Archive for May, 2010

Itty Bits: Spring Cleaning

Posted on May 17th, 2010 by Tonia 2 Comments

We’re taking a little break from Cheri’s List in order to do some spring cleaning around our house and yard.  The sun came out this past weekend, and my empty flower beds were calling my name, so instead of making videos for the blog {forgive me!}, I did this:


I bet you are busy spring cleaning and doing yard work as well, so instead of doing an Itty Bits Challenge this week, let’s skip right to some handy links from around the web to inspire you while you work:

How to clean your oven without any chemicals.

No room for a garden? No problem. Grow veggies in containers.

Cut your grass, without gas.

Thoughtfully written series on gardening with children by my friend Jared.

Our favorite knitter and hobby farmer is getting married!  Very greenly, I might add.  Go wish her congratulations!

Green spring-cleaning tips from Planet Green.

Deck out your patio with FSC-certified furniture. Seriously, don’t buy wood if you don’t know where it came from.

AWESOME book about green housekeeping.

Reduce your water use…water your garden/flowers with harvested rain water!

Happy spring, folks!  Videos/Cheri’s List will resume shortly.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Posted on May 11th, 2010 by Tonia 8 Comments

We’re whittling away at Cheri’s list. Today we’re going to make our own earth friendly cleaning solution, because commercial cleaners are heavy on toxic chemicals, and consistently buying the eco-friendly brands is really darn expensive.

Our recipe today is for an all-purpose multi-surface cleaner:

Ingredients {makes a 1/2 gallon}:

1/2 cup white vinegar {not the apple-cider kind that is used for cooking}

1/4 cup baking soda {or 2 teaspoons borax}

1/2 gallon {2 liters} water


Mix all three ingredients together and use for cleaning windows, mirrors, counter-tops, shower walls/floor, etc. {If using on natural surfaces such as wood, test on a small hidden area first!}

{Note: in the video I shortened the ingredients a little, to make 1 quart instead of 1/2 gallon, so that it would fit in the spray bottle I had on hand.}

Long term health concerns for humans, and major environmental pollution, are caused by the manufacture and disposal of commercial cleaning supplies, so if you have not purged your home of toxic cleaning products yet…well, whatcha waitin’ for?  Let’s vow to stop buying these products!!  It’s so easy to do when there are so many alternatives…

And yes, there are so many alternatives that I never knew about before! While doing my research for this post, I found the following list of ingredients that can be used in place of commercial cleaning products {they’re environmentally safe, but some of them can still cause skin/eye irritation and can be harmful if swallowed, so please handle them carefully and keep out of reach of children}:

  • Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
  • Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax – {sodium borate} cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs.  Do not use on aluminum.
  • 100 Proof Alcohol – an excellent disinfectant. Use in a solution with water.
  • Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains.

Do you have any recipes for earth friendly household cleaning solutions?  Please share them in the comments, I’d love to try making some more!

How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap

Posted on May 8th, 2010 by Tonia 20 Comments

Last week Cheri shared with us a list of things she is doing to reduce her impact on the environment.  I decided we would try each of the things on her list, and show you all how to do them as well.  First on the docket is how to make homemade laundry soap.

This is such a great thing to do, the main reason being because store-bought laundry detergents have scary ingredients, including quaternary ammonium sodium carbonate, sodium alkyl benzene sulfonate, sodium silicate, bleach, and some phosphates.  {The fact that my spell-checker thinks that half of those are not real words tells me that they certainly shouldn’t be going into our ground water by the gallons day after day.}  And buying the eco-friendly detergents is really expensive…so, let’s get right to it, shall we!

Itty Bird iconIngredients:

2 cups finely grated soap {preferably Ivory or Ivory Snow}
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax

Itty Bird iconSteps:

1. Mix well and store in an airtight container.

2. Use a 1/2 cup for a full load, less for smaller loads.

{Regarding High Efficiency (HE) and Front-Load Washers:  You may have been told you need to use “special soap” for your HE or front-load washing machine.  This is because they use less water, so they require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is, the homemade detergent in this recipe is VERY low suds. Just make sure you use the recommended amount of detergent.}

Interviewed on We Live Simply

Posted on May 4th, 2010 by Tonia 1 Comment

I am really excited and honored to share this with you all!  Jonathan at We Live Simply interviewed me for his Five Questions With series the other day.  It was so nice of him to share my blog with his readers and followers.  I am extremely grateful for his interest in what I’m doing, and the exposure he gave me. 

Make sure you check out his blog– it is a daily read for me now.  His posts are always original, thought-provoking and inspiring.

Thank you, Jonathan!