Green Spring Cleaning Challenge

I don’t know about you but I just can’t get into the spirit of Spring cleaning when there is snow on the ground and the wind is frigid. Mother Nature sure had it in for us this season but eventually it will have to get warm out, right?!?! I decided that even though I am not ready to start my Spring cleaning ritual, I should probably have everything in order so that when the weather does finally turn, I am ready.

Over the last year we have been using some of the recipes I compiled last year for my series, Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning. It was so much fun to do and I am excited this year to go a bit deeper with my cleaning now that we have been in the house over a year. My goal now through the end of the month is to make sure I am well stocked on all of my cleaning agents.
Since last year was the first year I used these recipes I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on their effectiveness and what changes, if any, I would be making this year. Cleaning supplies always seem to be great in the beginning but the real test for me is to see how I feel about them a year later. Overall, I will be using all the same recipes with just a few minor changes here and there. 

I can’t believe how well this cleaner has worked for us. The only thing I plan to change about this recipe is to not put the lemons peals into the containers. It was really hard to get these out! I ended up making a new batch each month and kept one bottle in each bathroom and the kitchen for easy access.

I think I was the most impressed with this recipe and how well they worked. We used them on all of our wood surfaces and they gave an amazing shine and smelled like Spring! I whipped up a batch about once a month since one cloth was large enough to cover all of my dusting needs each time. When I was done I just threw them in the washer with our reusable paper towels and kitchen towels. 
After making this last Spring I had second thoughts about it only because we had found a detergent we liked, Baby Ganics. However, this recipe was so easy to make the yielded enough to last us the whole year. It works really well so I will be making another batch this month. We kept this small container in the laundry room and just filled it up when it was running low. We kept the extra in a sealed 5 gallon bucket in the garage.

 This recipe is so simple and them worked just as well as the ones you can buy in the store filled with some pretty nasty chemicals.  We kept them in a plastic container in the freezer and just popped a few in the disposal when it started to smell a little funky.

I’ll admit, I am horrible with cleaning our mirrors and windows. Even with little hand prints everywhere, it always seems to be at the bottom of my to-do list. This recipe really did do the trick so I am going to try my best this year to stop finding excuses šŸ™‚ We kept the solution in clear squirt bottles and had one in each bathroom and the kitchen along with the all purpose cleaner. 

I am so excited to begin this little challenge for myself and would love for you to join in! Checking back on March 31st when I will be sharing my Spring Cleaning Checklist to help keep me on track for the month of April. In the meantime, visit your local grocery store to get your supplies to make some of the homemade cleaning recipes I talked about above or search out Pinterest for a few of your own! For step by step instructions on each recipe just click the picture.

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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 šŸ™‚ 
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Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning: Why?

Everyone has their own reasons for going green. For us, it was a combination of the health benefit, financial benefit and helping out the environment. We knew with our busy schedules that we would need to take baby steps, making a few changes here and there.

Before I get into more of the “why”, maybe I should take a step back go over a few acronyms that I will probably mention at some point in this series. Most of them you may know, but just in case! This list is also not extensive. Just Google, green language to find tons of sites with hundreds of acronyms.

Okay, now back to our topic today, why?

The earliest I remember making green choices was in graduate school. Our apartment complex didn’t recycle so I would save up all of my recycling and take it home to NJ with me when I would visit my parents. I guess to some that was going overboard but it wasn’t a hassle so I barely even noticed.

My interest in intentionally going more green started when I found out I was pregnant with my son (currently 10 months old). I was “that mom” who wanted my son to live in a safe and clean bubble. While a physical bubble is not possible, and invisible one is.

Rob and I started out the beginning of the year making some changes to the foods we ate after reading an article on Fox News (.com) called, 7 Foods You Should Never Eat. It was scary that some of the things I have been eating for years were on that list. These changes were fairly easy and it made us happy that we had actively started making changes. There is plenty more in my diet I need to change, but

I then decided to dive into our cleaning products. I knew most of the chemicals in cleaning products were bad, but I didn’t realize the extent until I read the article, Eight Ways to Ease into a Natural Home. Such a well written and easy to understand article, but damn did it scare the crap out of me!

There were three points that the author of the article brought up I feel important to mention.
– There is no federal administration to regulate what is put into household cleaners.
– Companies don’t need to disclose what is in their cleaning products.
– Cleaning products are considered hazards materials and are not accepted by the Sanitation Department

Don’t worry, I had the same feeling in the pit of my stomach you might be experiencing right now.

Last September, I shared a recipe for DIY Dishwasher Pods. We are JUST finishing up the last few pods. That was the first time I had made a cleaning product we used at home. It felt great, was cheaper that buying the pods in the store and worked just as well. Now I am pretty much addicted to DIYing all of our household cleaning agents and it has become a challenge.

When we realized that I would be staying home with our son we knew we would need to cut some corners to manage our bills and budget properly. Since we were already looking at green options, we decided to compare the prices of some of our cleaning products. 
Wow, I never realized how expensive our current products were until I started looking on line and at old receipts. Since you can use the same products mixed differently and with different concentrates, you save money by needing only a few simple ingredients. Distilled white vinegar being one of the most common ingredients which you can get at Wegman’s for $2.59 a gallon. 

My dishwasher pods are a great example. We do about 5 loads a week. You can buy a pack of 20 Finish pods for $3.79. That would end up being about $50 a year. Based on how long my last batch lasted, I estimate it would cost just under $20 for the year if we made our own pods. 
While $30 may not seem like a lot for the year, think about the number when I factor in ALL of our cleaning supplies including laundry detergent! 

Changing to green products will help out the environment with every small step we take. Using the same ingredients for multiple cleaners will limit the empty bottles I recycle (reusing is better than recycling which is better than throwing away). Using greener products will decrease the the number of chemicals we release in the air that can affect the o-zone and aquatic life.

What are some of the reasons you decided or are deciding to live a little greener? 

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Going Green With Your Spring Cleaning {AND GIVEAWAY}

I absolutely LOVE spring time. The warm weather, fresh air and the opportunity to clean my house from top to bottom without looking like a complete weirdo. What more could a girl ask for?

I have been so anxious to announce this little mini series. One of my big goals this year was to start making changes towards living a greener life. I didn’t anticipate any drastic changes, just a few here and there. So far, it has been easier that I thought. I am by no means an expert but wanted to share what I have learned so far. Over the next two weeks I will show you 11 different ways my home is a little greener, my family a littleĀ healthierĀ and I a little happier!

But that’s not all!!!!

 

I also decided I wanted to do a little something for all of my wonderful readers. So at the end of this mini series, I will be giving away a few of my favorite products that have helped me live a more organized and green life! Yay for free stuff that ALSO helps theĀ environment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interested in learning how others are living greener lives? Join,Ā Creating A Greener Life on Facebook. It’s a great place to ask questions and share tips on ways to live a little greener!Ā 

It would mean the world to me if you grabbed my button and spread the word on your blog, Facebook or Pinterest!Ā 

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