green cleaning products en-US Are You Throwing Away Cash With Disposable Cleaning Products? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-throwing-away-cash-with-disposable-cleaning-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="boy using paper towel" title="boy using paper towel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just a few generations back, the formula for a spiffy house contained two simple elements at its core: a high stack of rags and plentiful elbow grease. Then came specialized cleaners (window cleaners, oven cleaners, furniture polish, etc.) and a newfangled wave of disposable cleaning aids, led of course by the ubiquitous paper towel.</p> <p>No doubt that paper towels are convenient, especially when there's a puddle of freshly spilled grape juice about to hit the floor. But that <a href="">convenience has its costs</a>, both to the environment and your wallet. In the U.S., <em>paper towels alone make up 2% of all landfill space</em>. And if you pay $10 for an 8-roll pack that lasts two weeks, you'll spend $260 a year, when cloth wipes could've done the same job for just pennies. (See also: <a href="">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a>)</p> <p>This article examines some of the most popular disposable cleaning products, and what they'll cost you over the course of a year, along with far less expensive, more eco-friendly alternatives. (Note that yearly projections for disposable products do not include tax.)</p> <h2>Mr. Clean Magic Eraser</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="">Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 24-Pack</a>: $26.15 with free shipping via Subscribe &amp; Save, a low by $17</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> It's a soft pad that acts like an eraser to clean dirt and grime, and remove scuff marks and dirt from floors, walls, and doors.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Usage varies greatly depending on the intensity of the task (cleaning a tub can use three erasers, while a single eraser can last a while with just gentle wiping), but we'll hit middle ground and say you could go through two boxes in a year across all tasks for a total of <strong>$52.30</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> Parents of toddlers swear by the Magic Eraser for its ability to <em>erase</em> crayon marks, but you can always think preemptively and supply your little Picasso with washable crayons for artwork at home. What's more, baking soda on a wet cloth works incredibly well in removing dirt and scuffs.</p> <h2>Proctor &amp; Gamble Swiffer Dry Cloths</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="">Swiffer Dry Cloths 16-Count 12-Pack</a>: $45.43 with free shipping, a low by $1</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> Used in conjunction with a Swiffer Sweeper, these cloths trap dirt, dust, and hair from floors and hard-to-reach surfaces. P&amp;G claims a Swiffer cloth &quot;leaves your floors up to three times cleaner than a broom.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> If you use four pads a week every week, you can survive the year with just the bundled pack above for <strong>$45.43</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> No doubt Swiffer dry cloths work well, and putting them on the end of a Swiffer mop helps you get at places where dust bunnies like to nest. But did you know you can make your own reusable, washable Swiffer pad from a towel and some string (or ribbon, if you so choose)? That's what Stephanie Nelson did, writing in <a href="">The Herb Companion</a>. She also supplies a recipe for herbal floor cleaner!</p> <h2>Clorox Disinfecting Wipes</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="">Clorox Disinfecting Wipe 75-Count 3-Pack</a>: $9.97 with 97-cent s/h, a low by $3</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> Used for disinfecting surfaces, these wipes are very helpful when cleaning everything from kitchen appliances to finished wood.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Assuming a 3-pack will last you three months, you'll spend <strong>$43.76</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> While many elementary schools love it when kids bring in disinfecting wipes as part of their supplies, their labels clearly state &quot;Keep out of reach of children. Hazards to humans and domestic animals.&quot; You can <a href="">make your own wipes easily</a>, using cut-up squares of cloth placed into an resealable container (like a baby-wipe container). Then pour a simple solution of castile soap, tea tree oil, and white <a href="">vinegar</a> over the cloths.</p> <h2>Clorox ToiletWand</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="">ToiletWand 20-Count Refill Pack</a>: $7.98 with 97-cent s/h, a low by $6</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> The disposable swivel head of the ToiletWand is doused in Clorox cleaner and is designed to get into hard-to-reach places of your toilet.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Assuming a refill pack lasts three months, you'll spend <strong>$35.80</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> Let's face it: No one likes to clean a toilet. Anything that makes the job less messy and quicker is welcome, right? But a long-handled toilet brush should work just as well, doused in plenty of &mdash; yup &mdash; vinegar. Domestic diva <a href="">Martha Stewart recommends as much</a>.</p> <h2>Endust for Electronics: LCD &amp; Plasma Wipes</h2> <p><strong>Best Price:</strong> <a href="">LCD &amp; Plasma Wipes 70-Count Canister</a>: $6.99 with $3.99 s/h, a low by $1</p> <p><strong>Use:</strong> Remove dust and fingerprints on LCD and plasma screens. Clean your laptop, desktop monitor, HDTV, touchscreens, and more.</p> <p><strong>Annual Cost:</strong> Even with the numerous devices we all carry around in our lives, you could probably safely get through a year with a single canister at <strong>$10.98</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Alternative:</strong> You don't want to use alcohol- or ammonia-based products to clean your screen, but instead of using Endust, a soft cotton cloth dampened with a little white distilled vinegar does a comparable job. Using white distilled vinegar is safe, highly effective, and very inexpensive. And though this alternative may not save you a bundle, it'll certainly do more to help reduce waste.</p> <h2>Cleanup Time</h2> <p>In the end, deciding which disposable cleaning products we use often boils down to utility. The ease of wielding a toilet wand, for example, may trump all other considerations, especially if you're squeamish about washing out a dirty brush. But there's cost to consider, and that cuts both ways. The more you spend on disposable cleaning products, the more a toll you'll take on your household budget and the planet's ecosystem.</p> <p>By our very conservative estimates, you'd save about $188.27 by skipping the above goods &mdash; and there are still numerous other disposable cleaning products that people include in their routine, like wet Swiffer pads in addition to the dry. And while that money might seem like chump change for a year, consider how far it could have gone to buy <a href="">other things for the home</a>, especially if you <a href="">shop frugally</a> in other areas as well. So while disposable products are here to stay, think carefully about which ones you use, and do your best to consume them sparingly.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by <a title="dealnews" href="">Dealnews</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sure, use-it-and-trash-it cleaning products are convenient. But how much they cost might shock you. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Dealnews</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 5 Best Laundry Detergents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning supplies green cleaning products reusable Wed, 29 Feb 2012 10:48:33 +0000 Dealnews 904213 at 21 Uses for Salt (Besides Seasoning) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-uses-for-salt-besides-seasoning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Salt shaker" title="Salt shaker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Salt is one of Mother Nature&rsquo;s greatest gifts.</p> <p>It gives our food flavor, our oceans healing properties, and our margaritas that kick we need after a long day.</p> <p>But salt has many more functions, from curing canker sores to repelling ants to de-icing driveways &mdash; and 18 more uses you can find right here. (See also: <a href="">Which Salt Is Best?</a>)</p> <h3>1. Foot Bath</h3> <p>To remove dead skin, sweat, and bacteria from your feet, soak them in a salt bath &mdash; table and sea salts are less drying than Epsom salt &mdash; for 15 minutes. It&rsquo;s a great way to remove odor and relieve stress as well.</p> <h3>2. Clean Copper and Silver</h3> <p>By mixing together a vinegar and salt solution, you can restore copper to its natural brilliance. You can achieve the same results by sprinkling salt on half a lemon and using it as a pad to polish the copper. A few additional steps are need to clean silver &mdash; including boiling water; placing the silver items in the sink with foil; pouring baking soda and salt directly on the silver, followed by vinegar; and boiling. You can find complete instructions for <a href="">how to clean silver</a> at</p> <h3>3. Decorating with Salt</h3> <p>Fill vases with salt to achieve a clean decorating aesthetic that&rsquo;s cheaper than filling the vases with marbles or other small items. Salt is better than sand, too, because it provides a purer white color.</p> <h3>4. Clean Pots and Pans</h3> <p>Readers&rsquo; Digest offers several suggestions on <a href="">how to clean various pots and pans with salt</a>. For burned-on stains on enamel pans, soak the pan overnight in salt water, then boil salt water in the pan the next day. For hard-to-tackle burned-on milk stains, sprinkle the pan with salt and let it soak for 10 minutes. The stains &mdash; and the odor &mdash; will wipe away much more easily.</p> <h3>5. Make Salt Art</h3> <p>Lauren Sharp, co-founder of the children&rsquo;s art studio <a href="">ARTifact Studio</a> in San Francisco, says that she uses salt in their art projects. &ldquo;We use it to do what's called &lsquo;salt painting&rsquo; where students sprinkle salt over their paintings; the salt sucks up the paint, leaving little white starry spaces.&rdquo; A similar tip comes from <a href="">Darla Arni</a>. She says, &ldquo;Paint with watercolor then sprinkle with salt. When it dries, brush the salt off to reveal a beautiful stippled effect.&rdquo;<a href=""><br /> </a></p> <h3>6. Cure Canker Sores</h3> <p>When I had braces &mdash; or whenever I wear my retainer (yes, I still have one all these years later) &mdash; I sometimes get painful canker sores. To cure them, I&rsquo;d mix salt into warm water and swish it around my mouth for several seconds, repeating about three times daily until the sore was gone. It&rsquo;s a trick my grandmother taught me, and it works every time.</p> <h3>7. Make Homemade Play-Doh</h3> <p>Play-Doh brand molding compound can be expensive, but you&rsquo;ll save a lot of money with this easy-to-make <a href="">homemade Play-Doh recipe</a> from Instructables that calls for flour, water, salt, vegetable oil, and cream of tartar. Food coloring and scented oils can be added if you want to get fancy.</p> <h3>8. Remove Blood Stains</h3> <p>Scranton, PA, nurse Jonathan Steele suggests using salt to remove blood stains from white uniforms. &ldquo;If I am wearing whites and get a drop of blood on them, a pack of salt, water, and a paper towel dissolve [the stain] and bring my whites back to white with no signs of spotting,&rdquo; he says.</p> <h3>9. Keep Your Drink From Sliding</h3> <p>Condensation on the bottom of a glass can cause a paper napkin or coaster to stick to it when you pick it up. To resolve this issue, sprinkle the napkin or coaster with a bit of salt to separate it from the glass.</p> <h3>10. Prevent Slipping on Snowy or Icy Sidewalks and Porches</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to purchase big bags of store-bought salt to sprinkle on your snow- and ice-covered steps. Although that&rsquo;s the best to use &mdash; mostly because of its large crystals &mdash; any type of salt will do. Plus you&rsquo;ll save money by using what you already have at home &mdash; depending how much ground you need to cover, of course.</p> <h3>11. Clean Tubs and Sinks</h3> <p>Use coarse salt to clean grimy tubs and sinks. The salt acts as an abrasive to help remove caked-on gunk.</p> <h3>12. Deter Ants</h3> <p>If you have an ant problem, sprinkle salt at the source &mdash; across windowsills, doorways, etc. Ants don&rsquo;t like the feel of salt, so they won&rsquo;t cross the line that you&rsquo;ve drawn.</p> <h3>13. Clean Up Dropped Eggs More Easily</h3> <p>Trying to remove raw <a href="">egg</a> that&rsquo;s dropped on the floor makes a slimy mess. Instead, pour salt over the egg and wait two minutes before wiping it up.</p> <h3>14. Prevent Fruits from Browning</h3> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have any lemon on hand to prevent cut fruits like apples from browning, soak them in slightly salted water to ward off oxidation.</p> <h3>15. Exfoliate</h3> <p>Save money on expensive exfoliants by using salt instead. While your body is still damp after a shower, rub salt on your face and other areas where you want healthier, more radiant looking skin.</p> <h3>16. Clean a Coffee Pot</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to get your hand into the bottom of a coffee pot to scrub out those burned-on strains. An easy trick to get the pot spic-and-span is to cover the bottom with salt, fill it with ice cubes, and swirl it around. The salt scours the bottom while the ice helps remove other residue.</p> <h3>17. Stop the Suds</h3> <p>Too many suds in your sink, bathtub, dishwasher, or washing machine? Lower the level by sprinkling salt on top.</p> <h3>18. Set Color in Garments</h3> <p>Every camp counselor knows that soaking tie-dyed T-shirts in salt water will help set the color so they won&rsquo;t bleed in the wash, but a salt solution works for other clothing as well. Combine equal parts water, salt, and vinegar (a half cup of each should do) and soak single-hued textiles for at least a half hour.</p> <h3>19. Save Clothes From Freezing Outside</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re saving money by <a href="">hanging clothes outside</a> to dry instead of tossing them in the electric dryer, this tip is for you. During the final rinse stage of the wash, add salt to the cycle. By doing so, you&rsquo;ll prevent your garments from freezing on the line when the weather is cold.</p> <h3>20. Kill Poison Ivy</h3> <p>Have a patch of poison ivy growing in your yard? Prevent a potential problem by adding three pounds of salt to a gallon of soapy water and spraying the mixture on the leaves and stems of the plant.</p> <h3>21. Relieve Bee Stings</h3> <p>Apparently there are <a href="">100 ways to soothe a bee sting</a> (probably more), one of which requires you to wet the affected area immediately and cover it with salt. Use a Band-Aid to keep the salt semi-in-place.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Awesomeness of Sodium Bicarbonate: 27 Uses for Baking Soda</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">52 Uses for Rubber Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Build a Bed for Cheap (and Look Good Doing It)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips Health and Beauty Home frugal beauty green cleaning products salt Thu, 22 Sep 2011 10:36:20 +0000 Mikey Rox 713449 at