Sunday, March 29, 2009

Green Cleaning

After going to the Natural Living Expo this weekend I was reminded of some of the reasons I went 'green' a few years back. I then ran across this article on and I found it helpful to some of my green cleaning problems! Enjoy:

After hearing about the toxic chemicals lurking in conventional cleaning supplies, you decided to green up your act with ecofriendly products and DIY solutions. But along with the rewards that come with going eco (saving money, creating a healthier indoor environment), you've also encountered a few hurdles along the way. If green cleaning problems have you stumped, read on. These easy solutions will keep your momentum going strong.

Problem: Cleaning wood with cooking oil leaves a slippery mess.
Solution: Rejigger the formula.
It's a good idea to avoid commercial furniture-cleaning products, as they contain neurotoxic petroleum distillates. As an alternative, most DIY formulas for cleaning wood tables, cabinets, and dressers suggest 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and a few drops of vinegar or lemon juice -- an effective combo that's also incredibly greasy. You also risk the oil going rancid, especially if you use one high in polyunsaturated fats, like corn oil. Instead, add a few drops of an oil rich in monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil, to 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. Better yet, try jojoba oil, which is actually not an oil but a liquid wax.

Problem: The baking-soda-plus-vinegar scrub doesn't get the job done.
Solution: Opt for one or the other.
Any formula that suggests using vinegar, an acid, and baking soda, which is alkaline, probably won't get you very far. Why? The ingredients can neutralize each other. To make a potent, all-purpose alkaline cleanser for baseboards, tabletops, and other hard surfaces, dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in hot water in a clean spray bottle, add a squirt of castile soap such as Dr. Bronner's, and shake. This solution will last a couple of months.

Problem: Putting borax in the toilet does nothing for the rust stains caused by excess iron.
Solution: Sleep on it.
Though it sounds like something whipped up in a chemist's lab, borax is actually a naturally occurring mineral that works wonders as a deodorizer, ant killer, and much more. The key to its success? Patience. Put a cup of borax in the toilet and simply leave it overnight. The next morning, the rust will effortlessly wash away with a few swirls of the toilet bowl brush.

Problem: Vinegar leaves streaks when used to clean windows.
Solution: Get rid of the buildup.
Using commercial window cleaners for years leaves your glass with an invisible film (and possibly 2-Butoxy-ethanol, a suspected hormone disrupter that could cause developmental and reproductive problems). To get rid of any residue, add a dab of a vegetable-based dish soap or liquid castile soap to 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in a clean spray bottle. For follow-up cleanings, all you will need are the vinegar and water.

Problem: Baking soda doesn't clear a clogged drain.
Solution: Just add (boiling) water.
As is, baking soda won't necessarily clear a pathway. It first needs to change its chemical composition. Don't worry, it sounds more complicated than it actually is. Boiling water converts baking soda to sodium carbonate, a more effective drain cleaner. Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 3 cups of boiling water, and let science take over. It's a much safer choice than commercial drain cleaners, which can harm skin, eyes, lungs, and the water supply.

Problem: Using liquid castile soap to clean the shower stall leaves an annoying dull film.
Solution: Use a natural detergent.
You may think the ecofriendliest way to clean a shower is with a basic liquid castile soap. But if you have hard water, you could cause a chemical reaction that leads to a difficult-to-remove dull film. (To check for hard water, pick up a simple test at your local hardware store.) Detergents, on the other hand, avoid this soap scum by their very formulation. Rather than go with conventional ones that contain nonrenewable petroleum-based surfactants and air-polluting synthetic perfumes, look for a plant-based all-purpose detergent such as Ecover's All Purpose Cleaner.

Problem: Cleaning with vinegar makes things smell like, well, vinegar.
Solution: Add a secret ingredient.
Vinegar does have a strong smell, no doubt about it. However, seeing as this inexpensive and versatile powerhouse does everything from cutting grease to pulling dirt out of wood, it's a must-have in any green cleaner's arsenal. If you can't wait the day or so for the smell to dissipate, add a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender to 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar. That will help mellow it out.

Problem: Scrubbing the bathtub with baking soda requires a lot of rinsing.
Solution: Pair baking soda with a plant-based detergent.
Baking soda requires the same amount of rinsing as a conventional scouring powder, without the risk of harming your central nervous system. Your best bet, though, is to mix baking soda with a plant-based detergent until you get a texture like that of cake frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, scrub, rinse, and repeat if necessary.

First Published: April 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Can you see those baby green blades peering through the dead grass! It truly is exciting! I'm happy spring is on the way. Even though the weather has been a bit colder the last couple days, I'm still wearing my spring colors and walking with a spring in my step. Spring for me and my guess is for many others is a welcome change especially with all the negative news and doomsday speak concerning the economy. Spring is traditionally a time of birth and renewal and I am excited about the both for me!

I've been painting and I'm really excited about the results! I have no formal training, but I'm exploring and learning as I go. What will come of it? Not a clue. But, I'm happy to get some new and interesting art pieces on my wall! Here's the first one I painted:

My art atherapist said I was angry, oh well, I get angry sometimes!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stormy Weather

A blog is such a great idea in theory, but really when I think of it do I really want to air my 'dirty laundry' to just anyone? If I actually wrote what I wanted to it wouldn't be fair to the people involved. Today is a beautiful day! I should be very happy, but I can't help feeling a bit of the stormy weather that sometimes life brings even on the most perfect of days. I was reminded this weekend how important it is to trust my intuition, it's usually spot on. The hard thing is when your intuition tells you to do something you really don't want to do.

This week I plan to work on doing some spring cleaning. Getting my room more organized is a key goal. It's hard I have way too much stuff and I have trouble letting go. I can always see a use for something. I am, however, a pretty simple person I really don't need much. I think it'd be fun to move and start over somewhere just for the stimulation! Forced to make it work in a new environment, but then I'm reminded how it's key to find renewal where you are and work on getting excited again about the place you are and the things you are doing -- much easier said than done. I find that it's very easy people to simply move on, but there is real value in making a commitment and making it work.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another Cold One...

It's amazing how much I am affected by weather! It's like pulling teeth to get me out of bed and motivated to do anything! It didn't help that I wasn't feeling the best last night - I ate too much! On my way to the Village Bean I was listening to NPR and they had Mandy Carter talking about marriage equality. It was an interesting discussion but I was aware of everything they discussed, which (a) means I'm paying attention on some level and (b) organization like One Iowa are doing their job. Either way, I felt 'in the know'. Mandy used to work for the Obama campaign and is a huge supporter, when she was asked to talk about Obama's view on it. She said the same thing that I heard from other Obama supporters, 'he believes it's a state issue'. As a senator Obama didn't support marriage equality and as president he is being as safe as possible, trying not to offend anyone by saying, 'it's a state issue'. The bottom line is that I am saddened that he is not a supporter of marriage equality. I think it's also sad when not so many years ago interracial marriage was illegal in many states, and we still have a large population of African American people that do not support marriage equality. The good thing is that I am confident that I will look back at this time and say 'man can you believe when it wasn't legal?'.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Anthony Blog! First Post

I have been very reluctant about creating a personal blog. I didn't keep up on my business blog and I'm not really sure if I want air my personal thoughts so publicly, but for some reason I have been craving to journal. I haven't journaled regularly since the early 90's. I've only read some of my old posts from the 90's and let me tell ya... I was not as eloquent as I thought I was! It was and is, however, very interesting to go back and read what was going through my adolescent brain. Ok, and kind of scary too!

I'm consider myself to be pretty optimistic and open minded, but I know quite a few people who claim that they are but who really are not. I find myself looking at the silver lining in even horrible situations. I think this goes hand-in-hand with my inclination to find beauty in most everything. It's a good thing that I tend to be optimistic because I am also quite persnickety at times - a curmudgeon. The older I get the more clear it becomes what I like and don't like! And when I find something I like I really like it and want to surround myself in it! Now, when I find something I don't like... Well, you can guess. I ran ac cross one such example of that today. Ever hear a high pitched, squeaky talking women speak? OH the horror! And when she hits those S's! My god! Doesn't she know how she sounds! My hate for that has manifested into a very good impression of it. Ask and I'll show it to you sometime.

Well, I'm not sure who is going to be reading my post, but if you do let me know! More will be coming soon!