Got rust?: Aluminum foil, remove, recycle…

alum foilYesterday we were gifted with some fantastic warm weather and bright sunny skies (an anomaly around Ohio these days!).

After school, all our daughter wanted to do was jump on her Razor scooter and scoot around the neighborhood.  But when she pulled it out of the place in the garage where it had been propped up, for the better part of winter, we were mortified… rust, rust, and more rust!

It’s only a year old and it had been well cared for, but it looked like it had literally been left out in the elements for weeks.razor

Fortunately, I had exactly what we neededNot a chemical, not a commercial cleaning concoction, just plain old aluminum foil waiting in our pantry.  Before my daughter started to panic, I got “the supply”.

All you need to do is tear off a sheet, roll it into a ball (shiny side out, preferably) and start rubbing away the rust. And voila… shiny and new!

This works wonderfully on chrome and many types of metals.  For the tougher spots, you can also saturate it in distilled white vinegar for a few minutes and then put the aluminum foil to work.

The beauty of it all?  When you’re done, the aluminum foil can go in your bin for alum flrecycling!

Mom saved the day!  The scooter was scootin’, “green principles were intact” and everything (and everyone) was bright and shiny!

One fab (chemical-free) furniture polish!

furn polshA friend of mine, Vicky from Askthemama.com, recently ASKED ME a question… what do I recommend as a green alternative to commercial furniture polish?

The answer is worthy of a little sharing since furniture polish contains some nasty toxins.  Not only is it a petroleum distillate, but it also commonly contains nitrobenzene.  This chemical can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.  Because it’s readily absorbed into the skin it can also affect the central nervous system… quite a lot to take for some shiny, clean furniture!

Just like my favorite multi-purpose cleaner recipe, you can whip-up a batch your own (chemical-free) furniture polish:

  • ¼ cup of distilled white vinegarol oil2
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 20-25 drops of essential oil (I recommend lemongrass, lemon or lavender)

Apply it like you would your regular furniture polish but, just like any other homemade concoction, give it a good shake before each use.  If you want to get even greener, use a piece of an old t-shirt for the rag!

As an extra bit of advice, did you know you can remove water stains from wood furniture with white toothpaste too!… ahh, the things we learn.

(And while I’m on the subject) when you purchase furniture try to be conscious to avoid certain hardwoods like mahogany, teak, rosewood and hemlock.  The harvesting of these trees contributes to tropical deforestation.  Instead, look for used, refurbished or antique furniture, or at least furniture made from sustainably-produced materials (e.g. plantation grown).

As is the case with every post about green cleaning, the worst part?it reminds us that it’s time to clean(!), so whip-up a batch and let’s get started!

Houseplants that can purify your indoor air!

Iareca plm pltndoor plants are a fantastic way to bring the outdoors inside, no matter what time of year it is.  Not only can they breathe life into a room, but did you know they can also, literally, breathe fresh clean air into your home as well?!?

Sadly, our indoor air can become even more polluted than outdoor air(!) due in part to everything from VOCs in paint to all of the horrible things we track in on our shoes and then send airborne!

Just take a look at what some of the most common household plants can “do” for your home!:

  • Areca palm – this one is the top purifier and also humidifies the air as it cleans!  (Lady palm and bamboo palm also do an amazing job!)
  • Peace lilies – also a great all-around air purifier, and incredibly easy to maintain.peace lly plt
  • English ivy – fantastic for removing airborne mold (up to 60% of airborne mold in just six hours, by the way!).
  • Spider plants – great at removing 100% of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from the air in only 24 hours.
  • Boston ferns – another great over-all air purifier but especially for removing formaldehyde from the air.
  • Rubber plants – great for cleaning out those VOCs.

To reach maximum effectiveness, it’s recommended to have at least one 6” plant per 100 feet of living space.

Amazing, isn’t it? Actually, it’s exactly what I would expect Mother Nature to provide… something to clean-up our dirty work (and dirty air!).

My obsession with the “Magic Eraser”…

I am always, always an advocate of choosing the greenest way to clean our homes.  Sure it takes some getting used to, but really… do I want spray, pour and mist chemicals around my house?  Yea, not so much.

mag erasI buy some green cleaners and make some of my own, but I have a confession… I’m addicted to the Magic Eraser!

That would seem fairly harmless (being the only choice out of the “green realm”) but I can’t seem to find any credible information about this amazing little cleaning sponge.

I’ve seen “supposed” information that they’re made of formaldehyde (augh!) but I’ve also seen it debunked even more.  I read that it is made of melamine (the same stuff kids’ plates and cups are often made of, so essentially plastic) but while it disintegrates as it’s used, I wonder what this really “means”.  Does using green cleaners, kinda, I don’t know… cancel it out? Hmm?

I have also heard that the most active and prevalent ingredient is salt…supposedly that’s the magic abrasive that gives it its cleaning power … problem is, there is nothing on the package that tells you a THING about what it’s made of.

Honestly, I’m addicted… arm me with some green cleaners and a Magic Eraser and I will have anything spic and span in no time.  It can magically erase any stain, gmag eras 2rim and dirt, but I also want to get to the bottom of it.

Do you know? Have you heard anything?  Any resources for CREDIBLE information?  If YOU know, I’d love to know…

Please, please just don’t tell me I need to break my addiction…

Green clean: one fab multi-purpose cleaner recipe!

bth roomI used to have a cleaning product cupboard that was loaded with a cleaner for every purpose.  That’s changed quite a bit since I learned the magic of distilled white vinegar and baking soda, however homemade cleaners have been getting a bad rap lately for some concerns over their anti-bacterial abilities.

Well, not long ago I discovered a recipe for a fantastic multi-purpose, homemade green cleaner that eliminates that concern.  I honestly don’t recall where I found it (if I owe someone credit, please let me know!) but it’s another one of those things worth sharing!  So here goes…

INGREDIENTS:

  • water
  • distilled white vinegar
  • eco-friendly dishwashing liquid
  • lemongrass essential oil or tea tree oil

The trick with this cleaner is the use of the lemongrass essential oil or the tea tree oil.  Lemongrass happens to be a natural anti-bacterial (yes, natural… not harsh like commercial anti-bacterials) and the tea tree oil has properties that are both anti-viral and anti-fungal.

DIRECTIONS:spry bttl

  • Fill a 28-32 ounce sprayer bottle about half full with water (you probably have one at home that you’ve salvaged from another product!)
  • Fill almost the rest of the bottle with distilled white vinegar
  • Add 15-20 drops of essential lemongrass oil OR tea tree oil (depending on where you want to use it… or mix a batch of each)
  • Add 3 drops of eco-friendly dishwashing liquid
  • Shake to mix and you’re ready to go!

You’ll want to give it a good shake before every use and, I assure you, with the number of places it can be used, you’ll be doing lots of shakin’ in your kitchens and bathrooms… stainless steel, chrome, countertops, sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, mirrors, windows, floors, doors, ovens, microwaves… the list goes on and on.

The worst part?… well, now it’s time to clean!