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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)

All Natural Stain Removers | Remove Tough Stains Naturally Without Fear 0

removing stains naturally

 

"Nonsense, it can't be done!"

 

What's that you're talking about? How you can actually remove stains naturally with strategies that don't include using powerful and harmful chemicals?

 

We know, we know. You have crazy stains to deal with, from paint on your toddler's clothes, soiled cloth diapers, or even wine stains on your linen following last week's dinner party.

 

But when we make natural and safe laundry a priority, it means that we have to get creative with how to best remove these tough stains without pumping our water full of chemicals and keeping hazardous materials in our homes.

 

It's taken us a while to hone in on what works best, but we are now ready to share our favourite products and tricks to attain clean, fresh clothes without resorting to powerful bleaches which are neither good for the earth or for us.

 

 

 

BunchaFarmers Stain Remover

 bunchafarmers stain remover

This all natural stain remover is easy to use in multiple ways. It comes in a stick which you can apply directly to stains or cut off pieces to add directly to your load of laundry. It's not a detergent- it's a soap (read more about the difference here), and safe to use all around the home, even on walls, carpets, and appliances. Just dissolve a bit in hot water, put into a spray bottle, and you're ready to go. We like using this on colour loads since it fights stains without fading the fabric.

 

 

Molly's Suds Oxygen Whitener

 mollys suds oxygen whitener

You've probably heard of oxygen bleaches and here's the natural version! This oxygen whitener uses sodium percarbonate and other natural ingredients to combat stains and overall "dinginess" which hard water can leave on your whites. You can either use it as a pre-wash soak,  add it to your white laundry loads, or even use it around your house on carpets or even toilets! There's no ammonia, no bleach, and no fragrance oil to be afraid of!

 

 

 

Bummis Whitening Powder

 bummis whitening powder

Those who have kids in cloth diapers know that these stains are not easy to keep at bay, especially if you are just washing them like you would anything else. We carry Canadian-made Bummis diapers in store, and they have a recommended washing routine to help make your diapers as clean and long-lasting as possible. If you are finding that the diapers are still not the colour that you would like, even when following the recommendations, add some of this whitening powder to the short cold wash cycle. It should help lift some of the stains and help with overall whiteneing.

 

 

RLR Laundry Treatment

 RLR laundry treatment

This packet might look like a blast from the past, but the reason that it's still around is that it works! Just add it to your laundry cycle to remove stains while preserving the colours of your clothing. Many find this particularly good for cloth diaper loads, and with its small individual packets, you can give it a try without committing to a large bag.

 

 

Baking Soda and Vinegar

 

If you have a particularly tough stain that's not coming out despite multiple washings, try making a paste of baking soda and vinegar and rubbing it in with a toothbrush. This is an all-natural, home made stain remover that I have used successfully a number of times. As these are pantry staples, you don't have to worry about being stuck with no stain fighting measures while that offending substance continues to soak into your fabrics.

 

Hydrogen Peroxide

 

This bathroom staple is especially effective on plant-based stains like grass stains, berry juice, vegetable stains, as well as blood. You can apply to directly to stains with a Q-tip after testing on an inconspicuous spot. Rub gently and watch it disappear. If it's a greater area, spray or pour the hydrogen peroxide directly and leave to soak for 10 minutes before laundering it as usual. It's also great for removing bacteria-caused smells from items like towels or athletic equipment. Soak these items in hot water containing up to half a cup of hydrogen peroxide or add a greater amount of the peroxide to a full load's worth.

 

 

Tips:

 

  • Treat stains quickly

As soon as you notice that there's a stain, it's time to spring to action. Even if you can't immediate treat it as you would want to, at least dab off any excess of the offender, wet it, or better yet, soak it in warm water.

 

  • Sun It Out

Ever notice that your patterned curtains turn a different colour after being in direct sunlight, or your kids' sunhats look a bit lighter after a season of constant use? That's because the sun is a natural bleacher! If you hang or lay your whites outside in the sun, they will benefit from this whitening hack. This is especially helpful with tough stains on cloth diapers.

 

 

 

Perfecting your natural laundry and stain removal techniques will take time, and some trial and error. After a while, you will develop your own preferences and favourites that work for you and your family's needs. Don't be afraid to share your natural stain removal secrets with others- it's part of preserving our earth and making this a healthier world for everyone!

 

Share your tips in the comments!

Eco Cleaning Tips from Mrs.Greenway 0

eco cleaning

Cleaning is a big chore this time of the year as we tackle our floors, walls, windows, and cars in earnest. It's time to wipe off that winter grime and make our homes spic and span. As many of you know, our store is a "green clean" location, meaning we use, stock, and sell different cleaning solutions that all have one thing in common: they are safe for the plant. And as we know, what's good for the planet is good for us as well.

 

In the last few years, there has been a major consumer shift in our communities: people are starting to shy away from using traditional cleaning products like bleach, ammonia, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  Instead, they are embracing safer and more natural alternatives which work just as well.

 

I wanted to share several eco-cleaning tips I have picked up over the years and use regularly at home, in the shops, and anywhere I go:

 

1. Have the Right Tools

A lot of people think that green (or other) products "don't work" after they give a spritz and nothing happens. One thing to keep in mind is that different solutions, sprays, and powders are supposed to be used in conjunction with the proper tools like wipes, scrubbies or dishcloths. When you use something with a natural and mechanical abrasive, it means you can avoid using strong chemicals, etc. which literally break the dirt down (and who knows what else it "attacks").

 

I love using my bamboo pot scraper along with my coconut scrub pad for hard-to-remove bits on my pots and pans, and a Euro Scrubby for the rest of my dishes and many heavy duty messes. For windows I use the euroScrubby dishcloth which has a similar feel to paper towels but much thicker. For everyday light cleaning like wiping down counters or tackling other spaces, the wood fiber Mabu multi cloth is a real blessing, especially since it never gets that gross "rag smell" that many other alternatives get. When I'm away from home or just on the go and need something for one use, I reach for my cute "wipe tabs" to which you only need to add water and they unravel into a wipe! If it's something greasy I'm trying to clean, I add some lemon juice to the water to tackle it.

 bamboo pot scrubber

coconut scrubber

euroscrub

euroscrubby dishcloth

mabu wash cloth

euroscrubby cleaner

 2. Use the Right Products

There are lots of "green" products out there in the market which claim to be biodegradable and good for the environment. However, not all of it is true and many of them still have ingredients like bleach or ammonia included, but by adding lemon juice they think they can fool us. I only use cleaning products that I know are devoid of bleach, detergents, ammonia, artificial fragrances, and volatile organic compounds. Most of the time they are based around ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, water, and essential oils. This makes them naturally effective cleaners and we use them at home all the time.

 

If you are looking to make your own cleaners (totally commendable), there are many recipes online you can use as a base or guideline. Some ingredients might be difficult to find in your local stores but can be ordered online or at specialty stores. Otherwise, we have a range of different products in  stores, many of them refillable for minimal waste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Make it Convenient

It seems like all the big name brands have made cleaning so much easier by making products that are convenient to use, like those wet wipes, toilet bowl "stickies," and more. Thankfully green companies are starting to tackle this gap and are starting to think about how to make Eco conscious people's lives easier. We just got a shipment of these nifty sticks to put in your drain to keep it clean and smelling fresh, toilet cleaner which you throw in the tank and lasts 2000 flushes as well as dishwasher and laundry machine cleaners you just need to run a normal cycle with. Though certainly there is still a ways to go, if we support these brands and continue to make our own little fixes until we can find alternatives for everything, we'll be on the right track.

 ecozone enzymatic drain cleaning sticks

 ecozone forever toilet blockecozone washing machine cleaner

Why do I use Eco Cleaning Products?

 

There are several reasons why using eco cleaning products is so important to me, however these two stick out to me the most:

 

  • Better for the Planet

When I use green cleaning products, I am making a conscious decision to avoid harming the planet. All the cleaning products we use end up in our water systems and then in our ecosystems. Living in Ontario and being exposed to the beauty of the nature that surrounds us, I would hate to think that I was doing something that is hurting or disturbing it. I also like to refill my cleaning containers whenever possible to keep the containers out of landfills. You'll find that much of the packaging and products are either biodegradable or recyclable at the end of their usable life .

 

  • Better for me

One reason to hate cleaning in general is that chemically scent that comes along with it and clings to my hands and clothes for a while after. I'm sure that I'm not the only one to face skin irritation from the strong chemicals found in conventional products. By using natural cleaning products and tools, I can enjoy the process and not have it physically hurt me like it used to. I'm also a lot more confident having my granddaughters around knowing that the surfaces they are touching or the plates they are eating off of are not covered in artificial detergents or chemicals which could harm them.

 

 

 

What are your experiences with eco-cleaning products? Do you have any favourites that we have yet to discover?

 

-Mrs. Greenway