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What You Should Clean Before Moving Into A New Place

BLOG-APARTMENTRecently, I’ve had friends who have purchased a new home and others who are moving into new apartments. As much as the former owners or tenants try to clean up before moving out, there always seems to be a decent amount of work left over for whoever is moving in. This got me thinking, “What are the first things you should look to clean (or perhaps re-clean) when moving into a new place?”. Here’s a small list of things to take care of before you get settled in.

“Check for Pests”- The first thing you should do is check for any signs of rodents or bugs. Check all over the house or apartment for any signs of droppings, holes or cracks in the wall, etc.. If you happen to find any sign that you may have some unwanted guests, immediately set traps yourself or hire a professional to get rid of them.

“Clean the Bathroom”- The bathroom is one of those places in your home that needs to be cleaned on a regular basis anyway. When moving into a new place I’d say it’s the most important place to clean first. Give your bathroom a full cleaning and maybe even purchase a new toilet seat.

“Clean Out the Fridge”- You should clean any appliances that came with your new place but especially the refrigerator. Since the fridge will most likely be empty, this is the perfect time to give it a good scrub down before loading it up with your own grub.

“Dust and Clean Cabinets”- Cabinets can sometimes be over looked by previous owners or landlords. Since this is a place where you will be storing plates and glasses which you eat off of and drink out of, it’s probably a good idea to get all of the dust and dirt out first.

“Clean the Floors”- Before you bring any furniture in, it’s always a good idea to give the floors a good sweep or vacuum, if not a full cleaning.

Keep Your Home Dust-Free

Sometimes no matter how clean you try to keep your home, dust still manages to build up. Having too much dust in your home can not only make things look dirty, but it can also cause people to have an allergic reaction. In this article from Enviro Maids, you are given some tips on how to keep your home as dust-free as possible.


Strategies To Make Your House Dust-Proof


What is dust?
Dust is a combination of bits of human skin, animal fur, dandur, decomposing insects, food debris, lint and fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics, tracked-in soil, soot and pollen. The main reason why it’s impossible to completely rid your house of dust is because our bodies are constantly shedding tiny flakes of skin, while our clothes, bedding and furnishings constantly shed barely visible fibers. These particles constantly rise and settle as people pass by, walk around and doors swing open, settling on every surface in your house.

Getting rid of the dust in your house doesn’t only make your house look clean, it can keep you healthier, especially if you suffer from asthma or allergies. While it’s impossible to remove all the dust in your house, there are steps you can take to keep it at a manageable level and to prevent it from growing out of control in the future.

Choose the right tools
While old-fashioned feather dusters seem to do a fair job of picking up most of the dust on hard surfaces, all they’re really doing is scattering the particles around. These particles become airborne and when the “dust finally settles,” your furniture is once again covered in a layer of dust. Not all feather dusters are bad, however. If you prefer to use a feather duster, opt for one made of ostrich feathers. Ostrich feathers are soft and flexible and dust tends to naturally cling to them. A lambswool duster is another effective tool for cleaning venetian blinds, ceilings and chandeliers — the oils in the wool work together with static cling to trap dust. Rags or disposable cloths that attract and hold dust with an electrostatic charge (like Swiffer) work much better than a dry cloth. The electrostatic charge attracts dust particles rather than just moving them around.

Always work from the top down
Start with ceiling fans and light fixtures and work your way down. If you clean the floors before dusting shelves and furniture, you’ll stir up dust that’ll settle back down on your floors.

Match the vacuum to the flooring
Suction alone isn’t enough to pull most of the dust out of carpet. For good results, you need a vacuum with a powerful agitator. Upright vacuums are usually best for carpet, although some canister vacuums with agitators work well, too. When it comes to wood, vinyl or tile flooring, your best choice is a canister vacuum without an agitator (or with an agitator that can be turned off). An agitator on hard flooring blows dust into the air, causing more harm than good. If you suffer from allergies, use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum. HEPA vacuums differ from conventional vacuums in that they contain filters that are capable of trapping extremely small, micron-sized particles. A good HEPA vacuum cleaner sucks up dust, pet dander and tracked-in pollen from bare floors, rugs, and carpeting and prevents trapped particles from escaping back into the air. A true HEPA filter can trap 99.97 percent of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns.

Upgrade your home filters
If your home has a forced-air heating or cooling system, it can help control dust by filtering the air. While no filter will completely eliminate the chore of dusting, an upgrade in the type of filter you use can make a noticeable difference. Look for filters that are made from pleated fabric or paper. Most pleated filters also carry an electrostatic charge that attracts and holds dust. A pleated filter can capture virtually all the visible dust that reaches it. Manufacturers usually recommend that you change these filters every three months, but you should check them monthly, especially if you have cats or dogs. Dirty pleated filters can restrict airflow and damage your furnace.

Get rid of clutter
The more clutter you have around your house — knickknacks, books, magazines, etc… the easier it’s for dust to build up. Get rid of the clutter and you get rid of some of the dust.

Beat and shake area rugs
Carpeting is by far the biggest dust collector in your entire house. Carpets are loaded with fibers that attract dust like a huge magnet. Even the padding underneath carpeting holds dust, which goes airborne with each footstep. While tearing out wall-to-wall carpeting is the best solution, many people aren’t ready for this drastic step. The next best solution is to vacuum regularly. Vacuum once a week, paying extra attention to high traffic areas. Be sure to regularly vacuum large area rugs too. For best results, take them outside 3 or 4 times a year for a more thorough cleaning. Drape them over a fence or clothesline and beat them with a broom or baseball bat. A good beating removes much more dust than vacuuming. Don’t forget your smaller rugs; they should be taken outside for a vigorous shaking every week.

Get rid of the dust in your sofa cushions
Upholstery fabric not only sheds its own fibers but also absorbs dust that settles on it. Every time you sit down, you send a puff of dust into the air. Remove trapped-in dust in sofa cushions the same way you would your area rugs by taking them outside and using a tennis racket to beat out the dust.

Cleaning slipcovers for chairs and sofas is as easy as pulling them off and taking them outdoors for a shaking. Better yet, if they’re machine washable, throw them in the machine and launder according to the instructions on the label.

Clean bedding regularly
Your cozy bed is a major dust hoarder. Your bedding collects skin flakes, sheds its own fibers and sends out a cloud of dust every time you move around and roll over. Wash your sheets, pillowcases and mattress pad weekly, preferably in hot water (to kill dust mites and remove allergens). Take items that aren’t machine washable such as bedspreads outside and shake them to remove the dust. Don’t ignore your mattress and box spring. Vacuum your mattress using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum once a month.

Control the dust in your closets
Every time you open the door to your closet, you send up an invisible dust storm of countless tiny fibers shed from your clothes, towels and bedding. You can’t prevent clothes from shedding fibers, but you can make closets easier to keep clean and vastly cut down on dust by doing the following:

  • Store items on shelves in clear plastic containers (with a lid). Clear plastic containers are ideal because they lock fibers and particles in and prevent dust from getting inside. Clear plastic also lets you see what’s inside. When you need to dust, they’re easy to pull off the shelves and wipe clean.
  • Enclose the clothes you rarely wear, such as winter coats and formal wear, in garment bags. Those coats you wear only in the winter shed fibers year-round, adding to your year-round dust problem. Garment bags not only help to contain fibers from shedding they keep the clothes themselves from becoming coated with dust.

Clean the air while you clean your house
All vacuums whip up dust with their “agitator” (the cylindrical brush that sweeps the carpet) or blowing exhaust stream. That dust eventually settles on the surfaces you’ve just cleaned. But if your forced-air heating and cooling system is equipped with a good filter, you can filter out some of that dust before it settles. Just switch your thermostat to “fan on.” This turns on the blower inside your furnace and filters the air even while the system isn’t heating or cooling. Leave the blower on for about 15 minutes after you’re done cleaning. But don’t forget to switch back to “auto.” Most blowers aren’t designed to run constantly.

Other Dust Hot Spots To Watch:

  • Drapes & Curtains: If these aren’t laundered regularly, they can hold a lot of dust (that gets released into the room as they’re brushed against or touched). If you don’t have the time to launder them regularly (or get them dry cleaned), shaking them outside helps remove a lot of the buildup.
  • Pets: Keeping them well-groomed helps reduce hair and pet dander.
  • Walls & Ceilings: If you don’t regularly wipe them down, walls and ceilings can hold an amazing amount of dust. Use damp mops for easy cleaning, they also do a good job of getting into high corners.
  • Refrigerator and Appliances: Regularly clean the coils on the back of the refrigerator and clean behind other appliances. Many people neglect to clean these areas, yet they’re often filled with dust, debris and food particles.
  • Electronics: Electronics such as TVs and computers are major dust magnets. Make sure to pull out electronics and vacuum behind them frequently. Just wiping them on the surface isn’t enough.

Cut Your Cleaning Time In Half

When it comes to cleaning their home, many people are put off by how much time it often takes to get the job done. Getting your home clean can sometimes take an entire day to do. If you’re like me, spending a whole day (especially a weekend day) cleaning is just not my idea of a good time. In this recent article from Popular Mechanics, they give 15 tips on how to cut your cleaning time in half. So, check this out and get your home clean in just half the time, while spending the other half doing something you enjoy.

15 Secrets to Cleaning Your Home in Half the Time

No one likes to clean. We get that. But armed withe right tools and using proven techniques from the pros-and without harsh chemicals-you can keep your home sparkling clean in half the time.

Have a System

Speed-cleaning expert (and maid service owner) Debbie Sardone says that cutting your cleaning time in half starts with a system. That means cleaning the house in the same order every time: Working one room at a time, starting and finishing at the same spot in a room so that you don’t waste time running back and forth.

“To get the time down, you have to be consistent—that’s the whole premise,” Sardone says. “You do the same thing every time you clean, so it is a routine. The routine is the method, and that is an inherently better way to clean because the speed comes from the method instead of from hurrying. You really can clean your house in half the time. It’s not a gimmick.”

Clean Top to Bottom, Left to Right

Don’t start a room by wiping the coffee table, then clean the blinds, and seeing the dust from the blinds coat your newly clean coffee table. Sardone says to start at the top of the room, such as dusting a ceiling fan, and work down to the floor to eliminate redundant work.

Likewise, cleaning left to right ensures that you cover the entire room instead of darting from place to place.

“Most people see something and clean it, then they look up and see something else and clean it, and the dirt falls down on what you just cleaned,” Sardone says. “If you work top to bottom and left to right, you’re working once instead of cleaning areas you’ve just cleaned.”

Squeegee Windows for a Streak-Free Finish

Can’t get the shine you want with Windex and paper towels? Author and speed-cleaning expert Laura Dellutri’s weapon of choice is a professional-grade window squeegee, which starts at about $12. Place a drop of dish soap in a gallon of water, wipe it generously on the window with a cloth, then squeegee it off. “Go top to bottom and wipe the blade each time at the bottom,” she says. “You’ll get a window that is streak-free.”

If you don’t want to use a squeegee, Dellutri recommends a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. When wiping with the cloth, use horizontal strokes and move from top to bottom. Don’t clean a window by rubbing in circles, which can leave streaks, and avoid wiping the glass with newspaper or paper towels, which leave a residue.

Keep Proper Tools at the Ready

Having all the tools and cleaning products you need at arm’s-reach means you won’t waste time walking back and forth to the cabinet under the sink. Sardone recommends wearing an apron, or even a carpenter’s tool belt, and filling the pockets. This might be hard with several large bottles of cleaner, but you don’t need large bottles—pour the cleaners into small spray bottles that are easy to carry. You can also place your supplies in a caddy or a bucket to stay organized and save time.

“If you hired a carpenter and he went up and down a ladder every time he needed a nail, you’d never tolerate it,” Sardone says. “You want him to have everything with him. You can do the same with cleaners.”

Get Proactive

The best way to keep a clean home is to stop some problems before they begin. For example, Dellutri recommends using a shower cleaner, which costs less than $4 for a trigger bottle, to prevent grime and scum buildup in the bath. “You can spray it on and walk away,” she notes. “Every time you take a shower, spray it on to prevent having a dirty shower. Spray it on, rinse, and walk away. You don’t have to wipe or anything.”

Dust Without Spraying

Feather dusters work great for cleaning blinds, pictures, nooks, and other areas. Sardone likes ostrich feather dusters, which start at about $10, because the feathers tackle the dust and the large quills don’t fall out of the handle. “You want a high-quality feather duster that will fit in your back pocket,” she says. The duster works well for routine dusting, but for heavy buildup, you’ll need to vacuum or use a cloth, then use the duster every two weeks or so after that.

Cut Through Kitchen Grease

Grease inevitably ends up on kitchen cabinets, especially those above or next to the range. You can buy a cleaner with orange oil to wipe off the grease, or you can use a standard grease-cutting dishwashing detergent. The detergent will cut through the grease on the cabinets just like it does with dishes.

Mix one tablespoon of liquid detergent with a gallon of warm water. Test the solution in an inconspicuous area, wiping it on with a clean sponge or cloth, to make sure it won’t damage or discolor the finish. Then rinse it off with a different sponge and clear, warm water.

For tough stains or buildup that won’t come off with detergent, mix baking soda with water and lightly scrub the problem area with a cloth.

Lemon Cleaner

Rust stains on patios, porches, garage floors, and driveways are eyesores, but you don’t need acid to remove them. Instead, use a lemon. The acid in the lemon juice will dissolve the rust. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice onto the stain and let it soak in for about 10 minutes. For stains that have been on the concrete for weeks, months, or longer, scrub with a hard bristle brush. Then rinse off the lemon juice and gunk with clean water.

Battle Bathroom Mold

Mold haunts bathrooms that aren’t well-ventilated because water remains on the walls after bathing. Use hydrogen peroxide in a trigger-spray bottle to battle mold and mildew, Dellutri says: “Spray it on, let it sit 3 to 5 minutes, and it will kill the fungus.”

To keep mold from coming back, use a fan when showering. When you’re done, take a couple of minutes to squeegee the water off the tile walls and shower door.

Defeat Mineral Deposits

If mineral deposits from hard water have stained your plumbing fixtures, don’t clean them with bristle brushes or pads. They can scratch the faucet. Instead, use white vinegar. Pour some on a clean cloth and wipe the faucets. It doesn’t take much effort to make them sparkle.

Keep Stainless-Steel Shining

Fingerprints, smudges, and watermarks are the enemies of stainless-steel sinks and surfaces. Mineral oil can help you beat them, Dellutri says. “Pour some mineral oil on a cloth and wipe it down once a week. This repeals the water.” The mineral oil also helps keep toothpaste and other items from sticking to the sink, making it easier to wipe clean.

Make Friends With Magic Erasers

Sardone and Dellutri both are fans of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, which cost about $4 for a four-pack. “They take stains off when nothing else will,” Sardone says. “Keep a couple in your caddy when you’re cleaning.” Dellutri says the Eraser is ideal for cleaning walls and almost any floor surface, including wood, laminate, and tile.

Clean the Microwave Like a Champ

The inside of your microwave probably looks like a war zone, and baked-on food, especially if it has been sitting for days or longer, can be tough to remove.

The trick: Have the microwave help you. Dellutri says to put a coffee cup full of water in the microwave and heat it up until it’s boiling hot. “This creates moisture that loosens up anything on the top, sides, or bottom of the microwave,” she says. Then take a damp cloth and wipe the surfaces clean.

Vacuum in Rows

Dellutri’s secret to effective and efficient vacuuming: Do the entire length of the room in a straight row, then move over and start again at the front of the room. Dellutri says to vacuum high-traffic areas once a week.

“Vacuum in long corn rows, and back out of the room,” she says. “You can do it fast, and put the cord over your shoulder so you’re not fighting it. When you’re done, it looks beautiful.”

Speed-Clean Regularly

If you really want to cut down your cleaning time, Sardone says, then you really need to clean more often. Once you’ve deep-cleaned your house, give it a once-over every couple of weeks. It’ll keep the place looking nice and spare you the long, agonizing job of doing several months’ worth of cleaning at once. “You create maintenance cleaning instead of catch-up cleaning,” she says.


The Benefit Of Hiring A Green Cleaning Company

BLOG-GREEN CLEANERSMaintaining a clean home is a top priority for many people. Helping to protect the environment should also be a top priority. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could help with the burden of cleaning while keeping your home and environment safe? Just hire a green cleaning company!

So, what is a green cleaning company? A green cleaning company is a housekeeping service whose main goal is keeping your home clean, while keeping the environment safe. Green cleaning companies accomplish both of these tasks by using methods and materials which are environmentally friendly.

Unlike traditional cleaning services which use products that can contain harmful chemicals, green cleaners use products whose materials are safe to use around children and/or pets. The cleaning products used by green cleaners do not emit any harmful or noxious odors and are safe to use on almost any surface. A common misconception is that green cleaners are far more expensive than traditional cleaners which is not true. In fact, depending on what type of cleaning work you need done and which area of the country you live, green cleaners can sometimes be cheaper than traditional.

So the next time you decide to hire a cleaning company, why not choose the one which gets the job done while keeping your family, pets, and your environment safe by going green!

Speed Cleaning

Not everybody has the time to make sure their home is constantly clean. This becomes a bit of a problem when you find out that you’re going to be having company over in a half an hour! What do you do? Here are a few tips from our friends at Enviro Maids, on how to tidy up your home in a hurry.


Home Speed-Cleaning Guide


First impressions count – clear your entryway

The foyer is the first area of your house guests will see when they arrive so clearing this area of clutter — shoes, coats, bags, etc., is a must. Besides looking messy, you don’t want your guests tripping over anything. Grab a laundry basket or a storage bin, plus a plastic grocery bag and microfiber cloth. Load up your bin with all the unnecessary items that litter the foyer. Temporarily store hall-table clutter that could get lost (mail and keys) in the plastic bag; put the bag into the bin. While you’re near the door, shake doormats outside. Turn on the light to check for cobwebs. Use your microfiber cloth to clear them away. Light a fresh-smelling candle and place it in the area.

Living room

Pay extra attention to the room your guests will hang out in the most. Using the same bin you used for the entryway, continue to remove toys, piles of magazines, or any other unnecessary items that clutter the room. Run your microfiber cloth over the coffee table and other dusty surfaces, like the TV screen, bookshelves and fireplace mantel. Gather all of the stray remotes in one place, preferably off the coffee table since you’ll need this area for food and drinks. Plump up throw pillows and chair cushions. Use a sticky lint roller to remove any pet hair or dust stuck to the upholstery (in a pinch you can use mailing tape). Never got around to removing that stain from your couch? Hide the stain temporarily by draping a pretty throw over the dingy area.


Don’t cringe when your guest asks to use the powder room — get it presentable before they arrive by doing the following: Clear the products off your vanity and tuck them into the cabinet or drawers. (Remember, even the nicest guests might be tempted to snoop so remove any personal items such as prescriptions you’d rather they not see). Wipe down the mirror, faucet, sink, and countertop. Use a disinfecting wipe to go over the toilet’s seat and rim. Clean up spots and hair from the floor with a damp paper towel. Close the shower door or stretch out the curtain. Finally, put out fresh hand towels and don’t forget to empty the wastebasket.

Now you can take a deep breath, smile and greet your guests.

Organize Your Garage

If you’re anything like me, your garage is used more for storing things than it is for housing a car. And if you’re like me, the storage space can quickly turn into a chaotic clutter. Wouldn’t it be great if everything in your garage could be organized, and you could maximize the space in your garage? Well, thanks to some helpful tips from our friends at Enviro Maids, now you can. In this article, you are given tips on how to turn the clutter into a manageable storage space.


Clever Garage Organization Tips

Clever Garage Organization Tips, July 2013The main purpose of a garage used to be to shield your car. Nowadays, garages have become a dumping ground and personal storage space for everyone in the family. If your garage has become overrun with tools, outdoor gear, and everything else in between, it’s time to corral the clutter and turn your garage into a more manageable space. Here are some ideas on how to get your garage in tip-top storage shape.

Sort It Out

A lot of the clutter taking up valuable space in your garage are items that are broken, old, or expired — such as household chemicals. Start with a clean slate by clearing everything out of your garage and into the driveway. Sort everything into piles: things to donate, things to toss, things to recycle and things to keep. Donate reusable items (such as outgrown toys or books) or properly recycle or discard anything broken beyond repair.


Sort items you’’ll be keeping into categories such as: car maintenance, pool toys, etc. Place items in stackable clear-plastic bins. If you’re using cardboard boxes, be sure to label them so you know exactly where everything is.

Designate An Area

Map out your garage space as you would any other room in your house. Separate the garage into zones and place similar items together in each area. For example, sports equipment, lawn care and gardening supplies and seasonal items should be grouped together in their own space.

Shelf It

Make the most of your vertical space by installing shelves. Shelving comes in many options — from floating shelves to wire shelving units that are set on wheels so you can easily move them to different areas of the garage. Adjustable shelves make it easy to make room for different-size objects as your storage needs change. Pegboards or wall boards are another perfect way to hang your most-used tools. Hooks keep frequently used tools such as screwdrivers and hammers within reach. Shelves will not only make your space look neater, they’ll also keep your valuables safe from any dampness on the floor.

To get large items out of the way and off the floor, such as ladders, shovels and rakes, use heavy-duty hooks. Wall racks are another great way to make use of every inch of wall space. Bike racks mounted to the walls safely store all your bicycles out of the way.

Look Up

Use as much ceiling space as possible. Ceiling-mounted storage gives you loads of extra space to store items you don’t use often such as holiday decorations, luggage, coolers and other bulky items.

Cover It Up

If you’d rather not look at items on open shelves, consider installing built-in cabinetry or standing cabinets where you can tuck items behind doors away from view. Another inexpensive option is to hang curtain rods and curtain panels to hide storage bins and equipment at a moment’s notice.

Other Handy Tips

Repurpose a mesh laundry bag to corral wayward soccer balls, basketballs, and other sports gear. Children’s toys should be stored within their reach. The easier it is to put something away, the more likely it is to get done.

Designate a safe space for hazardous materials like fertilizers, pesticides and paint, so kids can’t get into them. Ideally, hazardous chemicals as well as sharp tools should be stored in locked cabinets.

Place your recycling bins next to the door leading into the house to make it easy to toss items into them.

Keep the Mosquitoes Away

This past 4th of July, I, like many people, spent nearly the entire day outdoors. We barbecued, played games, and enjoyed a few fireworks (and a few cold ones). Unfortunately, my friends and I weren’t the only ones out for a good time and a good meal, the mosquitoes were having a feast of their own…..on us! The only defense was to spray ourselves down with bug repellent. The smell and sticky feeling you got from the spray was almost as bad as the bug bites. Not to mention, most traditional bug sprays contain DEET, a chemical found in insect repellents that can cause skin irritation, disorientation, and dizziness with overuse. So, how can you keep the bugs away without having to use traditional bug sprays? This article from Project:Greenify, gives you a few tips on how to keep those pesky bugs away.

Green Mosquito Repellent TipsHerval

As summer rolls around, unfortunately so do the mosquitoes. Mosquito bites are not only annoying and cause intense itching but they can also cause diseases like West Nile. With so many bug spray options available, it’s hard to know which ones actually work AND are safe to use. Rather than using harmful spray options, try these natural and green mosquito repellents.

  • Get rid of standing water. Standing water in your yard is a major breeding ground for mosquitoes. Buckets, clogged gutters, children’s outdoor toys…anything that can hold standing water is a target so be sure to dump out all collected water.
  • Use a fan. Believe it or not, the wind created from a fan acts as a repellent and keeps away weak flying mosquitoes.
  • Attract natural mosquito predators. Bats and birds eat mosquitoes as a part of their diets. Hang up nesters, bird feeders, etc. and use those animals to help as a repellent to your mosquito problems.
  • If you have a pond or lawn ornament in your backyard that features standing water, these can be major breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Change the water in birdbaths once a week and keep the water in ponds and pools moving. If that isn’t an option, you can use B.t.i. (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), which is an eco-friendly product that will kill any mosquito larvae that hatch without harming birds, fish, pets or children (from the website).
  • Use a green repellent. There are many varieties of green repellants that are DEET free and they can usually be found online or in health food stores. Before you buy, make sure the bottle says the following: herbal, all-natural, DEET-free, non-chemical, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Here are a few: California Baby Bug Repellent Spray, Bite Blocker and Buzz Away
  • Make your own green insect repellent. Using a variety of essential oils such as lemon balm (citronella), lavender and rose geranium can do just the trick to keep mosquitoes at bay. Click here for some homemade insect repellent recipes.
  • Eat your repellent. According to, drinking 1-2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar and eating lots of garlic can help repel mosquitoes. Also, vitamin B1 is supposed to help repel insects.

Go Green This 4th

The 4th of July is just two days away. It is the time of year when we celebrate our independence by having parades, enjoying some fireworks, and getting together with friends and family for barbecues. Unfortunately, a lot of these celebrations can create a lot of pollution. Thanks to these tips from Keen for Green, this years Independence Day can be celebrated with our country and the environment in mind.

Have a Green 4th of July!

Green 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a time to get together with friends and family, to celebrate American history, and to eat BBQ in the summer fun.  Traditional 4th of July celebrations can create a lot of pollution.  It’s easy to replace some old habits with new ones for this year’s Independence Day.

Greener Grilling: On the Fourth of July alone, an estimated 60 million barbecues light up nationwide, consuming enough energy to power 20,000 households for an entire year. But who says you need to give up your hot dogs and steak in order to be an environmentalist? Buy a natural gas or infrared grill instead of dirty-burning charcoal. Avoid chrome-coated aluminum grills and instead opt for steel or cast iron (my favorite). Also, go with a smaller grill, as they take less energy to heat up.

Nix the Plastic Disposables: Plastic plates can remain in the environment for hundreds of years and suck up crude oil in their production (styrofoam is even worse). Following big 4th of July parties they often end up littering beaches and parks. If you can’t use disposable dishes and cutlery (Target stores have some great, inexpensive picnic reusables), go for compostable options made from potatoes, and products made from recycled materials.

Go Local with Your Menu: Spend an hour at the farmers market to pick up local fruits and veggies.  Skip the highly processed pink hot fogs and instead go for some locally made sausages (which are usually much yummier, anyway). Go with locally brewed beer (again, usually quite yummy) and increase the number of fruit and veggie dishes on your menu.  Who doesn’t like fruit salad on a hot day?

One is the Loneliest Number (and the least green): Carpool, carpool, carpool and stay close to home.  Go to big local celebrations instead of having your own.

What to do about the Fireworks? You’ve probably guessed that fireworks emit a ton of pollution.  If you’re like me, however, you are not willing to give up the extravagant displays at your July 4th celebration.  There are several lower-emitting fireworks in the works, but none are as spectacular as the originals.  Find out what your city officials are using and keep an eye out for more eco-friendly options in the years to come.