October 18, 2012

The Cleanhouse Challenge–Green your Clean!

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I just learned of a cool new application designed by Real Simple, 350.org, and Seventh Generation that lets you “walk” through a virtual house and get tips in every room on ways to green your clean

Yeah, that’s right – “Green Your Clean”!  I just made that up, but I think it fits with the goal of the app and with the priorities of a lot of families like mine.  Plus, for those of us always trying to save a few bucks, as you walk through this app, printable coupons pop up!  Boo-ya!

The app is called the Cleanhouse Challenge.  It presents a virtual house with virtual rooms to “walk through” where tips are provided in each room.  Plus, by touring the house, you’re not just helping yourself: after viewing all the tips, Seventh Generation makes a $10 donation to 350.org.

For example, one of the first things I learned (in the kitchen of this cute little virtual house) is that most dish soaps are made of 75% petroleum-based products.  Even if that doesn’t bother you from a green perspective, consider that by switching to a Seventh Generation dish soap, which is made mostly from plant-based ingredients, enough barrels of oil would be saved to heat 7,200 homes for one year.  Not only does heating a home seem a little more important than washing dishes, but reducing consumption of a non-renewable resource always gets an A+ in my book. 

Another area of the house you might be surprised to find tips from Seventh Generation and Real Simple is the nursery.  Of course I had to visit the virtual nursery and I was surprised to find out Seventh Generation makes diapers.  For those of us who use disposable dipes (and feel guilty about it), this is one way to green your baby’s brown, if you get my drift. 

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In connection with viewing and sharing the Cleanhouse Challenge app with my readers, Seventh Generation sent me samples of their new line of cleaning products to try out.  I’ve been messing around with these for a couple weeks now, so here’s the lowdown:

First, I tried a set of Seventh Generation’s three new specialty cleaners (Wood, Granite/ Stone, and Stainless Steel) which are all USDA Certified Biobased Products made from non-toxic, biodegradable formulas.  All three are made with a blend of plant-based ingredients and organic coconut oil to deliver strong performance without containing harsh fumes (aka VOCs peeps!). 

So far, I’m digging the wood and stainless cleaner.  They smell SO good, and it’s really impressive how easily the wood cleaner works to get sticky, gunky baby food messes off our dining room table.  I had been using a clorox-type spray, but not anymore.  It also works great for dusting – see ya later, Pledge!  The stainless cleaner works great andwithout nearly so much buffing as the last stuff I was using (which I actually hated, because it made the floor in front of the fridge SO SLICK). Since we don’t have any granite in our house, I passed along the granite cleaner to a friend, and it’s her new favorite for cleaning her counters as well. 

I also received the Hand Care Dish Liquid, another USDA Certified Biobased Product with fragrances from essential oils and botanical extracts. It’s non-toxic, biodegradable and contains Advanced HerbaVera™ Moisturizing Technology, so it’s gentle on both your hands and the earth. I’ve tried this Seventh Generation dish soap against my usual “blue Dawn” for a couple of weeks now and it works great.  My only complaint on this one is it’s hard to get just a small amount out of the bottle – the cap seems to dispense a measured quantity each time, so I feel like I’m using more than I need.

And finally, I tried out a sample of Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent Packs.  These puppies are once again a USDA Certified Biobased Product containing no dyes, synthetic fragrances, nor optical brighteners. They are effective in hot or cold water, and in high-efficiency (or non-high efficiency, like mine) machines, and so far, they clean just as well as the Arm & Hammer detergent I had been using.  Plus, I kind of like throwing the little “pack” in, instead of measuring out liquid.  It’s fun. Smile

I honestly hadn’t ever paid attention to Seventh Generation before because I’m leery of new products.  I’ve bought so many cleaning products that haven’t worked as I hoped and sat mostly full but unused under the sink, that I’ve gotten to where I stick to pretty much the same brands.  409, Dawn, Clorox, etc.  And yes, they work.  And no, they’re not earth friendly.  And no, they’re really not even family/kid friendly (certainly not the 409 or Clorox – I about choke on the fumes every time I use the 409 to clean the shower).

So it’s really nice to have had the chance to try out some new products and discover that they *actually* work!!!  Plus, they smell great (I like things that smell good), and they’re better for the environment than the alternative.

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Bottom line:  I think Seventh Generation just made their point with this momma.  They’re effective, “green”, safer to use on surfaces my kid touches, and they make my house smell good.  And that’s all I need to know. 

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October 5, 2012

Fall Around Here

Temps here have finally dropped….like a rock.  We went from 80 one day, to 39 the next!  This morning we woke up to a tiny bit of snow, and we’re expecting more this weekend. 

We usually get an October snowstorm, so it’s not entirely unexpected.  As long as we remember to shut off the sprinkler system and drain it this evening, we’ll be just fine Smile

Here’s a glimpse at fall in our house the last few days:

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Miss Avery turned 11 months!

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I finally got out some autumn d├ęcor and dressed up the new hutch. 

Fall hutch decor

I caught a squirrel raiding the sunflower seeds.  We hardly ever see squirrels in our backyard but I guess these sunflowers were enough of a draw for this guy to make the trek down the block!  See him surfing that left stalk down to the ground? 

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I hope your fall is off to a warm and cozy start too!

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