Part 5: “Do One Green Thing: Saving The Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker

Bad Housekeeping

Image by bandita via Flickr

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

So, I ended up only cleaning the bathroom with white vinegar and didnt get around to really mixing and trying any of these recipes yet. I will post as I do. I use to like when my bathroom smelled like bleach because it made me feel like….this is clean! Sterile society what? I loved the smell of the vinegar. It wasn’t strong or over-powering like you would think. I cleaned the sink, toilet and floor (not in that order). The floor came clean just fine and the sink looked nice. It didn’t streak the metal parts of the sink. Overall, I’d say I prefer it to my old bleach routine.

Housekeeping
–replace cleaning products as you run out with green products. There is no pont in wasting what you already bought
–green cleaning has less fumes and toxic ingredients
–The author has a “green light” list of already mixed products on her site greenerpenny.com

List of ingredients for all the recipes:
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Borax (sodium borate found in laundry aisles)
Hydrogen Peroxide
Lemon juice
Liquid soaps (green brands like Clorox Greenworks, 7th Generation Free and Clear, and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap)
Plant essential oils for fragrance and light disinfecting
Table salt
Vegetable oil (wood and polishing)
Washing soda
White vinegar

Recipes

Soft Scrub
2 c baking soda
1/2 c liquid plant-based soap
3-4 drops of vegetable oil
Mix, add water and store in a lidded jar

Fume-free Oven Cleaner
2 c baking soda
1 c washing soda
1 tsp liquid plant based soap
1 Tbs white vinegar
Water
Do a wipedown with a scrubber and use a rag and hot water to remove any crust that will easily come off. Mix into a think paste. With gloves, apply to oven. Leave overnight. With gloves rinse and scrub with a sponge or rag.

Glass Cleaner
1/2 c white vinegar
1 c water
3-4 drops liquid plant-based soap
Mix in a spray bottle

Floor Cleaner (safe for wood)
1 c white vinegar
1 gallon hot water
Mop floor, doesn’t need rinsing. Fopr extra cleaning add 1/4 c liquid-based plant soap and rinse.

Disinfectant, Stain Remover, Mold Remover, Deoderizer
use:
white vinegar OR
Hydrogen peroxide OR
Borax
Apply with gloves, let sit for an hour, scrub and wipe

Carpet/Upholstery Spot Cleaner
Use cornstarch to absorb and club soda to lift

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
you will need:
Baking soda
white vinegar
Hydrogen peroxide
Sprinkle bowl with baking soda. Spray on vinegar until it fizzes. Wait 30 min then scrub. Clean the rim, lid and seat with hydrogen peroxide

Metal Polish
use toothpaste

Drain Cleaner
Baking soda
white vinegar
boiling water
Use equal parts of baking soda and vinegar followed by water once a week

VOC (volatile organic compounds): the fumes can cause skin, eye, nose, throat and lung irritation asthma, etc.
–using natural products protects our drinking water
–nonyphenol (NPE): can harm fish embryos

Other links
www.naturallyyoursclean.com
ecos.com

Toxic VOC’s are in:
Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride, PVC): dont use vinyl curtains, flooring, or wall coverings. Keep PVC packaging out of house. It releases phthalates (hormone disrupting chemicals)
–IKEA, Target and Wal-Mart have pledged NOT to use PVC anymore

Synthetic Pesticides/ Herbicides
–Petroleum derived insecticides attack the nervous system of insects AND everything else. Some attack respiratory systems and have caused deformities in fish, birds, and amphibians. Some are linked to cancers or kill all sorts of plants and wildlife.

Alternatives
–use IPM (Integrated Pest Management)
–just keep your kitchens clean, put away food, wipe-up moisture, seal cracks and crevices, and fix leaks
–Use boric acid baits with sugar and water for cockroaches and ants
–Ants don’t like peppermint castile soap
–In the garden use red pepper spray or liquid soap to kill aphids, mites, and insects

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Organic Land Care
EPA’s Healthy Environment booklet
National Coalition for Pesticide Free Lawns
Bio-Integral Resource Center
Washington Toxics Coalition
Northeast Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Mattresses
–conventional mattresses made with petroleum-based polyurethane foam have been treated with chemical fire retardents called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). These have been known to cause behavioral and developmental problems in animal studies. They are pervasive in the environment, staying for long periods of time.
–PVC has been banned from use in mattresses made after 2009.
–new matresses may also have been treated with water and stain repellants that can release formaldehyde.
–Choose a matress made with natural latex core and padded with cotton and surrounded with wool
–look for labels like:
Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC)
–if you cant afford a new mattress you can block many VOC’s and dust mites by encasing it in a tightly woven barrier cloth or cover it with a wool or cotton mattress pad

Companies that make greener mattresses and top pads w/o PBDEs:
Acorn Innerspring: organic cotton and wool
Duxiana: latex and cotton top pads
Earthsake: organic cotton and PureGrow
Greensleep: organic cotton, wool, and silk
IKEA: 85% natural latex, cotton
Lifekind: organic cotton, natural latex
Natural By Colgate:coconut coir fiber, organic cotton, regular cotton
Naturepedic</aorganic cotton, regular cotton, polyethylene
Vivetique: organic cotton and PureGrow wool

Synthetic Carpeting and Pressed Woods
–Both have formaldehyde, benzene and other toxic VOCs that are in the glues
–VOC-free carpets and area rugs:
Interface Carpets
Mohawk Everstand
Nature’s Carpet

–avoid new pressed-wood furniture, formaldehyde can cause irritation in the eyes and nose and cause headaches and dizziness.
–look for solid wood bookshelves, tables, and desks at garage sales or thrift stores.
–Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards:

Crate and Barrel: uses some FSC certified wood in eco-line
ABC Carpet and Home: sells “good” wood, which is their self-developed label for non-endangered, well-managed forests. They also have organic mattresses and other green products
Top-Of-The-Line Furniture: made from FSC certified wood and untreated organic fibers = Q Collection and Jak Studio Collection by green interior designers
Sustainable Design: Design Within Reach
For Home Building and Renovation using pressed woods made with no-VOC glue and sustainable wood:
Scientific Certification Systems
Green America’s
low-VOC bamboo plywood
natural flooring materials at Green Depot

Conventional Paints
–most conventional paints contain VOCs like ethylene glycol. Paint fumes can cause skin rash, headaches, fatigue, etc.
Low VOC paints: Aura
ZERO-VOC paints:
AFM Safecoat: paints and finishes
Envirosafe’s Paint: fast drying
Home Depot’s Freshaire Paint: in recycled cans printed with soy based inks
Mythic Paint: nice muted retro shades
Yolocolorhouse’s Colors: also has little yolo for children’s rooms

Other Links:
www.environmentalhomecenter.com
www.greendepot.com

Laundry Detergents
–buying concentrated formulas you will save money, gallons of water, plastic, and carbboard (mostly to packaging and formula).
–choose plant-based rather than petroleum-based free of synthetic or strong natural fragrances
Good Ingredients: Plant-based surfactants made from corn, coconut oil, and grapefruit
Bad Ingredients: Ethoxylated chemicals, generic claim “fragrance” (means synthetic), synthetic degreasers, synthetic sulfactants

–you will avoid residue of irritating fragrances and chemicals
–some ingredients survive the rinse cycle and build up on clothes and bedding
–don’t cover up the itchy feeling that came from chemicals with more synthetic chemicals in the form of fabric softeners!!!!!!!
–buying safe laundry dtergents eliminates contaminating our waterways
–nonylphenols (NPEs) damages kinds of ocean fish

Good Labels: verified by 3rd parties
Certified Biodegradable
Cold-water, high-efficiency formula
Cradle to Cradle (C2C)
EPA Design for the Environment (dFe) Green Seal
Leaping Bunny (LB)
PCW (post-consumer-waste) recycled packaging
USDA Biopreferred

Goodish Labels: somewhat reliable
Biodegradable, No ammonia, No chlorine, No DEA/TEA, No sodium laureth sulfate, No synthetic detergents, Recycled packaging

Bad Labels: Don’t spend money on these meaningless claims says the Consumer’s Union
Cruelty-free, Eco/environmentally friendly, Eco/environmentally safe, Natural, Nontoxic, Septic tank safe

Cleaning Delicates (Bras and Undies) At Home
–cold-wash by hand
–Use: Ecolever Delicates Wash, Kookaburra wool wash, Laundress wool and cashmere shampoo

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

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6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Part 2: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Fish « F33DyourHEAD

  2. Pingback: Part 3: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Meat, Dairy, Poultry, Eggs « F33DyourHEAD

  3. Pingback: Part 8: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Transportation « F33DyourHEAD

  4. Pingback: Part 7: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Personal Care and Clothing « F33DyourHEAD

  5. Pingback: Part 6: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle « F33DyourHEAD

  6. Pingback: Part 4: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker « F33DyourHEAD

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