Monday, March 22, 2010

Green Cleaning for those who Hate Cleaning | Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

Do you hate cleaning? I have a confession -- a big one for someone who is a Green Cleaning blogger -- I hate cleaning! Naturally speaking, I am not the most gifted homemaker! By personality and temperment I'd much rather be discussing politics or philosophy or poetry than cleaning my bathroom...AGAIN!

A Cleaning Hater Speaks
Green Cleaning has greatly improved my housecleaning experience and interest. All the toxic fumes and strong smells of regular cleaners are a big detriment in regular housecleaning. I now use green and natural cleaning supplies 99% of the time, as thus, chemical fumes or dangerous substances aren't any concern.

Instead, I enjoy the pleasant effect of natural aromas. I prefer scoping out brands that use real essential oils in their products. I really notice the difference.

Essential Oils Enhance Mood
As a naturally-born cleaning-hater, I hated the gaging sensation of using bleach or ammonia-based products. Now I integrate essential oils into my household and have LOVED using them. I have discovered that citrus (lemon, grapefruit, and orange) boost my mood and are cheering.

Explore using essential oils as you clean from HerbTraders (see sidebar for ad-link).
Having two teens and their sundry friends running in and out of the house or crashing overnight can mess-up the cleanest of homes! If I don't feel like cleaning on a particular day, cleaning with a lemon-scented cleaner from real lemon essential oil REALLY does improve my motivation.

Homemaking Tips I Have Learn Over the Years
One of the top Homemaking tips I have benefited from in my house cleaning is to break-up chores into "bite-sized" jobs -- 10-15 minutes at tops. This can be a major motivator to me. I can do anything for just 10 minutes! Afterwards, seeing that particular job can motive me to do the next one.

Splitting up chores into small jobs is also great for busy seasons of life, such as the juggling-small-babies- and-toddlers season or the working-soccer-mom season. Often I only had 10 minutes to refreshen the bathroom. Doing mini-chores one or two a day will get your house clean eventually!

Professional Green Cleaning Lessons
My daughter who is in college has her own Green Cleaning business. I regularly "work" for her and have learned a lot from her. Cleaning professionally has changed my perspective on my own homemaking and housecleaning technique.

One main lesson I have learned is to clean quickly and methodically. Clean top to bottom, right to left. Another lesson is to use just a few favorite supplies. Choose ones that work for the job you are doing. Also, using products that have multiple uses, for instance (an all-purpose cleaner that also disinfects) can save time.

Growing up I was THE most-undomesticated person. Today, I'm still in the process of growing and learning, but I am now a "green" cleaner, who throroughly enjoys the aroma and the satisfaction of a naturally clean home. Plus, I know I am choosing the best for the health of my family.

Take Care and Enjoy Green Cleaning!  Green Keen aka Pamela Palmer : )

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lemon Juice a Natural Disinfectant has Scientific Proof | Natural Cleaning Product Review

Lemon juice, known for its acidity, is a natural disinfectant. Not well reported is the fact that in 1999 scientists in Japan, studying disinfectant methods for killing pathogens on dental stone casts, stumbled on the fact that lemon juice is really a disinfectant!

Scientific Study on Lemon as a Disinfectant
At the Tsyuma Central Hospital, scientists examined various methods of disinfection on a battery of 4 microbes, including strep. According to their study published in the Medical Journal of Tsuyma Central Hospital, they found that using a method of spraying lemon juice and then wiping with a paper towel after 1 minute achieved a "4-log reduction" of bacteria. A 4-log reduction is a scientific term meaning a 99.99% kill rate of microbes.

How to Clean and Disinfect with Lemon
This was a small scientific study, using only 4 strains of bacteria, but I think it is accurate to state that using a 50-50% dilution of lemon juice* and water as a disinfecting cleaner (spray it, wipe it, spray again and let dry) will kill all most all household germs on hard surfaces in your home.

*Concentrated Lemon Juice Cleaner and Disinfectant
To save time, I use a concentrated lemon juice diluted with water and add 10 drops of any citrus essential oil.  Keep it in refrigerator between uses, to keep it fresh.

This smells good, but if you have the time one day, squeeze a few fresh lemons and add water for an amazing cleaning experience--so nice you may take the time regularly to do it--fresh!

I firmly believe that we need further scientific studies on the simple, natural, plant-derived substances in our world to verify their disinfecting properties. Wouldn't it be great if everyone just disinfected with something as pure as diluted lemon juice?

Try it! Green, natural cleaning with lemon--the aroma of lemon's essential oils will freshen you as you clean.

Happy Green Cleaning! Green Keen aka Pamela Palmer

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Speed Cleaning in the Natural Cleaning Way

Natural Cleaning is Simple and Pure

My mantra as a busy mom is to keep housecleaning simple, quick and easy. After an epiphany a few years ago, I now also keep it pure as possible! Hence why I am now "Green Keen". Natural cleaning should also be easy as possible, not a big burden on our shoulder's.

I wanted to share a few very important tips that have helped me immensely through the years to clean quickly and in the midst of the busyness of raising high-energy kids, homeschooling, working, gardening, driving kids to soccer, or piano practice...the list goes on and on!

Number One Tip: Declutter your rooms. Less knick-knacks, less you need to clean around. Keep enough to show your style and personality and no more.

Quick Cleaning Tips that Work

1. Keep a supply basket/bucket with a handle under your sink or in a closet. One for each bathroom/one in the kitchen.

Supplies Include:
No more than 2-3 bottles of natural cleaners that you like.
1 or a combination of 2 that disinfect.
1 that can function as a glass cleaner.
1 that can function as a mild abrasive.
A scrubby sponge and 2 wash cloths (1 dry/1wet)
rubber gloves
duster with handle

2. Keep a few recycled plastic bags in bottom of trashcans under the installed bag for easy replacing after emptying the trash.

3. Do "quick cleans" in the midst of life. Then one comprehensive clean once a week or every other week. For example: Often after I go to the bathroom, I will wipe down the sink, faucets and scrub the toilet--and then, wash my hands.

4. Wash part of the kitchen each day after the dinner dishes. For example: One night wipe section of cabinets, the next night do the counters, behind and under everything, etc.

5. Wash a 1/2 shelf a day in the refrigerator.

6. Every few days scrub the shower/tub before you take a shower--then let all your worries wash down the drain!

7. Keep a broom (and if possible a vacuum) on each level of your home. Fast and easy to grab!

8. Clean top to bottom, right to left--around a room. It will become automatic and faster.

Have a great day--green cleaning in a quick and easy way! --Green Keen aka Pamela Palmer
P.S. Train your kids and spouse to do chores! I'll write about that soon...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cheap Green Cleaning Tips -- Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

Cheap Green Cleaning Tips -- Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

Cheap and Green
Recycle ANY plastic bottles from the natural cleaners that you buy. Use until the spray valves don't work. Then toss into your recycle bin. Note: DON'T reuse ANY container from toxic cleaners! They can react to other substances (such as vinegar) even when rinsed out.

Buy Cheap spray bottles (Walmart has ones for under a $1.00). Use these with diluted liquid soap like Dr. Bronner's for dishwashing. (1-2 sprays/dish or pot) For kitchen clean up keep a spray bottle of diluted vinegar (1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water) next to the sink.

**I have a spray bottle of liquid soap and one with diluted vinegar at my kitchen sink.

Cut up towels for wash rags. Dollar stores and discount stores have bath towels for under $2.00 The thinner the better. Cut up into wash cloth size and hem all four edges. Recycle one of your old towels.

(Use only bamboo or hemp fiber cloth? Invest in one and divide it up and hem.)

Wash with sponges? Cut all your sponges in half and use a smaller size. Disinfect regularly (see this post scroll to Homemaking Tips) Scotch-Brite has a very good, very cheap green sponge at Walmart and other retailers.

Reuse plastic containers (I try to not buy plastic stuff at all) but they keep "showing up"! Keep baking soda or sugar or borax in recycled Parmesan cheese containers under the sink for scrubbing power. Great for in the bathroom too.

Buy plastic containers from a Salvation Army or Goodwill or yard sales. Antique Tupperware still works great!! And the lime greens and oranges are finally back "in"! LOL
(We keep our organic popping corn in an Ancient Tupperware container with a pop pour lid.)

Recycle any all-natural soap pieces into a scrubby bag or muslin bag and use by the kitchen sink. You will be amazed how long these will last. Plus this can be great for washing babies and toddlers.

Keep natural cleaning supplies in tub/shower (you can do this with all-natural cleaners because they're NON-TOXIC!! Of course, monitor young children around them) With natural cleaning products on hand, you can clean up just before you shower and use the hot water from your shower to rinse it all away.

**Green Cleaning makes cleaning fun for me! I love the aromas of essential oils and non-toxic cleaners. Citrus and pine and lavender, in particular.

Enjoy Green Cleaning! --GreenKeen aka Pamela Palmer

I will be launching a new green cleaning magazine soon!!! I'll let you know soon....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Green Cleaning: the Smarter, Healthier Way to Fight Germs

Green Cleaning: The Smarter, Healthier Way to Fight Germs
Author: Laura Carey

The biggest problem with germs is that you can’t see them! Even if your home looks spotless, large numbers of viruses, bacteria and fungal spores are almost certainly living and breeding there. Thankfully, not all of these microscopic interlopers cause disease, but to protect yourself and your family from harmful germs you need to get rid of as many as possible.

Green Cleaning is just as effective as using traditional cleaning methods but is much kinder to the person doing the cleaning, other people and pets, and the wider environment. Once you adopt some simple Green Cleaning strategies you will also find that they often enable you to clean quicker and easier. Here is a Green Cleaning plan to help you win the battle against germs:

1) Choose Your Weapons Look for environmentally friendly cleaning products that contain only natural, biodegradable ingredients. They kill germs as well as detergents and disinfectants containing toxic chemicals but are much less likely to trigger allergic reactions or cause other health problems. Does your vacuum cleaner suck up germs at one end only to blow them out at the other? If so, consider replacing it with a more hygienic model. Use microfiber cloths, dusters and mops that pick up and hold bacteria with a single wipe. Conventional cleaning accessories often only move germs across surfaces before releasing them into the air.

2) Know Your Enemy Some of the facts and figures about germs are truly alarming. Did you know that a single bacterium can multiply to six million in just eight hours? Understanding how they move around, and what conditions suit them best, gives you the advantage of being able to stop them before they make themselves at home. For example, knowing that germs can survive for limited periods on dry surfaces, but need moisture to thrive and multiply, will remind you why you shouldn't leave damp towels lying about.

3) Plan Your Campaign Start by giving your whole home a thorough, deep clean, paying special attention to all those cracks and crevices where germs are normally left undisturbed. Deal with one room at a time and clean systematically so you don’t make extra work for yourself by re-contaminating clean areas.

4) Keep Them Out Once your home is as clean as you can make it, aim to keep it that way by guarding against further germ invasions. Germs come into your home on the air, on people, pets and practically everything you bring inside. It’s impossible to stop them all, but you can slow them down. A good dirt-trapping doormat, and taking off outdoor shoes when you come in, will stop germs picked up in the street from spreading throughout your home. Close the toilet lid before flushing to prevent germs escaping from the toilet bowl.

5) Strike Fast The battle against germs is never-ending, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours rubbing and scrubbing. Target your everyday cleaning at places that are especially attractive to germs. Wipe up food spills and visible dirt without delay. In most homes, the greatest concentration of germs is found in the kitchen sink. Develop the habit of quickly cleaning the sink after each use and you will drastically cut the number of germs available to spread to the rest of the kitchen.

Green Cleaning is all about making the modern home cleaner and healthier using simple, natural products and efficient techniques. The only losers are germs!

Article Source:

About the Author: Laura Carey is the director of First Class Cleaning & Maintenance Limited, a Romford-based green cleaning company offering domestic and commercial cleaning services throughout Essex and London. For more information visit

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap -- Natural Cleaning Product Review

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap -- Natural Cleaning Product Review

I use Dr. Bronner's for literally everything! I love it! Pure castile soap rich in all its natural glycerin and no drying detergents or chemicals. Folks, this is what soap is always suppose to be!
That is why Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap is the #1-Selling Natural Brand of Soaps in North America .

Available in Peppermint, Lavender, Almond, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Unscented Baby-Mild, Rose and Citrus Orange, this natural cleaning product wins my green cleaning Olympian-gold medal in every arena.

Pros of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Certified Fair Trade Ingredients -- All Natural Ingredients -- No Harsh Detergents -- Organic Oils -- Pure Castile Soap -- 100% Biodegradable -- 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic Bottles -- 100% Vegan -- Made in U.S.A. -- Great Aromas -- Works great! -- Concentrated (so you can dilute as needed) -- 18 Plus Uses -- Wow!

Cons of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Bottle a little too wordy with philosophical tangents.... -- I would like to see more aroma choices
As you can see the Pros heavily outweigh the Cons!

How I use Dr. Bronner's Liquid All Natural Soaps

Personal Care:

  • Shampoo and Body Wash
  • Shaving Cream (My husband loves it!)
  • Facial Soap (Gentle, Rich, and Creamy)
  • Hand Soap at the Sink

Household Cleaning:

  • Dishwashing (Use in place of Liquid Dish Detergents/Dilute it in a squirt bottle)I use the Lavender Dr. Bronner's for dishes. It relaxes me while I do the dishes. No harsh chemicals on my hands. If I need to scrub, I scrub with baking soda.
  • Counters and Cabinets Dr. Bronner's soap is a castile soap, strong and gentle at the same time. Add baking soda/borax/or white vinegar to clean counters and sinks. And use it diluted for wood cabinets and baseboards.
  • Toilets Bowls I add a squirt to the toilet bowl from my hand soap dispenser and a generous sprinkle of white sugar from under my sink, scrub and flush. The Peppermint Dr. Bronner's is the best for this job. It leaves a nice fresh peppermint scent in the bathroom after cleaning!

Where To Purchase and What's the Price? Available for best prices $10-11.50/32 oz. bottle online through Amazon and HerbTraders (See sidebar to the right). Also, at any Health Food store, Target, Walgreen's and many other fine retailers.

Pointers: I keep all my Dr. Bronner's bottles to use for diluting. Keep the same aroma in each bottle. : ) Also, I use a spray bottle at my kitchen sink for hand washing dishes. This works great! And minimizes how much soap my kids use when cleaning up. Add your favorite essential oil (just a few drops) to a bottle of the Unscented Dr. Bronner's to create your own special soap.

Happy Green Cleaning with the Dr. Bronner's Natural Soap! --GreenKeen aka Pamela Palmer

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sugar Soap or Sugar as Soap?

Sugar to Clean? I recently kicked the white sugar habit! Actually, my husband and I, desiring to lose weight and eat a more whole foods diet cut out almost all refined sugars.

Regular fresh fruit and raw honey never tasted so good! Try it! It takes about a month to go through the "withdrawals", but once you're over it you'll feel great! Last night I caught myself saying to my hubby, "Oh, I'll just have a pink grapefruit for dessert..." (Thought I'd never hear myself say something like THAT!)

So...what do I do with the huge bag of white sugar in my pantry? Well, I've experimented with using it as a body scrub in the shower. It works great--exfoliates well and dissolves naturally in the shower and washes down the drain leaving your skin to feel baby soft!

Sugar Body Scrub Recipe
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

Keep in a container with a lid in your refrigerator and take out when you shower. It will be cool on your skin and feel delicious in a hot shower. Try it!

Sweeten Your Toilet
I found white sugar works as great natural cleanser in the bathroom. Keep a container under your sink, sprinkle in the toilet bowl with a squirt of natural liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner's) and scrub. It does the scrubbing work and dissolves, flushing away leaving no residue.

Sugar doesn't disinfect, but added to the soap it will easily remove scum and yuk as you clean, adding a nice shine. This is great for a quickie clean, in between disinfecting cleans.

Sugar Soap?
So not to confuse anyone, "sugar soap" usually refers to an abrasive cleaner technically called TSP, composed of sodium carbonate, sodium phosphate, and sodium silicate, which looks like table sugar but is a caustic cleaner. So folks, I don't mean use TSP!!!

Not Green!
Sugar or sucrose, known commonly as table sugar, is a highly-refined product of sugar cane or sugar beets, manufactured utilizing approximately 7 steps until the final product--so a lot of energy is wasted "making" sugar.

White, brown and granulated sugar all take a variety of steps until finally "refined", so although they are biodegradable (which is good) they are "energy hogs", and so not the greenest choice--but if you have a bag already in your cupboard as most people do, using it up as a cleaner/body scrub is a much better choice than eating it all!

Sugar In Homemade Cold-processed Soap
Many soap makers add a bit of sugar to their soap at trace to help increase the lather. Sugar added to the soap mixture produces a light, bubbly lather in the final product. This is another great use for your white sugar!

My Take on Sugar in Cleaning?
Thumbs up!
It is cheap and biodegradable, but not "green" since all the energy used to refine it. It exfoliates well as a body scrub; be careful with delicate facial skin.

And sugar also can be used in toilet bowls, sinks and tubs easily dissolving and washing away. Combine with soaps and other natural cleaners easily and safely. Sugar can be used as a natural cleaning product--who knew??

Happy Green Cleaning! from GreenKeen aka Pamela Palmer