Eco Friendly Household Cleaners

This weekend I’ve been moving out of one apartment and into another, and I’m committed to only using eco friendly household cleaners to do the necessary cleaning when one moves out of a place.

So far I’ve been using lemon juice and hot water and it’s been doing a great job on cleaning and disenfecting the refrigerator and it leaves a fresh lemon scent as well.

Other eco friendly household cleaners that really do a great job are:

  • Baking soda
  • Baking soda and lemon juice – for cleaning a stove’s interior.
  • Mule Team Borax soap
  • Table salt – great for getting the grime out of your tub.
  • Vinegar

Combinations of the above work well together too, but vinegar and baking soda do cause quite an adverse reaction, although this might work well on those stubborn food stains in your oven.

What eco friendly household cleaners work for you? I’d love to hear other ideas. Post your comments below.



Natural Cures for the 4 Stages of a Cold: Stage 1 – Soothing a Sore Throat

Avoid going to the doctor and alleviate your common cold with these natural home remedies including hot teas, natural vapor rubs and vitamins.

Relieve Cold and Sinus Infection Symptoms with Homemade Remedies

How to cure the common cold virus with natural home remedies.

I’ve been battling a sinus infection for the past 5 days or so, and I think having a cold in the summertime when the temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit is even more of a nuisance. However, the heat does help the congestion. Now that I’ve recognized the 4 stages of my seasonal sinus infection, I thought I’d share how I am able to combat the recognizable symptoms during each stage the natural way. This is the first part in a series of 4 blog posts about curing a cold naturally.

Stage 1: Soothing a Sore Throat

One day I’m feeling fine, and then I wake it up to the first scratchy swallow in my throat…ohhh..ugh. I’m not a smoker and I’m not around people who smoke, so I know this is the case of inhaling carcinogens. It’s the first sign that the common cold or a sinus infection is coming, just like the calm before a storm.

Hot Liquids – Green tea or specialty teas like Throat Coat with slippery elm bark and Echinecea really help soothe a sore throat. Steep the tea bag for 3-5 minutes and sip slowly allowing the slippery elm to coat your throat. Avoid coffee as coffee tends to dry out your throat as well as hot chocolate.

Cold liquids – Ice water and lots of it! Alternate between hot and cold liquids to soothe a sore throat naturally without the aid of prescriptions. My physicians have always told me to drink more cold liquids to flush out the toxins. Suck on ice cubes too or homemade Popsicles, Slushies and smoothies also soothe a sore throat.

Cough Drops – Honey, cherry, lemon, orange, strawberry or menthol – whatever flavor you like works well on soothing a sore throat. I loved Luden’s cherry cough drops as a child, but I have a habit of eating them instead of sucking on them. Hall’s with Vitamin C seems to last the longest, they are a little more expensive, so if you can find them on sale or buy a bigger bag, it’s worth it.  I tuck a few in my purse, my pocket and my car so I always have them. Cough drops also alleviate a dry throat.

Warm Gargle Washes – Salt water gargle washes really help alleviate a sore or scratchy throat. I use about a teaspoon of table salt or sea salt to a cup of warm tap water. Stir until the salt is dissolved, then take a sip and gargle for a few seconds, spit it out and repeat. The salt water coats your throat and soothes it instantly. Do a saltwater gargle a couple times a day until it’s no longer sore.

Chest Rub Ointment – Well, you’re using it for your sore throat, so I guess it’s called a throat rub. Anything that has menthol in it is good like Vick’s, but several years ago my mom had me try something that had natural oils in it and it works for a variety of ailments including chest congestion, sore throats, colds, bruises, poison ivy, headaches and more; you may find it in specialty drug stores or you can buy it in multiple quantities from the company.  Skinner’s Vaporizing Salve – rub it on your neck, throat, chest and behind your ears before bed. Be sure to wear an old shirt because the salve is greasy and it could stain your sheets (oily stain only). My great aunt even advises to put Skinner’s on the soles of your feet and then wear a heavy cotton socks, my son’s athletic socks work great. There is scientific truth behind the salve on your soles too. Vick’s Vapor Rub works too, I just have had better luck with Skinner’s.

Vitamins – When you’re sick and your antibody count is down, a natural health book I have and through the work of Dr. Linus Pauling, advises to take as much as 12,000 mg of Vitamin C a day. Yes, that much! That’s 1,000 mg an hour for 12 hours. Vitamin C is a natural antibiotic and the body doesn’t create resistance to it like synthetic antibiotics. I firmly believe this is why I can knock out a cold or sinus infection in just a few days. If I’m consistent with it, taking 2-500mg tablets every hour for 12 hours, I’ll feel much better every day. I usually buy a 100 or 200 count bottle of 500mg Vitamin C and have it with me at work and at home. I start it at 7am before I leave for work and continue it religiously throughout the day, and will even set a timer to remind me if needed. (Oh, I see it’s time to take 2 more now!) 2 other helpful vitamins are Vitamin A and E, just remember one way to knock out a cold or sinus infection is to ACE it! (aka Vitamin A, C, and E.) Whatever the recommended dosage is on the bottle for Vitamin A and E, I double it when my body is fighting a virus.

Rest – This is what the doctor orders, and if you follow it your body will thank you for it by getting better in less time. I take frequent naps when I’m not feeling well. This is the best natural way to cure a cold, your body’s defenses are down and you need rest. Even if you’re lying on the couch with your hot tea and a good movie on the tube, you’re better off. And if you must work during a sinus infection, then take 15 minutes of your lunch and find a comfy chair or couch and take a short snooze. Some office buildings have couches in their restrooms, what a nice place to lay your head and prop up your feet!

Look forward to the next post: Stage 2 – Sinus congestion and how to clear your head naturally.

Clean Hair Without Shampoo?

Stop using commercial shampoos and switch to an alternative that won’t harm your hair and will help the environment too. This shampoo free alternative only has 2 ingredients found in your kitchen.

Commercial Shampoo Strips Away Natural Oils, Try a Cleaner Alternative

I’ve been looking online for an shampoo alternative, something that I wouldn’t have to buy every couple months in non-recyclable plastic bottles (you know, how I don’t like plastic, right?) I would really like to use all natural made soap, shampoo, dish and laundry detergent as well. All these items come in plastic containers or have a plastic wrap, and take up way too much space in my home.

A friend sent me a link to a blog about a woman who gave up shampoo and instead found 2 common items found in your kitchen that really cleanses your hair, without stripping the natural oils in your hair and leaves your hair shiny too. Baking soda and vinegar, that’s it!

Would you be willing to give up your generic or brand name shampoo and conditioner for something you can make yourself, save money, space and the environment? My friends are trying it this week, I can’t wait to hear what they have to say. These aren’t my normal green-good-for-the-environment friends either, so this shampoo alternative has got to be a good idea.

Please read SimpleMom’s blog about why you should find a greener shampoo alternative as well as how to make this simple shampoo with the ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen cupboard.

Slim Pickins’ for Raspberries this Year in Ohio

Early crop of black raspberries yields less this year. Photo courtesy of Plowcreek.org

Red, black, purple, mid-season, late-season, small, plump, sweet or tart, I love them all – raspberries that is. I’ve been watching the wild raspberry bushes along the forest’s edge every day as I walk my dog.

First, the tiny white flowers filled the hanging thorny bushes, then the small green buds appeared that eventually gained in size and started turning red just a couple weeks ago. And just today, I noticed that these same bushes that were so full of those tiny white flowers, now had several black raspberries; however, they were not very big. The bushes didn’t look so full anymore either. Usually the birds pick at these thorny raspberry vines, but I didn’t find any trace of birds on these plants.

I was under the impression that raspberries weren’t ready until late August or September in Ohio; however, an article on Cleveland.com, stated they came early this year as much as two weeks. Since the weather here in Northeastern Ohio has been hot and humid for most of July, the conditions prompted an early picking, but the usually plump fruit has yielded smaller crops and less on the vines.

I still stopped to pick what I could, while my dog was pulling me the other way. A handful of dainty sweet plump and a few tart ones too didn’t last to the end of our walk. They wouldv’e been good in my yogurt or on top of my oatmeal. Next time, I’ll bring a basket or covered container, and let the dog run in the dog park.

Here are a few places to pick your own raspberries in Ohio, and oh there is a second crop that will be ready in August, so mark your calendars to go again. Be sure to enjoy some while the raspberries are fresh and save some for later by freezing or canning them. I’ll look forward to fresh fruit when there’s 3 feet of snow on the ground and I don’t feel like going grocery shopping!

Pick Your Own Raspberries in Ohio

Rosby’s Greenhouse and Berry Farm: 42 E. Schaaf Road, Brooklyn Heights,  216-661-6102. Red raspberries in August.

Rainbow Farms: 2464 Townline Road, Madison, 440-259-4924. Small crop of black and red raspberries.

Baumhart Road Berry Farm: 2200 Baumhart Road, Vermilion, half-mile south of Ohio 2, 440-984-0141, call before you go to check on what berries are available.

Seville Berry Farm: 8925 Guilford Road, Seville, 330-335-3575. Black raspberries ready now, red raspberries in fall. Call before you go.

Greenfield Berry Farm: 2485 Major Road, Peninsula, 330-657-2924 or 330-322-4626. Limited availability, have to call for an appt. Certified naturally grown summer black raspberries and fall red raspberries.

Other locations to pick your own raspberries as well as other types of berries and fresh fruits can be found on PickYourOwn.org – great resource! Enjoy your raspberries while you can because they’re gone, you have to wait another year to get them fresh again!

Greener Living Blog Feed is Now Active

Thanks to a dedicated reader, I have figured how to fix the feed on the blog. So it looks like things are working okay, at least posts are appearing under the RSS widget.

Thanks to a dedicated reader, I have figured how to fix the feed on the blog. So it looks like things are working okay, at least posts are appearing under the RSS widget.

Please let me know if you are having any other problems. I am not a programmer, but I’m learning some on-the-job coding via friends and programming books.

It seems as if the Adsense code was blocking the RSS feeds, so I had to move them down with the posts. Although I see that these ads are displaying ads relevant to my blog content, which must mean my content is keyword rich & better than before.

Hang in there with me, I’m learning & want to provide the best content about Greener Living, dangers of BPA in plastics, and topics about living a more earth friendly lifestyle (I had to include some kind of green words in this blog!)

Thanks for reading and I would love to hear some topic ideas…give me your nickel’s worth of ideas below!

Charitable Donations are Better than Garage Sales

Have you had a garage or yard sale recently? Or maybe you’re clearing out the basement, closets and garage in preparation for one. Think of all the time you spend getting ready for one. The organizing, labeling, hanging and sitting all day and how much did you make?

If you make a $100 on your childrens’ toys and a few pieces of furniture, you probably think it was worth spending two or three days in the heat watching people drive in and out of your driveway. I once thought so too.

The last time I had a garage sale was 5 years ago, before my family moved from the deserts of Arizona to the east coast. I spent 3 days under the cover of my carport in 120 degrees selling every piece of furniture that my friends didn’t take as well as another friend’s furniture. I think I made $200 bucks, which didn’t even cover my gas to drive nearly 2,000 miles across country. And I still had furniture left as well as other household items. I didn’t use a moving van or service to ship our things back east either.

I ended up donating about $900 worth of furniture and household items to a local charity, which picked up all my items at no cost to me, and I wrote it off on my tax return along with all my moving expenses. It was a heavy burden lifted from me, but it was a better financial move than trying to sell the stuff again or just having it hauled away. The charity I donated nearly new furniture to helped disadvantaged families who either lost their belongings to a fire, other disaster or were putting their lives together after being homeless and living in a shelter. I knew I was helping several families with my generous donation and it didn’t cost me or them a thing.

Since 2009, tax payers can now write off individual items they donate to charity that includes a set amount for each item depending on its condition (new, slightly used, or fair condition).  According to the IRS, “Charitable contributions are deductible only if you itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A” Read the tax guidelines on the IRS’s website, Topic 506 Contributions. I kept a record of every piece of clothing, appliance and CD that I contributed to a charity like the Salvation Army and DAV, and asked for a receipt every time I dropped off items. According to my tax return for 2009, I had $500 worth of charitable donations!

Save yourself time; donate your garage sale items to a worthy cause – it’s good for the environment and it helps others in need.

BPA News: Plastic IS bad for your health

NorthJersey.com reports the dangers of BPA in plastic food containers.

Latest News Report States the Effects of BPA in Plastic Containers

I am not going to repeat what you and I already know about the dangers of BPA in plastic food containers, but this article from NorthJersey.com really pushes past the red line. I know I am giving all my readers the most reliable news about this dangerous, yet hidden toxin that lurks where we’d least expect it.

Freight Container Homes: the new pre-fab house

Old Freight Containers Get a New Lease on Green Building

I was reading one of my favorite green blogs, The Greenest Dollar, where she discussed the ups and downs of selling her home in our present economy to live a more frugal, yet greener life by building their own freight container home. The author and I share similar values regarding saving money and saving the environment.

I first heard about freight container homes, an old idea, but with a new twist on pre-fab house, about a year ago. I was intrigued, and hooked that this could (and will probably) be an economical way to house the homeless and destitute. I didn’t think of freight container homes to be an eco alternative to overpriced homes in the suburbs or multi-family apartment complexes. However, now that I’ve seen some pretty ultra-modern style structures, I’ve changed my mind.

Check out these neo-fab freight container homes below, which are not your everyday shipyard variety. Who knew a builder could do so much with steel boxes? And the cost to buy and design your very own shipping freight container home? Around $40k, give or take $10k, and depending on where you build and how many containers you use.

Eco friendly freight container homes are sturdy and energy efficient. Courtesy of FreightContainerHomes.com
Modular freight container homes offer versatility. TheDailyGreen.com
These recycled freight containers can be custom designed with reclaimed materials. Photo from TheDailyGreen.com

10 Facts About Bisphenol-A or BPA

Here are some basic facts about the harmful toxin, bisphenol-A or better known as BPA. Take heed and check all the plastic containers, bags and food containers you own, so you can safely get rid of these plastics expecially when used with food.

Does your water bottle contain BPA? Courtesy of Recycle This on Flickr.com

Here are some basic facts about the harmful toxin, bisphenol-A or better known as BPA. Take heed and check all the plastic containers, bags and food containers you own, so you can safely get rid of these plastics expecially when used with food.

1. Bisphenol A is found primarily in Polycarbonates, depicted by the Resin code 7.

2. Polycarbonates are used to produce disposable water bottles, lining tin food and beverage cans, baby feeding bottles and 5-gallon water bottles. And BPA is not only used with food containers but also CDs, DVDs, eyeglasses, bike helmets, shin guards, dinnerware, and hard plastic Nalgene water bottle. (Courtesy of PBS.org)

3. BPA can leach into your food if stored or heated at high temperatures such as your microwave, leaving a water bottle in your car when it’s warm outside, not using all the food or beverage from lined can, and anywhere else that heat is a factor.

4. BPA, which was first manufactured in 1891, and later developed as a plasticizer in the early 1960s. It was classified in 1963 as an indirect food additive and is listed among some 3,000 chemicals that are “generally regarded as safe.” (Food Renegade, Jan. 17, 2010).

5. The FDA announced in January 2010, that it since BPA has been classified as a “food additive” it cannot be regulated even though they recognize the adverse health problems.

6. The Centers for Disease Control said it found BPA in the urine of 95 percent of over 2,000 adults tested at random. (PBS.org)

7. Like plastic grocery bags in California, there has been a proposal in Congress to ban all uses of BPA in food containers especially those which would cause the greatest damage to babies’ health.

8. Avoid any food container that has the #7 or #3; instead, use glass, stainless steel, or ceramic containers NOT lined with plastics. (Food Renegade)

9. News update, from Switchboard, “California is the eighth state to ban BPA in children’s products, after Minnesota, Maryland, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Washington, Vermont, and New York.” Read the rest of the article as posted on July 2, 2010.

10. Be pro-active & write letters or emails to your Congress rep, governor, etc to ban the use of BPA in food products and packaging, especially those that children under 3 consume.

Greener Living: Guide to the Best Links for Living a Green Life

I just found this great site that has some of the best links about everything on living a green life, I just had to share it with you too!

Check out the book as well – it’s an inspirational read too: It’s Easy Being Green (and we’re not talking about Kermit here either).

Green Matters – Links

What are you doing to live a greener life? You’ve made the right choice by reading this blog. We will continue to provide links, tips, thoughts, news and other healthy eco info here as well.