Spring Greening – (Almost) Green Shower Spray!

Hi everyone! A couple days ago it was Earth Day and I thought, “what a perfect day to give my first green product review.” However, April 22nd came and went and I didn’t get around to this post. Oh well…every day is Earth Day, right? 🙂

So, I’m talking about my homemade products that I started making with my friend Jen. You can read more about that here. I didn’t want to give any reviews/ recipes until I had actually tried the things we made. So here is the first one!

(Almost) Green Daily Shower Spray

Green Shower Spray

So the reason it’s an ‘almost green’ product is because it has a little bit of store bought liquid dish washing soap in it. However, we used the Dawn Pure Essentials version of the dish washing soap without dyes, so it’s as close as I can get to ‘natural’ or ‘green’ while still containing a commercial cleaning product.

Dawn Pure

The only other ingredients are vinegar, water and tea tree oil. Sooooo easy breezy to make.

When we were first putting this spray together, we had a couple of considerations.

1) We had done some research and found that ‘daily’ shower sprays required just a little bit of the liquid dishwashing soap. However, the actual cleaners which you would only use on cleaning days required more of the soap; some sites said 6-8 oz, some said equal parts vinegar and soap. Jen used equal parts water and vinegar and then added about 6 oz of the soap since she was making a cleaner instead of a daily spray. I just used about 2 Tbs because I wanted a daily spray that wasn’t quite as thick.

2) Tea tree oil is STRONG! We had originally added about 1/2 tsp of tea tree oil to each spray. However, when I got it home and started using it, the smell was overwhelming. So I ended up splitting my spray into two batches and adding extra vinegar and water to each.

My plan was to use this spray in my shower for two weeks and see how it worked. So I started spraying it in my shower every single morning. I also started spraying it on my sink faucet. We have ridiculously hard water and I have struggled with cleaning our bathrooms and kitchen since we moved into this house. I normally scrub my tub and shower every week, but I wanted to really test how this product worked. So I scrubbed my shower to a spotless shine and then just used the shower spray every day for 2 weeks….no scrubbing at all! I just skipped my weekly cleaning, which was actually a nice break for me!

The results?

Well, I would say I normally spend about 10 minutes scrubbing my shower. I don’t know if that’s average or ridiculously long, but that’s how long it takes me to get it the way I want it. After about a week, I can normally start to see the build up caused by our ridiculous water. Well…..not this time! I couldn’t see any buildup after 2 weeks and it took me way less than 5 minutes to clean the whole shower. I was amazed, impressed and ecstatically happy. There are few chores I despise less than scrubbing the shower and this homemade cleaner has completely changed my tune! I absolutely love the results and will continue to use this every day!

IMG_8547Completely unexpected bonus time!!!

Like I mentioned, I had sprayed this on my sink faucet every day too. I have struggled with this faucet (and every other faucet in our house) for two years. When we moved in, there was already calcium build up, water deposits, etc around all of the faucets and drains. Like this:

Faucet - BeforeIt might be kind of hard to see how bad it is in the photo, but I have literally tried to clean these every week for two years using a variety of products. Nothing has ever worked, so I figured my homemade shower spray efforts were fruitless and was really just hoping to prevent any further build up. Well, one day after I sprayed, I just decided to wipe the faucet and a piece of the buildup actually came off. I thought to myself, I must have imagined that. I wiped again, a little more came off. Then more! For the next several days, I chipped away at this ridiculous substance and (with the combined effort of shower spray and elbow grease) I was able to get almost every single bit of the build up off. I literally ran into the bedroom and told my husband it was a miracle. That’s how seriously I thought I could never get these clean. I still have a little work to go, but now the faucet looks like this:

IMG_8552I am beyond impressed with this spray and I actually went and bought 3 more spray bottles so I could have it in the other 2 bathrooms as well as the kitchen.

IMG_8544So, a gigantic thumbs up to natural cleaning product #1. More reviews coming soon!

~Erin

Spring Greening – Proper Paint Disposal

Have you ever painted any part of your house? Have you ever had trouble deciding on colors? Have you ever had your guest room wall look like this:

IMG_0223

Seriously, the process was ridiculous over here. But we FINALLY chose colors and have painted the whole bottom floor of our house. We had previously painted the kids room so the only thing left is the master bedroom and bathroom. That is a project for another day…..I don’t even want to look at another paint brush for a while.

We have also been cleaning and reorganizing our garage lately and have found a ton of paint cans leftover from the previous owners of the house. Combine those with our recent painting extravaganza and here is what we were left with.

Paint CansKeep in mind that this is just the pile we were getting rid of! We still have leftover paint for touch ups, etc that I am going to find some fabulous temporarily functional way to organize, I’m sure.

So what to do with all of these paint cans? They were not completely empty so you can’t just throw them away. Well, you can, but at the expense of filled up landfills and a chemically infused environment. The best way to handle items like this is to find a hazardous waste recycling place near you. You can search online for ‘hazardous waste disposal’ or ‘hazardous waste recycle’ and hopefully several options will come up. Our closest disposal center is over an hour away, but it is well worth it to know we’re disposing of these items properly. Just to illustrate the types of things these recycling centers do, take a peek at this link. This is for the Colorado Springs, CO facility, but many places offer the same services. Here are a few things that our local place does:

-Recycling or proper disposal of chemicals. This includes paint, but also solvents, motor oil, bleach, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, and a ton of other household chemicals.

-Recycling of electronics, such as computers, TVs, microwaves, printers and cell phones. Most electronics have components that are harmful to the environment when thrown into a landfill. They must be properly disposed of in a safe and healthy manner.

-Porcelain recycling – They accept sinks, toilets and ceramic tiles which can be crushed and recycled into material used for building roads.

-‘Drop and Swap’ Program – Our facility has an area for products that were dropped off but can still be used, such as paint, primer and oil. These items are offered free of charge to the community.

I have looked into facilities in Colorado, Arizona and Georgia and there are definitely some differences. Some are open every weekday, while some facilities may have a once a month drop off day. Some accept tires and building materials, others don’t. So it may require a little research to find a place to take your items. But it’s worth it. You can clean out your home, garage, shed, etc and know that you are doing the best you can for the environment.

One more bonus of our local place was that it was free! Some of them aren’t, so this was great for us. They did request a non-perishable food donation though. I had a few items I was saving for a food bank, but I hadn’t taken them yet, so we dropped them off when we took our paint cans in.

Imagine that…..a clean garage, consideration for the Earth, and a charitable donation all at once.

~Erin