August 25th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Meet Charlie, my new dog-niece.
She’s a Labradoodle puppy who’s amazingly cute, with a wonderful temperament.
Charlie is already housebroken, but she’s had a few accidents when overexcited. Toxic chemicals are definitely not a cleaning option, so my sister takes the natural route.
Enzyme products “do a superb job destroying stains and odors,” according to Mary Findley and Linda Formichelli, authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Cleaning. They write:
Enzymes eat away at bacteria and solid waste matter. They are unmatched in their ability to destroy urine, feces, vomit, odors and stains.
Findley and Formichelli recommend three products:
- Kleen-Free Naturally (organic), which also helps control pests
- PetGuest 100% Enzyme Concentrate Stain & Odor Remover (nonpolluting, environmentally friendly, biodegradable)
- Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover (natural)
I’ll provide Charlie updates as she continues to settle in!
Read More:Leaky Puppies
July 30th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the average American family washes close to 400 loads of laundry each year.
But unlike clothes washers, dryers do not carry ENERGY STAR ratings. Each model uses a similar amount of energy, “which means there is little difference in energy use between models,” the DOE notes.
You can, however, do your part to conserve energy when drying clothes:
- Dry only full loads.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
- Clean the dryer’s lint filter after every load to improve air circulation.
- Use the cool-down cycle to allow clothes to finish drying with the machine’s residual heat.
- Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it’s not blocked. Not only will this save energy, but it may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material—not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
- Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Clothes will last longer.
- When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. This saves energy and helps minimize wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
- Dryer sheets contain artificial fragrances and carcinogenic chemicals ranging from ethanol to formaldehyde, so avoid using them. In addition to posing health hazards, they can leave a film on your dryer’s filter that reduces air flow. Over time, this can impair the motor’s performance.
- Some dryers have eco-conscious settings, such as the Whirlpool Duet WGD9450WL (pictured above). They offer faster drying times.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Naturally Clean: The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy, Non-Toxic Cleaning
Photo courtesy of Whirlpool
Read More:A Partner in Grime
July 28th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
How much water does an ENERGY STAR-rated clothes washer save?
It can literally cut your water usage in half.
A standard washer uses 32.5 gallons of water per load, while an ENERGY STAR-rated machine uses only 15 gallons, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
ENERGY STAR-rated washers also allow you to adjust water levels for smaller loads, and they spin-dry your clothes more effectively, which reduces dryer time.
While the average clothes washer lasts about 11 years, those manufactured before 1999 use 400% more energy than ENERGY STAR-rated models.
As of July 1, ENERGY STAR machines were required to be at least 43% more energy-efficient than the minimum federal standard, and they must meet stringent water-efficiency criteria.
Check out the DOE’s Make a Clean Change—Recycle Your Old Washer program, which promotes rebates on energy-efficient models. Recycling also saves about $145 per year in utility bills.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Laundry: The Spirit of Keeping Home
Photo courtesy of GE
Read More:Is Your Clothes Washer an ENERGY STAR?
July 27th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating the water in your clothes washer accounts for 90% of the energy used when doing laundry.
As the DOE explains:
There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes: Use less water and use cooler water. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm- or cold-water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.
Here are some additional tips:
- Wait until you have a full load before doing laundry.
- Avoid the super-hot Sanitary Cycle, which significantly increases energy use.
- Activate the high-spin/extended-spin option to reduce any remaining water, which will decrease dryer time.
- Front-loading washers use airtight seals to prevent water from leaking while the machine is in use. When the machine is not in use, this seal can trap moisture in the machine and lead to mold formation. Leave the door ajar for an hour or two after use to allow moisture to evaporate. Safety alert: Make sure children do not climb into the machine while the door is open.
- Buy an ENERGY STAR-rated machine. (More on this tomorrow…)
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens
Read More:Green Your Washing Machine
July 23rd, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
I can’t think of too many people who look forward to cleaning their homes.
Sure, we’ll dust, do laundry and avenge the gods of clutter, but scrubbing floors, tubs and toilets seldom makes anyone’s Top 10 list of enjoyable pastimes. Even my 20-year-old nephew, a college sophomore, has a cleaning woman who sanitizes his studio apartment.
If you employ a housekeeper, maid or professional cleaning service, you can ensure your green-cleaning standards will be met if you supply all cleaning products. Other services bring their own cleaning supplies, which ups the convenience factor and saves clients the expense of buying products. In many cases, however, these crews will use industrial-strength, toxic cleaning agents that you don’t want in your home.
Hire an eco-friendly cleaning service that brings natural, nontoxic, organic and other chemical-free cleansers to your home.
For example, EcoMaids, which serves communities in Iowa, New Jersey and New York, will handle spring/seasonal cleaning, laundry, standard housekeeping tasks, kitchens, bathrooms and the like. The company’s cleaning products “represent the very latest in 21st-century bio-based green cleaning chemistry.”
Here in Los Angeles, Green Clean LA “offers an alternative to regular cleaning services. We are passionate about helping to educate and inform our clients so that the choices they make are conscious choices.” In additional to residential cleaning, the company offers professional janitorial services, education and consulting.
The International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association offers a directory of U.S. and international green cleaning services. You can also check your local Yellow Pages for green cleaning services in your area.
Read More:Eco-Conscious Housekeeping Services
June 8th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
When the experts at Natural Home Magazine named their favorite eco-friendly cleaning product lines, nine companies made the list:
- Earth Friendly Products
- Howard Naturals
- Laundry Dropps
- Lucky Earth
- Mother Natural
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
- Planet Inc.
- Seventh Generation
Each company’s products are free of toxic chemicals, so look for them at your local natural and organic food store.
You can also create your own economical, eco-friendly household cleaners, using natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, liquid detergent and tea tree oil. Here is a basic recipes for do-it-yourself scouring scrub.
Read More:Green Household Cleaners
June 1st, 2009 - Laura Klein
With all due respect to my fellow OrganicAuthority.com blogger, Gerry Pugliese, who recently shed doubt on whether organic foods are actually more nutritious: I strongly disagree!
It’s been proven, scientifically, that plant-based organic foods are higher in nutrients and better for our health. I am deeply passionate about this – in fact it’s one of the core reasons I launched OrganicAuthority.com several years ago!
After studying the science behind how conventional and organic foods are grown in culinary school, I had a paradigm shift. I discovered why organic foods taste better and are of superior quality: we aren’t spraying them with synthetic toxic pesticides that are designed to kill (see the EPAs definition of pesticides). And I discovered that we are poisoning the earth, humans, animals and everything in between with these same synthetic toxic pesticides (see our blog Carbofuran Gets the Axe – a single granule of the chemical can kill an adult bird).
Today, I consider organic food to be one of the most powerful forms of preventive medicine we have available to the human race; and is a key component to green and healthy living. The good news is, you can simply buy organic foods over the counter! If you think organic foods are expensive, I say try health care and prescription drugs. Now that’s expensive. There are truly miraculous stories of people healing themselves from serious disease and illness like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, MS and more, simply by switching to a pure organic whole foods diet. The added bonus, organic foods are of superior quality and flavor!
Myriad qualified experts agree that organic food is nutrient-rich and healthier than ‘conventionally’ grown foods…
Organic Produce: Nutritional Powerhouse
In a study published in March 2008 by The Organic Center,1 a host of past and present studies were analyzed.
One of them, The Worthington study, focused on fertilizers and food nutrition levels. In the study, four nutrients tested as being significantly higher than conventionally-grown food, while one “toxic” nutrient (Nitrate) was significantly lower in organic food (that’s a good thing):
- Vitamin C: +27%
- Iron: +21%
- Magnesium: +29%
- Phosphorus: +19%
- Nitrates: -15%
The same study also found higher quality protein in organic foods vs. conventional food (higher quality protein is determined by the number of amino acids that are evident).
Healthier Food, Organically Grown
In another recent study entitled “Living Soil, Food Quality, and the Future of Food,”2 the following was revealed:
- Organically grown spinach demonstrates significantly higher levels of flavonoids (an antioxidant) and vitamin C, and lower levels of nitrates.
- Organically farmed tomatoes have significantly higher levels of soluble solids and natural plant molecules called secondary plant metabolites, including flavonoids, lycopene, and Vitamin C. Most secondary plant metabolites are antioxidants, a class of plant compounds that have been linked to improved human health in populations that consume relatively high levels of fruit and vegetables.
Definition of Organic Food: Common Sense Dictates Better Health!
Organic foods are grown without the use of chemical fertilizer or pesticides and have not been processed using irradiation or added hormones.
Let me repeat:
- no fertilizers
- no pesticides
- no irradiation (the process of exposing food to radiation)
- no added hormones
I’m not a scientist, but this statement alone is quite convincing that organic foods are a healthier and more nutritionally rich option! Simply put, organically grown foods are not bombarded with synthetic, toxic chemicals that are linked to serious diseases like cancer.
As always, be an informed consumer:
- Products labeled “100 percent organic” must contain only organic ingredients with the exception of water and salt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
- Products that are made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients are allowed to be labeled “made with organic ingredients.
Interested in step-by-step, personalized guidance on creating a healthy, green lifestyle? Check out my free Green Club online introduction video to find out more!
1. The Organic Center, March, 2008 Report:
2. The Organic Center, March 13, 2009 Press Release:
Read More:The Science is There, Plant-Based Organic Foods Are More Nutritious!
May 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Childhood friends Tim Barklage and Kevin Tibbs weren’t happy with the cleaning products they found in stores.
Tibbs, a chemist who formulated products for mega-retailers like Target, The Home Depot, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, specialized in natural skin-care lines, so he was very familiar with the green movement. When he became a father and began baby-proofing his home, he grew increasingly conscious of mainstream cleaning products’ dangers.
Partnering with marketing and product-development specialist Barklage to create an eco-friendly cleaning line was a no-brainer. Barklage, in fact, had grown up in a green home long before it was fashionable.
That’s how St. Louis-based Better Life was born—a company determined to provide green cleaning options for moms and dads, as well as “Mom Earth.” Products are free of sulfates, ethoxylates, fragrances, dyes, solvents, silicones, petroleum-based ingredients and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like glycol ethers and alcohols. Biodegradability is a high priority, and ingredients come from natural sources.
Better Life’s brightly labeled, cleverly named products include:
Organic consumers can find these green cleaners at Whole Foods Market and Ace Hardware. You may also purchase them online at Walgreens and drugstore.com.
Sign up for the company’s newsletter and receive a $10 coupon toward the Better Life Starter Kit, which contains four products in a collapsible cleaning caddy.
Read More:Better Cleaning, Better Life
May 13th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The experts at Earth Friendly Products, a Winnetka, IL-based manufacturer of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, want to remind mainstream and organic consumers why phosphate-free cleaning products are so important to our environment.
“Phosphates found in cleaning products have been found to be one of the most damaging pollutants to waterways,” the company notes. “When phosphates end up in our lakes and rivers, they accelerate plant and algae growth. When the plants and algae die, the bacteria residue consumes the oxygen, leaving less for fish and aquatic life which need the oxygen to survive. If the government steps in to clean the waterways, the costs will most likely be passed on to the taxpayers.”
The solution to this problem is simple and cost-effective: Buy phosphate-free cleaning agents.
“The EPA estimates that nearly $1 trillion is needed in critical drinking-water and wastewater investments over the next two decades,” according to an Earth Friendly Products press statement. “The Chesapeake Bay alone could incur up to a $3 million capital project to remove the chemicals if people don’t do their share to bring the levels of phosphates down. Whatcom and Spokane Counties in Washington State have already taken action, preventing residents from purchasing cleaning products containing .5% or more of phosphates by weight. According to the Washington State Lake Protection Association, beginning July 1, 2008, in counties located east of the Cascade Mountains with populations greater than 400,000, a person may not sell or distribute for sale a dishwashing detergent that contains a certain amount of phosphates. Other states, including Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota and Vermont, plan on following this endeavor, with their statewide bans going into effect July 2010.”
Earth Friendly Products are available at Jewel, Whole Foods Market, Costco, Thriftway, Ralphs, Albertsons and other nationwide retailers.
Read More:Why Phosphate-Free Cleaning Products Matter
December 22nd, 2008 - Laura Klein
This holiday season, give the give of clean, green car carpets! Take a look at my entire line of GREEN CLEANING Car Care at Sam’s Club.
One of the products I’m particulary proud of is recognized for safer chemistry by the EPA’s Designed for Environment (DfE) program: Laura Klein’s Green Car Carpet Spot Remover is a non-toxic, effective and healthy way to clean all your colorfast carpet, floor mats, upholstery, and seats.
This stuff really works! I used it to clean and remove spots from my white dining room table chairs that had been there for years. Good-bye harsh chemicals and smelly fumes, hello effective green goodness cleaning!
Ingredients: Purified water, proprietary nonionic surfactants, coconut-, pine-, and citrus-based cleaning agents, glucose-based sequestering agents
Price and Size: 32 fl. oz; $8.14
Buy it today at Sam’s Club !
Read More:Remove Carpet Spots in Your Car with Easy, Non-Toxic Green Care!