5 Quick Recipes for Natural Cleaners

natural cleanersWe recently wrote about the toxicity and harmful side effects of harsh chemical cleaning products used in the home and the dangers they present to children and pets. Instead of keeping a chemical lab in your broom closet, did you know that there are lots of healthier alternatives?

Not only are natural cleaners less harmful to your family, they improve indoor air quality and are so easy to make and much easier on your wallet. Plus, you probably already have most of the required ingredients to whip up at least 5 natural cleaners — and what you don’t already have is inexpensive and easily sourced. Below are some quick recipes.

Let’s start with the basics of natural cleaners

The backbone of just about all natural cleaning recipes is baking soda and white vinegar.

This combo can clean just about anything, as you’ll soon discover.  It’s used in pretty much every quick natural cleaner formula.

#1 – General All-Purpose Cleaner

This all-purpose cleaner is terrific for all kinds of hard surfaces, like counters, sinks and walls.

In a clean spray bottle (12 oz.), mix the vinegar and essential oils (lavender, tea tree or lemon, etc.) first. The oils add a nicer smell and have disinfectant properties. Add the baking powder and slowly top up with water, the baking powder will make it fizz up a bit. Gently shake the bottle and spray where and as required, wipe with a clean cloth and allow the surface to dry.

#2  – Oven Cleaner

This combo is so effective that you’ll wonder why you bought those super toxic cleaners before.

In a small bowl pour in ½ cup of baking soda and stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water to make a spreadable paste, add water as required. Spread the mixture on the walls and floor of your oven, rub it in a bit, especially on the tougher spots.

Let it rest overnight. Next day, spritz vinegar wherever you see the baking soda mixture, it’ll foam up. Wipe clean with a damp cloth until – presto! The job’s done.

#3 – Drain Cleaner

It couldn’t be easier to clear a clogged or smelly drain, which proves what we said at the beginning – baking soda and vinegar can fix just about any cleaning problem.

Sprinkle ¼ to ½ a cup of baking soda into the clogged drain, then pour about ¼ cup of white vinegar down, it’ll bubble up and settle, let it sit for about an hour. Then pour a kettle full of boiling hot water down the drain. If the problem isn’t fixed right away, repeat the process, but usually it only takes the one time.

#4 – Furniture Polish

This is a super easy and economical alternative to commercial furniture polishing products.

Take 1 tablespoon of Castile Soap, 15 drops of essential lemon oil and 2 cups of water, pour into spray bottle and mix by gently shaking. Use as you would any  furniture polish. Spray and wipe with a clean cloth. (Test on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t stain or leave a mark.)

#5 – Carpet Freshener

This combination of ingredients will leave your carpeted areas smelling clean and fresh, as well as killing moths, fleas and flea eggs. It also acts as a deterrent against rodents.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Sprinkle over the carpet and let sit for about an hour or so, then vacuum it up and it’s good as new. You can store the unused mixture in an airtight container and use it again.

We’ve only just begun

These are just a few of the many quick recipes for natural cleaners that can be easily made, saving you not only a lot of money but also the health of your family and furry friends.

At Allcare we care about you and your family’s well being and, of course… we care about clean.

Why not give us a shout to find out more about how green cleaning practices can improve the health — and the bottom line — of your organization?

 

 

 

 

Workplace Waste Diversion Plans: simply smart business

waste diversion plan

Fact: as much as 90% of office waste could be recycled or composted.

Implementing a workplace waste diversion plan isn’t just a feel-good environmental thing. It’s also a smart business move that can reduce costs and foster team spirit.

Paper, paper, read all about it!

Whatever happened to the paperless office that was predicted decades ago?

Paper is by far the largest source of office waste. In fact, the average office worker produces roughly two pounds of waste paper every day — that’s about 10,000 sheets per year.

And here’s the kicker: around 30% of printed jobs aren’t even picked up at the printing machine, and almost half of all printed material ends up in the trash at the end of the day. That’s a lot of wasted paper and a lot of dead trees.

So, paper use is one policy where you can really reduce consumption – and, with it, your office supply budget and garbage disposal costs.

Do you really need to print out that email or memo? If you do, choose the double-sided printing option whenever possible.

Make sure your waste diversion plan provides for dedicated paper-recycling bins beside each printer and copier, as well as near everyone’s desks.

And don’t forget to opt for recycled paper products when you’re doing the purchasing.

Did you know? Waste paper can be recycled 5 to 7 times and be used for many other useful things like toilet paper and paper towels.

Mountains of plastic

According to Canadian watchdog organization Environmental Defence, only 11% of plastic waste is recycled each year in Canada. The other 89% is either incinerated or ends up in landfills, waterways and parks, leeching toxins into the air and water, and killing wildlife.

Instead of supplying water in single-use plastic bottles, how about installing a water cooler? Providing reusable mugs and glasses will cut down on plastic waste dramatically, and actually reduce purchasing and waste management costs.

And we probably don’t need to tell you, but Styrofoam cups are especially problematic. You should avoid using them altogether.

Low-hanging fruit

Another way to reduce waste at work is to recycle compostable materials. These include food scraps, coffee grinds, tea bags, napkins, paper towels, and even cardboard sleeves from hot drink cups. As most of your employees will already be using a green bin at home, you’ll likely get 100% compliance in your staff kitchen.

Did you know? When compostable material is processed it can be used to enrich mineral-deficient farm land and even produce power.

Many hands make right work

When everyone at work does his or her bit to reduce, reuse or recycle waste, it can bring the team together and encourage a positive attitude toward your organization, the environment and the customers you serve.

———–

Does your organization have a waste diversion plan? If not, get in touch with us. We can help you establish and meet your sustainability goals.

At Allcare we care about clean – and creating a sustainable future.

Hey, kids, let’s science! The Magic of Microfiber

nylon molecule
(Photo: Michael Ströck/Wikipedia)
Microfiber packs a big punch

Fun fact: the average person spends about 20 hours per month on household cleaning.

But there are tools to make the job easier and science has given us so many labour-saving inventions, it’s easy to take them for granted. (Just think about how laundry used to be done!)

Microfiber cloths are so eco-friendly, effective and efficient they’re a must-have for any green cleaning kit. But how do they do what they do? Read on for the lowdown on this “magical” fabric.

She blinded me with science

The story of microfibers goes all the way back to 19th century Holland, when Johannes Diderik van der Waals laid the foundation for modern molecular physics. Building on that knowledge, chemical engineers of the 1950s and ’60s began experimenting with ultra-fine filaments for industrial applications.

By the 1970s, Ultrasuede hit the market and expanded the possibilities for new applications of the material. Not only was the ersatz suede used for making groovy pantsuits but also for interior, automotive and aircraft design applications.

But it wasn’t until the ’90s, when Swedish materials scientists began to develop the technology further, that microfiber cloths revolutionized green cleaning in both industrial and household applications. Today, microfiber cloths are widely used in Europe where environmental awareness is greater, but the technology is still catching on in North America.

So, what’s so big about tiny?

Microfiber is a synthetic combination of polyamides (aka nylon) and polyester. This substance is used to create super-fine strands with a diameter about 10 to 50 times thinner than a human hair. The strands are then split even further creating tiny fibers which are about the size of the average bacteria. Germs, begone!

microfiber versus cotton
Microfiber versus cotton

Thanks to this micro splitting process the surface area of microfiber is roughly 15 times greater than that of cotton fabrics, allowing it to trap more dust, dirt and bacteria in its million tiny edges. More surface area equals more efficiency — you get big results from those teensy fibers.

Another benefit of microfiber cloths is that they won’t scratch or mar even the most delicate surfaces because they attract debris instead of pushing it around. That’s why microfiber cloths are used for lens cleaning and other precision applications.

Remember that 19th century Dutchman van der Waals? He was the first scientist to describe the properties of molecular attraction. The “van der Waals forces” inherent in the plastic microfibers are what give these mighty cloths their ability to attract grime and germs, hence the nickname “dirt magnets.”

But is it green technology?

You bet it is. Microfiber technology virtually eliminates the need for paper towels and toxic cleaning chemicals.

Using these cloths will even reduce your water usage. A microfiber mop weighs far less than a traditional string mop and uses about half the water to get the job done.

Added bonus: microfibers are lint-free, making them ideal for glass and other shiny-surface cleaning. No more harsh window cleaners, which can be damaging to your lungs with repeated use.

Show me the money

Microfiber cleaning products can tolerate between 100-200 washings. That’s a long life for a cleaning product. So, you’re not only getting a more thorough, more environmentally-friendly result, but you’re also reducing your budget. Gotta love science.

At Allcare, microfiber cloths are just one of the products we use to make your facility shiny and germ-free. Get in touch today for more information on our Green Housekeeping practices.

We care about clean.

Top 5 Green Living Tweaks for 2019

Living a healthier, greener life can be easier than you think. And if we all make small adjustments, the benefit to our environment can be huge.

As the calendar ticks over to a new year, for many of us, it’s resolution time – a chance to take stock and clear the decks or face new challenges. Yay, us!

But sometimes we make grand resolutions that know we’ll have a tough time keeping. Think of all those fitness club visits that quickly taper off as the year marches on. A more sustainable approach in deciding on how to improve your quality of life is to make smaller, more manageable decisions.

Read on for some easy green living tweaks that you can start today:

#5 Ditch the Room Fresheners

Room fresheners don’t really “freshen” the air — they simply mask one odour with another. They also release a myriad of toxic chemicals that can make you quite sick with long-term exposure. Try these simple alternatives to keep your home smelling fresh: empty your garbage bins often, make sure your air circulation is adequate and invest in a good air purifier with both a charcoal and HEPA filter. If you like your rooms scented, consider using natural essential oils like peppermint, citrus or cloves.

#4 Give Your Clothes the Big Chill

Just a few small changes to your laundry routine can have a positive impact on the environment – and your electricity bill. Did you know that you don’t need to constantly wash your clothes in hot water? Heating the water uses about 90% of the energy required to run a load. So save money and reduce energy use.  Click here for more earth-friendly laundry tips.

#3 Grant Your Car a Day Off

Letting your car sit in the driveway for just one day a week can reduce your expenses, as well as the size of your carbon footprint. Take public transit or look into car-pooling for travelling to work — some businesses have programs encouraging employees to share rides. And who knows? You may even get to know your co-workers better.

#2 Let a Computer Set Your Thermostat

If you’d like to save some money, stay cozy and help the environment, then a programmable thermostat may be for you – especially if you tend to forget to lower the heat when you’re not at home or before bedtime. Some programmable thermostats are able to connect to WIFI, allowing you to set your ideal home temperature over your computer, tablet or smart phone. The most basic systems can be self-installed and will pay for themselves quickly in energy cost savings.

#1 Kick the Plastic Habit

It seems like the easy alternative when you’re on the go, but bottled water is all-around bad news for both the environment and your body. A whopping one million bottles of water are sold globally each and every minute.  In Ontario, only about 14% of those plastic bottles get recycled – that means about a billion bottles are sent to landfills each year.  That’s bad enough, but consider that recent studies have shown 93% of bottled water contains plastic residues. Not cool. So, why not get yourself a re-usable bottle, an inexpensive water filtration system and, for extra fun, one of those nifty home carbonation systems?

Have a great — and green — New Year!

For more information on our services, including Sustainability Consulting, get in touch – we’re here to help your organization save money and make your work space as healthy as it can be.