The Maids of Portland, Maine

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kitchen Chemistry 101- Green Cleaning

With just a few things that are probably already in your cupboards, you can make simple green cleaning supplies for your home. Here are a few recipes to get you started.


~Clear As Day Glass Cleaner: To make glass cleaner, mix two teaspoons white vinegar and one quart warm water in a bowl. Stir. Use crumpled newspaper to wipe a window or mirror clean. Hint: To avoid streaks, don’t clean windows if the sun is on them or if they’re warm.

~Mean, Green Furniture Clean To make furniture polish, mix one cup olive oil and 1/4 cup white vinegar and pour into a spray bottle using the provided funnel. Spray the mixture onto a soft cotton cloth and polish the furniture, rubbing with the grain of the wood. (Please be sure to test a small, unnoticeable area first for surface safety).

~Counter Intelligence Cleaner To make all-purpose spray cleaner, combine one teaspoon borax (a common household cleaner), two tablespoons white vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap in a non-aerosol spray bottle using the funnel provided. Add two cups hot water and shake gently until the ingredients are dissolved. Spray onto surface and wipe with a damp sponge or cloth.

~*~Want to try cleaning green around the whole house? Get on your rubber gloves and mix up some more. Here are some other easy recipes to try.

~Drain Cleaner The “greenest” way to clear the drain is to take your drain off, and simply remove the hair or clog. You can also use a coat hanger as a simple snake. If that doesn’t work, pour approximately 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain to be cleaned, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution! Use this method only if you have metal pipes since large amounts of boiling water can melt plastic pipes. Also, skip it if you’ve just tried commercial drain opener. Vinegar and drain opener combined can create dangerous fumes.

~Toilet Cleaner

Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and one cup vinegar. Pour the mixture into the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub with a brush and rinse. You can also try a mixture of two parts borax and one part lemon juice.

~Surface Cleaner Mix two teaspoons borax, four tablespoons vinegar and three cups hot water in a bowl. Use the funnel to put it into a non-aerosol spray bottle or apply with a dampened cloth.

~Grout Cleaner Sprinkle baking soda on damp grout and scrub with a stiff toothbrush. Let it sit for about five minutes. Boil a pot of water and, if you’re cleaning an area with a drain, pour it over the baking soda to rinse it away. Otherwise, dip a rag in hot water and wipe it clean. Tip: wear gloves to keep from burning your hands.

~Oven Cleaner Sprinkle a generous amount of water on the floor of the oven. Cover with baking soda until the surface is virtually white. Sprinkle more water on top and let the mixture sit overnight. Wipe away most of the grease, then use a little liquid soap on a sponge to wash away the remaining residue.

~Mold and Mildew Cleaner Simply apply white vinegar or lemon juice at full strength with a sponge. Oil and Grease Cleaner For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with a wet brush.

~*~Why Green Clean?

It’s easy. It doesn’t take much to mix vinegar and water. Less waste. Reusing your spray bottle saves the earth and your pocketbook. Less expensive. Have you seen the price of a bottle of kitchen cleaner lately? Many moms make their own supplies for economic reasons as well as green ones. Less harmful. You’ll do your family, your pets and the earth a big favor. Less stink. For some reason, manufacturers think “clean” smells like chemicals. Homemade alternatives use lemon juice and other easy-on-the-nose ingredients.

~*~Courtesy of: Safety At Home

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Healthy Cleaning with Tea Tree Oil

~*~Going green is popular these days and green approaches to cleaning typically include using cleaning solutions that do not include harsh chemicals or petroleum-based ingredients. In fact, some proponents of green cleaning advocate staying away from antibacterial chemicals. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and antifungal essential oil. Although tea tree oil has a strong odor, it is an effective substitute for harsher, mainstream chemicals.

~*~Mold Killer: Make a natural solution that kills fungus by adding a teaspoon of tea tree oil to white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray but do not rinse.

~*~Laundry Scent and Booster: Sometimes clothes and linens need a little more than just plain old laundry detergent. A teaspoon of tea tree oil in your wash water can kill germs.

~*~Insect Repellent and Bite Soother: Tea tree oil keeps mosquitoes, gnats, and other bugs away. Pour about one ounce of tea tree oil and four ounces of witch hazel into a spray bottle. Shake it up before applying. Both ingredients are soothing to existing bites.

~*~All-Purpose Cleaner: Tea tree oil is a great addition to homemade cleaners. Add 2 cups of hot water to 2 tablespoons of Borax, 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 1/2 teaspoon tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Shake it and spray on germs!

~*~Gum and Sticker Remover: Tea tree oil can cut through sticky substances with ease! Pour a few drops on a cotton ball and rub away.

~*~Head Lice: Mix a teaspoon of tea tree oil with 4 teaspoons of either olive oil or coconut oil and rub into scalp. Leave on for 15 minutes. Use a nit comb before washing mixture out.

~*~Athlete's Foot and other Fungus: For athlete's foot, ringworm, dandruff and nail infections, mix a few drops of tea tree oil in a base oil like sweet almond, olive or coconut oil and apply to affected area. You can also add tea tree oil to your shampoo, or even to hot water for a foot soak.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When You Should Eat Organic Foods+

When you eat organic food, you ingest fewer pesticides. You are also protecting the environment.
Research shows that some organic food is more nutritious.

Organic fruits and vegetables have 25% higher levels of many nutrients than conventional produce.However, organic produce can be 20% more expensive than conventional. Organic meats and dairy products might be three times the cost of conventional items.

Cut the cost of eating organic foods by:Buying in-season produce, which is plentiful and often cheaper at your local farmer's market.

Selectively buy the produce that absorbs the most pesticide if not organic, like berries, which soak up more pesticides than other fruit. You don't really need organic bananas since they're protected by a peel. Buy organic for the foods you eat most often.

Marie Stegnar 03/05/2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cleaning with Salt

~~Did you know that salt’s granular texture makes it perfectly suited for scouring?

1.)Table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt can all be used, but table salt is the cheapest choice. Use salt to clean:

2.)Artificial flowers. Place the fake blooms inside a paper bag and pour in salt. Close the bag and shake vigorously. The salt will dislodge accumulated dust and dirt.

3.)Glassware. Salt won’t scratch the way a scouring pad can. To get out stubborn stains, add some salt for extra abrasion and scrub.

4.)Greasy pots and pans. Sprinkle salt on cookware to absorb excess grease. Dump out the salt before washing as usual. Do not use on nonstick cookware.

5.)Spills in the oven. Pour salt on the spills to soak them up. When the oven is cool, wipe with a damp sponge.

6.)Stained teacups and coffee mugs. Sprinkle salt on the outside of a lemon peel and rub the affected area until clean.

7.)Wooden counters and tables. Cover grease splatters with salt to absorb as much as possible. Wait an hour, then brush away the salt.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is Breast Cancer linked to Enviromental Chemicals?

A groundbreaking research study recently published by the American Cancer Society found that synthetic chemicals have likely played a large role in the rising breast cancer rates around the world over the last half-century.The study identified 216 man-made chemicals, including those found in everyday products like pesticides, cosmetics, dyes, drugs and gasoline, which have been shown to cause breast cancer in animals. These substances, many of which "mimic" naturally occurring hormones once inside the body, are also to blame for the increasing prevalence of breast cancer.

Devra Lee Davis, epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, says, "the more hormones cycling through a women's body during her lifetime, the more likely she is to develop breast cancer." Synthetic chemicals that mimic hormones increase that risk because the body doesn't know the difference between its own real hormones and other introduced chemicals.

Only 1 in 10 women who develop breast cancer inherits a defective gene from their parents, which means that in 90 percent of breast cancer cases studied, external agents, like synthetic chemicals, contributed to the development of cancer.The U.S. government has not instituted restrictions on the production of synthetic chemicals, but European regulators are taking the issue very seriously by making chemical manufacturers selling anywhere in Europe to re-register and re-evaluate the potential health hazards, including cancer risks, of their products. I am hoping that American chemical companies will follow that lead with chemicals sold here.To reduce your risk of chemical exposure:Buy and eat organic foods.Avoid using pesticides and other synthetic chemicals whenever possible.Use non-plastic containers to reheat and store foods.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What do you look for in a Maids Service?

~A lack of hassle is one major thing to look for in a cleaning service; the other, sparkling results.

The Maids are the sole local pros in the tidying-up business who nail both every time. Armed with a serious stash of cleaning products, the uniformed crews deploy from their sunny yellow vehicles with a speed-oriented, no-fooling-around plan that leaves every corner of the target home immaculate. And unlike some experiences you may have had with other, larger services; the Maids have yet to mix up your keys with another clients, or let your "indoor" cat outside.

~Testimonial:"We aren't ones to cry over spilt milk, as our floors can attest; our couch has more hair on it than our cat. Without a speck of judgment, the Maids clean up our act month after month, dusting baseboards, degriming showers, and all but eliminating any traces of pet (except for, of course, the pet itself). They're quick, well priced, and unobtrusive. Aside from the preternatural sparkle and neatly triangled toilet paper, you'd never know they'd been there."