17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cleaning tips - For Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Homes

A few weeks ago Kage asked me for my favorite cleaning tips . I gave her a few options and she mentioned that many of them were environmentally friendly and suggested that I write a post about it.

I have gathered my information over the years from friends, TV (ie: This Old House), and various websites.

Here is a little list of things that I do (and have done in the past) to make my house/apt use energy more efficiently and keep utilities down:

1. Dusting or wiping down the back of your fridge/freezer.

2. Replacing the filter in your central heating/air conditioning unit 1 or 2 times a year. They are cheep (a few dollars). Not only do they cut costs to run your home it helps lower the amount of dust that is flying around. Wiping down your wall vents also is effective.

3. Don't forget to clean the inside of your stove top (I didn't even know mine opened up until recently) and replace tin foil to ensure the next cleaning to be a snap.

4. You can use newspapers instead of paper towels to clean mirrors and glass. Cuts cleaning cost and garbage levels.

5. If you have a clogged drain (tub or sink), you many not need to use strong chemicals to get it solved- you can use a toilet plunger to clear it out (I did it, it totally works!!)

6. Florescent light bulbs, although expensive to buy initially they will save you money and gas emissions. Money in the long run -obviously because they use less energy and last longer. Gas emissions because it takes truck to move those light bulbs. Not as many bulbs driven around, less emissions.

7. Seal windows, recess lights, fireplaces, gaps around plumbing with caulking, weather strips or expanding foam

8. In the winter, in the day open blinds and curtains to let the sun help warm your home. At night or on cloudy days, close them.

Another way I have cut my cost and number of times I have had to run to the store is to make some of my cleaning supplies. Here are some simple recipes I have used and some I found on line. The supplies are things that most people have in their kitchen.

1. To clean ovens or really burnt pots and pans - just baking soda and water. No scrubbing needed! I try to avoid strong chemicals getting near my food as much as possible. So I love this one. Sprinkle baking soda all over the bottom until it is covered completely with about 1/4 of an inch of baking soda. Next get out your water spray bottle and spray it till it is damp, not flooded. Then go attend to other things, thought the day come back and check to make sure that it stays damp. Spray as needed. Do this through out the day , com back ad check to make sure that it stays damp. Spray as needed. do this for a few hours, maybe even over night depending on how dirty the oven is. When it looks done use a sponge to wipe it all out! Tada!.

2. Toilet bowl cleaner - ¼ c. baking soda into bowl and drizzle with vinegar. Let sit for ½ hour. Scrub and flush.

3. Ceramic tile cleaner: ¼ c. vinegar/1 gal. warm water

4. Garbage Disposal Freshener: grind ice and lemon or orange juice in the disposal.

5. Silver polish: rub on toothpaste, let it dry, then rinse it off.

6. Removing Chewing gum: rub with ice. Gum will flake off.

7. Remove Rust: Saturate with lemon juice and rub with salt. Place in direct sunlight until dry, then wash.

8. Removing Grease: pour boiling water on stains and follow with dry baking soda. Also try ammonia and water.

9. Remove Ink: soak in milk or remove with hydrogen peroxide.

If your interested in learning about making more complicated environmentally friendly recipes, look here.


  • thanks for the tips.

    You really should replace your filter more than 1-2 a year. Here in the SW we replace ours monthly. If it is hard to get at, spend a little more on the filter ($5-10, instead of $1-3) and replace it every 2-3 months.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/26/2007 10:36:00 AM  

  • This site has some good stain removal tips... as well as beauty tips, household hints, etc. The wacky coca cola tips are interesting.
    posted by Blogger Erin Marie at 3/26/2007 11:26:00 AM  

  • Wow! A wealth of info. Thanks!
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 3/26/2007 04:48:00 PM  

  • This is awesome. Thanks Happy Nanny!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 3/26/2007 05:08:00 PM  

  • Thanks! Great suggestions. Why do you wipe the back of the refrigerator?
    posted by Blogger sunny at 3/27/2007 03:40:00 AM  

  • I had NO clue you were so savvy on this topic. But then again why should I be surprised when you are the goddess of useless knowledge... he he. You should totally do a post once a month on all the things you know about. IE: The life of Julia Childs. Thank you so much for the tips.
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 3/27/2007 08:14:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the tips happy nanny!
    I havee been trying to be better at this exact thing and your post really helped.

    I hope you continue your tip posts with another photography one!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/28/2007 10:26:00 PM  

  • Cool. I had a very earth/cost conscious friend in Boulder who could rattle off all these "recipes". I'm so glad to have them in writing! The other cool thing about, say, baking soda and vinegar recipes is that they are great if you have kids! Not so toxic and scary as the chemical stuff if a baby's near. Thanks happy nanny--miss ya!
    posted by Blogger Katie at 3/29/2007 06:13:00 PM  

  • I should have been more specific about what to wipe down on the back of the fridge. Some refridgerators have a metal rack or coil type mechanism that enables the fridge to produce the cool/cold air. This is what should be cleaned.
    posted by Blogger happy nanny at 7/23/2007 07:26:00 AM  

  • Great tips. Once you see how easy it is to clean the house without much effort, you will want to start cleaning right away and get it over with.
    posted by Anonymous bed bug exterminator New York at 3/24/2011 02:55:00 AM  

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