The Maids of Portland, Maine

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Out With The Old, In With The New

Every year on April 22 millions of people across the globe come together to celebrate the Earth’s natural environment and resources. While Earth Day—the most widely celebrated environmental event—focuses largely on the outside environment, what about the environment inside the home? Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to jump-start a personal campaign to kick the chemical habit and create a sustainable home. Protecting the environment inside the home is a vital step in preserving the health and wellness of today’s families and the enviroment as a whole.

Let's look a five rooms inside your home and we will provide easy steps to become chemical-free:
1. The Kitchen: Swap the sponge for microfiber cleaning cloths. Sponges are a haven for bacteria and can lead to many illnesses. Instead, switch to reusable microfiber cleaning cloths for all home cleaning projects. In addition to preventing bacteria and mold growth, the scientific weave of microfiber is so effective that fewer cleaning chemicals are necessary. The cloths also reduce landfill waste and include post-consumer recycled or organically grown materials.

2. The Office: Recycle or refill ink cartridges. Every year more than 300 million toner cartridges are thrown away. That’s nearly one million per day! What’s more, ink cartridges take nearly 450 years to decompose. Instead of tossing toners into the trash, recycle them. Many companies including Staples and Offiice Depot have recycling programs for all sorts of office waste. A typical print cartridge can be recycled and reused up to six times so it’s definitely worth the effort.

3. The Bathroom: Dispose of old medications safely. Avoid flushing old prescription pills down the toilet or throwing them into the trash. Medicine can actually get into surrounding soil and water supplies if this happens, creating an environmental hazard. Instead, contact the local pharmacy, hospital or medical center. Most have programs that take back old medications and dispose of them safely in their bio-hazard containers for incineration.

4. The Bedroom: Switch to an organic mattress. In the United States, 20 million mattresses are discarded each year! Even more alarming, the synthetic materials in conventional mattresses are not biodegradable and recycling programs for mattresses aren’t readily available. Switching to an organic mattress has the added benefit of reducing the risk of allergies and improving sleep due to the natural, chemical-free materials used in its construction.

5. The Laundry Room: Go fragrance-free. The fragrances in detergents and fabric softeners sometimes contain phthalates—chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive-system harm in animal lab tests. Fragrances may also trigger asthma and allergic reactions with symptoms including skin and respiratory irritation, headaches, and watery eyes. Change to one of the many fragrance free laundry products on the market for an easy fix.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ever wonder how to clean mold off of outdoor cushions?

Spring plans come to a screeching halt when you notice that your outdoor furniture and its cushions are moldy. Not only is moldy patio furniture unsightly, mold can also cause allergies, diseases and other health problems.

****To Remove Mold:

1.) Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water ina spray bottle. You can double or triple this recipe if you have a lot of cushions to be cleaned.

2.) Remove the cushions from the furniture and spray them generously with the oil mixture

3.)Allow the cushions to dry in the sun completely before reattaching to the furniture. There is no need to rinse out the oil mixture.

****To Remove Mildew:

1.) Lay damp or wet patio cushions outdoors in direct sunlight to thoroughly dry out. Sunlight is a natural mildew deterrent.

2.) Brush the entire cushion vigorously with a whisk broom to detach any remaining mildew spores.

3.) Prepare a mildew-inhibiting solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach to one cup water. Substitute color-safe bleach if the cushions are not white.

4.) Wipe the chlorine bleach solution over the entire cushion using a cloth. Keep the bleach on the cushion's surface for 10 minutes to eliminate any lingering mildew.

5.)Lay the cushion in direct sunlight to thoroughly dry out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Earth Day 2011: A Billion Acts of Green

April 22nd is Earth Day, it's only a few short days away! This year, Earth Day's theme is themed after A Billion Acts of Green: our people-powered campaign to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy. Share your commitment the the environment this Earth Day and declare your Act of Green!

*Some Acts of Green Ideas that you can do this Earth Day are:

Use your vehicle less

Plant a tree or a garden

Eat more local food

Bring your own reusable shopping bags to the store

Raise awareness about earth day

Switch off the tap while brushing

Convert all your household light bulbs to LED

Recycle,Reuse and Re-purpose

Use rechargeable batteries

Eliminate the use of pesticides or harmful fertilizers in your garden

Use a clothesline

Give up non-reusable plastic water bottles

Get inspired and mobilized with these ideas to demonstrate your commitment to enviromental protection and sustainability!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring cleaning Easter basket, nice Easter gift for home owner, first apartment

*~*This Easter, instead of giving an adult loved one a basket filled with sugary treats, how about giving them a spring cleaning Easter basket instead! A spring cleaning Easter basket is perfect for someone who just got their own place. It's also a wonderful Easter basket for someone who is hard to buy for. Everyone needs cleaning supplies!

~*~Hit the dollar store and buy a mop bucket or a pail or any type of dish pan or plastic container. You will use the the bucket or pail or dish pan as the Easter basket.

~*~Fill the bucket with cheap cleaning supplies. Good items to buy are sponges, wash rags, a can of Lysol, dish soap, a roll of paper towels, a spray bottle of Windex, and whatever else you can fit in the bucket. Shop at the dollar store to save money.

~*~Wrap the entire basket with some cheap netting that you can buy in the fabric section of any store that sells fabric.

~*~Tie the netting at the top of the basket with curling ribbon to secure it closed. Curl the ribbon by rubbing it along the edge of scissors to make the ribbon look festive.

Attach a little Easter card and leave a note saying you will spend an hour helping. Now there's a real gift!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring-Clean Your Pantry

Healthy eats can spoil quickly or lose their nutitional value over time. Check out this guide to see how long they last:

~*~Olive Oil: 6 months

Olive Oil is rich in polyphenol antioxidenst, which ahve been shown to help ward off cancer and heart disease. But a study in the Journal of Food Science found that these compounds can deteriorate after six months.

~*~ Nuts and Nut Oils: 3 to 6 months

Walnuts and pecans are top sources of healthful fats that turn rancid quickly.In a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutition, British researchers discovered that one brand of walnut oil had an actual shelf life 20 times shorter than the "best before" date printed on the label.

~*~ Ground Spices: 6 months

Grinding increases spices' exposure to oxygen, which breaks down healthful antioxidants and causes flavor to fade. If tossing the expensive jars makes you cringe, consider buying whole spices and preparing them as needed.

~*~ Green Tea: 6 months

Cancer-fighting antioxidents called catechins are one of the most beneficial compounds found in green tea. But a 2009 U.S Department of Agriculture study found that green tea's catechins lose 32% of their potency after 6 months. To get the biggest antioxidant punch from your cup, use fresh, loose leaves, and store them in a airtight tin to block out light and moisture.

~*~ Whole Wheat Flour- 3 months to 1 year

Whole-wheat flour is loaded with heart-smart unsaturated fats. But these fats go bad rapidly when exposed to heat and oxygen- in fact, whole-wheat flour spoils four times faster than white. Replace yours after three months or store in a sealed container in the fridge for six months or in the freezer for up to a year.

-Karen Ansel