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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 2/26/2016

They get grimy, dirty, smelly and can be some of the dirtiest things in your home. What are they? Your kitchen appliances! But with some everyday household items and a little bit of elbow grease, your kitchen appliances can look and smell like new for many years to come.   To clean your dishwasher: Regularly clean the seams and liner of your dishwasher this will help reduce bacteria buildup and improve its effectiveness. Scour the inside of your dishwasher with a pad dipped in baking soda to remove residue and stains from the interior surface and crevices of your dishwasher. Run a regular cycle of wash with lemonade. The ascorbic acid will help remove any remaining buildup, and leave your dishwasher smelling clean and fresh. To clean your oven/range: Loosen baked-on food inside your oven using a plastic spatula. Use the juice from two squeezed lemons to clean your oven. Place the juice into an oven safe dish, throw in the lemon remains and bake 30 minutes at 250 degrees. Now you have a clean and fresh smelling oven. To clean your refrigerator: Clean your refrigerator monthly. Remove all of the food from your refrigerator and discarding items that are aged or expired. Create a paste from ˝ cup of baking soda with 1 tbsp of vinegar. Apply the paste to a soft scouring pad, and scrub. Wipe away any residue with a damp sponge, Vacuum the undercarriage of your fridge. Wipe down the outside with warm water and vinegar. Keep baking soda at the back of fridge to help keep it smelling fresh. There is no need for fancy cleaning products the things you have around the house will do just fine.  Do you have any other tips for keeping your kitchen spic and span?





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 2/12/2016

Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits. Green up your appliances Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home's total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Take Your Temperature Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home's temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68°F saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today's furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s. Use Water Wisely Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Let there be Light Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Practice Plastic Placement Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? — Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics. There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic's Green Guide. Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/18/2015

Get rid of germs without using harsh chemicals. You can make lots of household cleaners without using harsh chemicals or spending a lot of money. You can even make heavy duty cleaners with common household items. It doesn't take a lot of time or money just a little mixing and you are ready to go. There are lots of different recipes but here is one way to make your own homemade heavy-duty disinfectant cleaner: Ingredients: 1/4 cup powdered laundry detergent 1 tablespoon borax 3/4 cup hot water 1/4 cup pine oil, or pine-based cleaner 1. Slowly stir the detergent and borax into the water to dissolve. 2. Add the pine oil and mix well. You can find pine oil at hardware stores. If you are using the cleaner for the bathroom cleaning, use it full strength. In the kitchen, dilute it with water.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 5/22/2015

Did you know that indoor air pollution is actually worse than outdoor air pollution? Indoor pollution can in fact be 2 to 10 times worse depending on the materials in your home. Many of the materials in your home omit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's). According to the EPA, VOC's are in the air that you breathe and can have long term health effects, including liver, kidney and central nervous system damage and cancer. Here is a list of some of the indoor air pollutants that you may want to reduce or remove in order to have a healthier home. Cleaning Supplies The things that clean your home may be making you sick. In fact, bleach is one of the biggest offenders. In order to have a truly clean home, remove all of these chemicals and start replacing them with natural ones. Check the labels of everything. Many sheets that are made for your dryer have formaldehyde in them. Some of the most dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if ingested, on the throat and esophagus. Air Fresheners Air fresheners may smell sweet but their effect can be anything but. Some air fresheners can send chemicals into the air that contain VOCs. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology looked at plug-in fresheners and found more than 20 VOCs' and more than one-third were considered toxic or hazardous. VOCs can increase the risk of asthma in kids. At high enough levels, they can also irritate the eyes and lungs, trigger dizziness and headaches, and even lead to memory loss. Furniture Believe it or not the place where you sit or sleep could be harming your health. Furniture is such a big part of our life, we eat on it, sleep and sit on it. Furniture also can emit VOCs. Furniture is often made with flame retardants, finishes, adhesives and foam cushions that give off harmful chemicals. Paint You often hear about the dangers of lead paint. You should also be worried about the brand new fresh paint you just put on the walls. Paint, paint strippers, varnish removers and floor stains all emit VOC's into the air. These chemicals don't go away once the paint has dried or once it stops smelling. The harmful chemicals can last for as long as two years. New Flooring That new carpet smell is not good for you. As pretty as it may look new carpet, wood floors or even linoleum flooring give off VOCs. Purchase flooring produced from renewable materials such as linseed oil, rosins, wood flour and jute. Look for wood flooring that is FSC Certified (it came from a Forest Stewardship Council Certified Forest which helps protect old growth forests from being clear cut). For more information read about Sources of Indoor Air Pollution on the EPA site.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 5/15/2015

Are you tired of spending so much money on things like furniture polish? Do you want to free your home from harmful chemicals? You can be frugal and live green by making your own furniture polish. Here are three recipes for making your own homemade furniture polish: Recipe I Ingredients: 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice 1 tablespoon boiled linseed oil 1 tablespoon turpentine 1. Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until blended. 2. Dampen a cloth with cold water and wring it out until it's dry. 3. Saturate the cloth with the mixture and apply sparingly to a small area at a time. 4. Let dry for about 30 minutes, then polish with a soft cloth. This mixture gets gummy as it sits, so make just enough for one day's work.   Recipe II Ingredients: White vinegar   Lemon juice 1. Combine equal parts white vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl or spray bottle. 2. Use a clean cloth to rub a small amount of the polish into your furniture. 3. Wipe dry with another cloth.   Recipe III Ingredients: 1 cup olive oil 1/2 cup lemon juice 1. Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl or spray bottle. 2. Use a clean cloth to rub a small amount of the polish into your furniture. 3. Wipe dry with another cloth.  







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