Finding the Perfect Solar Solutions with Complete Solar

This is a sponsored post about solar solutions from Complete Solar Solution.

solar solutions

Making our home more energy efficient has been on my radar for quite a while. Just recently we made a few changes on our own to make our home more energy efficient but we’re also looking to do more. Including finding solar solutions.

So when Complete Solar came to our home and talked with us about what our options were to adding solar panels to our roof we were quite interested to hear what they had to say.

What we learned is that it’s actually a painless process with many different ways to go around doing it. And there’s an option for everyone. [Read more…]

Green Cleaning with Seventh Generation Products

It’s no secret that I prefer green cleaners when keeping my house sparkly clean (ok… it’s hardly ever sparkly but…). I also love to use green cleaners on our clothing and on our bodies. With Seventh Generation products I can not only keep my house clean, but my family and their laundry clean as well.

Over the past few weeks I have been sampling a few Seventh Generation products that were sent over to me for review. And I have to say that I might not go back to what I was using before.

Not only did I love the fresh, clean scents that the products came in, I loved that none of the products I used irritated mine or my family’s skin. And coming from someone with sensitive skin, that means a lot!

Seventh Generation Products in the laundry room

[Read more…]

How to Choose Eco Friendly Menstrual Products

eco friendly menstrual products 1

Since our family has started to make a more conscious effort to become eco-friendly over the past four years there was one thing that I just never jumped on board with. And that was eco friendly menstrual products.

It might have been the fact that I was either pregnant or nursing during a majority of that time and therefore had no use for them. I only had three cycles between starting again after having my son and getting pregnant with my daughter. Lucky.

But now I have no plans of becoming pregnant again and needed a great solution. So I set out to find the perfect eco friendly menstrual products for me. Here’s what worked – and what didn’t – for me.

[Read more…]

Zero Toxins Castile Soap – Safe for Everyone! {Earth Mama Angel Baby Review & Giveaway}

Despite marketing claims like “gentle” and “pure,” dozens of top-selling children’s bath products are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, according to the March 2009 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, “No More Toxic Tub.” This study is the first to document the widespread presence of both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in bath products for children, including baby shampoos, bubble baths and baby lotions. Many products tested contained both chemicals. To read more please go to this article written on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.

As news spreads about these toxins and the ongoing concerns about formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in baby products, Earth Mama wants to spread the good news that some hospitals are making safer choices for their newborns. Earth Mama Angel Baby® products were chosen by Miami Valley Hospital, in Dayton, Ohio, as the first step in their “greening process” following a year of research on the subject of environmental toxicants and the health risks they pose to newborns and mothers. Here is some info about their ZERO toxin gentle castile soap- safe for everyone to use!

Earth Mama makes it easy to avoid this toxic chemical with four soaps made with pure, clean, USDA Certified Made With Organic ingredients. And they have a soap or wash for every body in the home! I was able to sample their line of soaps and shampoos with my family and absolutely LOVED the experience. I was sent the following travel size items: 

* Naturally calming Lavender Vanilla Calm & Clean Hand to Toe Wash
* Truly unscented Natural Non-Scents Hand to Toe Wash
* Exhilarating, queasy-busting Ginger Lime Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash
* Gentle Vanilla Sweet orange Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

The first one I was super excited to use was the Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash. Since I am the one person in the house who doesn’t get a shower regularly (oh, the life of a mom), I took full advantage of this product and closed myself in the bathroom for a shower all alone. Now normally I have one or two little heads poking their way into the shower and moving the shower curtain so they can try and climb in with me but this shower was all mine. And I loved the soap. The smell quickly relaxed me and made me feel citrusy fresh. My skin stayed smooth and soft and felt clean.

The next soap we used was the Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash for bath time with the kids. Each child got their hair soaped up as they played along in the bath with their toys. I then wanted to use the unscented Natural Hand to Toe wash for my daughter’s sensitive skin and the Calm & Clean Hand to Toe wash for my rambunctious boy. I loved that I knew the exact ingredients in each of the soaps and that none of them contained harsh, toxic chemicals. No formaldehyde for my family!

I am absolutely in love with the scents and clean feel of the Earth Mama Angel Baby line of soaps and shampoos. Earth Mama has proven time and time again that they are at the top of the pack when it comes to providing quality products that are safe for the whole family. I’ve reviewed their products before and have never been disappointed. And these soaps made me feel even better about supporting this wonderful company. If you need a great shower gift (or even a nice stocking stuffer) I highly recommend checking out Earth Mama Angel Baby’s site to find the perfect product for your family.

Earth Mama Angel Baby has kindly offered to gift one of my readers with one 5.3 oz soap of the winner’s choice to use in their home! To enter for your chance to win simply fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Tips and Tricks for Green Cleaning in Every Room

Looking to go green? These tips and tricks for green cleaning in every room can help you tackle your daily cleaning chores without worrying about nasty chemicals! 

Ever since the birth of my son I’ve been on the hunt for ways to go green and stay as organic as possible. So when I started looking under the sink and in the closet at all of the cleaners we had I knew we had to make some changes. Thinking of my little one crawling on a ground where harsh chemicals resided and putting his mouth all over surfaces where I cleaned with chemicals made me change quickly. I have received many tips from other mamas as well as other websites so I figured why not share them here too.

The most important part of my arsenal of tools for green cleaning is vinegar. I buy it in the huge gallon size and use it for just about anything from cleaning toilets to freshening up my laundry. I mix vinegar together a few other natural cleaners to create the perfect solution for different problem areas. I’m going to list my “must have” ingredients and then will go into detail by room on how I mix and use them.

Must Have Green Cleaners

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Oxy Clean
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cedar Hanger Rings
  • Wash Cloths or Cloth Rags
  • Sponges
  • Stiff Bristle Brush
  • Steam Mop

The Kitchen

Tile Floors
Any hard floor surface in my house is cleaned with the steam mop. The hot steam paired with the cloth, re-usable pad cleans my floors deeply. I have purchased extra pads so that I can clean more than one room at once. I’ve found that one pad gets dirty after cleaning 1/2 of my living room or all of my kitchen and I don’t want to have to wait to get the energy to start cleaning again. Side Note – I recently broke the handle off my steam mop because I am apparently a very deep cleaner 😉 I’m hoping to upgrade to the steam pocket mop soon!

My all purpose cleaner for any surface in my house consists of the following:

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part vinegar
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

I place this solution in a spray bottle and use it to spray down the counters, stove top, oven door, microwave door and fridge. I wipe everything down with a sponge  

Cutting Boards
To clean my cutting boards I sprinkle them with salt and use 1/2 a lemon to scrub the salt into the wood. I then rinse with a wet wash cloth and let air dry. This also works great for the counter tops if there are bits and pieces to be scrubbed off.

When the sink needs shining (every morning ;)) I sprinkle baking soda all around and spray with the vinegar solution given above. I then scrub down with the abrasive side of my sponge and rinse down with water.

The most favorite solution I have in my cleaning arsenal is the solution I have for my microwave. I not only love how well it works but also love how it leaves my kitchen smelling!

Take a microwave safe bowl and fill it with water. Then sprinkle in a few drops of either lemon or vanilla extract (based on my mood) and place a microwave safe wooden spoon into the water to reduce the chance of a boil over. Then set the microwave to heat for 3 minutes.

Let the bowl cool a bit before removing from the microwave and be careful! It’s hot. Take a wash cloth and wipe off the sides, top and bottom of the microwave. Any food bits and pieces should come off easily without the need to scrub.

Confession… I’ve never cleaned my oven. And I use it. Like a lot. But if I were to clean my oven I’d use the simple tips from The Daily Green and would make a paste out of baking soda and water. I’d then spread the paste all over the inside of my oven and would leave it overnight. Then I’d use an abrasive sponge and would scrub the inside down (with gloves on, of course). After I scrubbed like crazy I’d use a wet wash cloth to wipe down one last time.

The Living Room

Laminate Wood Floors
I use the steam mop on my laminate wood floors as well. I make sure to wipe them down with a towel after if the water doesn’t evaporate right away just in case. I don’t want them to warp on me 🙂 My husband has also used a dry cloth mop before with Bona wood floor cleaner if he thinks my steam mop isn’t doing a good enough job.

When we had our table resurfaced when we got married we were told by the wood worker to only use water and a wash cloth to wipe down the table. So we’ve stuck with this. I make sure to wipe it down soon after we eat our meals so nothing sticks.

Couches and Chairs
I’m not sure about you but I just vacuum my couch and chairs off. I also wipe down my leather chairs and wooden dining room chairs with water. Sometimes, if needed, I use the vinegar solution but I try to stay away from any cleaners for fear of discoloring them

I clean my windows the same way I clean my mirrors. I spray them with my vinegar solution and use newspaper to wipe it up. No streaks and no dirt! Although I do confess that I clean the windows maybe

The Bathroom 

Laminate Floors
Due the the small space in the bathroom we usually just sweep it every day and mop with a regular mop and a solution of water, Dr. Bronners, vinegar and tea tree oil. I then dry with a towel (usually a bath towel that needs to be washed). I could also use this solution with my kitchen floors if I’m too lazy to get the steam mop out. 

Sink/Mirror/Toilet Surfaces
I use my vinegar/water/tea tree oil solution to clean the sink. That way I can spray everything in the bathroom down at the same time. I then wipe the sink and toilet (in that order) off with a clean towel or wash cloth and dry the mirror with newspaper so no streaks or particles are left behind.

If there is something stuck to the sink or surface and I need a deeper clean I just sprinkle with baking soda then I spray with the vinegar solution and scrub with a sponge or stiff brush.

My disinfectant solution for the bathroom is a simple solution of:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons of Dr. Bronners 
  • 15-20 drops of tea tree oil

I put this solution into a spray bottle and keep it under the sink. When my children are done bathing I squirt down the tub and take a wash cloth to wipe everything away. I then spray the surfaces with the shower head and let air dry.

Once a month (or more frequently if needed) I take all of the toys out and soak them in the disinfectant solution given above while I deep clean the tub. I sprinkle the tub with baking soda and spray the vinegar solution over the baking soda. I then use a scrub brush to scrub the tub down. I then rinse off with water.

Clogged Drains
Now most of the time if my tub is clogged I use this nifty little tool my husband picked up at the hardware store. Seriously. This thing stays in our bathroom and is used once a week. It always gives us results. No matter how gross they may be (and being 7 months postpartum I’m still shedding like crazy). I highly suggest keeping one of these in your bathroom. You can even buy it on Amazon if you don’t find it at Pro-Build!

But if your drain gets really bad and the Zip It can’t fix it just pour some baking soda (about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup) and boiling water into the drain and wait a few minutes. Then rinse with water from the tub spout. You can also use this for your toilet as well.

Trash Cans
The trash cans in each of our bathrooms are lined with plastic bags that we receive at the grocery store when we fail to remember our reusable bags. If we don’t have any plastic bags we use paper bags in their place. We try to clean the trash cans with the disinfectant solution once a week to get the funk out of them and allow them to air dry before placing a bag in them. 

The Bedroom

The best natural deodorizer and stain remover out there is baking soda. You can sprinkle a little bit of baking soda directly on your carpet or rug and just vacuum it right up. Or if you have a spot to remove, mix a little water into the baking soda to create a paste and spread it on the stain. Scrub it into the spot with a terry cloth towel and let dry. Once it’s dried just vacuum the remnants up.

We also get our carpets professionally cleaned every 6 months. We have a fabulous carpet cleaner who has been helping us keep our carpets beautiful since my son was a newborn. And all of his cleaners are safe for my children. He even has a heavy duty cleaner that takes care of any doggy or kid problems you may have.

A great and natural way to keep the moths away (and other bugs as well) are cedar disks or planks. Just line the closet with cedar or grab a few cedar disks to hang on your hangers and those pesky bugs will look elsewhere for things to eat. 

The Laundry Room

We don’t use anything special here. We wash our clothes with Kirkland brand eco friendly detergent. I used to pay more for a special eco friendly powder detergent on Etsy but after a few months I couldn’t justify the cost and switched over to the Costco stuff.

Another room where vinegar is the star is the laundry room. Instead of using static dryer sheets and leaving a film on our clothes (and the dryer) we use a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of our wash. You can also buy a downy ball and fill that 1/2 way up with vinegar so you don’t have to wait for the rinse cycle to add the vinegar. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar afterwards! The scent washes off completely

Whenever possible we try to either line dry outside, hang dry in the garage or dry our clothes in the dryer on the lowest setting. Using either the natural power of the sun and heat outside or the lowest setting on the dryer saves energy and is also less harsh on your clothes (meaning you don’t have to buy new clothes as often). We also use dryer balls in the dryer to aid in the reduction of static in the dryer.

Stain Remover
The best stain remover for white clothes is the sun. When you set out wet clothes to dry the sun acts as a bleaching agent and will bleach out any stains (or color) from your clothes. This method works the best for removing stains out of cloth diapers as well.

We also use oxyclean in our wash to remove other stains in our darks and lights. If there’s a lot of stains on one piece of clothing or if there’s a stain that I don’t think the regular wash will handle I will create an oxyclean soak in a large 5 gallon bucket and add a concentrated amount of oxyclean to warm water to soak the clothes before the wash.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that throughout the post I haven’t mentioned bleach. I don’t like bleach. It scares me a bit to be honest. There’s lots of articles about the harmful effects of bleach so I won’t preach about it here 🙂 

Sources: The Daily Green, Natural Rug Cleaning Secrets

I know I have to be missing something so if you have a question on a particular room or spot in your house please let me know! And if you have any tips to add please feel free to share them 🙂 I’ll make sure to add them and give you a link back for credit.

Read more: 

Kids Cleaning Tips

Trading Clean Time for Screen Time

5 Tips for Cleaning the House Before a Party

Earth Day 2010!

So in the Simmworks household we’ve done a few things over the past two years to become more eco-friendly. Last year I listed the things we’ve done to become more eco friendly and what we wanted to start to do. Sadly I haven’t done all of the things off the list but we’ve started to make progress. I am happy to say that we finally started our garden and it’s completely planted today!

We have a hanging garden in the back yard with roma tomatoes growing upside down. There are herbs (parsley, thyme, basil & ) growing on the top of one bucket and strawberries growing on the top of the other. And in the front yard we have string beans, straight neck squash, spaghetti squash, cucumbers & zucchini. There’s room for one more row to plant so E and I might make another trip to the City Farmer’s Nursery.

Anyone who hasn’t been to this nursery needs to go. It’s fabulous! And all of their veggies and fruit are grown organically. So I can be assured that the veggies I’m growing will be organic as well (we bought our soil from there as well). They also have some animals and a play area for the kids. E got to pet a goat and loved seeing the turkeys, geese, ducks, & chickens. They have a tilapia pond and a koi pond and the variety of plants (fruit/veggie bearing and non-fruit/veggie bearing) is amazing.

There’s also Nate’s Cafe right next store so after you run around and build up an appetite you can eat a delicious meal. E and I shared a grilled ham & cheese sandwich and a bowl of fruit. After we got home we quickly planted the rest of the garden and watered it. Hopefully by this winter we’ll have something to show for our hard work.

I really do want to start composting but J has nixed the idea. Maybe I can talk him into it over the next year. One thing I am going to do though is start using more cloth instead of paper. We use so many paper towels. I try to use our dish towels instead whenever I can but I want to get the paper towels out of the house all together.

I also would like to try making some reusable bags. Currently I am either using plastic bags (I know… horrible) or plastic containers to store snacks and lunch for E and I. I want to take a step in de-plasticizing the house. There’s just too much plastic in the world.

We have a glass straw but I just don’t see myself using them full time with a small child. Just too much chance of breaking them. This is also one of the reasons why I steered away from glass bottles with E. I know there are covers for them but the risk of breaking and hurting someone is just too high. At least for me it is.

So what are you doing for Earth Day? Any resolutions or ways to become more Earth friendly?

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