Simple tip: Whiten your smile with baking soda

smlLately I’ve been on a coffee kick.  (Nothing jump-starts me like a nice {BIG} cup of organic java!)  But coffee can certainly dull the whiteness of our teeth in no time.

I’m not inclined to run out and buy whitening strips or invest in expensive treatments at my dentist.  And there has certainly been plenty of debate over the safety and side effects of using some of the solutions on the market.  I’ll admit that about 10 years ago I tried some whitening strips at home and they made my teeth so sensitive I tossed them in the trash.

bking sda

Enter: baking soda

Besides all of its cleaning, deodorizing and health purposes, baking soda is a great, safe alternative to whiten your teeth.

A few times a week, put your toothpaste on the brush, dip the toothpaste in baking soda and brush away.  This is a great remedy to help gently remove stains, freshen breath, dissolve plaque, and prevent decay… and then, as crazy as it sounds, you can use some baking soda to polish your chrome bathroom faucets while you’re there!

Now, it’s time to get back to that cup of organic coffee (followed up by some baking soda brushing!).

Simple tip: Keep your refrigerator from working overtime

frig dollrRefrigerators happen to be a home appliance that MUST consume energy at all times.  In fact, they contribute an average of 8-10% to our monthly energy bill, and that is unavoidable.

I’ve shared my simple “1-2-3” tips for ways to make your refrigerator as efficient as possible, but sometimes the energy loss has nothing to do what you’re doing… it can have a lot to do with what your refrigerator isn’t doing:  holding the cold!

Poorly sealing door gaskets may be the problem and (just like my recent tip to check water waste from your toilets) there is a simple way to find out if your fridge is failing you!:

  • Close a dollar bill (half-in/half-out) between the door gaskets. The bill should be difficult to remove.  If it slips out easily, your door isn’t sealing properly and you’re likely losing cold air… the gasket may need to be replaced.  Do this test for your freezer too.

I seem to be on a home maintenance kick, but my husband wouldn’t be surprise… he’s quite “un-handy” and dubbed me Mrs. MacGyver (while he’s more like MacGruber)!

Anyhow!… give the test a try. If your refrigerator keeps running and running… well, you better go catch it!

Don’t let your silver “tarnish” your green reputation!

slvrware tarnishBy now, plans are likely well underway for your big holiday celebration. Maybe you’re hosting a party, celebrating Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at your house and (hopefully) pulling out all of your loveliest silverware and serving pieces (instead of all the throw-away stuff!).

Do those lovely pieces include silver?  Have you CHECKED your silver?  Maybe there are long periods between uses and you might want to check now to make sure they haven’t tarnish…

If they have, fear not! You can clean them without using any harsh chemical cleaners and concoctions.

Here are three easy and safe ways to get them sparkly and clean:

  • Line your sink with aluminum foil.  Place the silver on the foil and add boiling water, one cup of baking soda and a dash of salt.  Let the silver sit and in a few minutes the tarnish will transfer to the foil!  Then just rinse and dry.  (Remember to recycle the foil!)
  • You can polish and clean them by hand using a soft cloth and toothpaste.  Rinse them with warm water and dry.slvrbowl tarnish
  • Another by-hand formula is 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.  Clean them with a soft cloth with this solution… and again, rinse and dry.

So, shine ’em up, keep the chemicals at bay and let the party commence!…

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!).

Got fruit flies to get rid of? …(don’t whine, get wine!)

frt flies 2Now that summer is here, I’m finding myself with more and more fresh, organic produce in the house.  That would normally sound like a major “plus” until a few pieces of fruit prematurely ripen and I find myself with some unwelcomed guests in my kitchen… you know what I’m talking about – pesky fruit flies.

Well, not long ago, I accidentally found a fantastic solution to the problem thanks to a few sips of unconsumed wine left in a glass overnight.  It seems those little pests happen to love wine as much as I do!

By morning three of those buggers had actually immersed themselves in the leftover wine and solved the problem themselves.  A little extra research and experimenting and I found a solution worth sharing, and this is all it takes:

  • Put just a half-inch of red wine into any glass, cover it tightly with a small piece of plastic wrap (yes, I know… plastic wrap {bleh!} but desperate times call for desperate measures!), poke some very small holes in the plastic wrap and well… that’s it!  Just leave the glass in your kitchen near the problem area and the fruit fries will make their way in, but NOT make their way out!frt flies

Red wine seems to be the best because it is the most aromatic and attracts them more than white wine.  Fruit flies love fermented red grapes!… just like me! (oh yea, I mentioned that, didn’t I?)

So the next time they attack your kitchen and your fresh fruit, use it as an excuse to pop the cork and share a little… I promise, it truly only needs to be a “little!”