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Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning: Staple Items

I can’t believe it is time to wrap up this mini-series. I hope you have enjoyed reading along as much as I have had putting this together. It has been so much fun sharing all of the DIY recipes I have learned. I am no where near done making the journey to a green home. I am still in the market for a carpet cleaner and possible stain remover. Anyone have a good recipe?

You know I just couldn’t resist the chance to share my favorites. This certainly isn’t every cleaning product I love using but these are definitely my top 8.

Cleaning Cloths | Baking Soda | Unpaper Towels | Spray Bottles | Meyer’s Products
Green Works | Vinegar | Lemons

I ordered a set of 36 microfiber cloths from Amazon and absolutely love them. I divided them up so that I have a few in each bathroom and the kitchen. Along with that, I have a set of unpaper towels in the kitchen. We have not completely gotten rid of all paper towels in the house!

Spray bottles are great to have laying around if you have cats around the house for a rainy day. I found a wide variety of colors at Walmart. I have ended up using them for cooking, craft projects, travel and now cleaning products.

Baking soda, vinegar and lemons seem to be the latest fad in DIY home cleaning but they have been around for ages. What is great is that they are so versatile that I almost always have them around the house. Baking soda in the fridge, vinegar for when the hubs is craving Old Bay and vinegar fries and lemon for my Diet Coke water.

I like keeping Meyer’s products and a container of Green Works wipes around for those, just in case moments”. You never know when we have an, “uh ho” and I don’t have time to replenish.

That about wraps things up, for now. I can’t explain the feeling I have now when I am cleaning our house. I feel so much better about the choices I have made for my family.

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Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning: Laundry Room

Today I am going to talk a little bit about the laundry room. Next to our dishwasher, the washer and dryer do a lot for this family. Whether it’s Parker’s talented stained bibs, my painted on clothes or Rob’s ABU’s our washer accepts the challenge without complaint. I am sure it would prefer a break once in awhile but a nice deep cleaning will just have to do, until we go on a vacation…
I made my first batch of laundry detergent about a month ago and have been very pleased with it so far. As I mentioned with the dishwasher pods, we did use Borax which some people may not want to use. We have fairly sensitive skin and haven’t had any issues so far. We are still washing Parker’s clothes with Charlies Soap or BabyGanics Laundry Detergent.
1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax – $8.99
1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – $7.20
1 (4 lb) Box of Baking Soda – $11.96/$2.99/lb
1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean – $10.19
2 (7 oz) Bars of Octagon All-Purpose Soap (Zote Soap is also ok) I planned for 4 bars but only needed 2.
1 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals – $6.79
* Prices were gathered from drugstore.com
All together, this recipe yielded about 3 gallons of laundry detergent.
The hardest part of this was grating the soap. Once it was done, I layered the ingredients a little at a time and then mixed it all together in a 5 gallon bucket.
I strongly recommend doing this outside and using a mask. All of the dry ingredients create a smoke cloud. 
When it was mixed thoroughly  I poured some of the detergent into a container to keep in the laundry room. The bucket is stored in our garage out of the way and out of reach of curious, crawling babies. We have only used about 3/4 of the small container so far and do about 5-6 loads of laundry per week. No too shabby!
Although we have had a great experience using this soap, I turned to Rob the other day and thought outloud, “why don’t we just use the BabyGanics?”. He kind of looked at me, chuckled and responded, “because you like to do things the hard way.” Oy vey! I LOVE BabyGanics and since it is what I prefer to use for Parker, we might as well use to too. When we do finally switch him over, we will all go back to using this recipe.
Another way we have gone green in our laundry room is using purecosheets instead of normal dryer sheets. You can read more about my review of them here, on our family blog, and how to get 10% your order. Here is the abridged version of why I LOVE this product.
– They are reusable. Just throw them in the wash every month to keep them working strong.
– They are 100% safe on all baby cloths (including sleepwear) and cloth diaper inserts.
– They work just as well as the waxy ones.
– Are a great price!

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Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning: Garbage Disposal

There is nothing I hate more then a smelly sink. It ruins the happy feeling I get when I have a clean kitchen and gives me an extra super icky feeling when I have a dirty kitchen. In the past, we usually bought garbage disposal fresheners  Then I read the warning on the front of the package…

“CautionContains a bitter coating to discourage children from swallowing. Do not break pod open or take internally. If broken, wash immediately from skin and clothing. If swallowed induce vomiting and call physician at once. Pod will be irritating to eyes upon contact. In case of eye contact, flush eyes with plenty of water and contact you local poison control center. Keep out of reach of children.” 

Seriously, why on earth would I want that in my house. Even if I kept it out of reach of Parker, there was still a danger. Next step, Pinterest. I came across a video of Rachel Ray, my girl crush, with tips on how to keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh.

I ended up combining her tips to make lemon vinegar garbage disposal pods. All I needed was 2 ice cube trays, a lemon and about a cup of distilled white vinegar. I cut them lemon and placed a piece in each section. Then filled each section with the vinegar. Once they were frozen, I emptied them into a Tupperware contain to keep in the freeze. Now all we have to do is grab a few and throw them into the disposal!

A bag of 9 lemons cost around $3 and a bottle of vinegar is around $5. The best part is I am using some of the other lemons and vinegar tomorrow when I share how to DIY dusting cloths! If I was only using them for pods, I would be able to make about 288 costing a whopping $.02/each. A generic bag of 12 garbage disposal pods is around $4.50 which factors out to about $.38/each.

While I love the natural yet effective power of vinegar, I have a hard time stomaching it… When I was at girl scout camp one summer (a long time ago), I participated in an activity where you were blind folded and had to identify liquids based on taste (we held our noses). Guess who got vinegar…? Yep, this girl over here. Absolutely disgusting :/ When I was pregnant, the smell was even worse.

I have found that adding lemons help and I hope that over time, I will be able to teach my brain to think of clean when I smell vinegar just like I do with lemon pledge.

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Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning: The Dishwasher

I don’t know about your house but in mine, the dishwasher is one of the hardest working members of our family next to the washer and dryer. It’s sometimes easy to forget that it needs the occasional TLC and a nice deep cleaning.

I don’t think it could possibly get any easier! 
A few months ago, I shared a recipe I had found to make my own dishwasher pods. It was the first DIY cleaning product I made and was so much fun. Not to mention, they have done an excellent job on our dishes. They were a little tedious to make so this time around, because of time constraints, I decided to just make the powder. I definitely don’t like it as much as the pods so I will be switching back next time.  
The ingredients you need for either the powder or pods are:
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup salt 
1 canister of Lemishine
If you want to try out the pods, check out my post here. If you would rather stick with the powder, all you have to do is pour all of the ingredients together and stir. I strongly recommend doing this outside as mixing all the ingredients together make a pretty large and strong cloud. It also couldn’t hurt to use a mask and gloves. I stored the powder in the canister we had our pods in and reused the Lemishine container to keep out on the counter. 
To some of you green cleaning veterans or those who have researched cleaning agents, you maybe asking yourself, “wait, I thought more studies were finding concerns with Borax?!?” I was actually unaware of the health concerns around Borax until it was brought up in a Facebook group I started, Creating a Greener Life
I found some good resources and after thinking it through, decided to continue to use Borax for the moment. Most of what I read said Borax was dangerous in high quantities just like salt is. I will continue doing research and find an alternative when it’s time to make a new batch of pods. 
One of the main things that lead me to this conclusion is that, even with the recipe doubled as I did the first time, 2 cups of Borax was divided into about 35 weeks. Since almost all of the Borax is washed away in dishwasher cycle, we aren’t really ingesting enough to even calculate (IMHO). 
I take precautions and wear a mask, use gloves and mix everything outside. We also keep it out of reach of our pets and of course Parker. We still hand wash all of his utenciles and bottles with Dapple. 
Here are some resources you may find helpful to make a decision you are comfortable with. 

Borax: Safe or Not? – Herban Lifestyle

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Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning: Schedule {FREE PRINTABLE}

I always find that if I want to be super productive with something, I need to sit down and make a list. It gives me a chance to brainstorm, research and ensure I haven’t, for the most part, left anything out. Pinterest has been a great tool in making all of my lists recently.

I made up a cleaning checklist to accomplish one of our 2013 goals I mentioned on our family blog, Cherry Blossom Love. I even printed it out and put it behind the glass on the white board I made for our kitchen. That has helped out tremendously in staying on track each month.

Even though I try to get all of my cleaning tasks done in the above list, life often gets in the way. That is why I love doing an extensive spring and fall cleaning in the house. Of course, I prefer the spring one because it means warm weather is just around the corner!

When I was getting ready to start my spring cleaning, I sat down again and made a more extensive list. With the help of Pinterest, I was able to view tons of great checklists and make one that fit our family and home perfectly.

Did you enjoy this post? Plan to download and use this printable? Leave me a comment and let me know! Comments are like walking out to the mailbox and finding a hand written letter 🙂 
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