Category Archives: household products

multitasking baking soda

One of the tiny ways in which I’ve been greening up my lifestyle recently is by weaning myself from toxic cleaners like Formula 409 and Fantastik, and making my own eco-friendly cleaning fluids instead.  Baking soda and white vinegar have become my good friends in this venture.  I’ve been scouring the kitchen and bathroom surfaces with baking soda and hot water, rinsing the sink and bathtub drains with baking soda, vinegar, and a kettle of boiling water, and dumping a half cup of baking soda in with most of my laundry.  A solution of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice is also good for mopping the floor — though I’ve found that in general, hot water is also pretty good at wiping away most of the grime, even in the kitchen.

I have yet to replace my dish soap with a less toxic version, however, so if anyone has suggestions,  please share.  I know there are plenty of environmentally-friendly commercial products available (in fact, my local grocery store seems to have an entire shelf devoted to them), but I’d rather try something homemade, since it’s not only cheaper but also won’t generate as much plastic waste.

Also, I’m going to start using rubbing alcohol or a hydrogen peroxide solution instead of Ajax to scrub the litterbox (one of the few places in my home that definitely does need an antibacterial treatment from time to time).

As some of you already know, I’ve also been using baking soda in lieu of shampoo and deodorant (it works, really!), but that’s a subject for another post, I think.

-by laurawolfram

a bright idea

One easy way to cut down on your home energy use: replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. CFLs need far less electricity to produce the same amount of light as their incandescent counterparts, and as an added bonus, they last much longer, too. You can read more about them here and here.

I held out against CFL bulbs for a long time, erroneously associating them with the unpleasantly harsh light cast by standard-size fluorescent bulbs. Yet when I finally installed 23-watt (equivalent to 100-watt incandescent) n:vision CFL bulbs in my bathroom and bedroom last week, I was pleasantly surprised. The bulbs give off a warm, buttery light — just as good, if not better, than their energy-sucking predecessors.

Major retailers like Home Depot and Wal-Mart now carry compact fluorescent bulbs, as do many neighborhood drugstores and grocery stores. Alternately, you can search for a store near you using Energy Star’s store locator feature.

by laurawolfram