Inspiring DIY projects, beauty recipes and advice to green your daily routine.

Green Clean

Goodbye Snow. Hello Litter.

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Green Clean, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Goodbye Snow. Hello Litter.

The last of the snow finally melted in Pittsburgh, just in time for the first day of spring. Sadly, the melting revealed discarded soda cans, candy wrappers, dryer sheets, cigarette butts and other miscellaneous items. It was disgusting. So this weekend I took a couple of bags and walked my small block to pick up the trash. Then, on Monday I carried a bag with me on my walk to work to pick up trash on that half-mile route. While it’s easy to dismiss litter as an eyesore and ignore it, there are environmental consequences to turning a blind eye. The Darker Side of April Showers Yes, April showers bring May flowers. The story that goes untold is that April showers also flush litter to the sea. Rainwater carries trash from the street to the storm drain where it moves through the sewer system only to get dumped into your local waterways. Once there, the bellies of fish and birds  are filled with disposable lighters, bottle caps and colorful bits of plastic because they can’t discern the plastic from their prey. Elk and deer die when they eat plastic bags caught in brush or trees. Cigarette butts pollute the ground and water with carcinogens, toxins and highly flammable chemicals. Not only does litter have an environment toll, it comes at a high cost that is often paid with tax dollars. Municipalities have to filter pollutants from drinking water, clear litter from clogged storm drains, and remove litter for beautification.  In Pennsylvania alone, more than $10 million is spent every year to pick up roadside litter.   Show Us Your Trash! The good news is that people caused the litter problem and people can fix it. Since life’s not fair, it’s unlikely the litterers will suddenly gain a conscience and clean up after themselves. But, you are awesome so I know you’ll do it! Arm yourself with a pair of work gloves, a trash bag and a recycling bag. Then, hit the streets in your ‘hood. When your done, take a picture and send it to us on Twitter or Facebook. Tell us about how much you collected or an interesting thing you found. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

Read More

Unbelievably Effective Homemade Stove Top Cleaner

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Green Clean | 1 comment

Unbelievably Effective Homemade Stove Top Cleaner

Over-sprayed cooking spray. Dinner boiled over. Hot oil that popped out of a pan. Bits of ingredients that didn’t make the pot. These minor mishaps happen to all of us and they add up. The worst part? The evidence is visible to anyone who walks in our house. On and off for months, I’ve been trying to remove the baked-on remnants of meals past from my stove top. I dreamed of once again having a completely white stove. Regardless of how desperately I scrubbed though, my mixtures of baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and oils were as ineffective as store-bought cleaners specially made for the job. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a magical mixture of two pantry staples that my problem was solved. It’s not “all-natural” or organic, but it is easy, effective and FDA-approved. I’d rather wash these two ingredients down the drain than toxic cleaning solutions.  What solution succeeded where all others failed? … drum roll please  … Baking soda and Coke. Those two inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients work magic on greasy stove tops. For an unbelievably effective homemade stove top cleaner, all you need to do is mix those two ingredients into a paste and let the paste sit on your stove top for 10 minutes. Then, use a little elbow grease and a damp cloth to rub away any leftover residue. Like magic, your stove top will look new again.  Warning: this recipe is not recommended for glass stove tops or anyone who wants to continue enjoying Coke without thinking: “If it destroys grease that easily, what’s it doing to my insides?”  Homemade Stove Top Cleaner 2014-12-26 10:28:06 Two pantry staples make an unbelievably effective stove top cleaner. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients Baking soda Coke Instructions Pour Coke into a bowl and mix in baking soda until you have a paste. Spread the paste onto the dirty areas of your stove top and let it sit for 10 minutes. Scrub the paste off the stove using a damp cloth. Wipe the stove top with a clean damp cloth to remove any remaining residue. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

Read More

Eco-Friendly Pet-Safe Cleaner

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Green Clean | 1 comment

Eco-Friendly Pet-Safe Cleaner

Just like you and I, our pets are vulnerable to harsh chemical cleaners. In fact, they are more vulnerable because they breath more rapidly, have a faster metabolism and often lick or lay on the surfaces we clean without knowing how toxic the chemicals may be. Harsh chemical cleaners can negatively effect our pets’ health, causing respiratory issues, skin irritation, kidney damage and cancer, among other ailments. The cleaning chemicals don’t just effect you and your pet, they also effect any animals unlucky enough to come in contact with the chemicals that get washed down the drain into your local water system. I’ve owned indoor rabbits for more than 10 years and none of my fuzzy companions has weighted more than 7 pounds. In addition to their small size, rabbits have very sensitive eyes and skin and since it’s nearly impossible for a rabbit to vomit, it’s important they don’t ingest harmful things. In an attempt to keep my bunnies healthy and happy I’ve been using a simple water and white vinegar mixture cleaning solution for several years. It is a very effective, natural, pet-safe cleaner and disinfectant that doesn’t irritate them. For daily use, I make a 50% distilled water, 50% white vinegar mixture. I mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use it to clean my rabbit’s food dishes, toys, litter box and the carpet in the rooms she’s allowed in. If something is particularly dirty or stained, I soak it in white vinegar for a few hours and the mess rinses or wipes away easily, usually without any scrubbing. When volunteering at the humane society, I often speak with potential adopters who ask about the vinegar smell. Once the vinegar is removed from the object you’re cleaning (by wiping or rinsing), the smell is gone. It does not linger to create indoor air pollution like chemical cleaners. In instances where I use it to clean the carpet and I can’t completely remove all the vinegar, a faint scent lingers until the spot is dry. To mask the vinegar smell or add certain properties to the cleaner, you may be inclined to add essential oils. That may be OK depending on how you use your cleaner, the type of essential oil you use and they type of pet you have. Do your research and, when in doubt, ask your veterinarian. I don’t use any essential oils in my cleaner because: The scent of the essential oils is likely to linger on the objects you clean and most pets wouldn’t appreciate that. Citrus scents, for example, will irritate most animals and lead them to avoid the tainted object. I don’t want my rabbit avoiding her litter box because it smells like a lemon! An enticing scent may cause them to bite, eat, rip or dig at the object. In the case of my little herbivore, scents like basil, thyme and rosemary would encourage this bad behavior. Any essential oils left on the object may irritate the sensitive skin...

Read More

How To Clean Makeup Brushes Naturally

Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Green Clean, Skin & Hair Care | 3 comments

How To Clean Makeup Brushes Naturally

Replacing disposable or one-time use makeup applicators with reusable makeup brushes is the green thing to do but you have to clean them regularly to keep them sanitary. Reusable makeup brushes collect dirt, oil and dead skin from your face and that can turn them into a breeding ground for bacteria. So let’s talk about how you can easily clean makeup brushes naturally. Before you begin, collect everything you need. all your dirty makeup brushes brush guards 3 cups a plate clean towel (optional) extra virgin olive oil castile soap (or any mild soap) warm water white vinegar Now your ready to start cleaning your brushes. Throughout the cleaning process remember to be gentle with your brushes. Don’t press the bristles too hard, splay the bristles or tug at the bristles. Also keep in mind that you are only cleaning the bristles, you don’t want to dip the shaft of the brush into the water or vinegar since it may ruin the the glue that keeps the bristles on the brush. In one of the cups mix warm water and castile soap to make a bath for your brushes. Fill another cup with enough vinegar to dip the bristles of your longest brush. Pour a small puddle of extra virgin olive oil on a plate. Dip a dirty makeup brush in the olive oil and run it back and forth across the plate until it stops leaving dirty streaks. This step helps clean the brush, but it’s also important if you have natural bristle brushes because the oil conditions the bristles to keep them soft. Next, dip the brush in the soapy water. Remove the brush from the soapy water and gentle swirl it in the palm of your hand. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the brush is clean. Gently squeeze the bristles to remove excess water. Dip the bristles in white vinegar to sanitize them, then rinse them under a faucet with warm water. If you want to clean the handle of the brush, wipe it with a moist, clean towel. Place the brush in a brush guard, leaving about an inch of the guard past the bristles. Always pull the brush through the brush guard by the handle to keep from bending the bristles. Stand the brush on the brush guard, bristles down, in a cup to dry. It’s obvious you wouldn’t want to dry your brush by standing it on the bristles alone because that would ruin them, but most people don’t realize that standing it on it’s handle to dry will cause the water to seep into the shaft of the brush, thus loosening the glue that hold the bristles on. Additionally, the water could cause wood handles to swell and split. I know it looks like a lot of steps, but it probably took you longer to read this post than it will to clean your brushes, so get to it and let us know how it works out! Like this post? Subscribe...

Read More

H&M And Puma Will Recycle Your Old Clothes

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Green Clean, Lifestyle | 4 comments

H&M And Puma Will Recycle Your Old Clothes

In-store clothes recycling centers are a new trend in retail and we like it! It doesn’t get any easier than dropping off old clothes where you’ll be buying new ones. Both H&M and Puma recently began accepting clothes of any brand, quality or condition. Puma also accepts sneakers. And if the clerk Nicole talked to at Puma is right, more national clothing stores will have recycling programs soon. Since both retailers are partnered with the same company, I:CO, their programs are very similar.  You can drop off any clothing – whether it’s in like-new condition or falling apart at the seams – and it will be recycled. The goal of the recycling program is zero waste so your clothes will be reworn, upcycled or turned into energy. If the clothes are in good condition, they will be worn again. If the clothes are not wearable, they will be upcycled into other products, such as cleaning cloths or insulation. If the item cannot be reworn or upcycled, it will be turned into energy. One difference in the programs is that H&M limits customers to recycling 2 bags per person, per day and offers an incentive. For each bag of clothes you donate at an H&M store, you’ll get one coupon for 15% off a single item. While many people already donate clothes to their local charities, many others don’t. As retailers like H&M and Puma introduce recycling programs through their national and global networks of stores, shoppers will be constantly reminded to recycle old clothes and it will be incredibly convenient to do so. Nicole 2 ¢ I’ve been collecting unwearable clothes in a box for about a year hoping to find a way to recycle them. Needless to say, I bagged up my clothes and dropped them off at the local Puma store the same day I learned that clothes were included in the Bring Back program. I prefer to keep wearable clothing in my community and donate to different charities regularly, but these recycling bins are perfect for my ripped clothes and partner-less gloves and socks.   Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

Read More

Natural Stainless Steel Cleaner

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Green Clean | 0 comments

Natural Stainless Steel Cleaner

The stainless steel trash can in my kitchen was smelling pretty ripe this weekend, even after I took the garbage out. Unsure of the best way to clean stainless steel, I referred to the book, The Naturally Clean Home. The basic sink cleanser recipe for stainless steel and porcelain looked promising and, as a bonus, I was able to make it right away. The recipe called for just three ingredients: baking soda, vinegar and essential oil. I made the solution in a small mixing bowl so I could dip my cleaning cloth in it and filled a large mixing bowl with hot water for the rinsing cloth, otherwise the sink would have been continually running. A third cleaning cloth was used to dry the trash can. The kitchen trash can cleaned up nicely, so I used the leftover solution to clean the bathroom trash can too. If you have left over solution, and only one trash can to clean, consider using it to shine your stainless steel sink or faucets. And for extra credit, make yourself chemical-free trash discs to help keep the offending smells away. Stainless Steel Cleaner 2015-01-19 19:40:49 A natural stainless steel cleaner for stainless steel sinks, trash cans and faucets, and porcelain sinks. Use common kitchen items to make this biodegradable cleaner. Write a review Save Recipe Print Total Time 2 min Total Time 2 min Ingredients 1/4 cup baking soda 1.25 cups white vinegar 3 drops essential oils Instructions Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Dip a cleaning cloth into the solution and wipe onto the surface you would like to clean. Using hot water rinse or wipe away the solution. If the surface is not rinsed well a filmy haze will be left behind. You may dry the surface or let it air dry. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

Read More

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Green Clean, Skin & Hair Care | 2 comments

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Clean but far from a germaphobe is how I’d describe myself. You don’t normally see me toting around hand sanitizer unless I’m traveling, camping or there’s a serious threat. What counts as a serious threat? Earlier this year when the flu was at its worst, I was going to be taking public transportation (not the norm for someone who lives in New Hampshire) to a busy office in a city where the virus had run rampant, causing the mayor to declare a public health emergency. So the night before I made the trip, I surfed the web for something that I could make at home that would help keep me from picking up any germs. I came across a recipe in Prevention magazine that seemed to be the basis for most of the other recipes I found online. It was created by a doctor, which gave me the confidence the proportion of antibacterial agents to liquid would be sufficient to kill germs. I didn’t have all of the essential oils recommended so I substituted the cinnamon and clove essential oils for lavender and tea tree. I wanted to include the widest variety of oils so the germs I came in contact with wouldn’t have a chance at surviving. As an added bonus, this hand sanitizer can be used as an air spray too. For more information on why you might want to consider making your own antibacterial products with essential oils or buying ones with natural ingredients, check out our War on Germs: Has It Helped or Hurt Us? post. Hand Santizier 2015-03-06 18:09:06 Use a mix of essential oils to kill germs naturally. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 3 ounces distilled water 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel 10 drops tea tree essential oil 10 drops lavender essential oil 10 drops rosemary essential oil 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil 20 drops lemon essential oil Instructions Mix the ingredients in a spray dispenser. Shake gently before use and spray onto hands (3-5 sprays). Massage the spray into hands for 5-10 seconds. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

Read More

Exotic Citrus Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 1 comment

Exotic Citrus Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

Last weekend, I ran out of foaming hand soap for the kitchen and invented a new recipe worth sharing. My previous kitchen foaming hand soap recipe used lavender essential oil so it had a strong floral scent. This time I went a little lighter and brighter in anticipation of summer with an exotic, citrus scent. When I make foaming hand for the kitchen I always include a bactericide to kill any bad bacteria, like salmonella  that may be left on my hands if I’m unlucky enough to handle contaminated food. Bactericidal essential oils also act as antiseptics, cleaning and prohibiting bacteria growth in cuts. In kitchen soaps you may also want to include an antibacterial agent, a grease cutter, and, if you work with other foods that tend to leave your hands with a fragrance, a deodorant. For this recipe lemon essential oil is the bactericide, antibacterial agent and grease cutter. Sweet orange is added for it’s fragrance though it’s also  a grease cutter, like most citrus essential oils. Lastly, since I chop lots of garlic, eucalyptus essential oil is included as the deodorant. I love making my own foaming hand soaps because it’s an inexpensive way to get chemical free soap and it reduces my consumption of single use containers and the pumps which are not recyclable in my area. If you have a foaming hand soap bottle that’s empty, you can reuse it to make your soap. If not, the Cuisipro 13.2-Ounce Foam Pump is the pump featured in the picture. Both Kim and I have one, and we think they are fantastic. If you have any recipes you love for foaming hand soap, please share it with us in the comments below. I’m always looking to try something new. Exotic Citrus Foaming Hand Soap 2015-03-06 18:19:46 The scent is light and bright, but this is a serious kitchen soap with a bactericide and antibacterial agent to keep you safe. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 13 ounces distilled water 2.5 ounces liquid castile soap 20 drops lemon essential oil 20 drops sweet orange essential oil 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil Instructions Put all ingredients in your foaming soap dispenser and stir. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest