Homemade Furniture Polish
This homemade furniture polish recipe is so simple you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been caring for your wood this way!
It is made with two simple ingredients I am willing to bet you already have on hand. Olive Oil & Lemon Juice.
Traditional wood polishes have a lemon scent, but one look at the ingredients and you may reconsider spraying it in your home. Household cleaners are a leading cause of Indoor Air Pollution.
This homemade furniture polish recipe will leave you with nothing but a natural lemon fresh scent and well conditioned wood.
Homemade Furniture Polish Recipe
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice – or about the juice from one lemon
If using fresh lemons – remove the seeds and squeeze into the olive oil
Combine both ingredients in a small dish.
Use a clean rag to disperse the polish evenly around your wood.
It’s worth noting this homemade furniture polish works best on wood that needs to be conditioned. If you have furniture that is finished with a shellac – dust with a damp cloth… no polish required.
Done. It’s that simple to make your own homemade furniture polish.
Antibacterial Products Don’t Need to Be a Toxic
Fighting germs typically involves ambushing it with chemically derived antibacterial products, exposing your family to potentially harmful toxins. Watch this video and I’ll share the options we use in our home.
Please be sure to SUBSCRIBE – very important - also add PND as your YouTube friends too!
Share your natural Antibacterial solutions?
Eco-conscious laundry care is more than using organic detergent.
For some, it means avoiding detergents completely. And for others, it’s also about being eco-efficient.
Whether you’re new to embracing eco-fashion or you’ve been sporting hemp and organic fabric before it became hipster, caring for your clothes in a conscious manner is a different story. Small changes will make a big difference not only to the environment, but also on your health. Choose what eco-changes make sense for you, right now.
Laundry Care: Detergent
Many, if not all, commercial detergents contain chemicals that are harmful to you and the environment. Consider these eco-safe and friendly laundry care detergent options.
- Read the label: Similar to reading food labels, if you can’t pronounce the name of the ingredients listed, they are likely to be chemicals. Less ingredients is better, just like with your food products.
- Go natural: Some natural and eco-friendly laundry care detergents recommended by industry professionals in eco-fashion and design include:
- Castile Soap. Lori Del Genis, sustainable and eco-friendly dressmaker of Conscious Elegance, prefers castile soap. She recommends avoiding soap that contains ingredients such as wax, petroleum or their derivatives, as these products may leave a residue and cause oil spots.
- Liquid Sunshine by Vermont Soap Organics. According to Dianne Martz, cofounder and principal of Sustainable Life Solutions LLC, who personally uses the product, said “it is so eco-friendly that you could use it as salad dressing!”
- Skip detergents all the way: Now this is something I would have never thought about until Lori Dennis, interior designer and author of Green Interior Design, swore by it. According to Lori, “I gave up on detergents and now use baking soda, vinegar and hot water on whites, cold water on colors.” Her philosophy is all about keeping things simple. “I don’t imagine a Native American or pioneer by a river using measuring cups when figuring out how to clean clothes.” For large loads, Lori suggests you grab a fist full of baking soda and a four-second pour of vinegar. Reduce for smaller loads, proportionally. Dianne Martz is also a fan of vinegar as a natural fabric softener.
Curious about the effectiveness, I put these recipes to the test. I was impressed. Clothes came out clean, fresh and soft. (I may never use detergent again.) Only thing to note, be sure to spot treat stains before wash.
Eco-efficient laundry care: Reducing water and energy use
Laundry care is a mundane task we take part in regularly. Unfortunately, it’s also a big source of water and energy use in your home. Being eco-friendly in an approach to laundry care should also take consideration of being eco-efficient. It’s as easy as making a few changes:
- High-efficiency washers: Look for washers that are ENERGY STAR rated.
- Use less hot water: According to American Council of Energy-Efficiency Economy, 70-90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes towards heating the water. So the simple task of changing from hot to cold water can be a significant source of energy savings (not to mention save you money as well).
- Line dry (when possible): This is news to me, but did you know there is no government regulation to display an EnergyGuide label on dryers? Maximize on your dryer usage time. On most occasions, I throw my clothes in the dryer for 5 – 10 mins, and line dry it (even in my small NYC apartment). Clothes come out wrinkle-free too. If you have a backyard, consider line-drying on a sunny day.
- Leave the door open after use: According to the ENERGY STAR site, front loading washers use airtight seals to prevent water from leaking while the machine is in use. When not in use, the seal can trap moisture and lead to mold.
Dry cleaning & laundry care
Many eco-conscious consumers avoid it completely because of the known environmental and health concerns caused by the commonly used “dry-cleaning fluid”, tetrachloroethylene, also known as “perc”.
According to Tim Maxwell, president of GreenEarth, “people tend to lump all dry cleaning methods into the same ‘environmentally unsafe’ category.” He further states that there is a difference with GreenEarth, which is a green dry cleaning process that removes petroleum-based solvents with liquid silicone. It is one of three environmentally safe methods of dry cleaning. The other two are CO2 cleaning and 100% wet cleaning.
Personally, I’ve made a new commitment to dry clean less and I’ve found that many “dry clean only” items can be hand washed or cleaned on gentle cycle.
Lori Dennis shares the same sentiment and says, “I’m a fan of washing only what needs to be washed on expensive dry clean only items – i.e., a cashmere sweater can be blotted in the arm pit area (where you might have sweated a bit) with the vinegar, water, baking soda concoction applied with a clean, white rag and then air dried.”
But for those who want an eco-safe professional laundry care cleaning option (for those really hard to clean items like cashmere, wool, natural fibers, leather and suede), Tim Maxwell recommends these tips when researching a green dry cleaner.
- “The easiest way to tell if your dry cleaner is really green? The sniff test. If your dry cleaner cleans on premises, and you can detect an odor – either on the clothes or in the plant, they are using a petroleum based solvent. A truly green method has absolutely no odor. “
- “Avoid dry cleaners claiming to be ‘organic’. These cleaners are using either perc or hydrocarbon solvent. Marketing claims for dry cleaning are not regulated like food claims and many dry cleaners use these terms in misleading ways.”
- “To be truly green from the beginning to end, you want to patronize cleaners that clean, hang and package your clothes using only eco-friendly materials.”
Speaking of eco-friendly packaging, think about bringing your own garment bag to a “green” dry cleaner. Our editor recently discovered The Green Garmento™, which is a 4-in-1 reusable bag that can “green your dry cleaning routine”, as it can be used as a laundry bag, hamper, duffel and garment bag.
Every little effort counts, will you change the way you care for your clothes?
We’d also love to hear:
What are your eco-friendly laundry care tips and tricks?
Eco-friendly green spring cleaning this season
Spring cleaning is all about clearing the air, banishing those last traces of the dismal winter months, welcoming back the sunlight, celebrating the return of the birds, the flowers and of course, all the beautiful green. Spring brings the return of green leaves on the trees and green grass in the fields. Extend that crisp airy green feeling into your home by forgoing traditional chemical-based cleansers and digging into your pantry or refrigerator for all the green spring cleaning tools you need- white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.
Great Green Spring Cleaning; Ways to Use Vinegar
White vinegar isn’t just for making salad dressing, it’s also a miracle tool for a myriad of cleaning tasks. The 1001 Uses for White Vinegar site suggests running it through your coffee maker to clean out all those nasty deposits; saturate a towel and wipe down that nasty, accumulated dust on top of your refrigerator, or pour it in a bowl and let it sit overnight to absorb odors in the air.
- To make your windows really sparkle, spray them with white vinegar and wipe down with balled-up newspapers. Don’t worry, the ink wont bleed onto the window pane.
- Add half a cup to your wash cycle to prevent lint from sticking to clothes or add it to the rinse cycle to fluff those wool sweaters.
- Banish fruit flies by leaving a bowl (preferably one you’re not going to use for food) of undiluted vinegar out on the counter or wherever else they appear.
- Unclog a drain by pouring 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar into it, let it sit for a few minutes, then flush with hot water. Halve the recipe and use it to deodorize your garbage disposal.
- Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle to slaughter germs in your toilet, sink and tub in the bathroom.
- Combine with Four Thieves Mix, let steep for 2-4 weeks in a sunny spot and use as a whole-house disinfectant. Bonus- this mixture was used during the Plague years to ward off infection, so you’re covered if the Black Death ever makes a comeback!
Green Spring Cleaning: Ways to Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is also useful for a plethora of spring cleaning tasks. Leave an open box in the fridge or sprinkle in the bottom of the garbage can to eliminate unpleasant odors. Sprinkle some on a damp cloth and use it to clean surfaces, or toss some on the carpet before vacuuming. Baking soda is also a great silver cleaner; make a paste by adding three parts baking soda to one part water, then rub it on your tarnished silver to bring back that shine.
Green Spring Cleaning: Ways to Use Lemons
Lemons and lemon juice require a little more care when using, as they can stain or bleach out certain materials.
- Combine equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle to make a great eco-friendly all-purpose spray, but be sure to test on a small, inconspicuous spot before using.
- Shine your chrome or brass fixtures by mixing lemon juice with baking soda to form a paste, rub onto the fixture, rinse, then wipe with a soft cloth.
- Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice to make an eco-friendly furniture polish.
Before you head off to buff and shine your home with these simple green spring cleaning ingredients, check out this great recipe for hardwood floor cleaner from Tania. I hope you enjoy green spring cleaning the eco-friendly way! For those, like me, who aren’t fans of cleaning, at least it only comes once a year.
Do you have any green spring cleaning tips to share?
Costco introduced a new line of environmentally friendly cleaning products. It is their own Kirkland Brand – and it’s packaged in 70% recycled material.
The Line Includes:
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
All Purpose Cleaner
I’ve happily replaced my laundry detergent (method $12 + per 64 load ) with the Kirkland green brand, around $13 for 110 loads. – I like the fragrance, leaves the laundry with a light fresh smell – but not at all over powering.
For all purpose cleaner – I make my own for less than $1 per bottle – but I did buy a bottle to try. I’ll report back once I’ve used it.
The Automatic Dishwasher Detergent works equally well in my dishwasher as the Seventh Generation. The packaging doesn’t the little metal pour spout -which is greener, but I must confess I miss it. It won’t stop me from using this detergent.
Some reviews have said Kirkland Brand is not as green as brand like; Planet and Seventh Generation, but for those of you moving in the green direction it’s a much better alternative than conventional brands, a big step in the right direction by Costco. Not to mention being much kinder to our wallet that other green brands.
Mixing up new cleaning formulas has become a recent hobby. I love not spending hundreds of dollars on cleaning products and knowing exactly what I’m using in my home.
2 tbs Oil
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs alchohol
24 oz Water
2 tbs Oil
2 tbs Castille soap – I like the almond for wood floors.
2 tbs Alchohol
24 oz Water
If you like a little more fragrance add an essential oil of your choosing. PND likes almond and citrus for cleaning products.
Mix in Method Spray Cleaner Bottle – Spray on floor using a damp cloth over a mop to wipe. Because these cleaners contain oil – you do need to make sure you shake the bottle, to keep the liquids mixed while cleaning.
I’ve also used Method Hardwood Floor Cleaner, using about 1/2 cup and putting it in a spray bottle, fill with water. Spray directly on the floor and mop with a damp cloth.
I know that MANY of you are not ready to start mixing your own cleaners – clearly your sanity is still intact. That said – You do want to know the best options for non toxic cleaning in your own home.
When it comes to green home cleaning products you can’t get too far into any discussion without talking about Seventh Generation, a leader in the non toxic, greener household solutions industry.
What they have to say:
Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy and safe for the air, the surfaces, the fabrics, the pets, and the people within your home — and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers products for baby that are safe for your children and the planet.
Seventh Generation is their committed to inspiring change – their product labels are clear and you can understand what you are reading. Their products will often include a statement about the eco impact of your purchasing decision. Statistics that have inspired me.
If every family replaced just one roll of virgin fiber 120 count Paper Towels with 100% recycled paper towels we would save 1 million trees!
If every family replace just one bottle of conventional liquid laundry detergent with a plant derived alternative we would save 466,000 Barrels of Oil!
Seventh Generation sent me their Free & Clear Home Started Kit to try out.
The kit includes:
Free & Clear Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner
Free & Clear Natural All Purpose Cleaner
Free & Clear Natural Dish Liquid
Free & Clear Natural Laundry Detergent, 32 oz
Free & Clear Fabric Softener, 50 oz
Natural Paper Towels (-1) 120 Count
If you haven’t ventured into non toxic, eco friendly cleaning & household products, this is a great company to try. As a leader in the “green household solutions’ market I’m proud to share their products with my readers. Seventh Generation is aware of the fact that if their products don’t do the job – people won’t use them! So the product effectiveness is imperative to them.
As a company they have a goal of being as transparent as they can with consumers. They share both their victories and where they fall short of their goals on their website. Repeatedly their products lead the way for being some of the best choices from both an toxin standpoint and their environmental impact in the industry. Green is more than a marketing ploy, it is part of their corporate vision.
As a mother – one of the most compelling things I read on their entire site wasn’t statistic or figures, rather this story that was shared in their corporate consciousness report:
Dear Seventh Generation:
My heart has been overflowing with gratitude since Saturday night. I was emptying the
dishwasher, and hadn’t realized that it had malfunctioned (all of the dishwashing powder
was still in there). My daughter had opened the little detergent door when I wasn’t paying
attention. I looked down to see her with two handfuls and a mouthful of your dishwasher
powder. Frantic, I called Poison Control. “My daughter ate dishwasher powder.” They asked
what brand it was. “Seventh Generation.” “Oh, it’s fine then. Just wash it off her hands, and
give her a glass of water.” Thank you, thank you, thank you! — Gabrielle
From my perspective this letter illustrates so much of what motivates me to make better choices for my family and care more about the environment for the future. It’s about our children and their future.
Seventh Generation has a great website full of information & coupons. So don’t forget to take advantage and save a few dollars – it all adds up!
Seventh Generation is Giving One Lucky PND Reader a Home Starter Kit (Retail Value $42)
HOW TO ENTER:
There are a few ways you can enter, leave separate comments for each entry.
Become an Email Subscriber to PND using the form in the sidebar. Leave a comment with a name I can print in our newsletter if you win!
- The subscription must be confirmed. You will receive and email that you must reply to for your entry to be valid.
- Already a confirmed Subscriber. Complete any one of the additional entries options – Leave a comment letting Diva know you’re subscriber name and the entry option you selected.
- Go to Seventh Generation and share your favorite fun fact about this great company!
- Stumble, Digg, Kirsty, or Technorati favorite this post. Leave a comment with your name and the link.
- Follow @purenaturaldiva (use link on the sidebar) and @SeventhGen on twitter. Leave your twittername in a separate comment.
- Become a Fan of Pure Natural Diva & Seventh Generation on Facebook. Post this giveaway as an update, leave your FB Name or Name with a copy of your update in a separate comment. One entry for each.
- Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste “WIN Free & Clear Home Starter Cleaning Kit!!! Diva Giveaway http://bit.ly/aFC7kB @purenaturaldiva”. Then come back and leave the direct link to your tweet (go to your twitter account, click on the words when your tweet was sent (ie. 5 seconds ago) and copy and paste that link in comments.
- Write a post on your blog linking to my blog and to the – Good for two entries. Leave this comment twice so you get both entries!
This giveaway will run through midnight on April 3, 2010 PDT, with winner being announced April 5, 2010 in the PND Newsletter. Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries. Winner will have 24 hours to contact me before the contest is re-opened until the following weekend.
Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S.
alt=”MckLinky Blog Hop” longdesc=”http://www.mcklinky.com” />
Is You Mailbox Full Of Junk Mail?
We all get so much junk mail! It’s such a waste – ending up right directly in the recycling in our home.
How Many Trees Does It take to Produce Junk Mail
Did you know It takes 53 million trees to make the 19 billion catalogs that are sent every year?
Don’t despair – with a few simple steps stem the flow of junk mail to your mailbox and get OFF the dreaded mailing lists that are causing the flow.
It will take about 15 minutes to fill out a few online forms. These simple steps will reduce the paper invasion to your home and help stop junk mail!
When filling out the forms – Don’t forget to remove both yourself and your spouse or significant other.
Direct Marketing Association
The Direct Marketing Association will put your name on a “do not mail” list, which all its members must cross-reference before sending you a solicitation. This site represents marketers, so they will get you to jump through a hoop or two. In addition for companies that you have done business with, you will need to contact them directly.
If you are worried about missing special offers, you can always open an email account just for “junk mail”.
Another tip for special offers - google a vendor before completing a purchase – often you’ll find all there current special offers.
Consumer Credit Reporting Industry
The Consumer Credit Reporting Industry will remove your name from the mailing lists that credit card companies use to send out offers. You will have to provide your SS information, so I went to a few sites that I trusted before I was comfortable proceeding – you can’t be too careful.
If you aren’t using them – why receive them. They are bulking take up space and use a lot of paper.
This organization will contact all phone book companies in your area and remove you from their lists!
Or the number for individual companies using the following information:
Yellow book has made it easy – go to http://corporate.yellowbook.com/products/print-directory-options-opt-out/
When calling to cancel your phone book be sure to tell them they don’t need to call you annually to confirm you still don’t want the phone book! They actually said if they call and don’t reach you, they will resume regular delivery! But after a short conversation the representative was able to set it up so that we receive no phone calls and no phone books. Beautiful!
Online Bill Pay
You can also set up many of your bills to be paperless and to pay them online – if you’re worried about missing an important bill you can always set up an email account to be used exclusively for bills.
If there is a “Stop Junk Mail” resource we have missed, please let us know!
Natural Stone requires extra care because it is a honed surface that and you’ll want to maintain their honed polish. To do this you want to clean with a solution that contain a neutral pH.
Requiring a neutral pH eliminates some of the more common natural cleaning ingredients, lemon at a pH of 2.4, vinegar at 2.8, & baking soda at 9.0.
I often use the PND All Purpose Cleaner on our granite counters and have yet to notice a problem, but it does contain vinegar – so not the best choice. A more delicate variety of granite may suffer over time.
6 cups of Water
1/3 cup + 1 tsp of Alcohol denatured or regular
1 Tbs of Castille Soap – I use almond
20 Drops of Essential Oil – I use citrus or almond
If you want a stronger anti fungal or antibacterial add:
1/3 cup + 1 tsp Tea Tree Oil
This recipe will fill two spray bottles ~ I make my cleaners in batches so I don’t have to make them as often.
If you choose to add Tea Tree Oil be sure to add at least 4% as called for in the recipe, any less and you could promote bacterial resistance. Additionally omit the essential oil. Tea tree oil has a strong eucalyptus scent that will overpower any other fragrance.
I make ours without the tea tree, the alcohol kills enough germs for my comfort level.
There are a ton of green cleaners on the market, but my favorite cleaners are the ones I make at home.
One thing you know for sure, when you make it – you know every ingredient.
You will also save a lot of money, the ingredients are so inexpensive, no wonder the companies that manufacture cleaning products have so much money to spend on advertising! It costs so little to make a batch – it’s crazy!
I make it in batches that make 4 28oz bottles.
13 1/4 cups of Water (1 hot)
1/4 Cup of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap – I like Citrus for the All Purpose Cleaner
1/4 Cup of Borax
1/4 Cup of Vinegar
Borax Free – The Vinegar & Baking Soda reaction is fun for kids!
NOTE – Cleaning with the following recipe requires rinsing. I’m working on a reformulation and will leave this posted with this caveat until I have a borax free option that doesn’t require rinsing.
10 1/4 cups of water (5 hot)
1/4 Cup of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap – I still like Citrus for the All Purpose Cleaner.
1 1/2 cups of Baking Soda
3 cups of Vinegar
Mix the hot water with the borax or baking soda until it disolves.
Once dissolved pour into a bucket – make sure that you have a bigger bucket – the next step will give you a little foaming action!
Add the remaining water, vinegar & Castille Soap.
Use a funnel to pour the solution into the four bottles.
I used to use the Method Products, so I have reused the spray bottles & taken the labels off. Using the handy label maker, made my own labels so I know what’s in each bottle and it looks organized.
There are rumblings about the safety of Borax and while it certainly appears to be a better option than the chemicals in commercial cleaners, there are people who would prefer to avoid it.
Click here to read what they say at Chemistry.com.
I have posed the question about Borax to the EWG. I’ll be curious to hear their response.