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

Green Clean

Mom’s Drain Unclogging Tip

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Green Clean | 2 comments

Mom’s Drain Unclogging Tip

Mother’s Day is just around the corner so in honor of my Mom I’m going to share a tip she gave me for unclogging drains. Short hair is nice because it washes down the drain without any trouble. Since I’ve been growing my hair out to donate it, however, my hair is now long enough to start clogging the drains in my bathroom. Previously I shared information about using baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice to unclog your drains, but when the issue is just hair it’s less expensive and just as effective to turn plastic strapping into a drain unclogging tool. Simply take a piece of plastic strapping and cut angled slits into each side of the strapping to create Vs. The slits should be small. If the slits are too deep the strap will be weak and break in the drain as it gets tangled in the hair. Put the strapping in the drain with the Vs pointing down, so the strapping grabs the hair as you pull it out of the drain. Do this and you will have a clear drain in no time, without any harsh chemical cleaners. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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iRecycle App Helps You Find Local Recycling Options

Posted by on Apr 27, 2013 in For Your Home, Green Clean, Lifestyle | 0 comments

iRecycle App Helps You Find Local Recycling Options

This winter, I was on a mission to clean out my closets and basement. It was incredible how much stuff had been stashed in the dark recesses of my house. Although some of this stuff was my own, much of it belonged to the house’s previous owner who left the it fully furnished and complete with towels in the dryer, computer equipment in the spare room and construction materials in the basement. I thought a lot of the stuff I found might be recyclable, but I didn’t know where to bring it. Finding recycling programs for uncommon items can be difficult because many places don’t advertise their programs or the program gets such a small mention on their website it doesn’t show up in search engines. Enter the iRecycle app from Earth911.com, available for iOS and Android. The makers of this app have done the hard work of finding those recycling programs for you and put the information at your fingertips. If you have an item to recycle, the app’s home screen allows you to search for a recycling location by keyword or category. Then you can tap the item to reveal recycling locations or programs. By default the search results are based on your current location. Each location or program can be tapped for details such as a list of all materials accepted, an address, a phone number and/or hours of operation. Once you find a recycling program to participate in, and before you get excited and rush over to the location with a car full of stuff, call to confirm the information in the app is accurate. I’ve already found a few inaccurate or misleading listings for my area. For example, iRecycle suggests I can recycle ceramic tile at Construction Junction but they do not recycle used tile, they only take donations of new tile or good condition tile from a deconstruction (usually in for form of a mantle or other decorative piece.) In addition to local recycling programs, the app also includes mail-in programs, like Terracycle Brigades. Even when I don’t have something I need to recycle, I enjoy exploring the app by category because the lists get me thinking about recycling things I hadn’t considered recyclable, like carpet and carpet padding. All of the information in the app is also in Earth911.com’s recycling section, but the app is more convenient when you’re on a mobile device. I encourage you to download the app because I’m sure you’ll glean some useful information that will help you divert trash from your waste stream and be a little greener. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Spring Cleaning: Homemade Cleaning Solutions And Green Brands

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Green Clean, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Spring Cleaning: Homemade Cleaning Solutions And Green Brands

My house looked cleaner in the winter. Now that there are bright rays of spring sun shining through the window, the dirt, dust and grime that settled in during the dark winter months are clearly illuminated. If you’re like me and have to admit that your house is in need of more than the usual spot cleaning, it’s time to pick up the tools of the trade and get busy. For those who want to skip the harsh chemicals and take a more natural approach, here are some tips. Homemade Cleaning Solutions Now that I mix a lot of my own cleaning solutions and personal products, I sometimes feel like my kitchen is a chemistry lab. Even if science wasn’t your strongest subject in school (it certainly wasn’t mine!), you can make some effective cleaning solutions with products you already have at home. The Daily Green’s slideshow has tips for cleaning everything from hardwood floors to carpets to windows and more. One bottle of this all-purpose cleaning spray will clean your counters, sinks and bathtubs. I’ve used it on mirrors too. Need to unclog drains? Try a simple mix of baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Freshen up your sheets and curtains by washing them with a homemade laundry detergent and drying them outside a clothes line. Green Brands If you prefer to focus on the cleaning instead of the chemistry, here are some of our favorite commercial brands. Seventh Generation is one of the most well-known green brands and with good reason. They make effective products that are reasonably priced and available at most big box retailers, grocery stores and natural/health food stores. Nicole reviewed their dishwashing gel a few months ago after learning Palmolive’s Eco+ wasn’t as eco-friendly as the name leads one to believe. Earth Friendly Products (Ecos) makes plant-based cleaning products that are environmentally and socially responsible. Check out our review of their laundry detergent which, like all their products, is made in the U.S. Just Naturals is a local company for me, based in Bedford, NH, but they also sell online. The company makes a wide range of natural cleaning products for people and pets as well as personal products. I’ve tried at least a half-dozen different cleaning products from the store and had a great experience with all of them. Since they can be a little pricey, I recommend signing up for the email list to get notices of coupons and sales. Whether you make your own cleaning solutions or buy them, try using rags, reusable cleaning cloths or squeegees instead of paper towels. Keep that Fresh Scent in the Air It feels good to have a clean house and it smells good too. To keep a fresh scent in the air a little longer, mix baking soda and your favorite scented oil for a simple homemade air freshener. Add water and let the solution dry for a deodorizing disk for trash cans and diaper pails. Happy cleaning! Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and...

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Product of the Month: Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 0 comments

Product of the Month: Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser

The most common questions we get relate to where we shop and what we buy. So when Kim and I put some extra time into updating our site we paid special attention to updating A Green Routine’s Amazon Store and we added a “Product of the Month” feature, which you can find in the sidebar. The items we feature monthly are products we own ourselves and truly enjoy; we’re not paid to endorse these products. Most of the items in our store are also products we own ourselves, though we do add similar products for variety. For example, I’ve added a few Honeywell thermostats to the shop because they have different features, but I only own one of them. Our first product of the month is the Cuisipro 13.2-Ounce Foam Pump. We were thrilled to find this a few months ago because reusable foaming hand soap dispensers have been slow to hit the market. In August when I wrote an article about making your own foaming hand soap I couldn’t find a single dispenser I liked enough to recommend, so the only solution I offered was to reuse a dispenser from a commercial foaming hand soap. We like the Cuisipro Foam Pump because: it comes in six fun colors. it has fill lines for your soap and water, so you don’t have to pre-measure. it has a suction cup on the bottom to help keep it from slipping around. it’s appropriately sized for your kitchen or bathroom (many others I find are much too large.) it’s dishwasher safe, so you will have an easy time cleaning out the dispenser when change the scent of your soap. The Cuisipro Foam Pump helps you go green by cutting down on the packaging waste caused by purchasing products in single use containers and you’ll be using less product because foaming hand soap is 4 parts water to 1 part soap. As an added bonus, you’ll save money by mixing your own hand soap. Get your creative juices flowing, you’re now free to invent a scent for you hand soap to delight your family and house guests. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Homemade Laundry Detergent Without Borax

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 37 comments

Homemade Laundry Detergent Without Borax

I never thought I would make my own laundry detergent. After spending the last year making various cleaning and personal products, however, I became more comfortable with the idea. In researching this post, I read through a lot of homemade laundry detergent recipes and tried several. A recipe from My Healthy Green Family emerged as my favorite for three reasons. First, the ingredients are environmentally friendly. Most DIY laundry detergent recipes call for borax, which I’m not willing to wash down the drain twice a week, or soap like Fels-Naptha, which contains a titanium dioxide that can contaminate lakes and oceans and harm wildlife, according to Livestrong.com. Second, this recipe uses dry ingredients only. One mixture I tried used dry ingredients and liquids. That chunky detergent worked but had to be broken up before each use which took time I wasn’t willing to spend. Third, this recipe calls for one to two tablespoons of detergent per load. Other recipes I considered used 1/4 cup or more which could get expensive. An added bonus was that the ingredients were pretty easy to find. Most grocery and big box stores carry washing soda (near the laundry detergent), baking soda (in the baking aisle) and citric acid (near home canning supplies or vitamins). I used glycerin soap base which is often used for soap making and is very inexpensive, but other types of soap would likely work just as well. I also had dead sea salt on hand from making a scrub, so I used that as my course salt. Although all of the ingredients are dry, you do need to use a desiccant so the mixture doesn’t clump. I used silica gel packets that were packed into products I had recently bought, like sneakers. I’ve been using this laundry detergent for a few months now and it’s been working well. Homemade Laundry Detergent Without Borax 2014-12-19 20:19:57 Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 5 min Total Time 5 min Prep Time 5 min Total Time 5 min Ingredients 4 ounces glycerin soap 1 cup washing soda 1/2 cup citric acid 1/2 cup baking soda 1/4 cup course salt Instructions Mix the ingredients together and store in a sealed plastic or glass container. Use one to two tablespoons per load of laundry. 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...

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Talking Trash: DIY Deodorizing Disks For Trash Cans

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in For Your Home, Green Clean | 12 comments

Talking Trash: DIY Deodorizing Disks For Trash Cans

A simple mix of baking soda, water and essential oils makes effective deodorizing disks for neutralizing the odors emanating from your trash can or diaper pail. This isn’t a new idea, but unlike most articles this one includes exact measurements and an idea for affixing the disk to the trash can.

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Buy This Not That: Ecos vs Wisk Laundry Detergent

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in Green Clean | 0 comments

Buy This Not That: Ecos vs Wisk Laundry Detergent

A few years ago I discovered Ecos laundry detergent and it quickly became my favorite brand because it works really well and all the scents I’ve tried have been very pleasant, though magnolia lily is definitely my favorite. If you don’t enjoy scented laundry detergent there is a fragrance free option as well. Additionally, Ecos laundry detergent is 100% plant-based, made in New Jersey, not tested on animals and it’s less expensive than many leading brands that aren’t eco-friendly. GoodGuide gives Ecos a 10 (out of 10) rating for health because the detergent does not contain any ingredients that raise a health concern. The parent company, Earth Friendly Products, gets a 8.5 rating for their environmental policies and practices and a 6.2 for their social policies, practices and performance. This places them in the top 5% of companies rated by  GoodGuide. Many other laundry detergents also have a 10 rating for health but their parent companies don’t rate well for their environmental or social policies and practices. For example, the company that makes Wisk laundry detergent, The Sun Productions Corporation, has a dismal 3.2 environmental rating and 3.8 society rating. Choosing Ecos laundry detergent is an easy way to support a company that’s trying to do the right thing for the environment. If you’re interested in making the switch you can check out a list of stores that sell Ecos here. Walmart is not on the list, but you can usually find it there, or if you prefer to shop online check out Alice.com.   Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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The Borax Debate: Is It Safe? Is It Green?

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013 in For Beginners, Green Clean, Skin & Hair Care | 8 comments

The Borax Debate: Is It Safe? Is It Green?

From conversations we’ve had online and offline, Kim and I know many of you are wondering about borax and what role, if any, it should play in your green routine. If you search the web you will find people who believe borax is the perfectly safe, eco-friendly answer to a myriad of cleaning problems and you will find others who see it as a toxic and dangerous substance. As with most debates, the truth about borax probably lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, so let’s dig a little deeper. What is borax? Borax is a naturally occurring mineral. The soft borax crystals usually range from colorless to white. Borax also goes by the names sodium borate, sodium biborate, sodium tetraborate, natrum boricum, natrii boras and tétraborate de sodium. Boric acid is not the same thing as borax, though both contain the boron compound and are similar in appearance and toxicity. Where does borax come from? Borax is mined from the earth and then refined for use. The popular brand, 20 Mule Team, has been mining borax in Death Valley since the 19th century. On a recent trip to Death Valley I stopped at one of the old borax mines. Below you see a picture of the area and a wagon used to bring borax to the city and water to the workers. What is borax used for? Borax has many industrial and household uses but we’ll focus on the latter of the two. Since borax dissolves easily in water, bleaches, deodorizes and kills fungus it is commonly found in cleaning products and laundry detergents. You may also see it on the label of cosmetic products where it acts as a preservative and on teeth whitening strips where it acts as a bleaching agent. It may be used as an insecticide or pesticide as well. Is it safe for you? It is not safe to ingest borax according to the FDA which has banned it as a food additive. This raises concerns about its use in teeth whitening strips where it can easily be swallowed. It is not safe to inhale borax because it will irritate your lungs. This is important to note because many DIY cleaning and detergent products include borax but fail to mention that you should wear a mask when handling the powder and mixing your product. Borax is a strong base so it may irritate skin. If you have cuts, open wounds or sensitive skin you will want to wear gloves when you are handling the powder. According the Environmental Working Group borax is not a carcinogen but there is concern about exposure to the mineral  since it may damage reproductive organs. EPA studies on borax and boric acid show they may disrupt hormones and harm the reproductive system, especially in men. This was determined through studies on mice, rats and dogs who ingested the substance and by studying men who worked in boric acid-producing factories. These studies did not assess the risk...

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