BrightNest iPhone App Makes It Easy to Green Your Home

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Good news for green homeowners everywhere: BrightNest, a free online service that makes it easy to keep your home in great shape, has announced the release of a free iPhone app! Last fall, I reviewed the ways that BrightNest can help you live a greener life, so I was excited to share that the same […]

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DIY Natural Cleaning Products for Your Home

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Take a stroll down the cleaning supply aisle in your local market, and you’ll find no shortage of ways to polish and shine your home. You will, however, find a shortage of chemical-free, unscented supplies that promote healthy cleaning and no ill-effects. When it comes to making your home sparkle, most commercially available cleaners will do the trick, but when it comes to your health, homemade cleansers are the best choice for safety and shine….

Natural and inexpensive, a mixture of one part vinegar, one part water provides a gentle cleaning solution for the hard surfaces of bathrooms and kitchens, including stoves, countertops, tile, and floors. Simply spray the solution on, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and wipe it down with a cloth. For more difficult cleaning jobs, heat the solution until warm or use undiluted vinegar.

TIP: To make sure you’re starting out with the cleanest solution, use filtered water in your mixture to avoid spreading chlorine, sediment, and other pollutants found in water around your home….

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Green Cleaning for Every Budget

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Since World War Two, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been introduced to the market. Consumers come in contact with about 3,000 of these chemicals every day in the form of cleaning products, such as air fresheners, dishwashing detergent, and floor cleaners. These products can be accidentally ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through skin contact. Unfortunately, cleaning your home with harsh, chemical cleaning products often fills it with more toxins and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than were there to begin with, making your home even less healthy than before you “cleaned” it.

Luckily, there are several ways to ensure that your home stays clean — the green and natural way. It can be difficult to comb through every ingredient on a product label, and it can be expensive to invest in a green-certified vacuum and other cleaning items. Hiring a cleaning service is sometimes the best route to take if pressed for time. Look for a cleaning service that offers an eco-friendly option, which means that they will clean your home with green-certified products and methods….

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Biokleen Soy Toilet Scrub – Green Cleaning for Your Bathroom

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What do you use to clean your toilet? You want it to be clean and look clean. But, since you’re concerned about the environment, you surely don’t want to use a toxic product that is bad for wildlife or one that pollutes the waterways.

Yet, it’s easy to fall for advertising hype that tells consumers the only way to really clean that toilet bowl is with heavy-duty chemicals. Of course, no marketer is going to admit that a product contains toxic substances. The story is always about how “sanitized” or “fresh” your bathroom is once you use Product XYZ.

But there are better ways to achieve a clean bathroom than to pollute yourself with VOCs and pollute your local waterways with bleach or other toxins.

Biokleen Soy Toilet Scrub is a non-toxic, biodegradable product that won’t leave your head spinning with fumes or send harsh chemicals down your drain….

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Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner Does It Right

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When Earth Friendly Products makes the claim that they’re eco-friendly, they have the credentials to prove it. This family-owned business makes and sells super-effective cleaning products, including Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner. In my opinion, this is one of the best all-around cleaners available — and that includes both natural and toxic cleaners. I love how well it cleans, what it’s made of, and even how it smells. I can’t say all that about many other cleaners — can you?

Like pretty much everyone we know, Joe and I are busy people. Sometimes we don’t get around to doing all the cleaning tasks on our list as quickly as we’d like. Recently, we let our upstairs tub and shower go just a little too long between cleanings. When we were sprucing up the house for a family party, we kicked into gear for a quick spritz around the house before everyone arrived. I got ready to tackle our upstairs bathroom. Oh, boy.

To say that the white walls of the tub and shower enclosure were looking a little gray might actually be an understatement, but let’s just leave it at that. I grabbed the bottle of Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner and started spraying about a three-foot-square section of a shower wall. Then I turned my attention to the sink while that part was soaking….

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Ecopreneurs Make High Performance, Eco-Friendly Cleaners

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“Necessity is the mother of invention,” so the saying goes. Ask Mark Cunningham about Bayes Cleaners, and you’ll find out how the need for a premium, eco-friendly cleaning product launched the company he shares with partner Matt Bays. Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Cunningham about Bayes Cleaners after trying — and liking — several of the company’s products….

CUNNINGHAM: My partner, Matt Bays, and I were talking about how we had just both installed stainless steel kitchens, and we couldn’t find any stainless cleaners that worked. I must have tried five or six different kinds of cleaners, and he had tried some as well. We said, “Hey, if anybody ever comes out with a stainless steel cleaner that works, they’re going to make a lot of money!”

We met the next day, and decided to get serious about developing a stainless steel cleaner. We both were into recycling at the time. We both had young kids, and using nontoxic products was important to us. We said, “Let’s make sure that whatever we come out with as a stainless steel cleaner not only works better than anything on the market, but it’s safe.” …

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Vaska Herbatergent – High Performance, High Value

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There’s plenty of hype about Vaska’s eco-friendly laundry detergent: The San Francisco Giants use Vaska to clean their dirt-stained uniforms. A “family friendly resort” near Denver uses Vaska to launder their ski patrol parkas. And Joe and I (the staff of Blue Planet Green Living) have done nearly a month’s worth of laundry with Vaska.

While hype is often interesting to read, it doesn’t mean much if there’s no substance behind it. As is our policy, we won’t add to the hype without trying a product for ourselves. So Vaska sent us a free bottle of their unscented Herbatergent (clever name). As is also our policy, a free sample doesn’t guarantee a positive review. It merely guarantees we won’t write about a product if we don’t like it (hey, there’s enough negativity in the world).

As it turns out, we do like Vaska’s Herbatergent, which is why I’m writing about it….

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Naturally Clean – The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy, Non-Toxic Cleaning

December 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Books, Chemicals, EPA, Front Page, Green Cleaning, Tips, TSCA

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When my kids were small, I wanted to give them a clean, healthy home to live in. Our home was clean, no doubt about it, but was it healthy?

Naturally Clean by Jeffrey Hollender and Geoff Davis (with Meika Hollender and Reed Doyle) debunks the myth that a clean home is automatically a healthy home. Cleanliness in itself isn’t bad (though it can be taken to extremes, according to Chapter 20), but the chemicals used in those cleaners can be deadly. “The decision to stop using synthetic chemical cleaners is one of the most important ones you’ll ever make for the health of your family and the safety of your home,” say the authors….

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Book Review: The Green Year by Jodi Helmer

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There’s a “green” way to do just about everything these days. With simple steps, you can save energy, time, money — and reduce your carbon footprint. There’s so much information available these days that sometimes it’s just overwhelming, especially for those just starting off on their eco-journey.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have bite-sized, practical tips that you could make use of right away, every day of the year?

The Green Year by Jodi Helmer is a great place to start. Helmer has sifted through mountains of data to create a reader-friendly guide with 365 tips that make green living (or greener living) easy to accomplish and fun to do….

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Clean Body – The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself

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If you enjoy tongue-in-cheek humor and are looking for practical cleaning tips using old-fashioned ingredients, Clean Body will provide you with a full ration of both. Author Michael DeJong, a self-described “clean freak,” takes readers back to the absolute basics of cleanliness (he actually describes how to wash your hands) with five simple ingredients….

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Tips for “Cleaning Like Mom” from THE MAIDS Home Services

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Green Cleaning, Tips

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You can undoubtedly find a product for virtually every cleaning need. Sometimes, however, the simplest methods are still best. Dig through your pantry and embrace your inner naturalist with the following solutions from the cleaning experts at THE MAIDS Home Services, a residential cleaning service…

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SoyClean – Nontoxic Cleaning Products Made from Soybeans

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When a friend told Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) about a line of nontoxic cleaning products made from soybeans, we were intrigued, but skeptical. It seemed counter intuitive to use soybeans, which contain a high percentage of oil, to clean glass, carpet, and laundry. We requested a few sample products to try, and we were impressed by the results.

We were even more impressed to learn that SoyClean products are environmentally friendly, nontoxic alternatives to many harsh chemical cleaners and solvents. We interviewed Kurt Brannian, Director of Marketing, at the SoyClean warehouse and distribution center in Brooklyn, Iowa. When we arrived, he told us, “We’ve got a variety of different products, everything from Paint Stripper to Grill Cleaner to Penetrant and Lubricant to Cutting Fluid. The overall theme is soy-based, nontoxic, and biodegradable. It’s safe for the user, safe for the environment.” Then he took the cap off of a bottle and extended it to us to smell…

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Purple Fig – Austin’s Green Cleaning Company with a Heart

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“Purple Fig is a natural cleaning service in the greater Austin area — all the clean with none of the chemicals,” said owner Amanda May. “We make and use only green cleaning products, which we ship nationwide. We provide free recipes for everything we sell, and we’ll teach anyone how to make what we sell. Our goal is to create healthy, clean homes.”

A green cleaning company that gives away its trade secrets? When we heard about ecopreneur Amanda May and her Purple Fig Cleaning Cooperative, we were intrigued by both her green-cleaning methods and her business model. We wanted to know what drives a businessperson to be so generous with the information most companies would keep to themselves. We spoke with May by phone from her Austin, Texas, home.

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The Green Clean Challenge: Full Circle vs. Green Works

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Today, I must boldly go where no cleaner has been for a long, long time — my bathroom. When guests stay, I am told to keep the door closed, if not locked.

Okay, it’s a guy thing. I consider it a good way to build my resistance to all types of bacteria. It keeps me healthy. And it’s effective at keeping the cat out of my bathroom. She used to go in there to drink from the toilet. It’s a wonder she’s alive.

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Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home

December 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Books, Front Page, Green Cleaning

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In Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home, Loux shows the way to make practical and healthy choices that will do just as she says: help the planet and improve your life. When you read what Loux has to say about how to be green, you know you’re reading from a reliable source; Loux is the host of Easy Being Green on Fine Living TV. From green cleaners to efficient lighting to healthy products for your bathroom, she walks you through how to make your home a greener — and safer — place to live.

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