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More Surprising Uses for Vinegar

This information comes from The Vinegar Institute.

Getting the last drops:
When you can’t get the last bit of mayonnaise or salad dressing out of the jar, try dribbling a little of your favorite vinegar into it, put the cap on tightly and shake well. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve been wasting.
Cooking fish:
Try soaking fish in vinegar and water before cooking it. It will be sweeter, more tender and hold its shape better. When boiling or poaching fish, a tablespoon of vinegar added to the water will keep it from crumbling so easily.
Cake icing:
Cake icing can be prevented from becoming sugary if a little vinegar is added to the ingredients before cooking. The same is true when making homemade candy.
Boiling eggs:
When boiling an egg and it’s cracked, a little vinegar in the water will keep the white from running out.
Keeping potatoes white:
A teaspoon of white distilled or cider vinegar added to the water in which you boil potatoes will keep them nice and white. You can keep peeled potatoes from turning dark by covering them with water and adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar.
Freshen vegetables:
Freshen up slightly wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water and vinegar.
Fruit and vegetable wash:
Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to 1 pint water and use to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly. Research has shown that vinegar helps kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables.
Frying doughnuts:
Before frying doughnuts, add ½ teaspoon of vinegar to hot oil to prevent doughnuts soaking up extra grease. Use caution when adding the vinegar to the hot oil.
Flavor booster:
Perk up a can of soup, gravy or sauce with a teaspoon of your favorite specialty vinegar. It adds flavor and taster fresher.
Meat tenderizer:
As a tenderizer for tough meat or game, make a marinade in the proportion of half a cup of your favorite vinegar to a cup of heated liquid, such as bouillon; or for steak, you may prefer to a mix of vinegar and oil, rubbed in well and allowed to stand for two hours.
Fruit stains:
Remove fruit or berry stains from your hands by cleaning them with vinegar.
Fresh lunch box:
It is easy to take out the heavy stale smell often found in lunch boxes. Dampen a piece of fresh bread with white distilled vinegar and leave it in the lunch box overnight.
Get rid of cooking smells:
Let simmer a small pot of vinegar and water solution.
Fluffy Egg Whites:
Soak a paper towel with 1-2 Tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Wipe mixing bowl and beaters or whisk with the vinegar-soaked paper towel, then dry with a cloth or paper towel prior to whipping egg whites.
Fluffier Rice:
For fluffier and great tasting rice, add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water before adding rice. Rice will be easier to spoon and less sticky.

Relief from Heartburn:
For relief of heartburn or acid indigestion, take one or two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine for Sleep Apnea:

To clean the calcium deposit of the humidifier reservoir, heat 450 ml (1 ¾ cups) of vinegar in the microwave for 2 minutes. Pour vinegar into reservoir and replace cap. Let sit for 1 hour. Remove vinegar. Reservoir should be clean and calcium free. Contact manufacturer before cleaning with this method or review manufacturer’s directions.
Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting:
Douse with vinegar. It will soothe irritation and relieve itching.
Relieve sunburn:
Lightly rub white distilled or cider vinegar on skin. Reapply as needed.
Relieve dry and itchy skin:
Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your bath water.
Fight dandruff:
After shampooing, rinse with a solution of ½ cup vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
Soothe a sore throat:
Put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle, then swallow. For another great gargle: 1 cup hot water, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vinegar, gargle then drink.
Treat sinus infections and chest colds:
Add 1/4 cup or more vinegar to the vaporizer. (Be sure to check vaporizer instructions for additional water measurement.)
Skin burns:
Apply ice-cold vinegar right away for fast relief. Will prevent burn blisters.
Chest congestion:
To clear up respiratory congestion, inhale a vapor mist from steaming pot containing water and several spoonfuls of vinegar.
Toenail fungus:
Soak toes in a solution of vinegar and water, using 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, 15 minutes per day.
Arthritis Relief:
Mix a teaspoon of half apple cider vinegar, half honey in a glass of water with a teaspoon of orange flavored Knox gelatin.
Lessen Morning Sickness:
Drink some apple cider vinegar in water, with honey added. This concoction can help calm a queasy stomach.
Stop Itching:
Apply a paste made from vinegar and cornstarch. Keep on until itch disappears.
Cleaning Heavily Soiled Hands:
Moisten cornmeal with apple cider vinegar. Scrub hands, rinse in cold water and pat dry.
Soft Feet:
Combine 1 cup white distilled vinegar to 2 gallons warm water. Soak feet for 45 minutes then use a pumice stone or file to remove dead skin from heels and callused areas of feet.
Wart Remover:
Mix lukewarm/warm water with a cup of white distilled vinegar. Immerse area with wart and soak 20 minutes everyday until wart disappears.
Bug Spray:
Combine equal amounts of water, white distilled vinegar and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. Use on skin, as needed.

Fun Stuff
Coloring Easter eggs:
Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with each ½ cup of hot water, then add food coloring. (Check egg-coloring booklets or food dye box for specific directions.) Vinegar keeps the food dyes bright and prevents streaky, uneven colors.
Making naked eggs:
Place eggs in a container so the eggs are not touching. Add enough vinegar to cover the eggs. Cover the container, put in the refrigerator and let the eggs sit in the vinegar for 24 hours. Use a large spoon to scoop the eggs out of the container. Be careful since the eggshell has been dissolving, the egg membrane may be the only thing holding the egg together. Carefully dump out the vinegar. Put the eggs back in the container and cover them with fresh vinegar. Leave the eggs in the refrigerator for another 24 hours. Scoop the eggs out again and rinse them carefully. If any of the membranes have broken, throw those eggs away. When you’re done, you’ll have an egg without a shell.
How to build a volcano:
First, make the “cone” of the volcano. Mix 6 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 4 tablespoons cooking oil and 2 cups of water. The resulting mixture should be smooth and firm (more water may be added if needed). Stand a soda bottle in a baking pan and mold the dough around it into a volcano shape. Do not cover the hole or drop dough into it. Fill the bottle most of the way full with warm water and a bit of red food color (can be done before sculpting if you do not take so long that the water gets cold). Add 6 drops of detergent to the bottle contents. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the liquid. Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle. Watch out – eruption time!

Natural Pedicure Treatment

By: Susan Gonzalez, RN

The summer is almost here and that means that you will be showing parts of your body that no one has seen since Labor Day….including your feet.

Guys, you may be tempted to skip this post, but I will tell you that toe cheese is not sexy….no matter what your buddies tell you! And if you lack the masculine confidence to be seen in public, soaking in a scented foot bath, then read on, for this is a treatment you can do in the privacy of your own bathroom…doors locked, shades drawn. After this treatment, your feet will scream “I belong to a guy who knows how to take care of himself and values his appearance.” Your partner will want to play footsie with you without having to think if she is up-to-date on her tetanus shot.

Guys, if your feet can be registered as lethal weapons, it may be time to take action.

Girls, in these days of tight budgets, it makes sense to be able to pamper your feet at home with natural healthy products that are inexpensive and common to most kitchens. And isn’t it time that you reduced your exposure to breathing in harmful fumes from nail salons and being exposed to chemicals like phthalates or formaldehyde?

So let’s get started!

This natural pedicure is best done in the evening. It helps you to relax, and wearing the socks keeps the moisture on your feet all night to help absorption and make your feet silky smooth.
The ingredients can be mixed and matched, so don’t worry if you don’t have everything on the list.

You probably have all the ingredients for this home pedicure right in your pantry.

What you will need:

*foot basin, or any container that you can soak your feet in (you could use the bathtub filled to your ankles)
*baking soda
*peppermint extract (not artificial peppermint flavor) or essential oil of peppermint
*1 avocado-cut in half-remove flesh and use for lunch ☺ Save skin
*coarse sea salt and/or epsom salt
*honey (a natural exfoliator)
*olive or safflower oil–these household oils have great beauty value making skin soft and silky
*clean cotton socks
*pumice stone (natural volcanic rock that smooths callouses)
*nail clippers & nail file

Make a scrub by mixing 1/2 cup coarse sea salt, 1 tsp honey, and 3 tBs oil. Set aside.

Dissolve 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup epsom salts, or sea salt, (or better–dead sea salt) in a basin or shallow tub of warm (on the hotter side of warm since it will sit for a while–but not hot) water. Add 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract if you have it, or a few drops of essential oil of peppermint. This is optional, but makes your feet feel fresh and tingly.

Soak your feet for 10 minutes. Try to relax during this time with some deep breathing or soft music. If you meditate, now would be a good time.

After feet have been soaking for at least 10 minutes or more, scrub with the pumice stone paying attention to callouses and rough spots. Run your fingers over the surface of your feet to find the rough spots. Don’t try to remove all the roughness in one treatment. Repeated weekly treatments will remove more and more dead skin, until they are very soft.

Take the 1/2 avocado skin and rub the inside of the skin on heels or other heavily calloused places. Massage gently for several minutes. Use one half of the skin for each foot.

Before you rinse the avocado off, take the honey/oil/salt scrub you made and massage into bottoms and tops of your feet, and up your ankle and calf as well. Scrub for several minutes (you can use the pumice stone for this as well) as this increases the circulation and removes dead skin and callouses. Want your partner to fall madly in love with you? Do this step for them.

You can use the pumice stone with the scrub for added effect.

You really won’t believe how great this feels! If you have scrub left over, take it in the shower to use on knees and elbows.
Rinse feet in the warm water and pat dry with soft towel.

Clip nails neatly, if needed, leaving some nail to file, and file edge to follow the shape of the nail bed. Guys, a nail file works the best, but you can use the little file on the clipper if you don’t own a file.

**If you want to apply nail polish, see below.

Place some of olive or safflower oil on your hands and massage into your feet-tops and bottoms. Be generous with the oil without being drippy. Pay close attention to your cuticles massaging the oil into each toe. Another step you can do with a partner.

If you need to, push cuticles back gently with orange stick. Do not try to remove or cut cuticle. Guys, the cuticle is the skin that grows up your nail at the base of the nail bed. An orange stick is a wooden stick that is shaped so you can push the cuticle skin back giving a neater look.

Put the socks on. Leave on overnight. (You can apply the oil, massage it in, leave on for as long as you can, and wipe dry or wash with mild soap and water if you don’t want to put on the socks. The softness of the oil will remain even after your wash.)

**If you want to apply polish: apply a few drops of oil to nail beds only. Push back cuticles and wash oil off with mild soap and water. Wipe nails down with acetone-free and methanol-free polish remover and apply safe polish. Allow to completely dry.

You can apply oil to your feet with socks any and every night you choose. The more you grease up the softer you will be. These natural ingredients without preservatives of chemical thickeners work with your body to soften your skin.

When you take a shower, the oil washes off, but the softness remains. (be careful in the morning, as your feet might be slippery in the shower until you wash) You won’t believe how soft your feet will feel!

And let’s face it…when your feet feel great, so do you!

PLEASE do not use Vaseline in place of the oil! Vaseline is a petroleum product that you shouldn’t be using on your body. It is a petrochemical that is made from the refining of crude oil. Would you rub motor oil all over you? (guys…don’t answer this).

Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is one of those products that should be sitting in your trash can. It clogs your pores and blocks sweat and oil glands and gets absorbed into your body through your skin. Your skin provides a direct pathway to your bloodstream (this is how medication, like nicotine patches, work) By applying the petro products to your skin it is similar to ingesting them. Would you eat motor oil? (again…guys don’t answer)

After your all-natural, at-home pedicure, you can be confident about prancing around and showing off your terrific tootsies! And you can be proud that your home pedicure cost next to nothing and was chemical-free!

The Savvy Sister is a cancer survivor and RN who looks for simple ways to make positive impacts on our health. Click here to visit her website for more healthy living articles.

Everything you need to know to clean your home naturally – (the lungs you save may just be your own)

By: Susan Gonzalez, RN

We all want clean happy homes.  But sometimes in wanting “clean” we get “chemically-induced-smells-like-it’s” clean.   And the chemicals that “clean” sometime do so at a cost to you and those living in your house.  Most were formulated for industrial use and are totally unnecessary for day to day cleaning in a home.

I fear that we, as consumers, have been scared into believing that sickness comes from dirt and have all bought into the “anti-microbial” propaganda that conditions our brain to think we need toxic chemicals to rid our homes of bacteria, viruses, and odor when inexpensive ingredients (that we probably have around the house anyway) will do just as good a job.

With hundreds of cleaners on the market all over the world, it is impossible to list them all.  However, here is a list of noted ingredients that you should avoid. You may want to note that companies are not required to list all ingredients on a label.  For example “fragrance” may contain phthalates a known endocrine disruptor (the US EPA is trying to limit phthalates overall) and sometimes you have to go the company’s website to get a complete list of ingredients as only the “active ingredient” is listed.

organic cleaners

The great offenders:

chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) wait…bleach is in pretty much EVERYTHING I use! Yes, that’s right. Because we have been conditioned to believe that bleach does everything and it is GOOD…from getting your clothes white to killing 99.9% of germs on any surface.  Manufacturers know if they have “contains bleach” on the label people will buy it.  In reality, bleach is a corrosive chemical that can cause liver damage with low level exposure.  The “white” you see when you bleach you clothes is the bleach acting on the fibers to optically make things look whiter, but that doesn’t mean it’s cleaner.  Bleach mixed with the following chemicals will produce a toxic gas that can be fatal and can overcome victims in minutes:

phosphoric acid (found in toilet bowl cleaners, mildew and lime removers, bathroom cleaners and dishwashing detergents)

sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate (found in toilet bowl cleaners, deodorizers, dishwashing detergents)

ammonia (found in many various cleaning products and floor cleaners)

vinegar

–Aerosol products: anything that is sprayed from a can needs a “propellant” to make it airborne.  Airborne particles are very small and are easily inhaled deep into the lungs.  Two common propellants are formaldehyde and methylene chloride. Both are known carcinogens.   Other propellants are propane (fuel) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas used as anesthesia at the dentist).   Aerosol products are used by those seeking a quick “high”, but often lead to death instead.  Pump spray dispensers do not use propellants.

--DEA (diethanolamine)  listed as a suspected carcinogen by the state of California you can find this in many many cleaning products. Can be absorbed through skin, and lungs. (also known as TEA lauryl sulfate) “DEA” at the end of anything contains it (even if the word “coconut” appears before it).

Fragrence: “fresh breeze”…”mountain rain”…”field of flowers”…sounds nice, but these added fragrances contain toluene (mthylbenzene) a known reproductive toxin which can damage a developing fetus.  It also is found in breast milk.  US EPA found almost 100% of perfumes contained toluene. Fragrances can also contain phthalates which are endocrine disruptors.  Exposures to phthalates in the workplace showed increased incidence of male breast cancer, testicular cancer, and genital abnormalities in baby boys when mothers were exposed during pregnancy. (reference here) (FYI..phthalates are found widely used in nail polish)

2-butoxyethanol:  a powerful solvent found in window cleaners.  The EPA sets exposure standards for this kidney and liver damager.  But if you are using this cleaner in a poorly ventilated room, you are getting a higher exposure than what the EPA sets.

These are just the biggies.  There are plenty more.  See a complete list of household chemicals here.
organic  safe cleaners


Everything you need to clean your house is probably in your house already

If you have these ingredients, you can make natural cleaners and deodorizers for every corner of your house and save an amazing amount of money.  You can also pat yourself on the back that you are not exposing you or your family to harmful chemicals.  And reusing your containers means you by-pass the recycle bin.

You might also think about investing in microfiber cloths for cleaning. I find that I don’t even need to use anything but water when I use these because the fibers are made to clean grease and oil.  They work great on windows.  You wash these in the washing machine and they come out great. (wash them separately because they tend to collect fiber and lint). Here are the one’s I have, but you can find these anywhere.

Just buy these cheap items the next time you’re out:

  • white vinegar – only white as others might stain. Yes, there is a vinegar smell when it’s wet, but when it dries there is none. For most recipes a bit of lemon juice will cut the smell.
  • lemon juice – fresh is best, but reconstituted in a bottle will do.
  • borax – where has this stuff been all my life!!? I love this stuff! You can do pretty much all your cleaning with just borax.  It’s been around for over 100 years.  Borax has just one safe ingredient (sodium tetraborate decahydrate.  I know it doesn’t sound safe but it is)   The only caution is not to inhale the powder when you’re using it.  My laundry has never smelled so clean!
  • baking soda – you can clean with it, deodorize with it, and even drink it for an upset stomach.  Costco sells it in 13.5 pound bags.  We buy it by the case.
  • liquid castille soap – “castile” soap means it is derived from plant oils and fats. You can purchase this already made (in nice scents like peppermint) and some grocery chains carry it. Or you can make your own.
  • hydrogen peroxide – you can get this at any drug store in the first aid aisle
  • olive oil – low grade cheap will do for cleaning
  • scented essential oils if you wish: lemongrass, cinnamon, lavender, or tea tree – these can be purchased at any health food store.  Make sure you buy essential oil and not “fragrance oil” as essential oils are pure. I get mine here.
  • Coke  - yes, as long as you don’t drink it, this unhealthy American drink has a purpose!

Kitchen

All purpose cleaner: 2 cups water, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup lemon juice. Mix well in a spray bottle. Use on any surface like you would any spray cleaner.

Dishwashing detergent:  Mix equal parts borax and baking soda (slightly more baking soda if you have hard water) and store in a tightly sealed container.  Use 2 tBs per load.  Put vinegar in the rinse dispenser. You may add 1 tsp of lemon juice to the detergent for greasy dishes.

Disinfectant:  1/8 cup borax to 1 liter warm water (one hospital used this formula and it satisfied the hospital’s germicidal requirements) Another solution is: 2 tsp borax 4 tBs vinegar, to 3 cups hot water. Wipe on with damp cloth or use in non-aeresol spray bottle.  You can add 1/4 tsp castile soap if desired.

Drain opener:  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover drain if possible. Let sit for 5 minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain. (don’t use if you have used a chemical drain opener and it’s still in the drain.)  You can use this weekly to prevent clogs.  Throw a piece of lemon peel in the garbage disposal every week to keep it smelling fresh.

Floor cleaner: for all floors including wood: 1 cup of vinegar to a pail (1 1/2 gallons) warm water.  For wood floors, you can also add 1/4 cup castile soap.

Stainless and chrome cleaner:  Dip cloth in undiluted vinegar. Wipe surface.

Scouring powder: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, 1 cup regular salt. Combine and keep in a tightly sealed container. Use on sinks and tubs.

For burnt-on pans: Pour Coke into pan and boil on stove. The stuck on mess should soften and be easy to clean

home made bathroom natural cleanersNatural toilet cleaners would even work on this guy’s bowl (hmmm I wonder what his urinal looks like?)

Bathroom

Disinfectant: see above

Lime and mineral deposit remover: Soak a rag in vinegar and apply to lime deposits around faucets. Wait 1 hour. deposits will be soft and easily removed.

Shower heads:  Place 1/2 cup undiluted vinegar in a plastic bag and secure bag to shower head with rubber band (I used a large plastic bag and secured it with a zip tie leaving enough room to cut the tie. I found I needed more “bag” on top to keep the shower head immersed without sagging)

Tub and tile cleaner: 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup white vinegar.

Toilet bowl cleaner:  Pour 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup vinegar in bowl and let sit overnight. Scrub with brush in the morning, or  pour 1 can Coke in toilet.  Let sit for a 1 hour and flush. (This is where Coke belongs :)

Laundry   

Whitening: 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide in bleach dispenser or 1/2 cup borax in with the detergent. (adding borax will also soften clothes)

Fabric softener: 1/2 cup white vinegar, baking soda or borax in the rinse cycle, add a small ball of aluminum foil in the dryer with the clothes to reduce static cling.

Stain remover: 1/4 cup borax, 1/4 cup baking soda in 2 cups cold water.  Soak for 10 minutes or so before laundering. For severe grease stains add 1 can of Coke to washer with your detergent.   Full strength hydrogen peroxide will remove blood stains.   Full strength lemon juice will remove ink spots.

Starch: 2 – 3 tsp cornstarch in 1 pint of water. (you way need to dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of warm water first, then add that to more water to make 1 pint) Use in refillable spray bottle.

Shoe shine: rub shoes with the inside of a banana peel  or olive oil and buff with paper towel.

House 

Air fresheners:   Mix 1 oz vodka or witchhazel with 20 – 40 drops of essential oil (lemongrass, lavender etc.) and mix that with 6 oz filtered or distilled water.  Put in a spray bottle and spray as often as needed.  Or,  simmer cinnamon or cloves in a saucepan with water on the stove.  Zeolite   is a mineral that safely and naturally absorbs odors and can be purchased commercially.  Most air is stale because of poor ventilation…open windows and run fans to circulate air. (Caveat: Wait till you’re done cleaning to drink the remaining vodka)

Windows and mirrors:  Use plain water and microfiber cloth.  Consumer Reports (1992) found that plain water worked as well as half of the products tested. In addition, the most effective cleaner for oily fingerprints was lemon juice and water.  2 tBs of lemon juice in 1 quart (1 liter) water or 1/2 water 1/2 vinegar poured into a spray bottle.

Carpet deodorizer: Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and leave overnight. Vacuum in the morning.

Dusting:  dust with microfiber cloths or mix 1 tsp olive oil with 1/4 cup vinegar and apply with soft cloth.

General cleaning tips when using cleaners:  These tips are important whether you use chemicals or naturals.

  • Always wear thick gloves.  The skin that you rely on to absorb your favorite hand lotion is the same skin that will absorb phthalates and chemical fragrance in hand soaps.  Most bathroom cleaners are extremely irritating to skin and bay cause chemical burns.    Even if you’re cleaning with alternative cleaners like vinegar, too much exposure can cause skin redness.
  • Never mix cleaners.  Ever hear of chloramine gas?  That’s what you get when you mix ammonia and bleach or bleach.  The gas can overcome you in minutes and do permanent harm to your lungs and eyes.  The gas can render you unconscious in minutes.  (see “bleach” above) Even if the surface was cleaned with one product, the chemical will remain and should not be cleaned with another right on top or gasses may be produced.
  • Always ventilate.  You can never be sure of what will happen or how you will react to a cleaner.  If you are spraying, the particles are in the air that you are breathing.  Make sure you open windows and turn on fans when cleaning.  In most of the reported injuries from gas formation, inadequate ventilation was the reason for poisoning.
  • Rinse everything away.  Never clean without rinsing all the cleaners away from the surfaces that will touch your skin (feet, butt, you get the idea) Don’t ever clean and let dry.

Which brings me to another reason to use naturals:  the water system.  How long can we continue to pour these toxins  down the drains and into the water system and expect clean water to drink and swim in?

So there’s no excuses.  Here’s everything you need to have a TRULY “clean” home.

Disclaimer: Always test a small amount of cleaner on the surface you want to clean to see if it will react.  Always keep cleaning products, natural or otherwise away from children and pets.

A very well written article by The Savvy Sister. Click here to visit her website for more healthy living articles.

 

Holiday Clean-Up Tips & Tricks

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

Easy and Creative Ways to Give Thanks at Thanksgiving

            This Thanksgiving, enjoy these simple crafts and ideas for encouraging friends and family to give thanks. Some ideas help keep kids occupied while the adults are busy. These tips are an excerpt from Better Homes & Gardens @ www.bhg.com

              Notes of Appreciation: For those who can’t be at your Thanksgiving table, set pen to paper to tell them they’ve made a difference in your life this year. Print these Thanksgiving designs to make lovely foldable cards for your thank-you notes.

              Card Game: To facilitate the thankful spirit, create gratitude cards using paper and supplies. Cut out cards from scrapbooking papers using decorative-edge and embellish with stamps, stickers, etc. Give the cards to guests before dinner and ask them to write what they are thankful for. As the meal begins to wind down, ask people to share their thoughts.

              Garden Variety: Start a Thanksgiving-tree tradition with your family and friends. Assemble the tree before the big day, along with blank paper.  As your guests gather, ask them to write a message of gratitude on an ornament and hang it on the tree.

              Family Tree: Gather favorite snapshots of family and friends to decorate a small potted tree for Thanksgiving. Use binder clips and pieces of twine to hang the photos on the tree as shown.


            Thoughtful Journal: Craft a paper journal to record a Thanksgiving celebration. Pass the journal among guests to capture their sentiments and memories. Start your own anthology and make a journal each year. When Thanksgiving comes around again, bring out the old journals and reminisce.

            Share poetic sentiments as artwork for the Thanksgiving season. Print meaningful poems or sayings (typed in an elegant font) onto cardstock. Place in frames and hang on the wallas a reminder of the season’s meaning. Adapt this idea for Christmas by printing the lyrics from favorite Christmas songs or lines from favorite Christmas stories. Display the new printouts in the same frames used for Thanksgiving.

            Capture It All: Create a Thanksgiving time capsule with a three-ring binder scrapbook. Keep it easy by sticking with simple pages that focus on memories, rather than intricate scrapbooking designs. Use blank white pages for adding photos. Lined cardstock works well for recording recipes and memories.

            Thankful Leaves: If you’re hosting little ones this Thanksgiving, keep them entertained with Thanksgiving-theme art projects. Ask kids to write what they are thankful for on paper leaves. Provide crayons, markers, and stickers to use for decorating the leaves. Keep the leaves to stir conversations about Thanksgivings past.

           

Window Cleaning Tips

By: Nationally Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Tim Carter, www.askthebuilder.com

Accckkkk! Many people put off cleaning windows or struggle through it because they make the same mistakes I have made for 47 years. I had it all wrong! Do you want crystal clear windows – just like you see at businesses and commercial buildings? Here is how to achieve it!

Use the Right Tools – You must use the professional squeegees, soap and applicators I have already spoken of. If you don’t, your windows will look like they do now!

A Clean Scrubber – Always start the job with a clean scrubber or lambs wool applicator, sponge and/or porcupine cleaner. A dirty applicator can leave dirt behind. Rinse the scrubber frequently if you are cleaning many windows, especially dirty windows.

Watch the Sun – NEVER wash windows in direct sunlight. The sun can superheat the glass and cause all sorts of streaking problems.

Holding the Squeegee – Hold the squeegee at an angle so the water runs down the glass. In other words, mimic the motion or setting of a snow plow. The blade on a plow aims towards where the snow ends up. If a plow simply aims straight ahead, snow flows out of the plow at both ends. You don’t want water flowing from both ends of the squeegee.

Wipe the Blade – After each squeegee stroke, you must wipe the rubber blade with your lint free cloth. Placing a wet squeegee on the glass will leave a blade mark. You will get good at quickly wiping the blade.

Don’t Cut it Close – Overlap squeegee strokes by about one and one half inches. Remember to angle the squeegee so water flows towards the wet window surface, NOT the area that is clean and dry.

Lots of Water – When first washing the window with the scrubber, use a liberal amount of cleaning water. You want the dirt to come off the window with this solution. Use a decent amount on interior glass surfaces, but not so much as to cause a flood or standing water on woodwork.

Go Sideways – Horizontal squeegee strokes are recommended when at all possible. If you are right handed, the left side of the window pane will have triangles of water left behind with each stroke. You will wipe these at the end with a final vertical stroke going from the top of the pane to the bottom of the pane.

Wipe the Edges – There will always be water marks or spots at the edge of the window pane. After all squeegee action is complete, wipe the entire window edge with the lint free cloth.

Practice First – Practice with the squeegee when you first get it. It may be hard to control. Professionals often use an 18 inch model. You might want to start with a 12 inch squeegee and work your way up to a larger model once you develop good hand/eye coordination.

Summary: Window cleaning like a pro requires proper window cleaning supplies and technique. Getting the dirt off and your windows crystal clear depends on professional squeegees, soap and water, and the right applicators.

10 Top Chemical-Free Cleaning Tips


Article: www.treehugger.com

1. Employ green cleaning products
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner.

2. Avoid poor indoor air quality
It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is because of the presence of toxic materials and substances and the fact that homes and buildings are better insulated than ever before (which is a good thing from an energy standpoint). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.

3. Be careful with antibacterial cleaners
The antibacterial and antimicrobial ‘cleaners’ that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.

4. Help your home smell baking soda-licious
Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.

5. Clean your indoor air naturally
Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you have a fondness for. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also have been known to create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air–pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do. Peace Lilies are a favorite choice.

6. Toss toxic cleaners carefully
When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you (see How to Go Green: Water for more).

7. Avoid conventional dry cleaners
Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of the industrial solvent called Perchloroethylene, or perc, which is toxic to humans and also creates smog. The two most common green drycleaning methods are carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth. Seek out cleaners that use green methods. If you do take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before wearing them or putting them in the closet.

8. Employ a chemical-free house cleaning service
For people don’t have the time to clean their own homes, fortunately there are an increasing number of chemical-free cleaning services out there to help get things spic and span.

9. Leave the toxins at the door
Imagine what’s on your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that oil, antifreeze, animal waste, particulate pollution, pollen, and who knows what else into the house is not good news, especially for kids and other critters that spend time on floor level. Keep the sidewalk out of your home with a good doormat or a shoeless house policy. Many buildings now include entryway track-off systems as a means of maintaining a healthy interior environment. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy, and fewer chemicals.

10. Design with clean in mind
Designing houses and other buildings with cleanability in mind can create spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and require fewer substances to maintain. In larger buildings, good cleanability can also be a big money-saver as cleaning costs can often add up to as much as half of a building’s total energy costs.

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Green Cleaning: By the Numbers

17,000: the number of petrochemicals available for home use, only 30 percent of which have been tested for exposure to human health and the environment.
63: the number of synthetic chemical products found in the average American home, translating to roughly 10 gallons of harmful chemicals.
100: the number of times higher that indoor air pollution levels can be above outdoor air pollution levels, according to US EPA estimates.
275: the number of active ingredients in antimicrobials that the EPA classifies as pesticides because they are designed to kill microbes.
5 billion: the number of pounds of chemicals that the institutional cleaning industry uses each year.
23: the average gallons of chemicals (that’s 87 liters) that a janitor uses each year, 25 percent of which are hazardous.

CBC Exposes Dangerous Household Cleaning Products

The CBC Exposes Dangerous Household Cleaning Products that could be lurking in your home, under your sinks, and in your cabinets. Nov 2009

The Better Alternative: Chemical Free Products

By: The Chemical Free Cleaning Network

Scientific technical innovation is moving above and past “green” or “organic” products with progress in technologies that clean without the using of any synthetic chemicals.

Around the earth businesses and individuals are investing in a range of equipment and products that allow non chemical cleaning emerging and inventive methods.

From applying electric current to common water, to using the power of sunshine: new advances in cleaning technologies and strategies are making it simpler to clean chemical free.

A number of the technologies such as Sealed HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners, and hand applicators for liquid ozone and electrolyzed water are cost effective when considering the long term savings on synthetic chemical products.

Adopting a Chemical Free Cleaning plan in your house does not mean the outlay of thousands of dollars in using the latest alternative Chemical Free technologies.

Time-proven cleaning practices have been brought down through the generations could, in many cases, also provide effective cleaning results in the household.

The use of daily attention and natural, organic, chemical free materials located in each household could be mixed, combined, and blended in many ways to accomplish cleaning equivalent to the level of synthetic chemical cleaning liquids. However, keep in mind the even organic, green or natural products are not consistently synthetic chemical free.

There are many ways to help you in your move towards chemical free cleaning in your household.

Begin with reducing the total number of in-house synthetic chemical pollutants, and then check in the back of your kitchen pantry to select which daily products you want to keep for cleaning your home.

Get rid of synthetic chemical cleaners (but make sure that you get rid of them safely and securely).

You could help the environment, save cash and streamline your cleaning chore by changing your current artificial chemical cleaners with a few of the products discussed in this section.

 

The Chemical Free Cleaning Network was established by industry visionary Vince Elliott, B.S., M.H.S., who in his nearly four decades of professional experience in developing innovative cleaning strategies for commercial and industrial applications. He has strived to bring these disparate technologies and strategies under one connected organization to benefit building proprietors, janitorial service managers, homeowners, and our ecosystem as a whole.