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Using Vinegar to Clean Your Home 0

 

cleaning with vinegar

 

While the chemical industry has been spending millions of dollars on research & development and advertising a year, people have been rediscovering the power of their kitchen pantry when cleaning. People have stopped resorting to sprays and scrubs full of harmful chemicals, which have negative effects on people using them, the individuals exposed to them, and the environment. Instead, many are resorting to simple concoctions made from a few, well-known ingredients to get the job done.
 
And when it comes to cleaning naturally, there's no greater hero than white vinegar. Its acidic nature helps in breaking down greasiness, cutting through grime, and killing a lot of germs. Used with other powerful ingredients, it can create amazing natural cleaning products that you can make yourself, keeping your home more natural and keeping your waste levels down.
 
Here are some easy DIY recipes for household cleaners that use Vinegar:

 

All Purpose Cleaner:

This is a great recipe for those who aren't a fan of the "pickling smell" that comes with use of vinegar in household cleaning.
  • 1-2 cups of white vinegar
  • The peel of two lemons (a great way to use leftovers)
  • 1 tsp Castile Soap (like Dr. Bronners or the Green Beaver)
  • 20 drops of Lemon or an alternative essential oil

 

Put your lemon peels in a glass jar and cover them with the vinegar. Screw the top on, give it a shake, and leave the jar in a sunny place to infuse for at least 2 weeks. After this time, strain the vinegar to remove all the lemon pieces and pour into a spray bottle. Add the remaining ingredients and you're ready to go! Just give your solution a swirl before using and you have a fresh smelling, natural, and effective all purpose cleaner.

 

Glass Cleaner:

No more streaky mirrors and windows! Just 3 ingredients and you have your own DIY version!
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol

 
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and get cleaning! Use with a soft cloth that won't leave lint on your surfaces. Store away from heat as the alcohol is flammable.

 

Furniture Polish:

Combine equal amounts of vinegar and lemon juice in cup or bowl and then transfer into a spray bottle (or not!). With a small, clean cloth, softly rub the solution into your furniture to polish. Wipe away any remaining moisture with another dry cloth. This solution doesn't store well, so you'll want to prepare a small amount each time you intend to do some polishing.

 

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:

Pour a cupful of vinegar in your toilet bowl, let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub with a toilet brush. The vinegar will lift any stains that remain and neutralize the smell. If you have some stubborn discolouration or stains that don't react to just vinegar, throw some baking soda in there first, and then add more vinegar. It will cause a fizzy reaction and the by-product is an acid which is effective in fighting grime.

 

Fabric Softener:

Add a cup of white vinegar to your load of laundry for some extra softness. It also helps with restoring your whites to their former glory without threatening your colours. Don't worry about the vinegar smell- it will be masked by the laundry soap or add some essential oils to your wool dryer balls to impart a different scent.

 

White Vinegar vs. Household Vinegar

 
One thing to be careful with is what kind of vinegar you are using in your cleaning products. While you are welcome to use the white vinegar that you find at the grocery store, many DIY'ers like to use household vinegar, a more potent option with less water in it. In stores we offer refills on the Unscented Company Household Vinegar which is 12% acetic acid instead of the regular 5% that you would get in the grocery store. This means that you can cut down on at least half of the vinegar amounts listed in the above recipes if you are using household vinegar. This high acidity vinegar can be great for spot treatment, tough stains, and cutting through thick grime, giving you more options than regular vinegar.
 
 
As you see, there's no need to stock up on new cleaning products this month- just refill the containers with ingredients you can easily find around your home!

 

(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Everyone On Your Christmas List 0

Whether you have decided to do your part to make the holidays a little "greener", or if you are having a hard time finding something that you eco-conscious friends or family members will appreciate, we are here for you.

 

As purveyors of an ecostore, every year we get people coming through our doors, explaining that they are looking for something for their colleague, friend, parent, child, or sibling. They want to get something useful, unique, sustainable, and most importantly, valued by the recipient.

 

 

"What would you recommend"?

 

Well we thought you would never ask!

 

 

Actually we did.

 

And that's why we have this handy dandy list ready for you to peruse and help with your holiday shopping needs. Consider it a map to the "greenest Christmas list" you have ever had.

 

 

 1. Wooden Toys

 

 

Let's start with the easy ones: kids. Yes, it is true, kids love toys. However, a lot of today's toys are made with various toxic chemicals and out of unsustainable materials. We love the natural beauty of wood. It's durable, non-toxic, and the companies that we stock produce their toys from ecologically harvested trees and often with a social initiatives to boot! Though they might seem simple compared to modern, battery-powered toys, they stimulate kids and their imaginations in a healthy way. Wooden toys also grow with the little owners, starting off as a healthy chew toy and eventually become the enabler of a wildly adventurous game. We suggest companies like Holztiger Wooden Toys, Plan Toys, Hape Toys, Grimm's Toys, and Tegu Blocks.

 2. Soy Candle

 

Candles make wonderfully versatile gifts. They are consumable, don't expire, and add some "magic" to even the most mundane days. Soy based candles are much healthier than paraffin wax ones, and better for the environment as well. Choose ones that are naturally scented and give off an aroma that you think your gift recipient will like. It's a lovely gift for coworkers, teachers, mother-in-laws, and more. 

 3. Holiday Gift Basket

 

Sometimes you just need some of the guesswork taken out of the gifting equation. In that case, you can't go wrong with a Holiday Gift Basket. Pre-assembled gift packages full of wonderful goodies like soaps, lip balms, candles, salts, and more are perfect for your special someone. We carry a variety with different themes and price points so that you can find one for almost everyone on your list!

 4. Salts & West Sweater

salts and west bamboo wrap sweater

Does your Secret Santa love Canadian fashion? Salts  & West is a West Coast brand that makes comfortable but stylish staples from organic bamboo. Our top pick is the super soft wrap sweater.It's a cozy look that you can wear to the office or over your pajamas during Christmas Day breakfast.

 

 5. Lemon Lily Tea

 

 

Tea is always the answer. It's what you want to drink on a cold day, a hard day, a relaxing day- basically everyday. Lemon Lily tea is a very high quality, all- natural, organic  tea mixed in Toronto that comes in beautiful tins, perfect for gift giving. Get an assortment of holiday flavours and your kind thoughtfulness will live on for as long as the tea lasts.

6. WWF Swell Bottle

WWF swell bottle

Have an animal lover on your Christmas list? Get them one of these limited edition WWF S'well bottles. Every bottle purchased helps to reduce the amount of plastic in our landfills and waterways, while also supporting urgently needed programs to protect our oceans. And if you don't know firsthand, we are sure that you have heard of the great quality and longevity of S'well bottles. It's a gift they will use for years and years, hopefully on a daily basis.

 

 7. NEOB Lavender Products


This photo of NEOB Lavender - Niagara Essential Oils & Blends is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

We are lucky to have some local lavender farms, one of which supplies their all-natural fare to our store. From soaps, hand creams, mists and more, all the products are based on the natural oils that the farm extracts from their harvested lavender. If you have a lavender lover in the family (I certainly do!), you could really score some points with them by giving something so local and natural.

 

8. Vegan Leather Accessories

matt and nat diaper bag

Real leather might not align with your eco-values, but there are many vegan leather alternatives out there. We love getting new accessories in from Pixie Mood and Mat & Nat. Their purses and wallets have been a hit with our customers every year, as they are super stylish, durable, and are a safe bet with everyone, whether they like leather or not. Oh, have a mom-to-be on the list? We just got Matt & Nat's diaper bags in and don't think that anyone would every suspect that there could be diapers in there. So chic and sophisticated.

 9. Blanket Scarf

fair trade blanket scarf

An oversized scarf is like a hug on a cold day. It can be worn inside with a sweater, outside on a coat, double up as a blanket, shawl, or anything you want, really. To keep our options "green", we stock Canadian made brands like Buttercream as well as fair-trade alpaca ones from Highland Trading Co. It's a wonderful winter-themed gift that will certainly get a lot of use right away.

 10. Gift Card

And of course, the humble gift card. How could we go this far without mentioning the reusable plastic card that requires little if any wrapping and essentially ensures that your recipient likes and uses their gift? Show that you know them a little more intimately by aligning the card of your choice with their values, taste, and style. But since we are talking about Eco conscious people here, we can't help but mention our own ecostore, but no matter which gift card you choose, the chances are that you will minimize waste and improve your gift-giving ranking.

 

 

 

Christmas is about sharing the love. Don't forget to show the earth a little love as well ;)

 

-Mrs.Greenway

Is Every Leather Really Terrible? An Eco View on Leather 0

 

Leather is a taboo topic amongst those who care about the environment. Just like there are different perspectives on "sustainable food", ranging from locavores, plant-based, vegan, or organic diets, there is a range of views on leather.

 

Just to be clear, we are not sharing our own views, rather we are presenting popular ones that exist.

 

The Vegan View

Veganism, as most of us know, is about not eating any animal products, including milk, eggs, honey, etc. This usually extends to things like skin care products and apparel. And though real animal hide might not align with a vegan's beliefs, it certainly doesn't mean that they don't appreciate the quality and aesthetic that it provides. That's where vegan leather comes in. It's an artificial leather alternative made of polyurethane or alternatively, out of cork or kelp-based materials. As polyurethane is a petroleum by-product, we try to stick to the lather options which are more environmentally friendly.

 

We carry two vegan leather purse and wallet lines: Pixie Mood and Matt & Nat. They are both known and loved by many, and interestingly enough, not just by vegans. Everyone can appreciate the durability and style that vegan leather provides.

 matt and nat vegan leather

pixie mood vegan leather

Upcycled Leather

What leather afficionados already know is that it is a very durable material, and with proper care can last a very long time. That's why it is a great material to upcycle- meaning take it and reuse it for something else once the object has run its course. For example, old leather couches can be upcycled into upholstery on chairs, etc.

 

Our new supplier, Tiny Feet, actually uses upcycled leather as the sole for their little baby booties. The upper part is recycled yarn, but to give a better grip for those tiny feet, they add some leather that would otherwise be thrown out, even though it is still in good condition.

 

 tiny feet upcycled leather

 

Sustainably Made Leather

Like many materials, leather has to be heavily processed before it can be used to make things like clothes, accessories, bags, or shoes. And like many materials, this can be a very taxing process on the environment, as there are many pollutants, contaminants, and resource issues associated with it. More and more companies are starting to pay attention to how their leather is made, turning to natural processes that are less destructive.

 

Our Froddo Prewalkers are little leather boots and shoes that are made of Ecopell leather, one of the most environmental and health compatible leathers out there. These booties are excellent quality, meaning that more than one pair of feet will be able to get use out of them, making them even more sustainable! Fans of Canadian company Minimoc, should know that the owners of the company work with leather suppliers that work with reputable tanneries with good ethical and environmental morals. When we do stock leather items, we ensure that the environment and safety are at the forefront along the entire supply chain, not just the final producer.

 

 froddo prewalkers ecopell leather

 minimocs

 

At Mrs. Greenway, we want to accommodate all of our customers and their views on leather. That's why we carry all kinds of sustainable leather, from upcycled, vegan, to Ecopell certified, we want to make sure that everyone can find the environmentalism that they are comfortable with and can appreciate. Remember, in the end, we are all united by the mission to protect the earth, not just for our children, but for our children's children.

 

 

Shop Eco Style at Mrs.Greenway Online

What is Slow Fashion and Why Should You Care 0

slow fashion

 

You might of heard or even perhaps scorned "fast fashion." However, do you know exactly what Slow Fashion means and why it's important to you, me, and the generations to come?
 
 
Let's go back to fast fashion. It's a term used to describe the mass production of clothing and accessories by retail giants in order to satisfy the consumer's needs and wants of current trends they see evolving on runways.
 
Haute couture can take years to bring from the design table to the end consumer, with the price and quality reflecting the process and brand reputation. Fast fashion imitates these trends and quickly turns around ideas in order for the "hungry masses" to fill their closets with clothes that don't last more than one season in wear-and-tear. And no wonder. At the price point at which they are purchased, these pieces are created with minimal artisanal inspiration, with low-quality materials, and by an underpaid workforce, often in abysmal working conditions.
 
 
Slow fashion is a reaction to this unsustainable and harmful trend in the fashion world. The goal is for everyone to benefit from its creation, from the initial designers, through the natural environment, the producers, and to the final consumer. It's about a more deliberate and conscious way of acquiring things with a long-term vision. Buyers have a need, they purchase things that fulfill this void, along with a plan of maintaining and repairing the item until it is either recycled or passed on.
 
It's about educating yourself as a consumer to ensure that you are supporting companies and processes that reflect your morals, both environmental and social. Slow fashion consumers want to know where something was made, by whom, and the materials used. Only once these line up with their values will they consider the style, fit, and price point.
 
This can seem extremely limiting at first, especially when you are used to just popping over to the mall to get the bulk of your clothing shopping done. However, in recent years, there has been a boom to keep up with the needs and wants of this niche market demographic. By expecting quality from our purchases, we force companies to respond to our needs, both promoting the creation of new brands and the transformation of other more established ones.
 
By identifying as an eco-store, we stay true to our core mission by providing only responsibly produced products, especially when it comes to clothing. When we look for clothing brands to bring into our Dundas and Grimsby stores, we prioritize brands made of natural textiles, designed intentionally by creative teams, many of them Canadian, and produced responsibly, either by the designers or in foreign factories with accreditations proving their sustainability.
 
 
So we encourage you to make decisions that support your personal stance on the matter, whether that means buying new items made "slowly", hunting for your needs at a second-hand or consignment store, or creating them yourself.
 
If you were interested in some of the brands we carry in store, here's a list, along with links so that you can further educate yourself on their missions and information on how they produce their goods.
 
Kid's Apparel  
 
Women's Apparel  
 
 
Accessories  
 
Remember that when you buy items, you are "voting with your dollar" and supporting the operations of entire networks of retailers, manufacturers, as well as individual livelihoods. Take the time to research your options, and make your purchases deliberately, with your mind and your heart engaged in the process.

The Best Natural Teething Solutions for Sore Babies 0

natural remedies for teething babies

 

Teething is a difficult time for both infants and their parents. Even babies who have extremely sunny dispositions can quickly become little storm clouds, constantly fussing, crying, and deviating from their regular sleeping patterns. Parents find it difficult to manage these poor babies, and more so if they want to deal with teething naturally, without resorting to medication.

 

At Mrs.Greenway, we often encounter these wild-eyed, tired parents asking for advice about getting through teething naturally (and with their sanity). We find that every baby is different, and what worked for one might not work for another, so that's why we stock a variety of products for teething babies and let the parents decide on what they would like to try.

 

Teething Oil

 As a response to the ever-growing demand for natural teething solutions, we found Bug & Pickle teething oil and now stock it in our stores. It contains baby-safe natural ingredients, including oil of Roman chamomile, a natural analgesic, and is applied as needed to your baby's sore gums.

 bug and pickle teething oil

Teethers/Chew Toys

Usually the first stop when stocking a baby's "teething arsenal" is a collection of teething (or chew) toys. Remember that these toys are going into your child's mouth, so it's important that it is made of non-toxic materials and kept as clean as possible. We have an extensive collection in store ranging from silicone, rubber, to wooden versions, but personally, I love the maple RiNGLEY teethers. Designed and produced in Canada, they have a piece of certified organic cotton attached to them that you can either wet with cold water or freeze. Your babies will love chewing on the soft fabric which  simultaneously cools and comforts their inflamed gums.

 

Amber Necklaces

For years, people have been using amber to naturally keep inflammation at bay. At Mrs. Greenway, we stock the very popular Momma Goose necklaces. Many mamas swear by them, and we love carrying these pretty accessories in our stores. Just remember, they are meant to be worn high on the neck where baby can't pull it into his or her mouth. If you are worried about tying this necklace around your baby's neck, try an anklet instead.

baby amber necklaces

 

Munch Mitt

Did you know that the super popular Munch Mitt was actually invented by a Burlington mom?! You strap one of these baby-friendly gloves onto your child's hand and watch them self-sooth in style. Not only is it more hygienic than having babies just put their hands in their mouths, the silicone material is non-toxic and it even has a "crunchy" paper sound that babies love. For even more "munch fun," look into their new product, "Buddy bibs" that offer protection while entertaining little ones with their crunch sound and attached chew toy.

Buddy Bib munch mitt

 

 

Chew Beads

If your baby is very fussy, it might just be a sign that your world is about to be "chew-beaded". Chew beads can be found on pacifier clips, toys, and even your accessories. We carry some locally made "chew jewelry" for you to wear that baby can safely chew on when needed, ranging from pretty necklaces and neutral coloured bracelets for Dad to wear.

chew bead jewelry

 

 

Finding safe and natural teething remedies can be difficult and exhausting, that's why we aim to provide parents with a curated selection that they can trust. Being a mother and a grandmother, I know what it's like to be concerned, so please don't hold back if you have a question or comment.

If you come into one of our stores, either I or an experienced staff member will help you.

If you are shopping online, feel free to shoot us an email at info@mrsgreenway.ca so that you make an informed decision about what you're buying.

 

If you have any proven natural remedies or products you have used with your kids, please share in the comments.

 

-Mrs.Greenway