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A few years ago, while cleaning my shower and nearly suffocating by the fumes, I scratched my head about the chemicals I was inhaling and possibly absorbing through my skin.  I knew the shortness of breath I was experiencing and scratching in my lungs couldn’t mean that the chemical cleaner was healthy.  Yea, it cleans, but I don’t feel so well afterwards, and my house stinks like chemicals.  Plus, my dog (or future child) could grab this and die.  Not so good!  So, my quest began.

I was sadly disappointed with several options – most Earth Friendly and Healthy cleaners leave something to be desired.  They dissolve and cut MOST of the dirt and grime, but if I wanted to get deep into cleaning, I had to scrub, and scrub, and scrub and scrub.  But, recently, I discovered a combination that hits even the chemical cleaners out of the park – Citra Solv  concentrate, white distilled vinegar and water.  You can’t get anymore simple than this!  I’ve been testing this out for several weeks now before sharing it with you, and I promise you, you will not be disappointed!  It cleans my sinks without scouring, it makes my tile floors look like new, I also use it on my countertops and in my shower.  Citra Solv has many other uses without the water and vinegar, like cleaning up pet messes, and leaving a fresh scent behind…very thankful to that, and well worth the investment!  (If you click on the links I’ve placed for Citra Solv, you’ll find all of its many uses.)

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Here are the directions for my new Green, Human Body Friendly, and Beautifully Aromatic all-purpose cleaner:

2 ounces Citra Solv

4 ounces white distilled vinegar

26 ounces water

Play around with the mixture to see what works best for what you’re trying to use it for.

On a side note – I like this better than just using vinegar and water because it cuts the grime better, I can’t smell the vinegar, and leaves my house smelling fresh.  If you have marble countertops, you can just use the Citra Solv and Water.

You can find Citra Solv online, or at most health food stores.

 

Oxford English Dictionary Definition:

Clean (adjective) – free from dirt, pollutants, or harmful substances

Reading this definition gets me thinking that those who wrote the Oxford English Dictionary may practice using Green Cleaning!  Could it be?  Maybe.  But really, up until 60 years ago or so, most households used “Earth Friendly” means to clean their homes, because the chemical alternatives simply didn’t exist.

One of the most harmful chemicals out there for “cleaning” is Drano, but not only is it harmful, it’s expensive!

Recipe: Clean Green Alternative to Drano

This recipe will also clean your tea kettle (or pot) at the same time!  A two-for-one!  The entire solution, including your water, costs no more than $.50

– Fill a Tea Kettle (if not using a kettle, use a pot) two-thirds full with 1/2 white distilled vinegar and 1/2 water

– Bring solution to a rolling boil for 3 minutes (it will smell of vinegar – this will deodarize your kitchen and the smell will dissipate quickly.)

– Put 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain that needs un-clogging

– Take kettle of boiling hot water/vinegar solution and pour it down the drain with the baking soda SLOWLY.  Together, the baking soda and water/vinegar solution will eat away at debris in the pipes.

– Bring the kettle back and fill it with just water – bring to a boil for 3 minutes (this cleans out the kettle from the vinegar.)

– You can either dump the boiling water out as you normally would, or place it down the same drain that you were clearing for good measure, and to make sure it’s clear.

And you’re done without a special trip to the store.

Why I like using Green methods for cleaning:

1) Saves Money (this is a big one for me!  Who doesn’t like this?)

2) More Convenient (you probably have everything already at home.)

3) Saves Time (I end up using the same products over and over again for different tasks, and don’t have to run to the store for each task!)

4) Cleans without leaving a residue (residue of chemicals.)

5) Cleans without any harmful side effects to the air quality in my home and the waterways (ever notice how you can’t breathe as well when using chemicals to clean?)

6) I don’t have to store harmful and deadly chemicals in my home that may harm my pets or children

I’ll be the first to admit it…I’ve never been excellent at living green for most of my life.  For most of us, the evolving attempt to live greener is a slow process.  And I will be the first to admit there is still a lot of room for improvement.  As much as I would like to say my attempts at becoming greener have been completely motivated by mother earth, it’s just not the case.  Timarie and I promised to keep it REAL on this blog, so there you have it.  Just speaking the truth!  Here are a few “hooks” that have helped and motivated me to live a bit “greener”…

  •  LOVING the outdoors…it’s where I feel the most comfortable and at home.  There is NOTHING (even my yoga mat!) more therapeutic to me than a trail run or hike.  What a gift…

Ryder and me loving the great outdoors

  • Yoga training brought a little more awareness to Ahimsa (non-violence) as it relates to the world we have the privilege to live in.
  • Living in MA…come on.  Need I say more?  Living in Massachusetts where there is a farmers market in every town, going to the grocery store and being the only person using plastic bags (that was the last time), not to mention the green culture that exists up here.

First farm share crop, spinach, yummy!

  • I’m a pretty green “eco” mama.  I don’t know how it happened; I just know that from day one of Ryder’s arrival I became one.  Part time cloth diapers, organic food, and nothing but Burt’s Bees.  Yes, please!
  • Being more economically sound…Yes, by using cloth diapers, making all my cleaners at home, and using cloths as opposed to paper towels for cleaning, these actions were motivated by saving a buck.  And not having an asthma attack every time I used Mr. Clean in the bathroom.

So here is where I am at so far in this green metamorphosis:

-Reusable grocery bags

-Homemade cleaning products

-Organic farm share (first season…woohoo!)

-Recycling

I know, it’s not a very long list.  Baby steps, right?  But slowly, this caterpillar is metamorphing into a green butterfly.

How does this relate to yoga?  To our blog?  Creating new habits by increasing our awareness of our thoughts and actions.    Like yoga, I do not think I will become the queen of green overnight.  Just like no yogi went into shoulder stand his or her first attempt.  It takes patience, persistence, and thoughtful action.

My inspiration for Real Green Daily is to create, foster and grow our awareness in all aspects of life for ourselves, those around us and the earth.

I had the honor of being a part of the Earth Day celebration in Dallas a few weekends ago.  In celebration of Earth Day, I’m kicking my first blog post off with a simple earth-friendly cleaning solution that we can all start incorporating!  Being Earth friendly isn’t a badge you wear, or a group you join, it is simply caring for the earth that supports your life, and the lives of future generations.  It’s giving back, it’s being grateful, and it’s saving money!  (Earth friendly cleaners are typically a lot cheaper and safer than any pre-packaged cleaner you find at the store.)

Recipe to replace Windex:

–          ¼ cup distilled white vinegar

–          ½ tsp liquid soap (Eco-friendly castile or dish soap)

–          1-3/4 cup water

–          8 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)

  • Antiseptic Essential Oils (can be found at natural food stores)  Cinnamon, Clove, Lavendar, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Oregano, Rosemary, Tea Tree, and Thyme

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle, use instead of Windex!

When switching from Ammonia-based window and glass cleaner to a vinegar-based cleaner, you will likely notice a few streaks.  This is residue from the previous cleaner and will eventually go away after 3-4 applications.  Also try using newspaper instead of paper towels!

We’d love to hear about your favorite earth-friendly cleaning solution.  Please post and share!