Angela Mayer Angela Mayer is a new mother living in Sydney, Australia. She tries to do
her bit to reduce her personal environmental impact. She admits this was
not always the case, but she now has changed her lifestyle. She writes
about sharing ideas and tips on a more sustainable life. And she's
looking to influence people. email: email@example.com website: sustainable-mum.com
Save printing paper Thursday, June 23, 2011
For all the mums and dads and uncles and aunts and everyone else who is sometimes printing pages of websites.
This cool website www.printfriendly.com helps you print just the part of a page you really need. They show you a preview of the print layout and you can delete everything, really everything, you don't need. Forget about the unnecessary navigation, annoying ads and anything else you don't need on your printout. Limit your print page to the information you really want and save ink and paper.
How often did I print several pages for a little bit of information from the internet just because the print layout was setup so badly?
So next time I want to print this voucher, that map, the recipe, these nursing rhymes or anything else from a website I definitely check it on www.printfriendly.com first.
But before hitting the print button I will rethink if I need to print at all. Save paper, save our forests!
Less packaging - more toys Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Our kids love new toys and who doesn't love giving them new toys? But why do most of them come with so much packaging? All these paper boxes and plastic wrapping don't make the toys more exciting, do they? If you are a regular follower of my blog you might have realised that I am a huge fan of second hand. Toys are a great example that it doesn't make much of a difference if you get the truck from the shop or the garage sale next door.
Greenpeace has just launched a campaign raising awareness for the fact that a lot of toys are over packaged. Watch the video, it is so well made, fun to watch and gives you food for thought.
Why not make a trip to the markets next weekend and find some bargains for your kid's toy box? They'd love the surprise.
Chemical free living – start cleaning now Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Do you have all the products you need to start your chemical free cleaning journey? If so let's mix them up. If not check my shopping list.
It is best to keep your new cleaning products in some kind of bottle/container. If you can, reuse old containers, e.g. old spray bottles or buy reusable bottles you can use over and over again.
The two products I use most are bicarb and white vinegar. They do a great job on most of the dirt in your home. The others are great helpers too. Here is a quick overview of their secret power:
removes odour, mildly disinfecting, it it abrasive and and it softens hard water.
antibacterial, mildly disinfecting, it cuts through grease, reduces mildew, fabric softener
similar to bicarb, but more caustic, so not as versatile. Removes odour, mildly disinfecting, laundry booster, removes greasy stains, softens hard water.
Removes odour, mildly disinfecting, softens hard water and is a mild cleaner to more delicate surfaces like wallpaper.
air freshener, add fragrance. They are great helpers, but need to be handled with care. They are highly concentrated and flammable so keep away from your kids and pets. Some essentials oils shouldn't be used when you are pregnant or have certain health issues. Please check first.
Traps dust and dirt without additional cleaner, cleans windows and mirrors with plain water, can be used on any surface except LCD, CRT and plasma screens as cloth can scratch these sensitive surfaces.
And here are some basics you can use these products for:
do you use cream cleanser for your sink and bathroom? Easiest way to create your own, mix bicarb with water, white vinegar or soap water. I prefer soap water and vinegar for the extra disinfectant. Mix until you created a creamy texture and use a cloth to wipe your sink down. You need to rinse it off twice as it sticks to the surface but it does a great job in getting the dirt and grease off and making the surface shine.
use either a microfibre cloth and water or mix 50/50 with vinegar for some stronger action.
Kitchen benchtop cleaner:
mix teatree or eucalyptus oil (whatever smell you prefer) with water. These oils are very strong so use just a few drops to a spray bottle of water. They clean and disinfect.
General surface cleaner:
mix 75/25 water and vinegar in a spray bottle and use to wipe down all hard surfaces, like table, high chair, toys, quick wipe of benchtops and sinks, …endless use.
And here are some more specific tips:
For tub, sink, tiles, tab use the cream cleanser as above
For mirror and glass use the class cleaner as above
Toilet cleaner: tea tree oil/eucalyptus oil with hot water for the outside, baking soda and vinegar for the inside. Stir it up and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then scrub with your toilet brush as usual. Clean as always.
For sink and tab use cream cleanser as above
For benchtop use benchtop cleaner as above
Chopping boards: salt is a great disinfectant and doesn't leave any taste or smell to your chopping board. Sprinkle it on, rub it in with some water and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Then wash it off with hot water.
Burned-on food in pots and pans: mix some bicarb with water and scrub with a sponge. It actually gets the grime up faster than artificial cleaners, and doesn't leave behind any chemical residues or odours.
Fridges and freezers: Wipe out regularly with surface cleaner as above to remove bacteria and food spills. Funny smell in your fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards? Place a small bowl of baking soda inside. Works for nappy buckets too.
oven: cleaning the oven is something I rarely do, but I guess has to be done at some point. I was recommended to use a deep dish of water, put on the oven full for approx. 30 min or until most of the water is evaporated. The hot water will evaporate and loosen the dirt. Now you can scratch off the dirt quiet easily with a cloth. Dirty racks you can put in the sink full of water with a couple of teaspoons washing soda, let soak for a couple of hours and clean. The dirt should come off easily.
Marks and stains on carpets: sprinkle bicarb onto the mark and then wipe dry with a warm, damp cloth and vacuum the rest. For very stubborn stains you can add vinegar, but test the colour fastness on a small patch first.
Spills on carpets: Take up any liquid or solids, then sprinkle the baking powder over the area. Leave it for about 15mins to absorb the stain and the odour, then vacuum. You may need to repeat this for stubborn stains.
Floors – timber, cork, slate, tiles: Add 1 cup of vinegar to half a bucket of hot water and mop as usual.
The nappy bucket can become pretty smelly. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the bottom, it works wonders.
Change table: Wipe down with the surface cleaner as above. If a very messy incident happened, add some teatree or eucalyptus oil to it for extra disinfection.
Children's toys: wipe over with the surface cleaner as above.
I think that is enough to get you going. I will post more tips every now and then. Please feel free, to comment and share your tips. I am looking forward to them.
P.S. Like with all cleaning products please keep them away from your kids and pets and test first before you use them.
Oil or no Oil – a video Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Not exactly about babies, kids or families but it relates to all of us. Interesting video about the enormity of the gulf oil spill and the question 'where would all of that oil gone if it had not been spilled?' (continued below video)
Chris Harmon about his video: A year ago, a massive oil spill began in the Gulf. The entire country was glued to the news until the well was capped, and then we forgot about it.
As the year anniversary was fast approaching I became curious, just how much oil was that exactly? Where would it have gone? What I found was shocking.
So in an effort to further our discussion on oil dependency I created this short animation. I've spent all of my free time in the last month putting this together to help illustrate just how dependent we truly are on oil.
And next time I let you know how I am going with cleaning without chemicals. I promise.
Latest Product Find Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Create your own labels for your DYO cleaning products and make them look so special you'll never want to use another product again.
All you need are some empty spray bottles, plain printable labels, a colour printer and a creative mind to design the labels.
I am lucky, Big N will create my labels. All I have to do is give him some creative freedom and get these stickers. Even the spray bottles are already waiting to become design elements in our cupboards, just I can't find the way to officeworks and get these labels.
Well in the meantime check out this website, they have some really nice labels made already.
Chemical Free Living - Shopping List Monday, April 25, 2011
When we had Little M I moved all our household cleaners, washing powder and dishwashing liquid up to the highest cupboard in the kitchen. I don't want to see my kid play with any of these chemicals. Who does?
So I am done, I thought.
But then I looked at the kitchen floor, the bathtub and all the other areas I try to clean regularly and thought what happens with the chemicals when I mop this floor or wipe these surfaces? Don't they stay there, make it all look clean and shiny? And what if Little M decides to taste that floor or have a bath in the tub? Don't the chemicals then move on into his body? Also, what happens when I pour them down the drain? What do they do to the water, the fish, the plants? Well, all too scary thoughts and I just don't want to risk it. Not risk his health, not risk our health and not put the chemicals into our beautiful nature. That's why I decided to start looking closer at all these little helpers and make conscious decisions if I want to keep using them or if there are healthier and greener options.
You can get some great green cleaning products in the shops. But I love cleaning without chemicals – because it works. A few weeks ago I attended a "Living with less chemicals" workshop organised by our local council which gave me great tips on how to avoid chemicals at house.
I am convinced that (most) of these tips work. That's why I would like to share them and ask you to let me know if they work as well for you. Or maybe you have other tips which work just as fine.
Let's start with a shopping list. The good news is all of these products you will find in your local supermarket and best of all so much cheaper than the other cleaning products.
bicarb(onate) soda or baking soda: you can find in backing aisle of your supermarket
white vinegar: look out for the big unbranded vinegar bottle
washing soda: mostly found on the very last shelf, below all the branded washing powders
a few essential oils such as eucalyptus, teatree, orange oil: buy a really good one from your health food shop
soap water: just dissolve soap in a bucket of water over night
a good microfibre cloth: it does a lot of the cleaning work itself.
Get these things ready. My next post will be what to do with them in your home. So stay tuned, more tips to come. And feel free to share your tips on chemical free living, I love to hear about it
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