg and Tara) because I am addicted to the stuff and can’t wait to get my hands on the real stuff!  I use it for scenting my daughter’s baths to promote calm; I put in on their pillows and sheets to help them sleep; I put a few drops in a bottle with water so my five-year-old can “help” me clean.  It smells wonderful and she can spray it on virtually anything.  Including my husband.

And, I learned tons about lemon.  It kills the germs that cause meningitis, pneumonia, diphtheria, tuberculosis and staph infections.  It inhibits mold growth and aflatoxin production. 

Here’s a great article about cleaning everything imaginable by The Green Guide.

Be Clean. Be Green.

Portions originally posted December 3, 2007.

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