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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 http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

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. 


Throw open the windows; it’s time for spring cleaning!

I am so excited and honored to be presenting at St. Michael’s Anglican Church for their Healthy St. Michael’s Series.   Come join the fun!

Spring Clean

Throw open the windows; it’s time for spring cleaning! Join the St Michael’s Anglican Church for an Introduction to Homemade Cleaners. Homemade cleaners can save you money and are better for your family and the environment. Participants will discover how common pantry items can be used to create greener alternatives to household cleaning supplies. This workshop will include the opportunity to create and test out a tub/tile cleaner, wood polish, glass cleaner, stain remover among others. Participants will leave with a booklet of recipes cards all products discussed in the workshop as well as a sample of dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent.

Free Admission
Open to the Public

Location:  St. Michael’s Anglican Church 2211 Margaret Wallace Road, Matthews, NC 28105

Call:  (704) 537-7777 for more information

Fall’s Greening Traditions

The Fall Season brings thoughts of Halloween, family gatherings and colorful leaves on trees heralding in the upcoming holiday season.  In our household Fall represents all these things but it also heralds in a period that we can really be “green”.  As a single mother, of a very active and all boy 8 year old, I am continually searching for ways to save money but wanting to keep and expand on our family’s green journey.  So how do we make Fall green and while saving the green?

Pile of leaves (autumn)
Image by Aarthi via Flickr

Well, what could be better than on a clear crisp fall day raking the leaves in the yard into a great big pile and then letting the giggling excitement ensue that ends up in a raucous melee of tumbling and rolling in the leaves.   Afterwards it just takes a quick rake onto the tarp and then into our compost bin.  By putting the leaves into the compost bin, and adding a little water, our kitchen scraps, post Halloween pumpkins, lint from the dryer, vacuum cleaner debris, and holiday greenery by Spring we produce the luscious “black gold” of compost that we use in the spring to replenish our gardens of vital nutrients.  In addition to the leaves, every year my son will select a “treasure”, maybe a toy, bottle or some other item and we bury it in the compost pile.  In the spring, we have a treasure hunt to harvest the compost pile and find the item to see what happened to it.  Not only do we save money on commercial fertilizers, but it also reduces the chemicals introduced into our environment.

As Fall nears and the summer harvest comes to an end, for most it is time to put away the spring/summer garden supplies.  Not in our house!  Those wire tomato trellises don’t make their way into the trash and we don’t try to store them; we turn them into a ring of ghostly goblins, followed by thankful pilgrims and later angelic angels.  We go to friends’ houses and pickup pine cones to make natural feeders for the birds and holiday decorations and we always make sure to make plenty to use as gifts at Christmas time.

Another Fall tradition is that we sit down as a family and figure out what “green” challenge we are going to undertake over the winter months.  Last year’s challenge was to see how little trash we can take to the curbside.  Other challenges have been:  how many days can we pack a waste free lunch and “Outen the Light” challenge.  And yes, some years we do more than one challenge and many of these challenges have just naturally morphed into our everyday life once the challenge is over.   So what will be your families challenge this year?