Category Archives: Home Living Tips

The Health, Energy and Money Saving Benefits of an HRV
Posted by August 10, 2017 at 3:31 PM under Home Living Tips

An HRV, or a heat recovery ventilator, is a home add-on that may be new for many people. When it comes to HVAC systems, most only are familiar with the common options like air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps. However, the benefits of having an HRV in your home can be tremendous. Whether you are concerned with indoor air quality, saving energy or lowering your carbon footprint, an HRV could be exactly what you need.

 

How Does It Work?

Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) is designed to accomplish two main functions. The first is to assist with energy recovery and the second is to act as an air exchanger. An HRV can be connected to an existing HVAC system or built as a standalone unit.

 

Many homeowners find that HRVs work very well in spaces such as converted attics and other tight spaces, which may not be properly ventilated. HRVs are thus designed to either be connected directly to a HVAC system or can be installed completely independent from a home’s HVAC system.

 

A cross plate heat exchanger works to recover some of the heat that passes through the device. When combined with the HRV’s overall low energy requirement, there can be significant heating cost savings. The HRV also works to cycle in fresh air while pumping out old potentially polluted air. The one-two punch that HRVs provide help to make it an increasingly interesting device for home owners.

 

HRV and Indoor Air Quality

Buildings are getting tighter and tighter every single year. As regulations require homes to be better insulated and homeowners want to save on energy, homes are becoming increasingly well sealed as a result. Insulation, weather stripping and building codes are all combining to improve home energy efficiency but often at a cost; this is where an HRV can be a valuable home improvement choice.

 

Tighter homes may be more energy efficient, but that efficiency often produces a considerable drop in indoor air quality. Indoor air quality is usually several times worse than outdoor air quality. In the past, the traditional leaky homes, while not as energy efficient as many of today’s homes, may have been drafty but that issue did allow for more natural air flow.

 

One of the key benefits of an HRV is that can help bring fresh air from outdoors into the home and pump out polluted air. Of course, that isn’t the entire picture. HRVs use filters, such as HEPA filters, to clean the outdoor air that is being brought into the house before it is circulated throughout the home. Without this feature, HRVs would essentially just be pulling in outdoor air.

 

The Radon Factor

The fact of the matter is that HRVs can do more than provide cleaner air in tighter homes. As an HRV is venting indoor air, it is also possible for HRVs to help reduce radon levels. Radon is a colorless, odorless noble gas that has been linked to diseases like cancer when exposure lasts for a long duration.

 

Of course, this is not to state that an HRV should always be used as a replacement for a radon remediation system when warranted; however, an HRV can be a valuable tool for helping to reduce radon levels since indoor air is constantly removed from the home and fresh air is pumped in.

Improving indoor air quality can have a range of health benefits. When selecting an HRV it is prudent to look for one that incorporates a HEPA filter.

 

HEPA filters remove more than particulate matter as they also trap bacteria and even viruses. Improving your indoor air quality can lead to fewer colds, flus and potentially other illnesses. Recent studies have shown that there may be a link between Alzheimer’s and poor air quality. Other studies have linked air pollution and lower I.Q.s. If you start to connect the dots it quickly becomes obvious that we should do all that we can to ensure that our families enjoy the best air quality possible.

 

HRV and Energy Savings

 

HRVs can save homeowners a great deal of money, especially in cold climates. If you live in a climate that is cold for a large percentage of the year then an HRV may very well be a device worth considering. Since HRVs recover a considerable percentage of the heat that passes through them those living in cold climates may see a marked drop in heating costs. Additionally, many HRVs are designed to consume very little energy.

 

There are models that use as little operational energy as a 40-watt light bulb. The cost savings an HRV represents when factored over the lifetime of a home can be considerable, especially in colder climates.

 

Additional Benefits and Features

HRVs can also be used to control humidity, thus helping to reduce the chances of developing mold. Many HRV units come with a variety of features such as an air circulation mode that strictly takes advantage of the HRV’s ability to purify air and a high-power mode that increases the amount of air being circulated from outside.

 

Operating an HRV isn’t a “set-it-and-forget-it” situation. Filters have to be changed and cleaned and a moderate degree of annual maintenance is required. It is important to remember that an HRV brings in potentially polluted air and cleans it. For this reason, filters may become dirtier quicker than expected. How long filters last partially depends on the pollution in the home’s area. That stated, HRVs do have great value, especially for homeowners in colder climates and for those living in well insulated homes. Homeowners with converted attics that receive poor air circulation should consider an HRV for the reasons outlined in this article.

 

One argument against HRVs is the price and there is no doubt that a good unit can be pricey. However, for those who put a premium on their indoor air quality or those living in very well insulated homes, an HRV could be seen as a welcome addition to one’s home.

7 Creative Crafts to Do with Clothespins
Posted by May 26, 2017 at 1:27 PM under Clotheslines and Laundry Home Living Tips

It probably shouldn’t surprise you that our team at Urban Clotheslines are pretty fond of the clothespins. You might not have given the humble and unassuming clothespin much thought lately and for good reason; after all, your average run-of-the-mill clothespin might not seem too exciting because it reminds you of doing your laundry. But as it turns out these common household objects can be an excellent starting point for a wide range of exciting crafts.

 

Since clothespins are such a blank slate, but a functional blank slate, it is possible to take the simple clothespin and infuse it with a great deal of artistry and creativity. When it comes to creating great ideas with clothespins, there is no shortage of great ideas. In our fun and festive clothespin article, we are going to explore the 7 top crafts that you can do with clothespins. These crafts are easy, fun and truly are great for kids of all ages. Perhaps, best of all is the fact that clothespins are remarkably inexpensive. This helps make clothespin crafts both a winner for decorating as well as for planning fun art projects.

 

#1-Characters and Clothespins

Clothespins can be an excellent foundation for kid’s art projects. One reoccurring kids’ clothespin craft project is to create clothespin art work featuring favorite cartoon characters. A good example of a fun clothespin craft for kids can be found over at Glue Stick & Gumdrops.

 

At Glue Stick & Gumdrops, you’ll find everything you need to create our own very fun Minions clothespin art project. Parents will love the straightforward instructions which are easy enough for almost any child to follow with ease. With just a handful of clothespins, a little paint, glue and a googly eye, you are ready to make some truly fun and eye-catching art! Who would have thought you can make a Minion out of a clothespin?

 

# 2-Clothespins and Christmas Tree Ornaments?

Everyone is always trying to think of how to make their home look festival come December. From the “why didn’t I think of that department” comes an inventive idea for beautiful and inexpensive Christmas tree ornaments. Using just a few clothespins, it is possible to create some magical, rustic and charming tree ornaments. HGTV has easy to follow instructions for how to quickly build some wonderful looking new ornaments for your Christmas tree or just to decorate your house during the wintertime.

 

These versatile ornaments look like a snowflake when finished, meaning that they are highly versatile and can be used as a general, all-purpose holiday and winter decoration. Click here to get the easy to understand, step-by-step instructions of building your own clothespin Christmas tree snowflake ornaments.

 

# 3-The Dragonfly

Whether you are looking for a creative way to decorate your home or want an easy craft for kids, you just can’t go wrong with the “Delightful Dragonfly” clothespin project. You’ve probably never thought of making dragonflies from clothespins, but you’ll love the results.

 

With just a few items such as a pipe cleaner, scissors, googly eyes and paint, you can make your own festive dragonflies. Imagine decorating your wall with a sea of beautiful, differently colored and designed butterflies. This project is a great way to spend an afternoon and your end result, a gorgeous sea of insects, can really transform a room!

 

# 4-Let’s Put Some Heart into It!

If you are looking for a way to add a little warmth to your home, then clothespins can ride to the rescue. Now you might be thinking, “how can a bunch some clothespins make my home warmer and homier?” Thanks to the Clothespin Heart Wreath, you can add some instant warmth.

 

The simple but charming design for the Clothespin Heart Wreath can be completed in just minutes. All you need are some clothespins, a wire hanger and a small chalkboard to use as a sign. Like most of the other projects on our list, the Clothespin Heart Wreath is a great choice for kids of all ages.

 

# 5-The Snowman Clothespin

A perfect match for the clothespin Christmas tree snowflake ornament is the very cute Snowman Clothespin. Kids will truly adore this clothespin craft. It’s another inexpensive way to decorate your tree and you could even make them for gifts for friends and relatives to spread the festive clothespin joy!

 

Parents seeking a way to keep their children busy on those long winter days indoors or anyone looking for a unique holiday decorating idea will truly love this stellar option. Click here to see the easy to follow plan, so you too can build you own Snowman Clothespins!

 

#6-Hungry Fish to the Rescue

Do you have a wall that is crying out for a little extra attention? The Hungry Fish Clothespin craft from Crafts by Amanda can help you quickly and easily transform you room. Everything you need to create your own Hungry Fish Clothespin wall decorations can be found at this link.

 
#7-Dinosaur Clothespin Craft

 

Also from Crafts by Amanda is the very fun and timeless Dinosaur Clothespin craft. There are easy to follow plans for 4 different clothespin dinosaurs: Triceratops, Velociraptor, Brachiosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Perhaps the greatest thing about this craft is that the directions are very easy to follow but the results are quite impressive. Thanks to this craft, you’ll probably never look at clothespins the same way again.

 

Clothespins are pretty neutral and easy to find, and that means that they are something of a blank slate for your creativity. If you are looking for a cheap and versatile canvas to express yourself, then you’ll want to check out these 7 wonderful clothespin crafts.

 

Equipped with just a few dollars of supplies, it is possible to transform an entire wall or room and create an amazing collection of winter and holiday decorations. No matter your age, you’ll find these festive clothespin craft ideas to be a fun way to add some color and life to your space!

Top 5 Ways to Spend Less Time Cleaning
Posted by April 16, 2017 at 6:57 PM under Home Living Tips

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Cleaning is something that most people want to spend as little time as possible doing. Of course, there are some people who truly do enjoy it. But that is certainly not the majority. Regardless of how you feel about it, less time cleaning does, of course, translate into more time spent living life. The bottom line is that with a little planning, you can make cleaning less time consuming. That way you can get out there and do what you want with your free time!

 

Tip #1 for Spending Less Time Cleaning – Hire a Cleaning Service

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Hiring a cleaning service is definitely not for everyone. Some people just aren’t comfortable having a stranger or strangers literally digging through their trash.

The cost of hiring a cleaning service is also no small issue. Cleaning services do vary greatly in price, which means that with some research you might be able to find a cleaning service that works for your budget.

Like with most consumer goods and services, it can really pay to do a little price shopping. There are many independent cleaning services that are, in fact, run by individuals or mom and pop operations, which means that there are cleaning services that will be quite flexible regarding what they charge.

There is no way around the fact that if you want to spend less time cleaning then you might just want to hire a professional. If you hate cleaning, then it might just be worth the money to outsource your cleaning duties to someone else.

 

Tip #2 for Spending Less Time Cleaning – The Robot Vacuum Option

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Our sci-fi future full of robotic cleaning robots may not be here quite yet, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have some options. Robot vacuums do work, and some models are better than others. The one example most people think of is the Roomba robot vacuum.

Much like hiring a cleaning service, robot vacuums, especially good ones that actually work, are not exactly cheap. However, once you opt for a robotic vacuum, the simple fact is that you will have one less cleaning duty on your list.

Robot vacuum cleaners are definitely not without their flaws and you do have empty them. But they can also be a good fit for people and certain types of homes. People with younger children and pets might want to proceed with caution before jumping on the robot vacuum train, as they may have trouble dealing with tougher, more substantial messes!

 

Tip #3 for Spending Less Time Cleaning – Get Organized, Really Organized

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A lot of the cleaning that the average person performs is actually the result of a lack of organization. A classic example of this fact is not properly disposing of worn clothing. Dirty clothing tossed about your house doesn’t just make your home looking messy, but it also creates another cleaning challenge and chore. If you stop and take a good look at what needs to be cleaned around your house, you will probably discover that many of your cleaning chores could be eliminated or at least somewhat reduced by adopting a more proactive organizational strategy.

 

Every room and area of your home can benefit from an increase in organization. Whether it is your kitchen, your home office, your bedroom or your garage there are organizational opportunities. Additionally, the more organized your home is the quicker and easier it is to clean. For example, not having to pick up lots of clothing off the floor makes vacuum, mopping or sweeping a great deal easier, regardless of whether or not you have a fancy robot vacuum cleaner.

 

Tip #4 for Spending Less Time Cleaning- The Team Effort

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Whether you have a significant other or live with roommates, splitting cleaning duties can dramatically reduce the time it takes to clean a space. Quite often the dividing of household chores can be a problematic area, as some significant others or roommates are not willing to pull their share; however, this doesn’t mean you should give up and not try to convenience the people you live with to do their respective share of the cleaning. Every situation and relationship is different.

Discovering what will motivate someone you live with to share in the cleaning duties may not be easy but if you can establish a new cleaning system, you will receive dividends for years to come. Leading by example is a great place to begin convincing others to pull their “cleaning weight.”

 

Tip #5 for Spending Less Time Cleaning – Turn Your Dishwasher Into a Super Cleaner

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You can’t stick everything in the dishwasher but many difficult to clean items can be placed in the dishwasher for cleaning. This trick must be used on a case-by-case basis, but there is no doubt that everything from brushes to pet food bowls can be cleaned in your dishwasher. As long as the item in question isn’t toxic in nature, your dishwasher might be a true time saving cleaning tool!

Similarly, some toys and unusual items can be placed in your laundry machine. Legos are a perfect example of a toy that can be cleaned in this fast and efficient way.

 

Don’t Overdo the Cleaning

kitchen-2174577_960_720Perhaps, the simplest way to spend less time cleaning is to not overdo the cleaning. One area of the home where many people often over clean is the floor. Bathroom floors do need to be cleaned frequently, but hardwood floors are a different story.

Vacuuming hardwood floors usually is enough to keep them reasonably clean. Mopping hardwood floors is time consuming and often unnecessary. Take the time to really think about what you’re spending your time on and ask around to see what your friends and relatives do. You may find the you have some misconceptions.

By following these tips, you will clean less and enjoy more free time. A combination of robotic tools, organization and a new approach can help you reduce your cleaning time substantially. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find new ways to reduce your cleaning time. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did!

 

 

5 Amazing Tips to Get Kids Involved in the Laundry Process
Posted by February 18, 2017 at 4:37 PM under Clotheslines and Laundry Home Living Tips

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Wouldn’t it be great, really great, if you could get your kids involved in the laundry process? If you handle the laundry in your house, then you already know that the laundry can be a very big and never ending job. Like cleaning itself there are always more dirty clothes. And needless to say, if you have children you have even more laundry to conquer each week.

 

While you can cut corners, you can’t cut every corner. At the end of the day, the laundry has to get done. Finding a way to get your kids involved in the laundry process is essential if you want to keep your laundry time from consuming all of your free time!

 

Let’s dive in and explore some tips for how you can get your kids to lend a hand with laundry time. Luckily, there is a lot about laundry that can seem fun and intriguing to little ones if you just use a little strategy and present it the right way.

 

Tip One-Older Kids Can Do Their Own Laundry

Maybe the single easiest and fastest way to reduce your laundry load is to have your kids do their own laundry. Sounds great, right? Washers and dryers may be a little more sophisticated and complicated than they were a decade or two ago, but that doesn’t mean that your kids can’t lend a hand. Even getting your older children and teens to do their own laundry once a month would give you a well-deserved break!

 

Now, you might be thinking that this idea sounds impractical and maybe even impossible, but with older children and teens there is no reason that they can’t handle this responsibility. And if they are planning to go off to college in a year or two or three, this is something they are going to need to know how to do for themselves anyhow. You’re teaching them valuable life skills while you get a break. It’s a major win-win.

 

The time you invest in teaching your kids how to do laundry will be time well-spent. Just be sure that you stay consistent with your demand that they pitch in and help with laundry duties.

 

Tip Two-Make it a Game

A major hurtle in tackling laundry is an efficient manner is collecting the laundry. Having kids means that more than toys are often spread across the house. Is your home full of laundry scattered all about the house? You might not be able to get your children to handle their own laundry (and of course this isn’t really even an option for younger children), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your kids to pitch in and keep their own laundry organized.

 

Each child should have his or her own laundry basket, preferably in his or her own room. In this way, laundry is kept organized and separated. If you have more than one kid, you can even gamify the process of laundry collection. Who can hang the laundry on the clothesline the fastest?  Who can collect and fold the most laundry of a certain color? Who can gather and put all their socks in their drawer the quickest? You get the idea. Kids love games, and they often love competition with their siblings.

 

Tip Three-Emphasize the Benefits of Helping You

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Simply barking orders at children often doesn’t achieve the desired results. While it may sometimes be hard to believe sometimes, kids can use logic just as well as adults, when they want to at least. Keep this fact in mind when trying to enlist your children in the laundry process.

 

Point out to your kids that the time you spend doing laundry could be spent doing something else, such as playing with them, taking them somewhere they want to go, cooking something delicious, or helping them out in some other way.

 

Show them how the small amount of time they invest in helping you with the laundry will benefit them later in some way or another. Just a simple statement like, “Let’s see how quickly we can get this laundry done, and then we’ll all go to the kitchen to bake cookies” can be motivating enough to get them to pitch in and help.

 

Tip Four-Make Laundry Time, Family Fun Time

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Yes, laundry isn’t usually fun. But with a little effort laundry time can actually be exciting, especially for younger children. When you approach the task with some joy and zest, they will mirror your attitude.

 

Children can help you sort and fold washed clothing, for example. During your laundry time together, you can do things such as play their favorite music or have a television show on in the background that they enjoy. Maybe make up a song about doing laundry that you can sing while you work.

 

Tip Five-Let Kids Personalize the Laundry Process

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Kids, especially younger kids, like to personalize not just objects, but also routines that they do. Try letting your children personalize everything from their clothing hampers to the laundry basket and even their clothing storage areas and dressers. If you decorate their belongings, they will have even more love for using them.

 

Check out this post for “15 Ideas for Stressed Out Moms” including some ideas how you can decorate laundry baskets as a family DIY project.

 

 

Chores Really Do Matter

If you can get kids into the idea of helping you do laundry at a young age, then it becomes a standard part of home life. No doubt it is important for children to focus on learning, studying and growing, but it is also important for children to learn how to take care of themselves in both large and small ways.

 

Learning how to do laundry and participating in the process may not see like a “huge deal,” but at the end of the day consistently helping you with laundry will help your child grow and develop. Doing the laundry can be fun for children with the right approach. You, as the parent, can make that process a fun and even interesting one for children.

 

Increasingly, experts are pointing to the importance of giving children work around the house as a way to foster their development. Don’t be afraid to encourage your children to help you not just with the laundry, but with other household activities as well. It just takes some creativity. In the end, you’ll be glad that you did.

 

 

17 Best Kitchen Cleaning Tips for People Who Love Clean Kitchens!
Posted by January 03, 2017 at 1:56 PM under Environment Home Living Tips

 

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Most of us really love a clean kitchen, or at least the idea of having one. Doing the work to achieve that sparkling clean kitchen might be a different story however. But in many ways, it is not as tricky or time-consuming as you think.

 

Yes, you guessed it. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best ideas of cleaning your kitchen. We have specifically selected ideas that are easy to implement, are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and can even be fun to do.

 

Cleaning your kitchen shouldn’t be a massive burden and with these tips you’ll be able to get that amazing looking kitchen you want in record time!

 

Tip One- Pay Close Attention to Sponges, Towels and Rugs

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There are definitely health hazards lurking in your kitchen; this is not a myth. Three major health hazards come in the form of kitchen sponges, kitchen towels and rugs.

 

Kitchen towels and rugs are easy health hazards to neutralize. Simply toss your kitchen towels and rugs into the wash and you’ve taken care of the problem. Kitchen towels should be changed every couple of days or more often depending on use.

 

Kitchen rugs can get very contaminated. Think about all the various things that can drip onto your rug and then imagine those drops festering away for weeks or even months. Yes, it’s pretty gross when you stop to imagine what bacteria your kitchen rug could be harboring. Washing your kitchen rugs at least every two weeks, or after a major spill, is probably a good idea.

 

Kitchen sponges are a little trickier. They come into contact with food constantly and you use them to make your dishes cleaner, so you certainly don’t want to be rubbing grime and germs onto your “clean” dishes.

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Consider replacing kitchen sponges every week and be sure to wash them after every use. Also, consider disinfecting kitchen sponges by soaking them in a plastic container with hydrogen peroxide and rinse very thoroughly afterwards. However, the easiest, and likely safest, way to deal with your kitchen sponge is to simply replace it often or opt for a washable kitchen towel instead.

 

Tip Two- Avoid the Hidden Health Hazard of the Dish Rack

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Just as it is vital to wash such items as your kitchen towels, kitchen rugs and sponges, the same holds true for your dish rack. Dish racks don’t magically stay clean. The fact that they are in the kitchen near food preparation areas means that they can become contaminated. Like your sponges, the idea of the dish rack is to help you with your clean dishes, so contaminating them is the last thing you want to do. The bottom line is don’t forget about the special cleaning needs of your dish rack.

If you have a stainless steel dish rack, that can be great for improving the visual appearance of your kitchen and matching stainless steel appliances. However, be particularly careful that it doesn’t accumulate rust. A bamboo dish rack is also recommended as bamboo is more resistant to bacteria.

It is smart to clean your dish rack just as you would any other kitchen surface area. You can use soap and water or maybe even throw it into the dishwasher, depending on the type of dish rack you have.

Photo credit: Amazon

Tip Three-Skip Your Oven’s Cleaning Mode

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Your oven’s cleaning mode can be rather problematic. The problem is that the oven clean mode works at a very high temperature and can release a lot of compounds into the air at the same time. In turn this will pollute your air and make it difficult to even breathe in your kitchen.

 

Instead of using the oven cleaning mode regularly clean your oven with baking soda. Baking soda is safe and will cause no serious indoor air quality issues. Mix some water with a modest amount of baking soda and dish liquid, scrub your oven and let the mixture sit on the oven’s interior for a few minutes. Then scrub again and wipe clean with water. Finally, collect all debris and let your oven dry before using.

 

Tip Four-Remove Cooktop Stains

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Cooktop stains can be very determined to resist your cleaning attempts. This makes sense as cooktop stains are quite literally baked on.

 

Removing cooktop stains can be as easy as using a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Just remember that hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous so keep it away from children and away from your eyes. Before using your cooktop, wipe down the area with water and dry.

 

Tip Five-Ammonia for Grease on Stove Grates

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Cleaning stove grates can be time consuming and laborious, however, there is a trick. Ammonia can literally soak the grease right off of your stove grates. Check out this clever approach for cleaning your stove grates.

Photo credit: The V Spot

 

Tip Six-Don’t Let Burnt Pan Bottoms Get You Down

 

Burnt pan bottoms might seem like a fact of life. Bar Keepers Friend is a great product for shining up the burnt bottoms of pans. In fact, you’ll likely be surprised by how well this product works!

 

Tip Seven-Polishing Your Sink the Easily and Inexpensively

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Want to have a clean sink but don’t feel like spending money on specialty cleaners? One of the easiest, and cheapest ways, to clean your sink is to use flour.

 

If you have a stainless-steel sink and you want it to look great, then use flour. Click here to check out this great Lifehacker article on how to use good old-fashioned flour to clean your sink.

Photo credit: Lifehacker

Tip Eight-Cleaning Wood Cabinets

 

Kitchen wood cabinets can get surprisingly dirty, which is not too surprising considering that they are, after all, in the kitchen. Murphy Oil Soap has been around for generations for one simple reason: it works. Murphy Oil Soap can be used to clean everything from wood cabinets to flooring.

 

Tip Nine-Mineral Oil for Kitchen Counters

 

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Mineral oil can be a good way to wipe kitchen oil off of your counters. Yes, it is counterintuitive to use oil to remove oil, but forget the irony and give it a try! Mineral oil is generally safe to use and definitely works.

 

Grease and oil on countertops can be a real nuisance, so you really do need a secret weapon. Here is a link to an article about this at One Good Thing if you want to learn more.

Photo credit: One Good Thing by Jillee

 

Tip Ten-Keep Drawers Clean with Liners

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Many people only worry about keeping drawers organized, but keeping them clean is also important. One inexpensive solution is to opt for drawer liners. We recommend cork in particular for this job.

 

Cork is naturally water resistant and bacteria resistant. Plus, once you have cork, or other drawer liners, you can periodically remove and wipe them down.

Photo credit: Williams and Sonoma

 

Tip Eleven-Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Appliances with an Oldie but Goodie

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Vinegar is something of a cleaning superstar. A mixture of vinegar and oil can be extremely effective at cleaning stainless steel fridges, dishwashers and toasters. You can use mineral oil or even olive oil!

It is an easy process that really works, and you can learn more about how at the Kitchn it by clicking here.

Photo credit: The Kitchn

Tip Twelve-Don’t Forget to Clean the Inside of Your Refrigerator

 

When people clean the inside of their refrigerators they often overlook the removable parts. Yet, the removable areas inside of your fridge are often the dirtiest parts. Instead of just wiping these areas down, consider removing them and cleaning them thoroughly with soap and water. If you’ve ever noticed that your fridge smelled even after you removed all the old food, it may be that your fridge surfaces need a deeper cleaning.

There is a great article about this at The Kitchn.

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Tip Thirteen-Remember that Old Food Can Be a Health Hazard

 

One of the single best safety habits you can have is to remove old food from your house, whether it is in your cabinets or fridge. Maybe you heard the story recently of a grandmother in the U.K. who sent several members of her family to the emergency room after serving up some nice holiday cocoa…from the 1980s! It’s important to periodically toss out old food so that you don’t have a similar accident.

Photo credit: The Kitchn

Tip Fourteen-Clean Your Garbage Disposal

 

Garbage disposals can get very smelly. If you have a mystery odor in your kitchen that just won’t go away, then it might just be your garbage disposal.

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There are many ways to clean your garbage disposal without actually having to stick your hand down in one of the most dangerous places imaginable. Cleaning methods include using liquid soap while the garbage disposal is on and also just pouring baking soda and vinegar down there to do the job for you.

 

It is true that normally mixing baking soda and vinegar isn’t a good idea due to the tremendous fizzing action. But where your garbage disposal is concerned this is an exactly what you want! Head over to Crunchy Betty for a step-by-step guide.

Photo credit: Crunchy Betty

Tip Fifteen-Use Lemon and Salt for Your Wooden Cutting Boards

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Lemon and salt are a powerful cleaning combo. The two work together particularly well for cleaning wooden cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards can become very dirty and should be cleaned regularly with soap and water. In addition to cleaning them with soap and water, using a combination of salt and lemon can help cut grease and shine up your wooden cutting boards.

 

Tip Sixteen-Don’t Forget Your Garbage Can

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You might remember to clean the inside of your garbage can because it can get rather smelly, but what about the outside of your garbage can? The outside of your garbage can is periodically exposed to all kinds of contaminants ranging from spilt liquids to bits of food and more. You really don’t want to forget about this surface.

 

If you have young children, you can pretty much be sure that they are going to touch your garbage can. Remember to clean the outside of your garbage can along with other surfaces throughout your kitchen. Much like the dish rack, this part of your kitchen is typically overlooked. Plus, a bright shiny garbage can does wonders to improve the look of your kitchen.

The blog No Trash Can has a good article all about this topic.

Photo credit: No Trash Can

Tip Seventeen-Take Advantage of the Power of Simple Ingredients

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You probably noticed that in this article we focused a lot of our attention on cleaning ingredients that are eco-friendly and people safe as well. There are plenty of chemical based cleaners out there that work really well. But as a rule, you really shouldn’t bring anything into your kitchen that would be very harmful or even lethal if consumed.

 

Anything you put down the drain eventually makes it out into the oceans and eventually into the fish of the sea and the food chains. Your cleaning decisions most definitely matter, and they do impact the world.

 

If you want to use fewer chemicals and fossil fuel based products, then opting for cleaning products that you make yourself. And then make those products out of safe and inexpensive ingredients.

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Clean kitchen are healthier kitchens. A key part of observing proper food safety, so that your cocoa doesn’t send your family to the emergency room, is to think about ways to keep your kitchen cleaner.

 

A major part of having a clean kitchen is to not take anything for granted. Areas that you are sure are clean may be in need of some help. It is also vital to remember that most people don’t really need powerful chemical based cleaning agents.

Simple cleaning tools and ingredients, like the ones outlined in this article, should be more than enough for the majority of your kitchen cleaning needs. Soap, water, vinegar, mineral oil, baking soda and even olive oil can go a long way towards helping you achieve a much safer and healthier kitchen.

 

 

 

15 Top Laundry Tips Designed for Stressed Out Moms
Posted by January 02, 2017 at 3:56 PM under Home Living Tips

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Laundry is one of those things in life that many of us simply “do” and rarely think much about how to improve. That is part of the reason that this article is an important one for moms who are tackling this never-ending activity.

 

There may not be any escaping laundry, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t tips that can help you improve the results that you see from your laundry duties. If you’re a mom or a dad, then you already know that having children certainly makes the laundry process much more intimidating. Even the smallest items of toddler clothes add up to a lot of extra work.  This is especially true when you consider how fast your kids manage to do something that gets their clothes dirty all over again.

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The time you invest in making your laundry time more efficient is definitely time well spent. The fifteen tips and tricks outlined in this article are designed to help you improve your laundry results while at the same time infusing a little more life and fun into the laundry process.

 

Thinking that there isn’t much room for improving your old and tired laundry routine? Think again as we have fifteen awesome tips and tricks that will brighten up not just your clothing, but your laundry time as well! This article includes links to a bunch of great sites with interesting ideas as well as numerous tips that can help you transform your average laundry day experience.

 

It’s the start to a New Year, and the perfect time to get excited about laundry!

 

Tip One-Let’s Get Really Organized

 

One of the easiest ways to make laundry time a little more fun and less time consuming is to get organized; after all, do you really want to spend more time doing laundry?

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Organizing your laundry room makes everything you do a little easier and a little faster. Instead of lugging huge tubs of liquid fabric softener and detergent store those liquids in smaller, and easier to use, containers.

 

While this tip might not seem like a “big deal” you’ll be surprised how much time this tip saves you. Additionally, this tip will help keep your laundry area neater as you’ll reduce those irritating, and rather sticky, spills.

 

Tip Two-Liven Up Your Laundry with a Cute Laundry Hamper

 

Part of what makes doing laundry often seem like such a chore is that laundry isn’t just smelly, but it can be unpleasant to look at as well. Laundry hampers aren’t exactly known for being pretty, but there are some easy fixes for that.

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You could try making a laundry hamper out of your favorite pillowcase for your kid’s room. It’s the perfect decoration to hang on a closet. You’ll save money and can have a fun time personalizing your festive pillow case at the same time.

 

Check out the how-to over at Makezine.

(Photo credit: Makezine)

 

Tip Three-Don’t Let Your Laundry Overflow

 

Laundry scattered about causes a sense of disorganization. Overflowing laundry hampers are an eyesore and just add to the general unpleasantness we often associate with doing laundry.

 

So why not “go big” and have a huge laundry hamper? And you can make one that rarely overflows because it is the perfect size. Here is an interesting DIY laundry hamper project that is easy and inexpensive.

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Home Depot has a large laundry hamper project you’ll love. Best of all, this DIY laundry hamper is very inexpensive, meaning you can have several if you like! (Photo credit: Home Depot)

 

Tip Four-Make Your Own Laundry Soap

 

Like laundry itself, laundry soap doesn’t receive too much attention. Unless laundry soap causes a rash or smells weird, most of us never give laundry soap a second thought.

 

However, laundry soap can be packed with harmful chemicals and additives that are bad both for the planet and humans.

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There are many easy to make and eco-friendly laundry detergent recipes available on the Internet. One idea is to simply take bar soap, grate it and add washing soda, borax and essential oils.

 

Follow this link at Wellness Mama to find a how-to on making your own easy and cheap laundry soap. You’ll find that making your own laundry soap can be a fun activity that kids love! This tip should be in every mom’s “rainy day activity bucket!”

Photo credit: Wellness Mama

 

Tip Five-Replace Sheets with Eco-Friendly Dryer Balls

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While dryer sheets may make your clothing softer, they are a form of unregulated air pollution. In fact, they are bad for the planet, as they often use harmful chemicals. When it comes down to it, dryer sheets are an unnecessary expense.

 

So skip the sheets and instead opt for wool dryer balls. Dryer balls work rather well and will consistently fluff up your laundry! Studies also show that they can reduce your dryer time by up to 25% and, much like using clotheslines, that means you’ll cut down on your electricity usage. Plus dryer balls reduce static electricity and wrinkles as well.

This link at Memo will give you some ideas and inspirations for creating your own dryer balls.

Photo credit: Memo.

Tip Six-Cut Down on Dryer Noise

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A noisy dryer is a maddening thing. Every mom knows that there are times you have no choice but to put your shoes or your kid’s shoes in the dryer, which can be rather irritating to listen to. It often sounds like your dryer is about to explode!

 

One easy way around this is to buy a special dryer bag to cut down on the noise. These dryer bags are inexpensive and will serve to protect your other clothing.

Photo credit: Amazon

 

 

 

 

Tip Seven-Opt for an Eco-Friendly Clothesline

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It should come as no surprise that we firmly believe that clotheslines are a true winner when it comes to laundry tips.

They lower your carbon footprint, save you tons of money and have numerous other benefits, such as reducing the risk of a house fire. Our site has lots of clothesline ideas, tips and products.

Check out this page for a comprehensive refresher on why we love clotheslines so much.

 

 

Tip Eight-A Drying Shelf

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In addition to using a clothesline, consider using a drying shelf. A drying shelf allows you to dry your clothing flat and has many of the benefits of a clothesline.

 

When you are not using your drying shelf, you can simply slide it out of the way if you build it in the right away. Here is a free plan from Sawdust Girl for making your own pull out sweeter drying rack.

Photo credit: Sawdust Girl
Tip Nine-Laundry Pedestals

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An organized laundry room is one that feels calming and makes the whole experience of doing laundry a lot more pleasant. Messes anywhere in the house can be a source of stress, but there is something particularly irritating about messy laundry rooms.

 

A laundry pedestal is a nice way to get organized. It stores clothing and raises your machine off the ground. The only big problem with laundry pedestals is that they can be expensive, in fact, they are comically expensive considering what they really are.

 

So why not build your own and literally save hundreds of dollars? Click here for a great DIY pedestal plan.

Photo credit: Just a Girl Blog

Tip Ten-White Chalk and Stains

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Every mom knows just what a headache stains can be, and this is especially true for stains on kid’s clothing. Luckily, simply using white chalk can help remove some of the toughest stains. As a mother, we’re sure you have lots of chalk around so start putting it to good use.

 

Simply rub white chalk over grease stains before washing. The chalk absorbs the stain while in the wash, and the stain comes right out. Try this tip, you’ll love it!

 

Tip Eleven-Making Laundry Time Fun Time for Your Kids

 

Many hands can get a job done much quicker, so why not bring your kids into the laundry equation? The trick is to make laundry as fun as possible. Often children love sorting clothing and putting clothing in their rooms.

 

For younger children, this activity makes them feel more grown up. You will be surprised how eager your children are to help out.

 

Tip Twelve-Laundry Baskets in Your Closets

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Keeping dirty clothing out of sight is one way to take some of the sting out of laundry. Mom’s know that kids will literally leave dirty clothes almost anywhere and everywhere.

 

Hanging laundry baskets are an easy way to keep dirty clothing both out of sight and organized. If you want to see an example of a hanging laundry basket in action, then head over to this link.

Photo credit: Whorl

 

Tip Thirteen-The Solution for Dryers that Shrink Your Clothing

Dryers will shrink clothing; this is just an unfortunate fact of life. (Of course, this is yet another reason that you should strongly consider clotheslines!) But almost everyone has had the unpleasant experience of accidentally drying a much-loved article of clothing, only to find that it ends up way too tight and uncomfortable.

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However, there is a way to fix this problem. Try pouring baby shampoo and warm water into the sink, then let the items sit in the sink for a few minutes. The reason this tip works is that it helps the fibers in the clothing relax.

 

Next, squeeze the water out of a single article of clothing and lay that item on a towel. Roll up the towel, put the article of clothing on a dry towel and let it air dry. You’ll find that the clothing will often return to its original size once it has air dried.

 

Tip Fourteen-Dirty Toys in the Washer?

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The washer may seem like an odd place for toys, but for some toys it is the perfect solution. Just be sure to use only cold water. Never use hot water as it could damage toys or release chemicals from the toys.

 

Many toys that may seem like they can’t be washed, such as Legos, can be easily washed with the help of a laundry bag. Drop the toys in a laundry bag and add a little soap. Afterwards, allow the now clean toys to air dry.

 

Dirty toys don’t necessarily have to stay that way. Use this tip on a case by case basis and your kids’ toys will stay much cleaner.

 

Tip Fifteen-Make Small and Moderate Repairs to Your Laundry Room

 

Are you stuck in a “laundry dungeon?” You are not alone. Around the world moms find themselves stuck in laundry dungeons.

 

Due to the noise and mess, laundry rooms are often tucked away in unfinished, spider web riddled basements and even garages. Of course, this issue only adds to the overall unpleasantness of doing laundry.

 

One solution is to step back and evaluate your laundry room. Look for easy and inexpensive ways to boost the appeal of your laundry room. Filling in cracks, adding a coat of pain or considering a drop ceiling in unfinished basement areas are all excellent examples of how quick and easy upgrades can improve your basement.

 

Transform Your Laundry Experience

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Added together, these fifteen tips can truly transform your laundry experience. The idea that laundry has to be a painful experience is not an idea that moms should simply accept.

 

There is no time like the present for improving your laundry experience. Whether it is tackling the noise of laundry or getting your laundry space more organized, there are many ways to improve this part of your life.

 

 

Create Your Own Laundry List

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Consider writing down a list of all the things that bother you about doing laundry. Once you have your list in hand, look for ways to reduce the stress and irritation associated with doing laundry.

 

With a little planning, you’ll find that you can definitely transform your laundry experience. In the end, laundry will likely never be the highlight of your day, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make laundry time a little less of a chore. Go ahead and free yourselves from the laundry dungeon and come into the light!

25 Household Green Cleaning Tips
Posted by January 02, 2017 at 1:21 PM under Home Living Tips

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You don’t need harsh chemicals or strange ingredients to keep your home clean. There are literally dozens of great ways to keep your living environment shiny and spotless without using chemicals or ingredients that can harm you, your children, your pets or the environment. The idea that you need chemicals to clean the average home is not only truly outdated, but also it could put your health and the health of your family at risk.

 

Why expose your family to a bunch of chemicals if it’s not even necessary? You’ll find that some common household ingredients not only save you money, but also often clean your home even better!

 

In this article, we are going to explore 25 of the very best ways to keep your home clean. All of these household green cleaning tips are easy to implement, inexpensive and, of course, very effective.

 

Tips for the Kitchen

 

Tip One-Vinegar in the Kitchen

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Grandma used vinegar for cleaning her kitchen and for good reason. Vinegar is something of a cleaning superstar, and it definitely works wonders in the kitchen. If you don’t like the vinegary smell, you very well might want to try to make an exception when it comes to cleaning.

 

One good way to use vinegar in the kitchen is to spray vinegar on your stove, let it sit for 10 minutes and then wipe it clean. Another excellent use of vinegar in the kitchen is to remove and prevent hard water deposits in your dishwasher.

 

Tip Two-Salt and Lemon for Your Pots

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Salt and citrus isn’t just for margaritas anymore! If you feel that your pots and pans need a little shining up, don’t reach for a potentially toxic chemical, as there is a much easier solution.

 

Dull looking pots and pans can be brought back to life with a sprinkle of salt. After adding a sprinkle of salt to your pot or pan, simply scrub it with a lemon wedge. You’ll be surprised just how well this simple and inexpensive trick works! You will definitely notice and appreciate the difference when you look at the cookware in your kitchen.

 

Tip Three-Say Goodbye to Grease on Stoves

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Grease on stoves can be pretty tricky to remove, and can quickly make your kitchen look dirty and unkempt. But there is an easy way to remove grease. Simply mix baking soda with warm water and scrub your stovetop with a cloth. Also, this trick can be used to brighten and liven up stainless steel appliances and even stainless steel countertops.

 

Tip Four-Baking Soda and Your Trashcan

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Just as grandma loved vinegar for cleaning, the same can be stated for baking soda. Baking soda has endured the test of time and has been loved as a low-cost and people friendly cleaning product for generations.

 

A dirty trashcan be something of a nightmare, but a little baking soda can clean even the dirtiest trashcan right up! Sprinkle some baking soda into your trashcan, then add water and wipe until dry.

 

Don’t forget baking soda removes and prevents odors, so it really is a perfect ingredient to use. You can add extra baking soda to control future odors.

 

Tip Five-Cleaning Granite Countertops

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Granite countertops always look amazing in the kitchen. But what about when they get dirty? If you want to keep your granite looking clean and vibrant, the good news is that you don’t need special cleaners or chemicals.

 

Mix alcohol and water together in a spray bottle then spray and wipe for granite countertops and other granite surfaces when you want them to be sparkling clean.

 

Tip Six-Cleaning Your Trash Disposal

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People have a tendency to forget about their trash disposal unless it does one of two things: stops working or starts smelling! Neutralizing the sometimes powerful smells that can come from trash disposals can be as easy as squirting a liberal amount of liquid hand soap down the drain.

 

After you’ve squirted the liquid soap down the drain, count to five and turn the disposal on. Let the disposal run for at least fifteen seconds. If this doesn’t neutralize the odors, just move on to pouring vinegar down the drain.

 

Tips for the Laundry Room

 

Tip Seven-Removing Odors

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Laundry odors may sometimes be a headache. After washing and drying your clothes, you want them to smell clean and fresh. If you’ve tried to reduce your laundry odors and nothing seems to work, don’t despair.

 

Instead add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle. You’ll find that your laundry odors vanish in no time.

 

Tip Eight-Vinegar to the Rescue Again

 

It’s a good idea to periodically clean your laundry machine. Cleaning your laundry machine is as easy as allowing mixing some vinegar into the water of your laundry machine, letting the mixture soak and then rinsing.

 

Tip Nine-Soften Clothing with Vinegar

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Believe it or not, vinegar can also soften clothing as well. A little vinegar during the rinse cycle serves to soften virtually any article of clothing; this old trick works very well.

 

Tip Ten-Brighten Your Whites with Baking Soda

 

People often replace their whites just because they can’t figure out how to get them white and bright again. There really is no need to spend the extra money, because you can easily do it yourself on a very, very low budget.

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Dull whites are not necessary, especially if you have an inexpensive box of baking soda handy. Special detergents might have harmful chemicals in them and they are not necessary. Instead opt for the time tested, whitening power of baking soda.

 

Tip Eleven-Baking Soda and Stains

 

It may come as little surprise that baking soda, which can brighten whites, can also work to remove stains. If you want to use baking soda to remove stains, just pre-treat your clothing with baking soda and water before washing. Then toss them into the washing machine and you’ll quickly see that your clothes are stain-free. You’ll find that this quick fix can remove some seriously stubborn stains and, of course, it’s far less expensive than buying stain removal formulas from the store.

 

Tips for the Bathroom

 

Tip Twelve-Skip the Pricey Wipes

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Many people believe that if there is no place in their home that needs “industrial strength cleaning power,” that it’s the bathroom. That’s why so many people are willing to spend their hard-earned dollars on bathroom cleaning supplies. Yet, the simple fact is that nature has provide us with a range of excellent ways to clean our bathrooms without the use of harmful chemicals.

 

Wipes are a great example of how you can save considerable money with the right approach. But cleaning and disinfecting wipes from the store have a tendency to be rather expensive.

 

But you can make your own equally effective wipes just by adding alcohol to baby wipes, which tend to be much cheaper. (They have to be inexpensive as people go through hundreds of them just taking care of their infants!) The end result is a wipe that does the same job and will disinfect just as well as specialty cleaning wipes. Our baby wipe and alcohol combination will save serious cash.

 

Tip Thirteen-Cotton Balls Soaked in Alcohol Are Your Friend

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Cotton balls soaked in alcohol are an easy way to shine metal in your bathroom. Far too often people skip cleaning metal surfaces in the bathroom thinking that they don’t harbor bacteria and virus like other surfaces; this is a mistake. But cotton balls soaked in alcohol will definitely get the job done in a quick and easy manner.

 

Tip Fourteen-White Vinegar for Bathroom Surfaces

 

Another great way to clean your bathroom surfaces is to use white vinegar. The ever-versatile white vinegar can clean almost any bathroom surface. After spraying down a surface with white vinegar, just rinse or wipe the vinegar away with water.

 

Tip Fifteen-The Easiest Way to Clean Bathroom Mirrors

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When was the last time you cleaned your bathroom mirror? If you are like most people, then you probably can’t remember the last time that you actually accomplished this feat.

 

Once more vinegar is on our list coming to the rescue! A mixture of vinegar and water will not only clean your bathroom mirrors, but will also leave them streak free.

 

Tip Sixteen-Tackling Soapy, Grimy Shower Curtains

 

Grimy shower curtains can be one of the single scariest things in the average home. Shower curtains can be notoriously hard to clean and many are made from harmful materials that degas. If you’ve ever thought that a new shower curtain smelled you are not alone. What you are selling is a chemical mixture that is harmful.

 

Cotton shower curtains and hemp based shower curtains are two good options. Hemp is naturally resistant to mold and mildew for example, but even these shower curtains can get quite grimy.

 

Periodically spray your shower curtain with a mixture of vinegar and water. Let this vinegar-water mixture sit for about fifteen minutes and then rinse. You can use this tip for any surface that has soap scum buildup.

 
Tip Seventeen-Brighten and Clean Your Tub

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Soap and dirt build up on your tub can be unsightly and unhealthy. After your next shower or bath, put a little baking soda on a rag and scrub down the wet surfaces; this easy approach will clean, remove soap build up and help prevent future soap build up as well.
Tip Eighteen-Don’t Fight with Clogged Drains

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Some drains are so tough that you may need a plumber, but the fact is that in most situations you can unclog drains yourself! Here is a trick you might find very helpful.

 

Try pouring boiling water down the drain and then using a plunger until you begin to see the water flowing more readily. With tougher clogs, you may have to repeat this step a few times, but it is certainly cheaper than a plumber’s bill!

 

Tips for Overall Cleanliness

 

Tip Nineteen-Cleaning Hardwood Floors

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If cleaning hardwood floors makes you a little nervous then consider our tip for cleaning hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are finished with a wide array of different products and some are more durable than others.

 

For this reason, it is best to test out any hardwood cleaning approach or product in an out of the way area, such as a closet, before using on all of your hardwood floors. Vinegar and a hot water mixture will work to both help shine your hardwood floors and get them clean. Any dirt or grease should easily be removed with this approach.

 

Tip Twenty-Invest in a Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

 

A good microfiber cleaning cloth, one that can be washed and reused, is a prudent investment. A microfiber cleaning cloth is a great way to clean everything from computer monitors to television screens and more. Since, most microfiber clothes are intended to be washed they can be a very eco-friendly option.

 

Tip Twenty-One-Improve Vacuum Cleaner Performance and Energy Efficiency

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There is a simple way to improve both the performance and the energy efficiency of most modern vacuum cleaners. These vacuum cleaners have at least one and sometimes two filters. Periodically cleaning these filters improves their performance by increasing their suction power and by increasing the efficiency of the vacuum cleaner.

 

Clean filters require less energy and that lowers your carbon footprint. Plus, cleaner vacuums release cleaner air.
Tip Twenty-Two-Change Your Whole House Filters

 

If you have an HVAC system, it is important to keep your filters clean. HVAC systems have to work much harder to handle air when there is a dirty, clogged or even blocked filter. Checking your filters every month and changing them when they are dirty will help you save energy, save money and lower your carbon footprint.

 

The air that circulates through your home will be far cleaner and healthier than if you infrequently changed your air filters.

 

Tip Twenty-Three-Invest in a Quality Air Purifier and Air Quality Meter

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When it comes to cleaning people often overlook cleaning their air. However, indoor air quality is increasingly being linked to a range of diseases and even lower I.Q.s. In fact, poor indoor air quality may play a role in everything from the number of colds and flus you catch to whether or not you get seriously ill in the future.

 

Poor indoor air quality is particularly concerning for children. If you do have an air purifier be sure to change the filters frequently. An air quality meter can help you keep track of how successfully you are cleaning your home’s indoor air.

 

Tip Twenty-Four-Plants, Plants and More Plants

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A great, inexpensive and often overlooked way to clean your home’s air is to populate your home with a variety of plants. Plants such as snake plants, ferns and peace lilies have been shown in many studies, including those conducted by NASA, to remove harmful compounds, such as formaldehyde, from the air.

 

Plants clean the air during the day and release oxygen at night making them true friends for your lungs and overall health.

 

Tip Twenty-Five-Keep Vinegar Handy

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Vinegar often cleans just as well as chemical cleaners. Most people don’t need powerful disinfecting cleaners. Soap and water and a little vinegar and white vinegar can successful handle most cleaning tasks.

 

These twenty-five tips were carefully selected to help you not just clean effectively, but to clean in a way that is healthier for you, your family and the planet. The cleanliness of your home isn’t just limited to how clean your kitchen, bathroom and floors may be, but also includes how clean your air is and the products that populate your home.

 

Products that degas harmful chemicals, lead paint, exposure to chemical based insulation, hiding areas of mold and mildew, radon and other dangers must also be considered.

 

 

 

Hidden Food Additives to Always Avoid
Posted by December 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM under Home Living Tips

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When it comes to avoiding food additives, the list could be a very long one. The bottom line is that foods packed with artificial ingredients, sugar, food dyes, food coloring, high levels of sodium and trans fats should be avoided as much as possible. In this article, we will examine some of the food additives you will want to try to avoid. We’re about to start the new year, and there is nothing like making a healthy resolution!

 

One key fact to discuss before venturing into the different food additives to avoid is which foods are the most likely to contain additives that you shouldn’t consume. Processed foods and fast foods are usually packed with an array of additives. In fact, if you want to dramatically reduce your chances of being exposed to the additives on our list, simply reduce or even eliminate fast foods and processed foods from your diet.

 

#1 Sugar-Hiding by Many Different Names

sugarYou’ve probably heard that sugar is bad for you. Most people, however, don’t realize just how damaging sugar is to the human body. Sugar causes DNA damage which can weaken the body’s immune system and actually promote disease. You likely already know that sugar is bad for you. The various food companies that make billions off sugar also know that most of us now know that sugar should be avoided.

 

What many don’t yet realize is that sugar is being put into all kinds of foods, including foods such as bread and pasta sauce, under a wide array of different names. At first the sugar industry was focusing on sugar camouflaging names, like corn solids and high-fructose corn syrup, but recently the diversity of sugar names has increased.

 

Now, there are dozens of different names for what is essentially sugar. That means that even if you’re actively seeking to avoid sugar, you can still fall into the sugar trap!  What should the typical consumer do? The simple answer is to reduce, as much as possible, your consumption of processed foods and fast foods. Remember, the purchasing decisions that you make do matter. By refusing to buy unhealthy foods, you are sending a clear and powerful message to food companies; that message is that you want real food without added sugar.

 

#2 What’s in Your Meat and Dairy?

 

Quite often discussion of harmful food additives skip right over issues such as what might be hiding in your meat, dairy, fish, poultry, fish and eggs, which is unfortunate. The topic of bioaccumulation is one that doesn’t receive the attention that it deserves. The simple fact is that the higher up the food chain an animal is the greater the chance of bioaccumulation issues.

 

tuna-1648597_960_720One well-known and well-documented example of bioaccumulation problems is fish. Over the last few decades, it has become a well-known fact that many larger fish can have bioaccumulation issues, for example, mercury in tuna. Sadly, however, the issue of bioaccumulation isn’t just a concern in fish, but instead is a factor for the entire food chain. Meat and poultry brings with it concerns about hormones and the kind of feed the animal received.

 

cow-419081_960_720Added hormones can be very problematic and can have long term health consequences for both animals and humans. Cattle are frequently given foods and drugs designed to make them larger and heavy so as to increase profits. Avoiding these hormones, chemicals and drugs is a must for anyone who consumes meat or poultry.

 

Opting for organic and free range beef and chicken products is one way to reduce one’s risk. Another option is to opt for goat milk, yogurt and dairy as goats are generally not raised in massive farm conditions like dairy cattle and typically receive far less antibiotics and hormones.

 

#3 Artificial Sweeteners Should be Avoided

 

tape-403591_960_720Artificial sweeteners are in many problems. In particular, pay special attention to so-called “diet products.” Diet products are usually low in nutrition but high in chemicals and artificial ingredients. As a result, the body cries out for nutrition and those eating diet products usually find that they ultimately eat more and not less.

 

Artificial sweeteners have been linked to many health issues and additional studies are most definitely needed. Many scientists and researchers worry about the safety of artificial sweeteners and want to see additional studies. The safest move is to avoid artificial sweeteners.

 

agaveThere are some natural alternatives that can be used in moderation. Coconut sugar is all natural and far lower on the glycemic index than sugar; it is in stark contrast to a supposedly healthy sweetener alternative agave. Agave is natural since it comes from a cactus. But it is also highly processed and high on the glycemic index, as a result if can’t exactly be considered healthy. Coconut sugar is a safer alternative.

 

Another safer alternative, again in moderation, to sugar is xylitol. Derived to tree bark, xylitol is both widely used and studied. It is very low on the glycemic index and is often used by diabetics for this reason. In addition, numerous studies have shown that xylitol is actually good for overall mouth health as xylitol reduces the levels of cavity causing bacteria in the mouth. Once again, the key to using safer sugar substitutes such as coconut sugar and xylitol is to use these sugar substitutes in moderation.

 

Avoiding harmful foods can be difficult. For social reasons, for example a dinner with friends at a restaurant,  you may find it necessary to eat foods that you might otherwise not eat. Of course, this is fine on occasion. What you do on a day-to-day basis will be what ultimately determines your health and well-being.

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Finally, when it comes to selecting foods, read labels carefully at the grocery store. If the label is full of unfamiliar ingredients, simply place it back on the shelf.

 

3 Ways to Say “No” to Sugar
Posted by November 21, 2016 at 3:12 PM under Home Living Tips

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Sugar is not your friend. You may have warm and fuzzy memories with products that contain sugar and sugar itself. That is okay, as we all have such memories. Yet, the simple fact is that medical science has proven rather conclusively that sugar is harmful, very harmful, to one’s health.

 

One of the single largest problems concerning sugar is that this harmful substance is literally sprinkled, often quite liberally, through the entire food supply. As a result of the ubiquitous nature of sugar, it can be very different to avoid sugar in its wide array of forms. Let’s take a look at how to play defense against this sneaky ingredient.

 

Tip #1-Beware the Name Game

 

sugarPart of what makes avoiding sugar so difficult is that even if you are reading labels, constantly sugar is often hidden under many different names. Much like the devil, sugar goes by many different names. Other names for sugar include high-fructose corn syrup, corn solids, corn syrup solids, beet sugar, cane sugar, fructose, glucose, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup, rice syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, molasses, sorbitol, malt syrup, the ever-popular maltodextrin. Sadly, the list goes on and on.

 

There are dozens of names under which sugar is frequently hidden. All of this points us to the fact that reading labels isn’t enough when it comes to avoiding harmful ingredients. Reading labels is a great first step in avoiding sugar, but it is not enough.

 

Avoiding sugar demands a comprehensive approach. But don’t worry it is not quite as difficult as it sounds!

 

Tip #2-Eat More Whole Foods

 

healthy-food-1348464_960_720As of yet, food scientists haven’t figured out how to inject sugar or other toxic substances into spinach, for example. This simple fact is your greatest single tool and weapon in avoiding processed sugar, no matter what name it might be hiding under.

 

Eating more whole foods also means boosting your overall health, as whole foods are packed with nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and disease fighting compounds. When you select whole foods, ranging from fruits and vegetables to nuts, seeds and other minimally processed foods, you are doing your body a huge favor.

 

A byproduct of opting for whole foods means that you are reducing your processed food consumption. Processed foods in the form of fast food and packaged food are often loaded down with hidden levels of sugar as well as disease promoting additives such as pesticides, food dyes and colors and more.

 

Eating whole foods will help you stay healthy, lose weight and, of course ,avoid sugar, regardless of what deceptive name it may have.

 

Tip #3-Use Caution When Dining Out

 

restaurantAvoiding sugar while dining out presents a very difficult challenge. The bottom line is that if you are dining out frequently, avoiding sugar can be quite tough. Restaurants, both chains and independent, often sneak a lot of sugar into food. It may even be hiding in dishes that you wouldn’t suspect such as pizza crust, pasta and even salads.

 

Your best option when dining out is to ask which products have the most sugar or if the sugar can be kept out of your meal; this is easier with independent restaurants than it is with chain restaurants. Chain restaurants prepare their food, usually thousands of miles away and have little control over ingredients. This means removing the sugar is impossible.

 

However, it is often possible to avoid sugar in sauces. It is likely prudent to simply assume to that sauces do, in fact, have sugar in them and proceed accordingly.

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It is vital to remember that not all restaurants are the same. For example, restaurants that cater to a healthier clientele such as organic, vegetarian and vegan restaurants are more accustomed to having their consumers ask questions. These restaurants are also more comfortable with helping their clients with their special request. Perhaps best of all is the fact that health oriented restaurants are likely to use less sugar and other toxic ingredients than in chain restaurants.

 

Bonus Tip-Consider Using Coconut Sugar and Xylitol

 

In the quest to avoid sugar, there is another factor that many people miss. It will take time for your taste to acclimate to removing or reducing sugar from your diet. Sugar has an addictive aspect and going “cold turkey” can be extremely difficult. This is why natural sugar substances are very important.

 

Natural options such as coconut sugar and xylitol, both of which are much lower on the glycemic index than sugar, is a smart move. Both xylitol and coconut sugar and natural. Many medical studies indicate that xylitol actually helps boost overall oral health. Of course, these benefits stand in stark contrast to artificial sweeteners which have been linked in studies to potential diseases. (Artificial sweeteners may in fact be worst for human health than sugar, so switching from sugar to artificial sweeteners is likely not the best move.)

 

The Key is Developing New Healthy Habits

 

Ultimately, avoiding sugar is about being proactive and developing new habits. Sugar is hiding everywhere but you can avoid it. Many of the foods that contain sugar are easy to spot, for example, any processed food is likely to contain a considerable level of sugar. While changing your diet may take time, the time you spend is an investment in you and your health.

5 Ways to Keep Your Pets Eco-Friendly
Posted by August 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM under Environment Home Living Tips

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Helping to protect the environment isn’t something just for humans. Our furry friends are, in fact, a multibillion dollar industry. We, the humans, spend billions annually on purchasing for our pets. This translates into many different types of products and many of those products produce chemical waste, pollution and have high carbon footprints.

 

Everything that applies to human eco-friendly efforts also applies to keeping our pets. Yes, your pet has a carbon footprint but it is up to you to lower it on your furry friend’s behalf! In this article, we will explore 5 of the best ways to help your pet be an eco-friendly one. Your pet might not be able to thank you but the planet, and everything living on it, certainly will!

 

Pet Tip #1-Buy Local

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The foundation of having an eco-friendly pet is the same as it would be for a human. Buying locally sourced and made products whenever possible means that you are lowering your pet’s carbon footprint.

The reason that so many people are becoming obsessed with buying locally sourced and made products has much to do with transportation costs. Transporting goods from across the country or even around the world to a point on the map, assembling them and then shipping the newly created product out across the world is a real energy hog. However, buying locally made and source products bypasses this highly problematic process and in the process dramatically lowers one’s carbon footprint. If you want to lower your pet’s carbon footprint, then buying local is essential.

 

Pet Tip #2-Eco-Friendly Pet Products

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Another essential in helping your pet make the jump to being eco-friendly comes in the form of buying eco-friendly products. There are plenty of pet products made from recycled and earth friendly materials. Even something as simple as a locally made wool pet toy or pet bed can have a major impact on helping the planet.

Wool toys, pet beds and other products are becoming more and more common and for good reason. Wool is tough, durable and is renewable and planet-friendly. Additionally, there are plenty of toys, animal feeding bowls and other products made from eco-friendly materials such as wood, natural rubber and recycled plastic. These eco-friendly products are an easy way to help your pet do its best to help the planet!

 

Pet Tip #3-Eco-Friendly Pet Food

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Packaged pet food is made in much the same way as packaged human food. Even if your pet food is organic and full of quality ingredients, it was likely sourced from food ingredients from around the country or around the globe. One of the best options for eco-friendly pet food is to simply make your own pet food. There are plenty of recipes for homemade pet food to be found online.

 

A major additional benefit of opting for creating your own pet food is that you know exactly what your pet is eating. In recent years there have been numerous examples of pet foods making pets sick. Making your own pet food will allow you to include locally sourced ingredients, which lowers your carbon footprint, while at the same time boosting your pet’s overall nutrition. It is, however, very important that you find pet food recipes and options that provide your pet with the right levels of nutrition and supplement that food with healthy pet food options. Cats, for example, need taurine to remain healthy.

 

Pet Tip #4-Biodegradable Pet Waste Bags and Training Pads

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Dog training pads are much like diapers in that they produce a great deal of waste; however, there is another option in the form of all natural biodegradable puppy training pads. Dog training pads are an easy item to overlook when it comes to environmental impact, but replacing the typical, plastic based training pad with a more planet friendly options is a definite win!

 

Eliminating plastic is always a good idea when one is looking to be more environmentally friendly. One of the single best ways to reduce plastic use for dog owners is to opt for biodegradable pet waste bags. The average dog owner will use thousands of pet waste bags over the lifetime of his or her pet. Opting for a biodegradable pet waste bag will dramatically reduce the environmental impact of your dog’s outdoor time.
Pet Tip #5-Eliminate the Cat Litter!

 

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Cat litter is something of an environmental disaster. There are many reasons that cat litters is something of a menace. Eliminating cat litter can be a very tricky proposition but due to the negative environmental impacts of litter on the environment, it is definitely worth the effort.

 

Cat litter, regardless of what it is made of, takes energy to extract and that means boosting one’s carbon footprint. That stated, some cat litter is better than others, for example, cat litter made from renewable resources such as corn is superior to other options, but what if you could eliminate the cat litter altogether? With some work it is indeed possible.

 

There are cat toilet training devices which can help your cat learn to use the toilet just like a human. In this way there is zero litter and zero waste, which lowers your household’s carbon footprint and keeps a ton, quite literally, out of landfills.

 

Together these five eco-friendly pet tips can dramatically alter your pet’s environmental impact. Opting for a eco-friendly pet approach reduce your pet’s carbon footprint and resource usage, while boosting your pet’s health at the same time.