Go Green While Spring Cleaning!

While one of the main reasons we spring clean each year is to create a healthier home, have you considered what your cleaning products are doing to your environment?  To THE environment?! 

 Rather than using conventional products which are often quite toxic, try cleaning your home with all natural cleaners.  Not only will this create a much healthier home for you and your family (including your “furry” family), and a much healthier planet, in the long run it can save you green (money, that is)!

What’s Wrong with Conventional Cleaning Products?

Many of the chemicals in these products cause problems by releasing toxic fumes, especially when used in the wrong combination; polluting the water and soil around your home and downstream; creating illness if ingested, especially by your children or companion animals; and causing topical reactions such as rash and other skin issues.

Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

If you want to do-it-yourself and save a good amount of money, you can make healthy and green cleaning products at home.  Very effective and green cleaning solutions can be made out of things you may already have around the house, including:

  • Distilled white vinegar – very effective for disinfecting surfaces and cutting grease. A solution of vinegar and water is great for cleaning floors, windows, and kitchen appliances.

  • Citrus fruit – such as lemon, orange or grapefruit, have wonderful grease-cutting power, and they add a fabulous fresh and fruity scent.

  • Baking soda – use with fine steel wool to scrub the crud off of countertops, bathtubs and sinks.

Buy Green/Environmentally Friendly Products

If you prefer not to make your own, you can find a number of “clean” cleaning products in the grocery store, particularly in the health food stores. Many companies are creating their own line of cleaning products that are friendlier for the environment and less toxic to you.

When buying cleaning products avoid these ingredients:

  • Phosphates – very harmful to plants and micro-organisms necessary to keep water reservoirs healthy

  • Bleach – a highly toxic chemical; especially NEVER combine it with ammonia!

  • Petroleum

  • Surfactants

  • Ammonia

  • Lye

  • Hydrochloric acid

  • Sulfuric acid

  • Phenols

These chemicals can create harmful substances in the soil and water supply, often destroying the plants and animals they contact. In addition the process of making many of these chemicals produces large amounts of toxins that are released into our air and contribute to global warming.

For healthier and greener products, look for:

  • Essential oils

  • Citrus

  • Glycerin

  • Water

  • And other natural and recognizable elements 

One more tip for the road…

Switch Sponges for Dishcloths

So many people use sponges because they are convenient and seem easy to keep clean.  But the truth is, sponges can harbor harmful bacteria and actually be spreading germs while you clean, rather than removing them. Dishcloths can be washed often along with your dishtowels.  Wash your dishcloths with cold water and detergent, and add a little white vinegar for the added disinfecting power.

It really is easy to make a few changes that create a dramatic improvement in the health of your home and the environment.  Simply replace those old toxic cleaning solutions with all-natural and safe ingredients that are better for the planet…and for you!

Manage Your Stress – Tips to Improve Your Life

Stress is our body’s response to the pressures and demands that we encounter (and create!) every day.  The demands may be physical, mental, or emotional in nature and when we place these demands on our body, chemicals and hormones are released into our bodies and then we feel stressed.

To limit the negative effects of stress, it is crucial to learn how to actively manage your stress triggers.  There are many simple ways to reduce your stress, techniques that you can employ such as:

  • Appropriate amount and type of exercise
  • Change your self-talk from negative to positive
  • Getting enough quantity and quality sleep
  • Eating a healthier diet
  • Knowing your boundaries at work and home
  • Saying no when you need to
  • Asking for help
  • Making time for fun & creative expression
  • Appreciation and gratitude for the beauty in your life
  • Employing deep breathing techniques
  • Listening to calming and/or uplifting music
  • Clearing your life of clutter
  • Simplifying your life and eliminating time & energy thieves

These are all effective ways to reduce your stress, though it is always best to prevent stress.  If you react to the stressful triggers, you’ll be spending most of your time putting out fires.  Consistent integration of just a few of these stress management techniques will help you to live a healthier, happier, and more productive life!