Sunday, March 24, 2013

Greener Cleaners Part 2

I’m sure you’ve all been anxiously waiting for Part 2. ….not really I know but a girl can dream can’t she.

Here are a few recipes I’ve tried and they all worked well for me.  They are all very easy and only require a couple of ingredients that are easily found at your local grocery store, with the exception of Essential Oils but you can get them at the Bulk Barn and at some grocery stores.  If you are here in HRM you can pick them up at Casaroma Wellness at Alderney Landing.  Next time you’re at the Alderney Farmers Market stop buy and pick up a couple to try.

If you’re on Pinterest you’ve probably seen this one 450 times.  I kept seeing it and have wanted to try it for myself for quite awhile.  Unfortunately lemons have been a little on the pricey side around here and I just didn’t want to spend the money in case the recipe was a fail.  So when I saw bags and bags of lemons 50% off at my local grocery store I had to buy them up and give it a try.

Citrus Cleaner

What you will need

  • Quart size mason jar
  • white vinegar
  • citrus peels (lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit – any combination will work)
  • spray bottle

Fill jar at least half way with citrus peel. Fill rest of the way with vinegar.  Cover and set aside for 2 – 3 weeks (the longer you let it sit the stronger it gets).  After the time has passed strain the peels out with a fine mesh strainer.  Mix with water in your spray bottle 1:1

lemon cleaner

*Note – Don’t let the juice go to waste.  I juiced the lemons froze the juice in ice cube trays and the put in a storage bag in the freezer for use at a later date in recipes or you could make up some lemonade if that’s your thing.

I tested this on our gas stove top.  This is the one thing I hate about the gas stove, trying to keep it clean is a full time job in itself. For this test I left it alone for 7 days.  It killed me to look at the disgusting mess but I wanted to see if this cleaner was going to cut it.

stove before and after

You can see for yourself, it did a great job on this disgusting mess.

Up next… Foaming Hand Soap

What you’ll need

  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (Liquid Castille Soap)
  • 1 old foaming hand soap pump, thoroughly cleaned out.
  • distilled water (preferably) tap water will work too.
  • Tea Tree Essential oil (optional)

Fill bottle about 1/4 full with the liquid soap.  Fill the rest of the way with water.  Add between 10-20 drops of Tea Tree oil if you would like your soap to have antibacterial properties. 

That’s it..  easy peasy!

foaming handsoap

*Note – You can buy Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap at the Superstore or online, is a good site. There are different scents (almond, peppermint, lavender and they have unscented as well).

Fabric Softener

I haven’t used fabric softener for many many years, I either don’t use anything or just add some plain white vinegar in place of the fabric softener.  Trust me you’re clothes won’t smell like vinegar, but if you want to add some scent just add the essential oil of your choice (lavender, wild orange, peppermint, vanilla whatever you want)

What you’ll need

  • 1 quart mason jar
  • 1 tsp rubbing alcohol (emulsifier)
  • 25 – 30 drops of essential oil
  • white vinegar

Combine vinegar, essential oil, and rubbing alcohol in mason jar.  Shake to combine.  Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup to the fabric softener dispenser in your washer.

Stainless Steel Cleaner

  • cleaning cloth
  • Olive Oil
  • white vinegar

Put olive oil on your cleaning cloth.  Clean surface.  Either use a separate cloth or just turn over the one you just used and put vinegar on your cloth.  Go over surface you just cleaned with the oil.  That’s it you’re done.  I’ve tried this on my fridge and it gets rid of all those annoying smudges.

Sink Cleanser (You don’t need Comet)

Sprinkle Baking Soda all over your sink. Use a wet sponge to scrub the sink and rinse well when done. If you have some stubborn spots you could use white vinegar instead of water to wet your sponge for some added umph

Here are a couple that I haven’t tried but they look like good combinations.

All Purpose Cleaner (tubs, tiles, counters, etc)

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1 tbsp borax
  • 10 drops essential oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients, mix well and pour into spray bottle.

All Purpose Scour (non abrasive for tubs, tiles, sinks etc)

  • 1 2/3 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar

Combine.  Pour into spray bottle.  Shake well before each use and rinse well.

There you have it.  You can find a lot of natural cleaning recipes on line.  You may have to try a couple to get one that you really like but they are worth trying.

~ Jackie


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Greener Cleaners Part 1


Hello out there, it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday here in Porter’s Lake, I hope the sun is shining where you are and you get a chance to get out and enjoy it.  Only 4 more days till spring is officially here, which means we’re getting closer to gardening season…YAY!! Speaking of gardening, it was really nice here the other day so I though I’d venture outside to check out the veggie garden and maybe clean out what remained from last year.  Much to my surprise I found my garlic peeking it’s head out of the dirt already! 

Moving on to the subject at hand…. greener cleaners.  My foray into more natural cleaners has been a gradual one.  The more I learn the more I try to move away from commercial cleaners as much as possible.  There are some good natural cleaners out there and some that claim to be “natural” or “green” but like a lot of products (including foods) on the market today those words are just an advertising hook.  A way to get your attention, so you think you are doing the right thing for the environment and your family, and of course to dig a little deeper into your bank account. 

harmful fumes

When we clean our homes the chemicals that are in the products remain in the air and we breathe them in.  On top of that we absorb these chemicals through our skin and even from residue left on dishes and cutlery.

Some of the nasty stuff you will find in these products are

  • Coal Tar Dyes – Derived from petrochemicals and could be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic.  Found in most cleaning productsThat’s not the only place you’ll find them though.  They are also in shampoos, toothpaste and in our food.  Think M&M’s, Kraft Dinner; Jello Pudding, the list is endless. 
  • DEA (Diethaolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanalomine) -  Carcinogenic properties.  DEA is a mild skin and severe eye irritant.  MEA is know to induce asthma.  Found in – Liquid laundry detergent, dish soap, all purpose cleaner.
  • Fragrance Chemicals - Can trigger allergies, asthma, and migraines.  Phthalates are another common fragrance ingredient.  These have been shown to damage the kidneys, liver and reproductive system (reduced sperm count in men).  Air fresheners contain a whole host of chemical/synthetic fragrances which can include cancer causing benzene and formaldehyde
  • Phosphates – Act as fertilizer in water. When these chemicals reach our waterways they can cause harmful algae blooms and increase weed growth.  When this happens it can cause the oxygen levels in the water to decrease and if the level of oxygen decreases the fish will start to die off.  Found in – Dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent

These are just a few in the very long list of toxic chemicals found in our household products.  You might be saying, these things can’t be that bad if they are allowed in the products we use (not to mention the food we eat).  There must be regulations, these things would be tested to see that they are safe, and to find out what the threshold is for a “safe” amount to be exposed to  or consumed.  Let me just talk about the limits for a minute.  The regulations say that  chemical “X” is safe to 1 part per million in that bottle of laundry detergent you just bought.  Chemical “X” is also found in your dish soap, all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, hand soap, shampoo, body lotion and let’s not forget that handful of M & M’s you just ate.  Many of these things we use a number of times per day each and every day. So yes it may be safe to use once in a blue moon in a small amount but when you add it all up it’s safe to say that you have more than exceeded the “safe” limit and our bodies are just not designed to deal with the overload of chemicals we are exposed to every day.

I’m not saying go throw out every cleaner you have in the house right now, but next time you’re out shopping for some laundry detergent or dish soap take a second and look for a less chemical laden product. Every little bit helps.


Here are a couple of options Down East Cleaning Products.  I have used the dish soap, laundry detergent and all purpose cleaner.  One thing you will notice with greener dish soaps quite often is you don’t get as many suds since they aren’t using the chemical agents but don’t let this discourage you they still do a great job.  My mom purchased these cleaning cloths, Wipe and  Glow,  that work with just water.  I was very skeptical so I had to try them out myself.  You just wet the cloth and wring it out so it’s damp but not wet then clean to your hearts content.  I used it on mirrors, windows (inside only), granite countertop, my windshield, computer and TV screens.  It worked like a charm.  You can buy them online from their website, at Veseys Seed and if you happen to be in Florida at the Flea Market in  St. Petersburg. 

Sorry no recipes for you today.  I’ll post some cleaning alternatives in Part 2.  Don’t forget to head on over and “Like” my Facebook page, if you haven’t already.

Happy St. Patricks  Day!! 

~ Jackie