Cleaning the Bathroom in Seconds per Day

Week 2 - Bathroom Cleaning Looms Over MeBlocking out a solid hour from my schedule to wipe, scrub, sweep, and dust my bathroom just ain’t happening these days.  And, let’s face it, even when I do have the time, it’s not one of my favorite hobbies.

One night, after washing my face, I stood there with my wet washcloth and had an epiphany.  I reached out and wiped down the counter.  No more dust or stray hair!  Then I wiped out the sink.  No more colorful kiddie toothpaste blobs!  It all took about 15 seconds (I mean, I did have to move the Kleenex box and all), and I tossed the washcloth in the laundry basket and went to bed.

The next night I tackled the mirror.  Windex would have you believe that they are the only way to achieve a streakless shine, but I protest!  A wet washcloth, followed by a dry hand towel worked just fine for me.  Not that I would have minded a few streaks; that still would have been more attractive than the handprints that dominated previously.

The following  night I already had a plan in motion: the floor perimeter.  Most dust/hair/debris doesn’t stay in the middle of the floor, but gets blown to the outside.  After washing my face, I got down on my knees and swiped along the trim.  Granted, we have a small bathroom, but it only took seconds!

And like that, I had cleaned everything in the bathroom in less than a minute of combined work time, save the toilet and shower.

Thankfully, we have a water softener, so I don’t have to clean either one of those more often than every six months.  But I imagine wiping down the shower once a week with your washcloth would help with soap scum and build-up issues.

My favorite part of my new cleaning routine is the lack of CHEMICALS.

Water + washcloth.  Nah, my favorite part is probably how quickly it gets done.  But my second favorite?  The lack of CHEMICALS.

Do you have a Bathroom Cleaning Routine?  A schedule?  A favorite all-natural cleaner?  (I’m all ears for anyone with a natural rust-remover.  Not that we ever need one.  We never let the water softener run out of salt…)

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Photo Credit

*this post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Take a Deep Breath of Fresh Air

non toxic houseplants

photo credit: bsabarnowl

 

Multi-functional, that has to be good right?

Well that is what houseplants are, good for your decor and good for your air quality.  I remember as a kid we had so many houseplants that the windows near the “wall of plants” would drip with condensation at times.  It was the 80s, so I figured my Mom just thought it looked cool, kind of like big bangs!  I didn’t know then that my parents were actually doing something good for us by having all those hanging baskets.

Houseplants are actually very efficient at photosynthesis, which means they take in lots of carbon dioxide and give out lots of oxygen.  This is what we want in a closed environment, like our house.   To effectively make the air quality of your home better you should have one houseplant for every 100 square feet of your home.  This means I need to buy some more plants!

According to an article I found at www.ehow.com there are three houseplants that are not only oxygen producers but also toxin filters.  The peace lily, spider plant and english ivy should be top picks because they get rid of toxins like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.

I personally kill houseplants pretty easily (apparently you are supposed to water them) but I have had luck with Aloe and heartleaf philodendron.   Both of these were on the list at www.healthychild.org.  I actually have had my philodendron for years and have brought it back from a wilted, withered state, just by watering!

So now that the nurseries are stocked and ready for business, head out and get some fresh air, in more ways than one!

 

Do you have houseplants in your home? Why or why not?

 

 

 

 

Photo from Tamarra Burross on Flickr

Toxic Dreams

“Goodnight, toxic dreams sweetheart.”

How many parents do you think have said that to their child, when tucking them in at night?

Instead, we want our children to have sweet dreams, the sweetest dreams imaginable. Furthermore, I want my children to have the cleanest, most toxic free sleeping environment to have their dreams in. The problem is, we as parents cannot put our trust in the manufacturers of our children’s sleepwear, when it comes to protecting them from toxics. The federal government has mandated that all sleepwear, intended for children 9 mos and older, be treated with flame retardant chemicals and these toxic flame retardants are nothing to make light of.

The most prominent group of chemicals, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE’s, are man-made, bromine based chemicals that are said to be the successor of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s). PCB’s were banned many years ago because of their toxicity, however, the problem was not solved,  as PBDE’s have their own host of issues related to them; issues such as impaired learning and memory, reproductive defects, cancer, and impaired immune systems. They are global pollutants that build up in the blood and tissues of people and many other living things.

Consequently, in a research study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) it was found that these chemicals were not only found in adults, children and older babies, but in 10 out of 10 newborn’s cord blood. Unexpectedly high levels of PBDE’s were also found in the breast milk of 20 out of 20 women tested randomly, in a study conducted in September of 2003! That shows this is not a hot off the press issue; but it is one we need to remain consciously aware of, and one that requires action on our part to insure our children are exposed as minimally as possible to these harmful toxics.

Things you can do:

The Government has allowed an exception to the rule, that being snug fitting pajamas do not have to be treated. Most 100% cotton, snug fitting pajamas will be free of flame retardants. It is easy to check however, by looking for a tag attached to an arm or a sign on the package.  Another excellent choice is wool. Wool is naturally flame retardant and has a host of other benefits; though it has a reputation for being scratchy, it can actually be very soft! Avoid sleepwear made with synthetic fibers, altogether.

Look for this tag, most commonly attached to the arms of pajamas.

Look for this label on the back of packaged pajamas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.   To be absolutely safe, opt for 100% organic pajamas. They may appear quite costly when compared to non-organic options, but considering the amount of time children are in their jammies, 1/3 to 1/2 of their day, it’s worth it.  If you search online, you will find there are places that have very decent prices. Also, Costco carries organic children’s pajamas, under their name brand Kirkland, at an affordable price.

3.   If new pajamas are not a feasible expense, consider soaking your child’s pajamas in something acidic. A two-day soak in a 50/50 vinegar to water solution is one option, and the one I recommend. Using lemon juice in water, 1 cup lemon juice per gallon of water, is an option too. A third option is a coca-cola soak, that stuff eats everything 😉

I have focused on sleepwear in this article, but unfortunately the sleepwear issue is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic PBDE’s and where they are found. These toxic flame retardants are used in many other children’s items, including, but not limited to: teethers, bath books, sleep accessories (i.e. blankets, pillows, sheets, mattress pads) and probably most important, mattresses themselves. The issue concerning mattresses is a whole article in itself; but I will shed a little light on it because it is sooo important, quite possibly even more important than the issue concerning sleepwear.

Conventional mattresses are not only treated with PBDE’s. Other commonly used chemicals are boric acid, formaldehyde, decabromodipheyl oxide, melamine, and antimony; you can become more informed about these common chemicals at Body Friendly Furniture. Organic, natural, chemical-free mattresses can literally cost thousands, upon thousands of dollars. We went with a little different of an approach to the common mattress, by replacing our conventional mattress with Japanese inspired organic futons from Carolina Morning.  They are nothing like the Americanized futons you may be thinking of. They are made from organic kapok, wool and cotton and were the most cost effective way of replacing our old, toxic mattress. We have been pleasantly pleased with them, and will soon be replacing all of our children’s mattresses with futons of their own. Don’t forget pillows, the very thing your child lays their head down to sleep on. I have to recommend the kapok pillows made by Carolina Morning; my husband and I both lay our heads down to sleep on them, and neither one of us could be more comfortable. The children will soon be getting their own as well!

Please remember, no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Figure out what that “something” is for you, begin putting it into action, and keep seeking to become more informed. The more you know, the better your decisions will become, and you will feel more empowered, trust me!

I leave you with these two short video reports:

Sweet Dreams to you all!