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Recently in: Home & Household

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Home & Household

Five Green Cleaning Recipes for a Spring Home


 Natural Cleaning Tips to Minimize Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

Did you know that ground cinnamon is an effective and organic way to control ants? How about using acombination of sea salt and lemon to clean chrome, copper, and brass? It doesn't take harsh chemicals to get the house cleaning job done well. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor environments may be two to five times more polluted than the outdoors, in part due to the regular use of traditional cleaning supplies laden with harmful chemicals.

Detox your home this spring with the Maid Brigade Spring Cleaning Go to Guide authored by Green Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert and Maid Brigade Consumer Health Advocate Marie Stegner. Below are some natural, green cleaning solutions as featured in the guide to minimize asthma and allergy triggers and improve your family's overall health.
Daily All-Purpose Cleaner
1 cup white vinegar
1-cup seltzer water
8 drops tea tree oil
1/8-cup hydrogen peroxide
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray on surface to disinfect and let soak for several minutes before wiping away. Hydrogen peroxide eventually loses its strength so you will need to add more to the mixture each time you use the solution.
Furniture Polish
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. water
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix liquids in a spray bottle.Shake well and apply to furniture. Allow polish to sit for 5 minutes before buffing with a dry polishing cloth.
No Wax Floor Cleaner
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 drops dish soap
3 tbsp. skim milk or powdered milk
2 cups warm water
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and spray directly onto floor. Use a microfiber cloth to clean, then rinse the floor as needed. This method does not require a bucket and uses less cleaner and water than traditional methods.
Ant Repellant
Ground Cinnamon
Find where the trail of ants is entering your home and spread ground cinnamon around the entire area. Ants do not like the smell and will go back to the nest with cinnamon stuck on their legs, moving out shortly after.
Chrome, Copper, and Brass Cleaner
1 whole lemon
1 small dish of sea salt
Cut the lemon in half and dip it in the salt. Rub the salted lemon on the tarnished metal. Then squeeze the juice of the lemon out slowly to cover the metal. Once clean, wash in warm water with a gentle dish soap.

Do you have any homemade cleaning recipes that have worked for you? Comment here and let us know.

For even more green cleaning recipes and healthy house cleaning tips visit www.maidbrigade.com.  


... Continue reading Five Green Cleaning Recipes for a Spring Home.

Quick Fixes to Save on Heating and Cooling


The average family spends $1500 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A home energy audit and some quick fixes can save some of that hard-earned money.

The EPA estimates that homeowners can typically save up to 20 percent of heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces and accessible basement rim joints.

Conduct an energy audit to identify spots where energy is lost through gaps and cracks. Start in your basement and move upwards. Look for both visible gaps and cold or hot spots.

HVAC Penetration
Your air-conditioning system set-up could be doing more than just heating and cooling your house. It could be an air-infiltration culprit. Check the HVAC ducts from your attic and basement into the living space. There may be gaps where the ducts go through the floor above into the ceiling below.

While plumbing pipes may be hidden behind or under the sink, it doesn't mean that the pipe penetrations aren't allowing unseen bugs and unwanted air into the house. Check for holes under the sink where the pipes enter from the floor or wall in all rooms that have running water (kitchen, bathroom, utility room, and laundry room).

Electrical Box
Stand in front of the electrical box of your house and look at where the main electrical exits the box and enters the living space (in the basement look upwards). If there is a hole, seal it.

Electrical Outlets
Use a screw driver to remove your outlet cover plates. Homes have holes cut in the walls for the outlets. Check for gaps between the wall and the metal box that houses the electrical socket.

Attic Hatch
Seal around the attic hatch frame to keep the unconditioned attic air from entering your living space.

The EPA recommends sealing these leaks with spray foam, caulk, or weather stripping. Insulating foam sealants, such as GREAT STUFF form an airtight, water-resistant seal. The foam is sandable, paintable, and can be trimmed with a utility knife afterwards and is easy to use for do-it-yourselfers of any skill level.

Other ways to save on energy
* Either installing a timed thermostat or by turning up or down the temperature before heading to work.
* Make sure the fireplace flu is closed and install glass fireplace doors to keep energy from escaping.
* Check to be sure no air vents are being blocked by furniture or drapery.
* Insulate any areas that are not heated and cooled (garage, attic, basement, or crawl space).

For more information on how you can save money by sealing gaps, visit www.dowgreatstuff.com.



... Continue reading Tips for Getting Room Color Right.

Room Makeovers That Won't Break the Budget


So you have a room that needs updating, but you don't have a lot of time or money? Not a problem. These quick-fix ideas will spruce up a room in no time without emptying your wallet.

* If you like old fashioned tin ceilings, try ceiling tile paintable wallpaper. It's textured wallpaper that looks like embossed white plaster, and you can paint it any color you want. Put it up under a chair rail to make a unique wainscoting in a weekend.

* For artwork, frame color copies of prints out of books, magazines or catalogs. If it's a kids' bathroom, frame some of their art.

* A few fresh hand towels and a new toilet seat will freshen things up, as well.

* A new duvet cover or comforter and matching shams will instantly change the look of your bedroom. Reversible covers give you even more design bang for your buck.

* Paint an accent wall to bring a new color into the room. If your other walls are neutral, go with a bolder color on the accent wall. If the other walls are a strong color, pick out a neutral tone.

* Fabric remnants are an inexpensive and easy way to dress up your room. Recover pillows or add a colorful band to your drapes. At about one-third of the regular fabric price, they're a bargain.

Living Room
* One of the easiest - and cheapest - ways to change up a room is to rearrange the furniture. Take everything out and start over with a clean slate. And don't be afraid to poach items from other rooms - the mirror in the hall just might look perfect behind the sofa now.

* Don't forget the floors. If you have wood floors, put the shine back into them with wood cleaner. If you have carpet, add a colorful area rug on top for a splash of color and to help define an area.

* Go green - with plants. Whether it's a single palm leaf in a vase or a pretty silk tree, greenery adds a lot to a room. For the best effect, group plants of varying heights, fullness and color together.

* Replace cabinet hardware with decorative pulls and handles. It's an easy way to add personality to ordinary cabinetry. New switch plates are another affordable change that can make a difference.

* Dress up your windows with a new valance. A fresh color will perk things up in no time. If you have solid curtains or sheers, try a patterned valance. If the curtains are print, compliment them with a solid valance.

* Add a new throw rug and a few fresh kitchen towels and you've got a brand new look for next to nothing.

Some creative thinking and a little elbow grease is all it takes to make a room feel like new.


... Continue reading Room Makeovers That Won't Break the Budget.