The Maids of Portland, Maine

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Cleaning Resolutions

Yes, there are some chores even we avoid. These top our pledge-to-do-better list:

Toaster oven: We'll line the crumb tray with aluminum foil so debris (a potential fire hazard) can be cleaned out more easily, and wipe down the glass door with soap and water so gunk doesn't build up.

Tub/shower drain: Once a month,we'll put on rubber gloves, pull up the stopper and remove trapped hair, oil, and greasy lint, then sanitize with 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide poured straight down the drain (let sit for an hour, then flush with water).

Computer: Because we  type every day, we'll unplug the keyboard every month, turn it over and gently tap to remove crumbs lodged between the keys, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove surface muck.

Courtesy of: Good Housekeeping

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

{ Greener } Gift Giving for the Holidays

Instead of shopping on Black Friday, support Small Business Saturday.

Sure, shopping Black Friday might net you a deep discount on the latest “must have” gadget at the big box stores. I guarantee, heading out on Black Friday will put me in a black mood. Instead, check out your local small businesses or follow Small Business Saturday on Facebook for updates.

Dive in and make your own gifts:

Handmade gifts truly come from the heart. And they don’t have to be elaborate. These are easy enough that even a beginner can do.
  • Herb-infused sugars.
  • Candied orange peels.
  • Christmas rosemary bath salts.
  • Easy facial lotion bars.
  • Security puppy/blanket for a new baby.
  • Minty hot cocoa mix.

    Give books:

    But as a book lover, I know there’s nothing better than finding a good book under the tree. They are truly the gift that keeps on giving — especially if we’re talking about non-fiction books to build a library of knowledge. Click through for my take on some of these.


    Consider reusable gift wrap:

  • Recycle t-shirts into sweet little pouches adorned with a snowflake image.
  • Sew reusable gift bags.
  • Cover a canister (such as a coffee can) with cute paper for a darling package.
  • Make your own gift bags from recycled newspaper.
  • Take a cue from nature and really wrap green.


                                                                               Courtesy of: Attainable Sustainable

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Prepare For the Holidays!

    Give the gift of homemade cleaning products to your family and friends. Preparing early is key to keeping your stress low so you can enjoy family and friends. Here are some holiday gift suggestions to give you a jump start...

    1.) Homemade Spray Cleaner Recipe:

    Mix in a sprayer bottle:
         * 1 cup white vinegar
         * 1 cup water

    In the kitchen, use vinegar and water spray to clean countertops, lightly soiled range surfaces and backsplash areas.

    In the bathroom, use the vinegar spray cleaner to clean countertops, floors and exterior surfaces of the toilet.

    2.) Cutting Boards:

    Sanitize by spraying first with vinegar and then with 3% hydrogen peroxide.

    3.) Furniture polish:

    Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to- one ratio and polish with a soft cloth.

    4.) Brass, copper, bronze and aluminum:

    To remove tarnish, rub metal with sliced lemons. For tough jobs sprinkle baking soda on the lemon and then rub.

    5.) Sterling silver:

    Put a sheet of aluminum foil into a plastic or glass bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and baking soda, and then fill the bowl with warm water. Soak your silver in the bowl, and the tarnish will migrate to the aluminum foil. Rinse and dry the silver, then buff with a soft cloth.

    Courtesy of: Dr. Dan's Natural Healing Center

    Monday, September 30, 2013

    Home Remedies for Congestion

    It’s that time of year again for many of us – less daylight, busy holiday schedules and colds and flus making the rounds.  The discomfort (and even pain) associated with congestion is one of the most common symptoms.  (Not to mention that the inability to breath is just plain annoying.)  In this post I’ve gathered together several home remedies for congestion that will hopefully get you breathing right and on the fast track to healing the next time you’re battling congestion.

    Home Remedy for Sinus Congestion #1 – Tomato Tea

    From Earth Clinic, a great site for home remedies, the top choice for sinus congestion is a recipe called “Jean’s Famous Tomato Tea“.  This recipe has received rave reviews for its ability to clear congestion.
    2 cups V8 Juice
    2-3 cloves Garlic crushed (use more if you can)
    2 T Lemon Juice
    Hot Sauce (the more the better, so as much as you can handle)
     Mix and heat in a pan or in the microwave. Sip slowly and re-warm as needed to get the full effects of the fumes. Let it sit in the back of your throat to bathe it. Suck the fumes through your sinuses and also down into your lungs. Its all natural and healthy, so drink as much of it as you want or need until you are SURE the infection is gone. This is past the time when you “feel better.”

    Home Remedy for Sinus Congestion #2 – Apple Cider Vinegar

    Whether you drink it, inhale it, gargle it or squirt it up your nose, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is another popular choice for treating congestion. For drinking, some folks take a shot of it straight up, others add lemon juice and cayenne, or mix it with water and honey. Popular proportions on Earth Clinic are 6 ounces of water, two tablespoons ACV, two – four teaspoons honey, consumed warm, every 6 to 8 hours.
    To inhale ACV, boil some ACV on the stove and breathe the fumes, or mix a drop or two in your saline nose spray.

    Home Remedy for Sinus Congestion #3 – Steam – With or Without Herbs

    A hot, steamy shower is a godsend when you’re stuffed up, but you can sneak it a little relief in a much smaller area by using a bowl of boiling water tented with a towel. Take a large bowl and add fresh or dried herbs such as eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint or New England Aster. (A few drops of high quality essential oils may also be used, or you can skip herbs altogether, but in my experience they do help.) Pour in boiling water. Lean over bowl and inhale as best you can, tenting your head with a towel to trap the vapors.

    Home Remedy for Sinus Congestion #4 – Hot Tea – Herbal or “Regular”

    Hot tea with lemon and honey has been a congestion fighting favorite of mine for years.  Momma always stocked Lipton tea bags, but now I buy my black, green and oolong in bulk, and sometimes enjoy some tulsi (holy basil) tea blends as well.  Lemon is a great mucus clearer on it’s own, and can provide extra vitamin C, and honey is naturally antibacterial, so do include them in your brew.
    For extra “oomph”, try herbal tea such as mullein, sage, ginger, peppermint, chamomile, eucalyptus, wild thyme and blackberry.
    To make an herbal tea, cover 2 teaspoons dried leaves or 1/4 cup fresh leaves with 1 cup boiling water, steep for five to ten minutes, then strain and enjoy.  (For ginger root, use about a 1/2 inch piece of fresh root, or 1/2 tsp-1 tsp of dried root bits.)  I like to steep in a tea pot or cover my tea mug to keep the vapors from escaping.
    Courtesy of Common Sense Homesteading 11/08/2012 

    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Benefits of using green cleaning products and homemade cleaners

    Synthetic household products contain harmful chemicals that react with ozone from the air, creating toxins like formaldehyde. The inside of homes contain around two to five times as many of common chemical pollutants than areas outside of homes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Considering people spend around 90 percent of their time inside, the denser concentration of chemicals is significant. Indoor pollutants can cause headaches, flu-like symptoms, neurological issues and possibly increase the risk of respiratory disease. Natural products for cleaning are therefore better for health. Using green cleaning products is also better for the environment. Buying natural cleaning products helps to support green companies, but if cost is an issue people can still participate in eco-friendly cleaning practices by making homemade cleaners.

    Natural Products for Cleaning and Disinfecting...

    Make homemade cleaners with simple ingredients such as vinegar, club soda and baking soda. Make an all-purpose cleaner by combining:

    • 1/4 cup baking soda
    • 1/2 cup vinegar
    • 1/2 gallon water

    A spray bottle filled with club soda makes a perfectly efficient glass cleaner.

    Homemade cleaners for floors are also simple. To clean linoleum or vinyl, combine:

    • 1 cup vinegar
    • 3 drops of baby oil
    • 1 gallon of warm water

    People can still get tough jobs done and stick to natural cleaning solutions by adding 1/4 cup of borax to the floor cleaner.

    Wooden floors are easy to clean with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil.

    Most homes do not need strong, chemical disinfectants. A
    natural disinfectant can be made by mixing:

    • 4 tablespoons vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons borax
    • 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap
    • 3 cups hot water

    Homemade cleaners for bathrooms:

    Natural cleaning products keep toilets, bathtubs and showers sparkling without harsh chemicals and unpleasant bleach smells. To clean a toilet, add 10 drops tea tree oil and 3 cups white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

    Vinegar is an excellent ingredient for homemade cleaners used in bathtubs and showers because unlike soap, vinegar does not leave a residue. Fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar for a basic shower cleaner. Add liquid detergent for extra strength. Leave the spray for 30 minutes before rinsing off.

    Remove rust stains with a paste made from water and cream of tartar.
    Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products for Kitchens:

    Most commercial dishwasher soaps have bleach or phosphates. Some manufacturers do sell low-phosphate detergents, but homemade cleaners work just as well for dishes and dishwashers as they do for other items.

    Make a natural dishwasher soap by combining equal parts washing soda and borax.

    To hand wash dishes, use a liquid soap and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the soapy water.

    There is also a natural
    cleaning solution to a dirty oven. Make a paste by combining:

    • 1 1/2 cups baking soda
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • 1/2 cup water

    Spread the paste inside the oven, but not on the metal areas. Leave the paste in the oven overnight. When morning comes, add 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of water in a spray bottle and spray inside the oven. The solution must be rinsed off well to avoid a residue.

    Houses maintained with natural
    cleaning products are less toxic and even smell better, which is beneficial because synthetic air fresheners can trigger asthma and allergies. A natural way to make the house smell sweeter is to dip cotton balls in vanilla extract and place them around the home. Houseplants help to freshen air too.
                                                                         Courtesy Of: Sarka-Jonae Miller of The Natural News

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013

    5 Cleaning Myths Debunked

    We trust the things that have been handed down by the generations. After all wasn't our grandmother a fabulous cleaner? Didn't our mom always seem to have everything in order? Is it really possible that some of the old tricks are myths?

    1. Is Bleach the Ultimate Cleaner?

    I remember growing up thinking that bleach was the ultimate cleaner. After all, anything that can take the color out of any surface has got to be a great cleaner. It took me awhile to realize that the real power of bleach isn't actually in its ability to clean. Actually bleach doesn't clean much. Find out what it's really for and what it's not so great at.

    2. Does Professional Carpet Cleaning Shrink Carpet?

    Carpet is a huge investment. We want it to last. But no matter how careful we are, carpets get stained and dirty. And when they do, we often call in professional help. But what if the carpet cleaning could actually damage your carpet. It's a scary thought. You hire someone to clean your carpet, and as it dries, it shrinks. Is it really possible? If did this idea get started?

    3. Does Vinegar Clean Everything?

    I love vinegar. It can clean nearly everything. In fact, it is such a versatile cleaner and so green friendly that it has earned a reputation it may not always deserve. There are some surfaces that shouldn't come into contact with vinegar. Contrary to popular belief, using vinegar on these surface only leads to a lot of damage and very little clean.

    4. Does More Soap or Detergent Equal More Cleaning Power?

    It's a common misconception that the more dirty something is, the more soap it needs. It seems to make sense, more dirt needs more soap. In reality, while soaps and detergents are great and necessary for cleaning too much of a good thing can create its own problems. So if more soap doesn't equal more cleaning power, what does it equal?

    5. How Can Dye-Free and Preservative-Free Cleaners Serve Any Purpose?

    It's all the rage to be dye free and preservative free. And while that may make a lot of sense for the things we put into our body, there may actually be a reason for some cleaners to have dyes or preservatives. It's easy to label dye-free and preservative-free cleaners as better than their counterparts. Is it really possible that cleaners with dyes and preservatives might serve some purpose?

                                                                                    Courtesy of: Sarah Aguirre

    Tuesday, August 6, 2013

    Five Unexpected Natural Cleaners

    Around-the-house staples that moonlight as dirt-busting superstars...


    White Bread and Ketchup

    Use white bread to: Dust an oil painting. Gently dab a slice of white bread over the surface to pick up dirt and grime.

    Use ketchup to: Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.



    Use it to: Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well.



    Use it to: Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigor-ously, and rinse.



    Use it to: Scour rusty garden tools. Brew a few pots of strong black tea. When cool, pour into a bucket. Soak the tools for a few hours. Wipe each one with a cloth. (Wear rubber gloves or your hands will be stained.)



    Use it to: Remove dried wax drippings from candlesticks. Peel off as much wax as possible, then moisten a cotton ball with glycerin and rub until clean.

    Courtesy of: Real Simple

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    Five Sunscreens You Should Never Use

    For truly safe sun protection, avoid these six categories of sketchy, ineffective products....

    #1: Sunscreens with Retinol
    Retinol, or vitamin A, can increase the risk of tumors on sun-exposed skin, according to a number of government tests. Yet it's commonly added to sunscreens and lotions owing to its anti aging effects. "That's especially concerning in light of the fact that melanoma rates have risen 2 percent each year over the past decade, says Leiba. It's become such a risky ingredient that the Canadian government is considering requiring warning labels on vitamin A–containing products that say the ingredient "may increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Please limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards." Exactly what you want to read on a

    bottle of sunscreen, right?

    #2: Sunscreens with SPFs Higher Than 50
    SPF is a measure of protection against sunburn-causing UVB rays only, not of cancer-causing UVA rays, and UVA protection in these products is poor, according to EWG's analysis, says Leiba. High-SPF products also lull you into a false sense of security. "Because they protect you longer from UVB rays, you may not get burned, which you associate with time to go inside," she adds. Thus, you stay outside longer and absorb too much skin-damaging UVA. The FDA has proposed rules that would prohibit companies from advertising SPFs higher than 50, which they call "inherently misleading," but those rules have never gone into effect.

    #3: Sunscreens that Contain Oxybenzone
    Oxybenzone is a chemical sunscreen agent that gets absorbed by your skin. The problem with it, says Leiba, is that it penetrates the skin very easily and gets absorbed into your bloodstream. Once inside your body, it mimics the hormone estrogen, which, over the long term, can lead to reproductive issues and thyroid problems, and autism researchers suspect that the chemical is also neurotoxic. More than half the products EWG analyzed contained Oxybenzone, and government studies have detected the ingredient inside the systems of 96 percent of Americans. Read labels carefully to avoid it. It can also be listed as benzophenone or benzophenone-3.

    #4: Sunscreens in Powder, Spray-on, or Towelette Form
    Anything you could potentially inhale shouldn't be saturated in sunscreen chemicals that act like hormones in your body, EWG warns. Plus, "when you're spraying on sunscreen, it's hard to tell if you're getting the amount of coverage you need," Leiba says. The same goes with powders and towelettes. In fact, this is the last summer you'll see either product on store shelves. The FDA has said that it won't allow powder- or towelettes-based sunscreen products to be sold after the end of 2013.

    #5: Sunscreen/Bug Repellent Combos
    They're unnecessary and potentially harmful. Bug repellents can contain effective but potentially irritating chemicals that you need only apply once a day, whereas sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. Beyond that, you don't need them, says EWG. Unless you're on a long hike in the wilderness, bugs are mostly pesky at dawn and dusk, not during the heat of the day when UV rays are strongest.


                                                                                 Courtesy Of: Rodale News

    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Mold Poisoning: The Hidden Factor In Many Chronic Illnesses

    The official start of summer is almost here, and warmer weather means we get a break from cold and flu season, right? Not if your “summer cold” is actually being caused by allergies, particularly mold allergies. The hottest months of the year offer great times for many activities; but for people with mold sensitivities who live in damp areas, this season can be especially difficult.
    When temperatures rise, molds that were relatively dormant during winter come to life and “bloom” into surrounding environments, spreading spores and wreaking health havoc — mostly among people who are predisposed to mold toxicity. And as we’re finding out, that population may be fairly high. Furthermore, water-damaged buildings are an increasing problem; and other compounding factors, including heavy metal exposure or bacterial infections, can make symptoms much worse.

    There are thousands of diverse species of this type of fungus, and mold spores can be found just about everywhere — even in dry desert areas. But they are especially prevalent in damp, humid and warm environments. Ravaging floodwaters caused by storms such as Superstorm Sandy subside; but in their wake, they leave devastating water damage. As summer approaches, these post-flood areas become susceptible to serious mold toxicity. Black molds (Stachybotrys chartarum and Stachybotrys chlorohalonata) are the most dangerous to human health, and they are commonly found in wet basements and other water-damaged areas of a building. Physical exposure occurs mainly through the lungs and/or digestive tract.

    Overlapping Symptoms
    Symptoms of mold toxicity can resemble other illnesses such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Neurotoxicity is a significant issue, since mold — particularly black mold — produces neurotoxins that can cause serious, long-term health damage. The list of symptoms is long and many are general. Here are some of the primary ones that can eventually progress to serious debilities if exposure continues:
    • Fatigue
    • Chronic sinus infection
    • Headaches
    • Respiratory symptoms
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Muscle and joint pain
    • Confusion and memory loss/brain fog
    • Blurred vision
    • Skin rash
    • Numbness and tingling

    Even if you don’t believe yourself to be mold-sensitive, these harmful invaders need to be avoided as much as possible. But if you do have mold poisoning, avoidance is priority No. 1 — even if it means you have to move. Avoidance is the hardest aspect of mold treatment and the main reason that people can’t recover from chronic mold toxicity. No matter how much treatment you undergo, without eradicating the fungus from your living and work environments, symptoms continue to progress. And because mold can hide undetected, it sometimes takes a mold-remediation expert to test your home. But here’s a tip: If there is any water damage, it’s almost certain that mold is growing there.

    Courtesy of: Easy Health Options

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    Easy and Pleasant Mosquito Repellent Recipe

    Yay!! It's Spring!! Time to get ready for Mosquito invasions.
    Here's an easy and pleasant repellent recipe you can make at home:

    Combine in a 16 oz bottle:
    15 drops lavender oil
    3-4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
    1/4 Cup lemon juice.
    Fill bottle with water.

    Ready to use. Make some extra to gift to your neighbors, family & friends. (Trust me.. it'll be appreciated!)

    Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Five Pointless Chemicals in Your Home

    As you start spring cleaning this season, consider more than just scrubbing away dirt and dust. For a healthier—and cleaner—home, rid your home of toxic chemicals. We’re talking more than just nixing the bleach or pesticides. Really, deep clean your home of chemicals. These five toxic chemicals don’t do your home any good—and they’re probably the ones you don’t even know are already there.

    1. Triclosan

    You’ve likely heard about the dangers of antibacterial soaps. Antibacterial agents added to soaps may rid products of nasty germs, but bacteria have now started to mutate and create super bacteria that resist these microbe-killing agents. Besides that, those chemical additives aren’t so great themselves. Triclosan, one such chemical commonly used to reduce or prevent bacteria in products, has a slew of health dangers.
    According to the FDA, triclosan has proven to alter hormone regulation in animal studies. As well, other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Eesh. Want a safer alternative? Avoid anything “antibacterial”, or better yet choose soaps made with natural and organic ingredients for your home.

    2. Flame retardants

    Did you know that your couch’s cushions were likely sprayed with flame retardant chemicals? The theory is that it gives people more time to get out of their homes in the event of a fire. While the idea of spraying large pieces of furniture with flame retardants to slow the spread of fire may be noble, you have to ask: at what costs?
    The toxic chemicals sprayed onto our favorite pieces of furniture are extremely concerning for our health. Flame retardants found in couches and other furniture off-gas into the air and can linger in household dust, allowing us to breathe in toxins for years. A study by researchers at the Silent Spring Institute found 44 flame retardant chemicals at concerning levels in household dust in California homes. Of those chemicals, many were now banned chemicals that remained in household dust over the years.
    Couches made out of natural fibers like wool, cotton and hemp are better options. If you’re not able to invest in a new couch, reduce your exposure by removing dust regularly from your home using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

    3. Formaldehyde

    You’ve heard of formaldehyde, right? Well, besides preserving dead bodies, this chemical is also commonly found in cosmetics, building materials, glues, air fresheners and household cleaning products. For such a common ingredient, it’s frighteningly bad for your health. The U.S. National Toxicology Program labeled formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. Avoid exposure in your home by only using natural and organic cleaning products and cosmetics. Also, be sure to choose solid wood furniture for your home instead of pressed wood products, which usually contain formaldehyde resins.

    4. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

    Everything from backpacks to shower curtains to art supplies and vinyl flooring are made out of PVC, a known volatile organic compound. As a volatile organic compound, the toxic chemicals in this substance can evaporate out of the product and into your home’s air, causing irritation, allergies or worse. Whenever you smell that new plastic smell, it’s likely from PVC. This chemical is also terrible for the environment. It’s not easily recycled so PVC products either end up in the landfill, where they leach chemicals into the environment, or are incinerated, releasing dioxins and heavy metals into the air. Avoid anything with the #3 recycling symbol, as it’s made out of PVC plastic.

    5. Bisphenol A (BPA)

    Made famous by its recent banishment from plastic baby bottles, Bisphenol A or BPA is an industrial chemical that’s commonly used in domestic products. BPA typically has two uses: to create rigid plastic used for food and beverage containers and to make an adhesive that lines many canned foods and beverages, typically acidic foods like tomatoes, chili and soups.
    As a chemical that goes so near our food—whether in the lining of metal cans or in the plastic containers we store food in—it’ health hazards are downright scary. BPA mimics estrogen in the body and can disrupt the endocrine system. It’s been linked to infertility, breast and reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty and more.
    To minimize your exposure to BPA, avoid all plastic bottles, plastic food stores containers and canned food unless they’re explicitly BPA-free. Oh, and one more thing. BPA is also used to coat many paper receipts. Yes, receipts. Avoid handling them if you can.

    Written by Kirsten Hudson

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    How Green Is Your House?

    When you knuckle down for a good spring clean, you want to rid your home of dust and dirt and the germs they carry. But you could be exposing yourself to even more dangerous problems. Asthma, skin irritation, immune- and nervous-system complications, hormonal disorders and even cancer have all been linked to chemicals contained in common household cleaners – the same nasties that also harm the environment. And it’s not just cleaning products that hold a dirty secret – materials almost all of us have in our homes such as plastic items or fibreboard furniture could harbour sinister compounds too, as well as the products that we use to keep our bodies spick and span. Come with us on a tour of the contents of your home and discover what some of these dangerous chemicals are, what health problems they may cause and what the safer alternative is...

    There’s nothing like the smell of flowers and the like, but your average aerosol freshener will contain aerosol propellants (to help it spray), as well as petroleum distillates and the chemical formaldehyde, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The fumes associated with these substances can be strong irritants for the eyes, nose and throat, says Dr Rajendran Nayar of iCare Clinic in Dubai, while formaldehyde has been associated with cancer, and both petroleum distillates and aerosol propellants are highly flammable.

    What’s the alternative? “When shopping for cleaning products prefer clearly labelled, plant-based, eco-friendly products,” says Gundeep Singh, founder and CEO of The Change Initiative. Or you can make your own natural air freshener by boiling peels of citrus fruits with aromatic herbs and spices like cinnamon and cloves, says Mariana Paunescu, executive housekeeper of The Grand Millennium Dubai. “Put all the ingredients together, bring to a boil, then simmer until the scent spreads to other rooms. You can reuse the mixture three times, but keep it refrigerated between uses.”

    Used in the kitchen, bathroom and on pretty much any surface, these contain many different kinds of ingredients – such as detergents, grease-cutting agents, solvents, and disinfectants – and with these come many related hazardous chemicals. “All-purpose cleaners may contain diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), which react to form nitrosamines, and these are carcinogenic and capable of penetrating the skin,” says Dr Nayar.

    What’s the alternative? In our germ-obsessed society, the commitment to cleaning can go too far and, sometimes, a little bit of dirt is a good thing says Gundeep. “Studies show that excessive use of antibacterial cleaning products and soaps may inhibit the development of the immune system in children, leading to allergies and chronic respiratory illnesses.” Instead of spritzing chemicals all over the house, regular dusting and use of a mild soap diluted in water will keep your house clean and healthy. “Baking soda is good for scrubbing, use it to clean the kitchen cabinets and counters,” says Mariana, “and instead of using a detergent to remove stains, dip a toothbrush in white vinegar and lightly rub the affected area."
    Written by: Khulekani Madlela and Tabitha Barda
                       Friday Magazine April 23, 2013


    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Sneeze Free!

    Take a deep breath and get a load of this statistic. Over two million dust mites inhabit the average double bed. Here are some Sneeze-Free Do’s and Don’ts that will make you breathe a little easier:

    DO: Keep pets out of the bedroom.
    DON’T: Leave bedding and mattress uncovered. Use hypoallergenic cases.
    DO: Opt for leather, vinyl or plain wooden furniture; upholstery is a haven for mites. Regularly wipe down these surfaces with cleaner.
    DON’T: Keep rooms humid. Use a dehumidifier and an air purifier.
    DO: Remove heavy drapes. Use window shades instead of blinds. They collect less dust.
    DON’T: Keep books in the bedroom…they’re dust magnets. Store them behind glass cabinet doors instead.
    DO: Wash and dry 100% cotton linens on hottest setting.
    DON’T: Use down or wool bedding.
    DO: Hang pictures on the wall vertically, not horizontally. They’ll collect less dust that way.
    DON’T: Grow flowers in the bedroom. Instead, get one of these houseplants that can dramatically reduce toxins in the air:
    * Spider Plant
    * Peace Lily
    * Chinese Evergreen
    * Ficus Plant
    Courtesy of: Clean Home Ideas

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    How to Clean Nicotine Stained Walls

    Anyone who’s lived with a smoker knows cigarette smoke ruins your walls, your furniture and your clothing, not to mention endangering the health of everyone who comes in contact with it. Painting over nicotine instead of first cleaning it off is fruitless, because nicotine seeps through paint. Walls stained by the greasy residue of nicotine are notoriously hard to clean—but it’s not impossible.
    Work your way up to increasingly strong cleaners as needed. You can start with a spray bottle filled with straight white vinegar or lemon juice, applying it in sections, rubbing it off in a circular motion with a clean cotton rag (old cloth diapers are ideal for this). Refold the cloth frequently to prevent reapplying the nicotine. Wipe down with clear warm water.
    If this doesn’t work, open a window for ventilation, wear rubber gloves and fill a bucket with warm water and ammonia. Start with small amounts of ammonia—say a half cup—and if necessary increase the ratio of ammonia to water, up to a 50/50 mixture. For really tough jobs, you can buy a commercial product at the hardware store that removes nicotine from ceilings and walls.
    After washing down the walls, dry thoroughly with another clean cloth. When completely dry, apply a paint primer specifically designed for sealing any residual greasy stains you may have been unable to clean. This is advised even if you believe you’ve thoroughly cleaned the walls. Apply one or two of these primer coats, then paint the room in a latex or oil-based paint.
    Finally, for the sake of everyone’s health and to save yourself from having to repeat this kind of effort, forbid smoking in your home. Post a NO SMOKING sign on your freshly painted wall if you have to.
    ***Clean Home Ideas

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    Secrets For Easy Surface Cleaning

    Secrets For Easy Surface Cleaning...

    Bleach stains on carpet or clothing can’t be reversed, but you can sometimes make them unnoticeable by carefully touching up the spot with a permanent marker in as close a color you can find.
    Blood stains are tricky but not impossible to remove, especially if you catch them quickly. Start with a paste of cold water and baking soda, followed by a vinegar water rinse. If necessary, use a bit of hydrogen peroxide for a second cleaning. Some people report that cornstarch is an effective blood stain remover. Rinse stain in cold water first, rub in moistened cornstarch, then place item in the sun. If you catch a blood stain immediately, try this old folk remedy: wet a long piece of white cotton thread with saliva and roll it across the spot. The saliva enzymes will help the thread absorb the blood. Repeat.

    Candle Wax can be removed from walls, wood tables and tablecloths with heat and plain paper. Place the paper over the wax and gently iron until the wax seeps into the paper. Repeat with fresh pieces of paper until wax is lifted, then clean surface carefully with a soft cloth dipped in a solution of vinegar and water. As an alternative, try applying an ice cube to dripped wax. It will become brittle and lift off more easily.

    Coffee stains can be lightened or removed with this process. Wash in cold water and detergent or soap, then rinse first with water, then a water/white vinegar solution. Repeat water rinse. Rub denatured alcohol in the stain, rinse with water again. Finally, dip a white cloth into beaten egg yolk and rub yolk into stain. Rinse with clear water.

    Chewing Gum can be hardened with ice for easier removal with a dull knife. Or try soaking the gum in rubbing alcohol, which will dissolve the gum.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Frugal Repurposing Ideas for Your Home

    If you are the frugal type,we know we are, then here are some repurposing ideas and unique tips:

    > Use mustard to clean out bottles with persistent odors.
    > Turkey basters can help you water your plants.
    > Unstick drawers using a bar of soap.
    > Use tennis balls to make your pillows fluffy again.
    > Flour can help you clean stainless steel appliances.
    > Paint rollers can help you dust a ceiling fan.
    > Use a pumice stone to remove rust stains from your toilet.
    > Plants can help you purify the air in your home.
    > Tea leaves can help you eliminate litter box odors.
    > Use dryers sheets to dust baseboards clean.
    Use twine to polish forks between the tines.
    > Facial wipes can help you to remove paint stains on the floor.
    > Use peanut butter to remove sticky price tags.

    My Kitchen Escapades

    Friday, February 15, 2013

    Let's Protect the Air That We Breath in Our Homes

    Thanks to the The Daily Green, a consumer's guide to green from, here are a few tips on how to purify the air in your home...

    A.) Beware of Dry Cleaning Chemicals...Dry Cleaning solvents are strong chemicals and can be toxic to breathe. Let dry cleaned items air outdoors before bringing them inside.

    2.) Use Low-VOC Paints...Paint releases trace amounts of gases for months after application. These gases are called volitile organic compounds and can include highly toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

    3.) Do Not Idle the Car in the Garage... Burning gas or other fuels indoors can produce dangerous levels of indoor air pollution and deadly carbon monoxide. Protect you health by turning off carbon-monoxide emitting motors in garages and sheds.

    4.) Kill the Dust Mites...Dust allergies are actually allergies to dust mites. To fight dust mites in your home keep humidity levels below 50% indoors. Remove carpets if you can and vacuum and steam clean all of your upholstered furniture.

    5.) Beware Formaldehyde...Keep formaldehyde away from your home by choosing wood panel products that are not made with urea formaldehyde glues,lumber or materials. Cigarette smoke is also a major source of indoor formaldehyde.

    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    How to Clean Your Home to Help Reduce the Spread of the Flu

    ¨       Everyone in the home should wash his or her hands regularly in warm soapy water. For quick disinfecting, use alcohol-based antibacterial hand sanitizer. Make an effort not to touch your mouth, eyes or nose without first washing your hands.

     ¨       When cleaning, always wear rubber gloves to protect yourself.

     ¨       Regularly use household disinfectant on any surfaces that are commonly touched, like toys, doorknobs, appliance handles, remote controls, light switches, phones, and facial tissue box covers. Follow proper usage instructions on the product label. Some viruses can live for up to 48 hours on hard surfaces.

     ¨       Use disinfecting spray in bathrooms. Spray disinfecting cleaner on a cloth and wipe clean toilet handles and seats, faucets, showers, tubs and sinks. Allow the disinfectant to air dry for several minutes.

     ¨       Make sure to wash items like towels and bedding in hot water with detergent. Be sure not to share these items until they are thoroughly washed if someone has been sick in the home.

    ¨       If multiple toothbrushes are kept in a common container, boil toothbrushes for one minute in water and vinegar, put them through the dishwasher or purchase new ones.

     ¨       To protect yourself at work, use antibacterial wipes on your keyboard, phone and writing utensils regularly, in case others have used them.



    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    To Disinfect or to Sanitize? That is the question!

    Do you know the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing? When you have a big mess on your hands and need to find a product and method to clean up-do you sanitize or disinfect? Sanitizers are agents that destroy 99.999% of bacteria in 30 seconds according to a public health test called the Official Detergent Sanitizer test. According to the AOAC Use Dilution test, disinfectants are products that destroy all organisms in 10 minutes.

    Sanitizing is a chemical process that will lessen or kill germs on surfaces to make then safe for use. It is important to sanitize your kitchen and surfaces that you prepare food on. It would also be wise to sanitize toys that come in contact with an infant's mouth. Usually your dishwasher comes with a sanitizing cycle during which your dishes and utensils will become as clean as possible.

    Disinfecting requires a stronger solution to destroy germs rather than reducing them. You might want to disinfect the baby's diaper pail or changing table or the phone receiver during flu season. Other places to disinfect would be any area that comes in contact with blood or body fluids.