Green Cleaning Products – Escape the Chemical Nightmare

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Did you know that auto immune diseases, allergies and a host of “behavioral issues” are widely believed to be attributed to harmful chemicals in our environment? Green cleaning products used to be “old wives tales” or “housewife hints” but more and more parents are moving towards safer, more environmentally friendly cleaning products and devices.

Green Cleaning and Vacuum Products For Safety

Have you ever leaned over to clean your bath and felt that odd burning feeling in your throat? That’s ammonia and bleach giving you a mild chemical burn.

Do you really want to bathe your baby in the residue?

Some mold cleaners kill mold but create an ideal place for it to re-spawn, meaning that it comes right back…so you buy more mould cleaner.

Did you know that vinegar changes the pH in your shower so mould can’t survive? And it’s about a fifteenth the price of commercial mold killers….

These very harsh, and environmentally devastating chemicals aren’t just bad for your family (and linked to skin complaints, allergies and all sorts of long term health effects) they’re devastating for the environment. The difference between a green cleaning product and a dangerous chemical could be the future of our waterways.

The Best Green Cleaning Alternatives

Not only are traditional cleaners safer for your family and the environment, most of the time they’re MUCH cheaper. Baking soda, soap nuts, vinegar, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, orange oil and walnuts are all affordable, locally available and eco-friendly clean and polishing products! Here’s a few you may not be aware of!

• A handful of soap nuts replaces harmful laundry liquids and conditioners – they cost under .03c per wash!
• Scratches on timber furniture can be buffed away by rubbing a walnut into the veneer
• Rubbing stainless steel will remove the smell of garlic better than all the expensive soaps in the world.
Eucalyptus oil (an Australian product) in a spray bottle with water cleans windows and other glass streak free. It’s also a better antiseptic than the leading brand name medicines.
Clove oil is the easiest way to get rid of mould and then a splash of vinegar every few days will stop it coming back.
• Everyone’s favorite green alternative to harsh, nasty drain cleaner? A box of bi-carbonate soda down the drain, followed by a bottle of vinegar. Put the plug in, and hold it down – it safely, effectively blasts away the blockage.

HEPA Vacuums are the new leader in the green cleaning industry

When allergies struck in the old days mum brought out the cleaning basket. She scrubbed with bleach. She sprayed the surface cleaner. She mopped with floor cleaner. She dusted with furniture polish. She sprayed the best with insecticide. She washed with clothes sanitizer….and after all that, little Johnny or Mary’s skin allergies, wheezing, sneezing and swelling just kept getting worse.

Removing pet hair, dust and microscopic insect droppings from the home can now be done using only a HEPA vacuum, air purifier and some green cleaning products. A HEPA vac can remove microscopic solids from your environment and an air purifier can keep them at bay between vacuums. As for floors, there’s vinegar. For furniture, there’s orange oil and walnut rubs. For laundry there are soap nuts. There’s a whole world of safer, healthier green cleaning products on the market, all you have to do is look!

Image by Julie G. on Flickr

Holistic Approach to Life Helps Save the Environment

Holistic Living There have been meat-eaters and there also have been those who vouch for vegetarianism. While the latter’s reasons may be religious, to ward off diseases or on humanitarian grounds, the former have tempted the latter with what they could be missing out on by depriving the latter’s taste-buds!

While it is futile convincing anyone to forsake their ideas, the world will be a better place for the future generations, if we adopt a holistic approach.

Saving the environment does not indicate that one should forsake meat alone; it means forsaking greed. Our eco-system is a well-balanced one, with the availability for every being’s needs, but not for every being’s greed! When we break this fragile eco-system thereby exploiting it, we are creating nothing but irreparable damage. If only the world’s builders mend their vandalizing ways, each time trees are cut down to make way for skyscrapers and hotels; if only seafarers are prudent to avoid oil-spillage; if only scientists realize the wreckage the discovery of nuclear weapons can create; if only you and I switch off the engine during a long wait; if only we during an excursion think before dirtying a pristine lake or hill, we would have managed to live a holistic life, safeguarding the world.

The herbivores depend on plants for food, the carnivores depend on herbivores and the dwindling population of either is absolutely dangerous for you and me.

Both developing as well as developed countries can do well to consider the imbalance staring at them and build a bridge to shorten the chasm. If you think population is the core culprit of developing countries, do think about the wastage of land and resources of developed countries! The United States alone has enough to feed the whole world.

Let’s start from home. Check on what is used in surplus and think of ways of curtailing this overuse. Think of ways of being a rolling potato instead of being a couch potato. A car-pool not only reduces pollution, but builds camaraderie too. Enjoy a walk with your companion rather than a drive. Ensure you consume very less electricity. A bored child can be taught the basics of gardening and made to sow seeds and tend to plants.

Find alternatives to substitute chemical pesticides. Sodium bicarbonate is an effective insect repellant when mixed with milk. Neem leaves and neem oil keep mosquitoes and even fungus at bay. Segregate organic and inorganic waste. While the former can be used as plant food, find if you can reuse inorganic waste in innovative ways. A simple man from India, Nek Chand did just that by creating a “Rock Garden” with waste like porcelain cups and saucers, electric bulbs, pens, bangles, et al!!

Make maximum use of the freely available resource such as sunlight, moonlight, the cool breeze, the rains, plants and trees etc. That’s what it means to living with nature harmoniously. Take initiative in learning about and implementing effective techniques like rainwater harvesting, vermiculture, solar homes, green energy products etc.

Say no to plastic and find substitutes for the same. Ask yourself if you certainly need a product, be it food or any product.

Catch them young – teach kids about going green

One of the best ways of keeping our environment clean and green is by teaching kids more about how we can keep our environment green. It is best to try to motivate them at a very young age. If we are able to tell them more about the benefits of going green at a young age, we will manage to get them hooked on to it for life. But we need to be imaginative when we discuss such topics with them. Kids don’t like when elders give them serious talks on any possible issue. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the environment or would not want to do anything to save it.

The trick is in getting them involved in activities that can be enjoyable as well as interesting. You can try any method that can get them involved in going green. Show the benefits of going green in a practical manner. This will have a bigger impact on them than just words. In case you are not able to come up with anything, here are some ways to try your luck with them:

You can start by encouraging them to save energy in every possible way in your house. The best way to do this is to first follow such the habits yourself. Your kids will be inspired to do the same when they see their parents doing anything that can save energy in the house. You can even have a competition in your house where the person who saves the most amount of energy will be rewarded with some catchy prize.

Try to teach them a number of ways to recycle the stuff that is lying waste at your place. You can start with paper; teach them to make paste out of it so that they can make paper bags and other things from it. This will also help them to cut down on the use of plastics at your place. In case there is waste cardboard, teach them a number of tricks so that they can build mini houses from it or models of cars. Give them paint so that they will have a nice time by making everything colorful. Remember only give them paints that are environmental friendly.

Take some time out of your busy schedule and spend it with your kids. Go for a walk in the countryside with them. They will be able to appreciate nature more when they are in close contact with it. Try to tell them more on animals and plants that they find interesting. This will help them to develop more interest in such plants and animals.

You need to tell them why use of plastic is bad for our environment – if you are able to do this then you will be able to prevent them from harming our planet in a major way. Plastic is one of the chief menaces that are creating major environmental problems on our planet.

Remember always be patient with your kids when you are discussing about the environment. It pays to be patient because if you can get them involved in the conservation of the environment, they will do their best in following this cause all their life.

Getting Kids Involved in Conservation

Today as I cleaned up my office and sorted through an ever growing stack of paperwork, I opened my door and let in fresh air from the outside world.

First, there is a dollhouse in my office that is a constant source of stress relief and a great model for all of my designing ideas. (this is a great thing as it keeps me from moving furniture into odd arrangements and then moving it all back when I decide I don’t like it!) What I hadn’t counted on is the influx of neighborhood kids who stared longingly at my little world of miniatures. It wasn’t long before I had to give a play session to the kids (and to me). This is the one little disruption I enjoyed.

As we played, I began thinking of what to do a blog entry on for the night and realized that I had never asked a child what they thought living green was or how they thought one should go about living green.

“We can be like bunnies and eat the grass,” Chelsea, a four year old responded.

“No we can’t. That’s just dumb.” Her six year old and very sophisticated sister Jordan replied.

Logan, a little boy who lives just a few doors down from the girls, chimed in “It means we can’t pull up Mommy’s flowers ‘cuz they’re alive too and that would be killing.”

I chuckled but decided that perhaps a little experiment was in order. I pulled out the habitats I have for butterflies, ants, and frogs. I let the children decide which one they wanted to have for the experiment. Next, we collected some unsuspecting lizards, ants, and moths. I let the kids put in whatever they thought the animals would like in a natural world and got another surprise.

For those parents out there who don’t think your kids listen, please read on.

The children all chose vegetables for their new little friends. Unfortunately, the vegetables were the worst choices for food for the animals. I explained that the diets of their new “pets” were indeed many plants and foods that are not good for humans. The veggies, though, were like the pollution we put in the air with cars and the pesticides we use on our foods. They would slowly kill the very animals that the children had collected.

After a bit of research to show them using sites such as national geographic for kids, the children changed the natural world back to the way it should be for their pets. Then, we talked about how we could really do the same thing for ourselves.

I explained what organic meant and that it was kinder to the planet than any of the chemicals we used in a large portion of our foods. I discussed the experiments both NASA and Disney were running concerning how to grow food without water or soil and how to help the plants produce more fruits for eating.

They were most amazed with Disney’s 9 lb lemons. This lemon makes one gallon of lemonade and is grown organically. The sheer magic of this to them was that Disney created it so it had to be something from the fairies of Pixie Hollow and worth remembering.

By the time the afternoon was complete, I had gathered the mothers of these children and volunteered my teenage daughter and her friends for an outing to a local park this weekend. We are going to set the little pets free there and then work on teaching the children all about living green by helping to clean up the park.

I think if more of us did this just one weekend a month, there would be more understanding in the younger generation of what green living is and a better level of health in the older generations. In the middle of the conservation, you get some real quality time with the kids.

Our plan is to visit the science center as they have an area for kids to plant trees and flowers. Then, we’ll spend some time making a game of gathering the trash from the ground to make the park more beautiful. In return for their efforts, all the parents are giving the kids a pizza party. They’ll learn the beginnings of recycling and conserving our planet and we’ll be making memories to last into our golden years.

The idea is to get them involved. Kids will be more apt to be passionate about that which includes them than that which they are told they have to do without any input of their own. In the process, you will steer them toward a greener lifestyle without any resistance as they will be a part of it.

I think I’ll try to keep this as a monthly activity and get more children to join us as we begin teaching a little planet conservation to the next generation.

DVD Giveaway: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button DVD
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button DVD

Update:  Click here for our winner

I was moved to see this beautiful movie starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. It tells the tall tale of an infant who is born as an old man—tiny but suffering all the infirmities of an 80-year-old—who lives his life in reverse, becoming younger with each passing year until he achieves real infancy at the end of his life.

You will see the echose of Forrest Gump as this movie too has screenplay of Eric Roth. The film received thirteen Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Pitt, and Best Supporting Actress for Taraji P. Henson. It won three Oscars for Art Direction, Makeup, and Visual Effects.

Critics were excited to see this movie

Brad Pitt’s sensitive performance helps make ‘Benjamin Button’ a timeless masterpiece. – Baltimore Sun

Benjamin Button is all of a visionary piece, and it’s a soul-filling vision. – WSJ

It takes a world-class storyteller and a great yarn to rivet your attention for nearly three hours. This very classy, old-school movie – employing cutting-edge technology that will make your eyes pop – did it for me. – NY Post

Now Experience this Movie yourself for FREE. Here’s How?

The winner will be chosen by random number generation. You can get multiple entries to increase your chances of winning. The list is below. The deadline to enter is May 20, 2009 at 11:59PM (eastern time). The drawing will be announced the next day and posted here.

To Enter EZvacuum Contest to win this DVD;

  1. Subscribe to our Newsletter by clicking here and leave your email in the comments below after confirming your subscription. Only confirmed subscriptions are eligible for this contest. I promise we wont spam and send our newsletter only once a month.
    OR
    Follow @ezvacuum on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter ID and that you are following.

EXTRA ENTRIES. For additional chances to win, you can do any of the following. Do as many or as few as you like. Or none. These are completely OPTIONAL:

  1. Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter with a link to this post and then leave a comment with your Twitter ID and that you’ve tweeted it.
    Entered to win Curious Case of Benjamin Button DVD #Giveaway Just follow @ezvacuum and retweet to enter. http://cli.gs/mBhvtD
  2. Blog about this giveaway with link to this post
  3. Grab our Blog Button from the side bar (bottom right) and put it  on your blog and leave a link to your blog in comments.
  4. Add EZvacuum Clean and Green Blog on your blogroll and leave your blog address in comments.
  5. Make a purchase at EZVacuum.com between now and the contest deadline and post a comment telling me what you’ve ordered.
  6. Stumble, Digg or share this blog post on Facebook or Delicious. Leave a comment that you did. (Use the easy buttons on the bottom of this post)

IMPORTANT: Please leave separate comments for each of the items you do because that’s how I’m keeping track of entries!

RULES:
Deadline for comments/above: May 20th midnight EST. US only.

Good Luck!

Earth Day All Year Long

Earth Day. Have you ever really thought about what it really means? If you’re like most people, you observe this day set aside for the conservation of our natural resources but you don’t really connect with it on most levels. In fact, it probably never crosses your mind at all.

Earth day is more than just conservation. It is a significant reminder of our impact on the earth. Of all the land on the earth, we have a direct impact on 83% of it. That leaves only 17% of the land unaffected and unharmed by our very existence. What’s worse is the fact that we begin to destroy the earth from the very first day we are born. Of course, in the first few years of life the choice isn’t exactly ours, but it is these early years that form the base of the justification of our treatment of the planet afterward.

Many of the items we carelessly throw away, including vacuums and other household goods, contain plastics. Plastics take a very long time to biodegrade (3-5 hundred years) because they contain crude oil-which is what gives them the waterproof property we desire. Even disposable infant diapers contain the crude oil so that our children don’t soil us. This leads to happy parents, but a huge demand on a natural resource that is commonly known for its role in the automotive industry.

Basically, Earth Day is meant for us to become aware of our footprints. It is supposed to inspire us to recycle, reuse, reduce, and be kind to the planet all year long. When you consider some of the statistics of what we use during our lifetime, it’s easy to see how we can make a difference.

Below are some ideas that we can use each and every day to preserve the resources our earth gives to us. They aren’t hard to do and only take a few minutes out of our day. But, best of all, these simple steps can make a difference in the quality of life we live and in the conservation of nature for both us and future generations.

1. Packaging is a major problem. Most packages use plastic. Purchase items with the least amount of packaging to reduce the amount of waste. (i.e. Buy socks that aren’t in a plastic package but are instead wrapped with only a small connecting tag for store display)

2. Purchase organic vegetables and produce items that are free of packaging from farmer’s markets. Not only are you saving the planet from wrapping waste, but organic foods don’t use chemical pesticides or preservatives. It’s a great way to eat healthier and to encourage more farmers to avoid the poisonous compounds that add to the pollution of our planet.

3. Recycle trash. This seems simple enough, but most of what finds its way into our dumps could be reused if it had been sorted. Paper, plastic, glass, and metal can all be remelted,molded, or reshaped into a new product that doesn’t require us to use more of our natural resources.

4. If you live two miles or closer to where you work, walk or take a bicycle. Both are excellent forms of exercise that improve your health and emissions are not secreted into the air. This reduces both health insurance and air pollution.

5. Instead of cleaners that rely heavily on chemicals, choose the ones with all natural ingredients. For example, find toilet bowl cleaners that use helpful micro-organisims to degrade waste in sewer systems. Vinegar and water are wonderful for cleaning windows. There’s even several commercial cleaners that are now environmentally safe if you prefer ready made cleaning solutions for your needs.

6. Instead of reading your newspaper on newsprint, which requires a lot of trees for production, try listening to the news on an audible recording or reading it on the Internet. Most stories in the daily news can be had this way and don’t use any trees to make. Two of the best newspapers to offer audible recordings of daily news are The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. (And, if you’re wondering why trees are so important: Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis. We breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants, such as trees, intake carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.)

7. When choosing how to diaper your baby, consider the use of cloth diapers. These are washable and reusable, made from natural fibers, and are better for your baby’s skin. By choosing a more natural method, our dumps can see a dramatic decrease in use as the average baby will need almost 3,000 diaper changes in the first two years of life. That’s a lot of waste not going into landfills.

8. Reuse plastic bottles! Instead of buying a cleaner in a plastic spray bottle every time you need a new supply of the cleaner, purchase a concentrated refill that can be mixed with water in the original bottle from the first purchase. The amount of waste is greatly reduced and the spray bottle doesn’t find its way into a landfill.

9. If you purchase milk in a plastic jug, it doesn’t have to be thrown away when the milk is gone. These make great banks for loose change and planters. I love to let the kids decorate the jugs with other items that would normally end up in the trash such as colorful wrappers from cookies and chips. They love the unique banks they make and it helps the planet. The plants serve to help clean up the air in my home and it doesn’t cost me much to reuse what I already have.

10. Clothes also litter the landfills. Consider donating the gently worn items to Good Will or another charity in your area. For those items not so gently worn, consider making them into something else. Old socks make great puppets and cleaning cloths. Old jeans work well as oil rags for working on your car or in the garage. Also, if there is a quilting guild or sewing group in your area, see if they would be interested in clothing not suitable for donation. Many times, these groups will use them as scraps and create beautiful products from what you believed worthless.

There are many other ways to help save our planet and to conserve the natural resources we’ve come to take for granted. Don’t be afraid to try them out. Not only will the amount of trash and pollution decrease, but you may find some enjoyment from creating and being inventive.

Just think what a truly wonderful world we would live in if everyone did their part to conserve the beauty all around us.

Quality Versus Quantity

Searching around for ideas to write about as I flipped through the television channels, I kept coming back to the same thing: the cleaning advertisements. For some reason, the commercials touting the virtues of how to keep a home clean seemed to parody short comedy clips in an effort to sway the viewer to purchase their brand.

Along with this thought, my mind toyed with the product list at EZVacuum. When it did, I realized that many of the products are not those portrayed on the commercials. And I knew why: the quality of the products available from vacuums to cleaning solutions are too high.

Yes, I said it-most commercials push products that are not needed and that do not work as advertised. Even some of the advertised green cleaners are not as environmentally friendly as they claim to be from the more common supermarket brands.

However, they do have a pull. Since we’ve been raised with the idea that cleanliness is next to godliness, we will rush right out and purchase a product that promises to deliver us from the evil which opposes clean. Most of the time, though, we only end up with heavily perfumed water that doesn’t do much but overload the olfactory senses.

If quality and true cleaning are important to you, then it is worth the investment into products such as Allersearch, which is held to strict standards to deliver exactly what is promised and IQAir whose products are of a medical grade. Instead of choosing a vacuum that will only last a few months, invest in a true HEPA filtervacuum such as a Miele Series 7.

If you’re worried about the initial outlay of cash, then weigh that against the advantages of less costs for maintenance over a period of several years rather than a few months. You can also purchase items for maintenance that use recycled materials, resulting in less cost. Most of the higher quality products also use less quantities to do the same job as their lower quality counterparts, which result in lower cost as well.

Basically, the initial outlay for quality over quantity may seem high, but the rate of replenishment and the effectiveness of the products will show a reduced bill in cleaning supplies and equipment in the long run. Cheap isn’t always the best route to go and often ends up costing more than paying for the quality to begin with.

You can find all your cleaning needs at EZVacuum, where quality is a priority and cleaning fits into any budget.

Spring Cleaning-A Memory Revisited

Spring Cleaning Spring cleaning is on the minds of everyone at the moment. With spring on the horizon, winter’s hold on spirits is lessening. With the teasing warmth of the weather beckoning between winter’s lasts breaths, it isn’t a wonder that we are all a little restless.

The restlessness we feel, though, is what my granny used to call Spring’s demand to clean. We would go through everything from the attic to the basement, reorganizing, remembering, and cleaning. In fact, it is the only time of the year that cleaning was almost a holiday. When anyone would mention this to Granny, she laughed in a knowing way and told us about the birth of a new season.

Listening to her stories, we scrubbed floors, vacuumed rugs, and washed pantries. Trunks were examined, old clothes played with and then refolded, and old letter read. Some things, of course, didn’t return to their previous homes since the idea of spring cleaning required some recycling. Most of the old cards became our craft supplies. Many an old dress got a fresh look with a few stitches and wardrobes grew.

Spring cleaning was a time to reunite the family, make everyone a part of one unit for a few weeks every year regardless of busy schedules. The prize of the whole ordeal was working the garage sale and getting enough to chase the ice cream truck down the street in late spring and summer.

My fond memories of the hustle and bustle of spring cleaning are the reason it surprised me when my daughter’s friends drew back in fear at its mentioning the other day. However, current times make spring cleaning so much easier and even more enjoyable than back in my childhood. Granny didn’t have the luxury of a mop with environmentally safe cleaning solutions built in. She didn’t own a vacuum and had never used a duster with magnetic attraction. We filled pots and pans with hot, soapy water and scrubbed everything on our hands and knees. Floors only got a good sweep with an old broom before we were on all fours cleaning.

No one worried about the environment back then. We had no clue that the chemicals we were using to clean up with were dangerous. I didn’t even realize that the adding a touch of bleach to the water filled with soap with ammonia in it could be toxic. Granny never thought of it as she still used lye soap she made herself. The things we used were sometimes harsh, but they had been used for generations and Granny loved her traditions.

Then came the reports in my teen years about the environment. I learned about global warming and how pollutants increased the rate at which the planet heated up. I discovered the dangers of mixing the chemicals Granny used to clean and I realized that much of what we poured carelessly outside on the lawn or in the old pond down yonder were destroying the inhabitants of nature.

At first, lemon was touted as nature’s answer to cleaning woes. But, there were problems from the start. Lemon juice is an acid and was murder upon hardwood. Many a hardwood floor lost its shine over that little mistake.

Then, companies got involved. With massive research into what is good for both cleaning and our environment, advances were made. Soon it was discovered that even our allergies were able to be controlled by a little bit of cleaning. Allersearch made advances in this area as no dust mite will dare stay where the ecologically friendly cleaners have been used. From laundry to the very air we breath, dust mites no longer had an interest in staking a claim and making a home.

Smells no longer lingered in our kitchens, clothes or upholstery once research got into the picture. Fresh Wave, a completely natural and safe product line, effectively eliminate those unwanted smells with ease. From candles to sprays, there really is a choice for everyone.

Add that to vacuums such as the Miele S7 Series Vacuums, and spring cleaning takes on a magical and pleasant feeling once again. You can get everything you need to clean safely and thoroughly this spring at EZVacuum, your one stop cleaning shop for some of the best offerings in cleaning supplies and appliances. Make some Spring Cleaning memories of your very own with your family this Spring

The methods to cleaning may have changed, but the wonderful memories of cleaning with Granny are the same. I simply fill my granny’s shoes and my daughter gets the fun of playing with everything in the name of cleaning. Laughter fills the air as the wonderful sounds of modern cleaning are done in tandem with nature in a way my grandmother could never know. The ease of use of the products now available and the appliances that assist us every day of the year with cleaning needs were not part of Granny’s repertoire, but the shared family time was.

Spring Cleaning doesn’t mean work…it means love.