A month of Earth Day inspired posts…visit http://act.earthday.org to make your pledge!
Basil will deter flies and mosquitoes. Feverfew attracts aphids away from roses, while garlic, coriander and nasturtiums deter them as well. Tomato worms don’t like borage or pot marigolds. By choosing the right companion herbs in your garden of flowers or vegetables, you can avoid the bad effects of spraying pesticides.
Simple, effective non-toxic cleaning solutions also can be made using vinegar and vegetable soaps.
There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.
- Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
- Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
- Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
- Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
- White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
- Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
- Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body. See http://drclark.ch/g)
- Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
- Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)
Healthy Home Cleaning Habits
Exchange Indoor Air
Many modern homes are so tight there’s little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide – windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about 5 minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as ‘heat sinks’, and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Remove clutter which collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a ‘no-shoes-indoors’ policy. If you’re building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust which portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.
Use Cellulose Sponges
Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water. Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they’re naturally more absorbent. For general household cleaning, try Skoy Eco-Cleaning Cloths. These cleaning cloths are non-toxic, extremely absorbent (15x paper towels), reusable, and biodegradable.
Keep Bedrooms Clean
Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase ‘green’ commercial alternatives. Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.
Clean from the Top Down:
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Clean window blinds and shelves first and then work downwards. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.
- Natural Cleaning Solutions (nanawithtwodogs.wordpress.com)
- Clean Spring Cleaning (teresastips.wordpress.com)
- 8 Other Green Cleaners Already in Your House (wisebread.com)
- Make Your Own Dishwashing Detergent (24/365) (thesimpledollar.com)
- EARTH DAY is April 22. Make Earth Day EVERY DAY! (nanawithtwodogs.wordpress.com)
We’ve all been there. You actually remember to take the trash out on trash night. What a feeling of accomplishment, relief and satisfaction. Now you don’t have to worry about racing down the driveway in the morning and being late for work.
Morning comes and you’re getting ready for your day. Time flies by quickly, especially if you have little ones to get to school or a lengthy commute. As you race out the door, you are met with a most unpleasant sight.
The garbage you so carefully placed out the night before is now laying all over your driveway, lawn, neighbor’s lawn, neighbor’s driveway, and a good portion of the street. At some point in the evening some of the following
may have visited your house.
Raccoons are common inhabitants of urban and semi-urban areas. Because local ordinances provide raccoons with near-total protection in many areas, dealing with damage or nuisance situations in those settings presents some unique problems. Homeowners having a problem with raccoons in garbage should store the garbage in a stout metal or plastic container and close the lid tightly. It should be wired, clamped or tied shut if necessary. If the problem persists it may be necessary to tie the can to a post or other solid object to prevent it from being tipped over, or to put the garbage cans inside the garage or outdoor shed. Raccoons may be attracted by dog or cat food left out overnight, and it may be necessary to feed pets indoors or to provide food only during the day.
Conflicts between people and bears have increased as more people build homes and cabins in rural areas. Conflicts between people and bears arise when bears damage personal property, beehives, livestock and agricultural crops.
A bear will take advantage of any foods available and will attempt to eat anything that resembles food in look, smell or taste. When natural foods such as nuts, meat berries, insects and tender vegetation are scarce, bears search actively for anything to eat. This is when bears most often come in contact with people. When bears find a source of food they will usually return regularly.
The best way to prevent this situation from occurring again is to have a proper garbage containment system in place, such as the Trash Knight. Check us out…you’ll be glad you did.
- Where the wild things are (with apologies to Maurice Sendak) (fontanalib.wordpress.com)
- Those wacky raccoons (sfgate.com)
- Homeowner reports someone dumped his garbage all over someone else’s driveway blocks away (phinneywood.com)