All posts by Amanda Christian


Did you make a resolution to go greener in 2015?  Maybe you made a resolution to save a little green in 2015?  Whether you did or didn’t maybe now is a good time to make a few and simple changes, follow this 15 part series for my favorite list of 15 to kick off the New Mid-Year (or anytime of the year) Greener You.  Read on for Step 4 and if you missed Step 1 ; Step 2 or Step 3.  So read on for Step 4.

Step 4.  Switch over your cleaning products.

Picture courtesy of

It’s no secret that I hate to shop, so when I started to make my own cleaning products over seven (7) years ago.  I celebrated as that was one less aisle I had to go down at the grocery store or mega box store.  Not only did I not have to go down that aisle but I didn’t have to hold my breath.  Now I am sure you are asking yourself why did I hold my breath?  Well it seems I have a fragrance sensitivity.  Nothing would bring on the sneezes, runny nose and throat wanting to close up faster than going down the detergent aisle at my friendly grocery store other than the perfume center in the mall.  This was due to the synthetic fragrances these manufacturers used.  The only way I made it, was to hold my breath and go in and get out as fast as I could or bribe my son to go get whatever we needed.  And silly me, I brought the stuff home and used in our house!  Go figure!  At least it wasn’t concentrated with kajillion boxes, sprayers and containers of the stuff.

So what I have found out since is that most of the ingredients are derived from petroleum, not so nice chemicals and synthetic fragrances. 

Did you know?

  • Household cleaners are NOT subject to FDA approval
  • Household cleaners are NOT required to list any or all ingredients
  • Products can be marketed without testing or government approval of ingredients.
  • Europe and other countries have banned many of the ingredients we continue to use in the U.S. because they practice the “Precautionary Principle”
  • Household cleaners are the leading contributors to indoor pollution and are linked to
    • Asthma
    • Allergies
    • And other health concerns.
  • Most cleaning products are loaded with synthetic fragrances and petroleum-distilled chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that vaporize into the air and cause skin and respiratory irritation, allergies, and asthma.
  • Wastewater treatment plants don’t remove some of the chemicals in detergents, discharging them into nearby waterways where they threaten water quality, fish and other wildlife.
  • Many companies use The “FRAGRANCE” Loop Hole to add subversive ingredients into their product. This is because fragrances are considered trade secrets so the ingredients do not need to be disclosed.

 And these are just some of the highlights!!  So no thank you, not in my house.  If you want more data or facts around your everyday cleaners I suggest you visit Environmental Working Group (EWG) Consumer Guide “EWG’S GUIDE TO HEALTHY CLEANING”.  They can tell you in much more detail and much better than I can about what is in your cleaning products!

Screenshot 2015-07-06 22.10.39 (2)

So what is a person to do… 

Well there are a ton of make it yourself cleaners out there on the world wide web.  Check them out, but keep in mind, what works for one person depends on the dirt and the grime, the area they live in and the water they use (hard, soft, bottled, tap, etc.). So don’t give up!

You also might have to use a little of what my grandmother used to call elbow grease (a little muscle behind your scrubbing) instead of letting the scrubbing bubbles do the work for you.  So my recommendation is try a few and find what works best for your family.

What I love most about these recipes is that you can always tweak them with what you have on hand and the ingredients are easily obtained.  I mean we are talking basically white vinegar, olive oil, baking soda, water maybe some hydrogen peroxide, borax, washing soda and some castile soap [bar and Liquid] thrown into the mix.  Most of this stuff I already had and I bet you do to!

Question:  What is your most favorite “Make-It-Yourself” Cleaning recipe?  Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter. 


How long does it take for …

True story: aluminum goes from your recycling bin to being back on the store shelf in 60 days, limiting the need for (and environmental damage from) mining new materials.  Information from:  RecycleBank


Did you make a resolution to go greener in 2015?  Maybe you made a resolution to save a little green in 2015?  Whether you did or didn’t maybe now is a good time to make a few and simple changes, follow this 15 part series for my favorite list of 15 to kick off the New Mid-Year (or anytime of the year) Greener You.  Read on for Step 3 and if you missed Step 1 or Step 2

Step 3.  STOP!! the paper coming into your home… and some suggestions of what to do with it when it does come into your home.

Image courtesy of Judith E. Bell via Flickr
Image courtesy of Judith E. Bell via Flickr

Let’s face it, paper in form of junk mail, statements, catalogues, newspapers and magazines all add to the clutter and storage space in our homes and contribute to our landfills if we don’t recycle them.  Not to mention the time to sort through, shredding and then tossing into the recycle bin (or horrors into the trash.

But Amanda, how do we stop this influx of paper? Pull up a chair and I will tell you how.

  • Statements, Invoices, Bills: Most if not all major banks, credit card companies, utilizes offer online statements with a choice to send the statement to in email or store it on their servers.  If you need a statement all you have to do is go online and retrieve it.  Another major perk is you can set up alerts for when your statement is ready and when payments are due.
  • Junk Mail and catalogues: This one is a little bit harder because mailing companies can be relentless but here are six (6) steps from EcoCycle that has reduced our family’s junk mail 90%.  Stop the future influx of junk mail by not completing the additional information requested on warranty cards outside of the information needed to register your item.  You know what I mean the age, marital status, household income, etc.  See more about this marketing gold mine on
  • Newspapers and Magazines: Stop the presses! Discontinue your paper and magazines subscriptions as most of the articles and pictures are available on line.  If you just absolutely have to have a hard copy, reduce your newspaper subscriptions to weekend only and make sure you recycle those puppies responsibly.

Now what to do about those pesky paper items that do make it to your mailbox or household?

  • The simplest answer is throw it all into your recycle bin.
  • But in our household we shred almost everything that comes by post or is thrown at the foot of our drive including old school work.  We especially shred those bank or credit card statements or bills as they should be shredded to protect your information.  Personally, I don’t like to place my shredded documents (statements, old tax returns etc) into the recycle bin as this is no longer a guarantee that your personal information is safe.  See this blog on for more information how this shredded information can and is being harvested.

Picture courtesy of:  David Morris via Flickr

  • Uses for Shredded Material.
    • Packing material: when we need to ship an item.  To save on the mess we might put it in a really old storage bag or one of those innocuous plastic bags from the store.
    • Magazine’s and colored flyers make great confetti or colorful filler for those Easter baskets or gifts.
    • Make your own Fire Starters (my son’s a Boy Scout so this a must in our house for those rainy camping days, plus they make great gifts).
    • Make your own Paper!
    • Recycle it in your compost bin.
    • Use it as a base for mulch in your garden. This is what we do, not only does it help retain moisture and keep those fruits and veggies off the ground but we use a lot less mulch.
    • Cover those bird, hamster, rabbit cage bottoms.

Question 1: How do you use stop paper coming into your home?  Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter.

Question 2: What creative ways do you use reuse or recycle the paper coming into your home?  Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter.