Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!!

Happy Earth Day everyone! According to the great and mighty Wikipedia, Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord (what were his parents thinking?) Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970.  Since then, Earth Day has become a global celebration of awareness.  I think it's wonderful to dedicate one day of the year to the planet we call home. But personally, I think every day should be Earth Day!

My week filled up fast so I didn't get to attend the celebration in downtown Phoenix like I'd hoped. But that's okay. I celebrated in my own way. I told my daughter about what Earth Day is, what it means, and let her make a watering can out of a recycled milk jug to help her grasp the concept of what recycling actually is. She is well trained as to which trash items go into the recycling bin, but I don't think she really understands what happens when things get recycled.  

As for me, I celebrated by placing a HUGE order with the good people at Seventh Generation and cleaning my house with green products I made myself. That's right. Not one store bought, chemical laden spray or scrub. Cleaning products were one of the first places I started making changes. Why buy organic produce if I'm just going to plop it down on a counter cleaned with chemicals?

Not to write off all store bought stuff. There are several reputable companies who make green cleaning products that work very well. I love Seventh Generation's Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner in Thyme and Lemongrass scent, and I use their Emerald Cyprus and Fir toilet bowl cleaner. Method also makes a great tub scrub aptly named Le Scrub. It uses finely milled marble to scrub the nasties away and it smells divine. That said, anything labeled "green" or "environmentally friendly" usually has an inflated price tag to go along with it. The two aforementioned companies are quite affordable compared to most but for many of my cleaning needs, I just make my own. Some things to have on hand for making your own cleaning products:
  • vinegar-cleans,'s wonderful!
  • baking soda-good for making scrubs
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • rubbing alcohol
  • borax
  • liquid castile soap
  • essential oils-makes things smell yummy and adds antiseptic properties to your concoctions.
  • spray bottles-recycled or dollar store buys  
Did you write it all down? Good. So now that your pantry is full of stuff, what do you do with it? Here are my FAVORITE recipes that I use in my home, and now, you can too! 
Lavender Disinfecting Spirits Spray (adapted from Renee Loux)

1/4 cup vodka ( Put the Grey Goose away. Use the cheap stuff!) 
1/2 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
1 cup water
15 drops lavender oil (or whatever you fancy) 

In a spray bottle, combine all the ingredients and swirl to mix. Don't shake or the active oxygen in the peroxide will go flat and lose it's action. Spray the surface and wipe with a clean cloth or towel. I spray EVERYTHING with this. Keeps indefinitely! 

Super Duper Window and Glass Cleaner
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
3 1/2 cups water

Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray on dirty windows, glass stovetops, ect...dry with a crumpled newspaper. 

Mopping Solution

1/3 cup white vinegar
2 gallons hot water
15 to 20 drops essential oils

Mix ingredients in a bucket and mop till your heart's content! 

Soft Scrub

1/4 cup borax
1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, combine borax and liquid soap to make a smooth paste. Stir in the lemon juice and mix well. Put a small amount of paste on a clean, damp sponge, apply to sinks, countertops, tubs, ect..then rinse off and dry surface with a clean rag.

If you'll look to your right (------------> that way) you'll notice I've provided links to help you find the things you need to make your own products, as well as links to the products I've tried and like. 

Happy Cleaning!!

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