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Archive for green

Behind the Scenes Green Spring Cleaning

Behind-the-Scenes--Green-Spring-CleaningSpring is in full bloom and we are all enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather after a long and dull winter. As we start to open our windows for fresh air and venture outside more, a lot of us feel more energized and start thinking about Spring Cleaning. For most of us, this might mean going through toys, the garage, your closets, etc but have you thought about the dirt and buildup “Behind the Scenes” in your home? Sometimes its the dirt you cannot see that could cause the most amount of trouble.

Cleaning your power outlets

We probably don’t think about cleaning power outlets often but we should. Dirt, dust and pet hair can easily build up in the crevices over time. Now would be a great time to inspect your outlets to make sure they are functioning properly and give them a cleaning if needed. First, shut the power (safety first!) then remove the plate cover. If damaged, very old and beyond cleaning it’s best to replace them. Vacuum the outlet if excessively dusty/full of hair then dab a clean cloth (do not saturate) in a 50/50 vinegar solution and carefully wipe the outlet down.  Wipe down outlet cover with 50/50 vinegar solution, then replace. All clean!

Cleaning your Vacuum

Yes, you do need to clean your vacuum! Your vacuum works hard to keep your home clean and in order for it to work properly and for a long time it needs to be cleaned on a regular base. Learn How to Clean a Vacuum here.

Keeping your Air Ducts Clean

When was the last time you cleaned the air ducts in your home or office? If you’re stumped for the answer this post is for YOU! Duct cleaning involves the  cleaning of all heating and cooling system components of forced air systems which includes the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles/diffusers, heat exchangers, heating/cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and housing, along with the air handling unit housing. Mold, pollen, dust and dust mites get trapped in these area and can cause air quality issues, especially for those who have respiratory issues or allergies. Learn how you can Keep Your Air Ducts Clean here.

How to Clean your Dryer Vent

Keeping your dryer vent clear and clean is extremely important. According to the The Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are over 15,000 clothes dryer fires occurring in North America every year so it is of utmost importance to make sure your vents (indoors and outside) are clean and inspected at least once a year.

Start by unplugging your dryer or turn off the gas if you have a gas dryer. Remove your lint trap and remove any lint from the screen. Use a dryer vent brush (available online and at most home improvement stores) to remove any residual lint left in the trap. Follow up with a shop vac or vacuum cleaner attachment to collect any residual lint left behind.

The next part might be tricky if you aren’t handy. You need to disconnect and clean the dryer’s exhaust duct tube. You can pay a professional if you aren’t comfortable taking your dryer apart but this tutorial walks you through it and it’s pretty easy, even for a novice. Either way, it needs to be cleaned for efficiency and safety.

Keeping your Washing Machine Clean

You might not think that your washing machine needs to be cleaned but in reality, cleaning and maintaining it can mean the difference between a machine that runs well or an  expensive service call (or worse!) It only takes a few simple steps to keep your machine working well and keeping those service calls to a minimum. As with any appliance, keeping it clean and maintained will keep it operating at its optimal performance over time. Lean How to Clean Your Washing Machine here.

There you have it! If you have any tips on keeping the Behind the Scenes of your home clean, we would love to hear them. Simply comment below.

 

Let us give your home a Non-Toxic Green Spring Clean so you don't have to! Call Teresa's Family Cleaning for an estimate today!

Why Should I Hire a Green Professional for Power Washing?

Hire-a-Green-Professional-for-Power-Washing

Summer is just about here and as we focus on the exterior of our home and business we begin to notice just how hard winter dirt and grime has affected the curb appeal. As you consider the Benefits of Power Washing, you might consider taking on this seemingly easy task yourself. Before you run out to the hardware store, take a moment and consider exactly what is involved. Saving a bit of money now might prove costly later!

Why You Should Hire a Green Professional for Power Washing:

  • Consumer grade power washers are not capable of providing the same output as professional power washers. Doing this job yourself will not produce the same results as a professional, costing you time and money.
  • A green power washing company uses only hot/cold water and steam, bio-degradable chemicals and wash water recovery systems. Environmentally safe solutions and state-of-the-art equipment work together to tackle whatever build up your home or business’s exterior and property have accumulated such as gum, oil residue, grease, rust, graffiti, mold.
  • An inexperienced individual can easily cause damage to the surface they are attempting to clean with the power washer and/or toxic consumer chemicals.
  • Less chance of damage to your windows and siding (check how the company deals with potential damage)
  • Safety. Do you really want to hop up on a ladder for hours at a time?
  • Time and convenience. Time is money. What might take you an entire weekend (or longer) will take a professional a few hours, producing a much cleaner result.
Let us give your home or business a Non-Toxic Power Washed clean so you don't have to! Call Teresa's Family Cleaning for an estimate today!

 

Protecting baby’s skin with a green laundry routine

You’re using WHAT on my clothes?

When I first became a mommy there was a lot of little things that I did not prepare myself for. The lack of sleep. The lack of time. The mounds and mounds of laundry that little, sweet cherub produced on a daily basis. I truly had no idea how many times I would have to change the clothes on my infant son. I fully expected the change of clothes from pj’s to daily clothes back into new pj’s at night but I think I was in serious denial. There were days that I would put a fresh onesie on my son only to have him soil it within minutes and then again an hour later. This went on for months! I needed to keep up on all this laundry but I knew that I had to change my washing ways.

Most people spent hundreds of dollars baby proofing their homes but don’t necessarily think about doing the laundry different. Baby stains can be hard on clothes and since children can have ultra sensitive skin you have to be careful what you use. Keeping your laundry routine green for baby is the best bet to avoid any skin reactions. Making a few careful decisions on what to buy and what to avoid can make the difference between a happy healthy baby or a cranky, itchy one.

The dirty little secrets of your laundry room
When choosing a detergent, opt for a green, fragrance and dye free formula that is free of toxic chemicals like Benzaldehyde, Quaternium-15, Nonylphenol ethoxylate, Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates (LAS) and Petroleum distillates (also called naphthas). These chemicals can leave toxic residues on clothing which can cause irritation and are linked to cancer and reproductive problems.

Green detergents and soaps are not just better us but for the environment as well. Most conventional laundry detergents are made from  nonrenewable resources such as petroleum. These chemicals aren’t biodegradable and threaten wildlife after they go down the drain. Chemical fragrances and phosphates build up in streams and lakes, upset the natural balance, and can starve fish of the oxygen they need to survive.

Avoid using chlorine bleach and fabric softeners. While bleach it is an effective whitener and disinfectant is is also highly caustic, damages the environment and is a suspected carcinogen. Fabric softeners might smell nice but come with the unwanted bonus of skin irritation and even worse. Chemicals like: Benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), Benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), Ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), Limonene (a known carcinogen) and Chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen) are regularly found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

So what should you use?
There are many green laundry detergents on the market today but you need to carefully read the label and educate yourself on all the ingredients to make sure you don’t get more than you bargained for. Consumer Reports has a great tool you can use to make an educated decision before you buy.

To play it completely safe you can make your own non-toxic laundry detergent using: washing soda, Borax and a bar of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap using this recipe. Making your own cleaning products is usually much cheaper than buying a pre-made product and you always know exactly what is touching your baby’s skin.

If you want to make the change to a greener lifestyle but are not quite ready to take out your cheese grater to make the above recipe you can opt to use a straight, eco-friendly, green soap. Using a castile soap such as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap in place of detergent is a great choice (use the same amount of soap as you would detergent.) Please note: when switching from detergent to soap for the first time you will want to add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to prevent yellowing for the first few washes. The yellowing is a result of detergent residues reacting with soap and is temporary.

For whites with stains try soaking fabrics in water mixed with one of the following: Borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar. Some of these methods will have a mild bleaching effect so use caution while soaking darks or colors. To avoid baby stains from setting, try using a damp washcloth that has been dipped in baking soda on the stained area as soon as possible. When possible, hang or place garment outside in the sunlight to help lighten/remove any remaining stains. Once again, the sun will have a bleaching effect on dark colors so use this method only on light colors and whites.

Instead of using fabric softener, add a 1/4 cup of baking soda or 3/4 cup of vinegar to each wash. This will not only give your detergent a boost to help lift stains but will also remove odors and soften your clothes as well…safely.

You have enough to worry about besides what is lurking in your laundry room. Save your worries for the time when that sweet baby turns into a teenager…