Posts Tagged ‘lemon juice’

Swiffer vs An Old-Fashioned Dust Mop

Below is a question from a reader about Swiffer.

Dear Betsy:

I just got the latest issue of Vermont Country Store catalog and inside is an old-fashioned wool dust mop, which up to 10 years ago I used and used to shake outside like my Mom used to do! 

This made me think about all the Swiffer products I use.  Hmmm – I’m wondering if anyone has compared cleaning efficiency of an old-fashioned dust mop vs Swiffer – certainly one is more economical.  The Swiffer products are expensive!  Thanks -

Jennifer M.

Winchester, MA

Hi Jennifer:

Great question!  I don’t know of any actual studies about the cleaning efficiency of an old-fashioned dust mop vs. Swiffer, but I know I prefer an old fashioned dust mop.  Swiffer disposable dry cloths are made of polyester and polypropylene and work well to pick up dust and grime from most surfaces, but so does an old-fashioned wool dust mop.  The natural lanolin in wool attracts and holds dust. Wool won’t scratch floors and gets better every time you wash it. I try to avoid single use products that go directly into the landfill, as well as petroleum-based products like polypropylene.

The Swiffer wet cloths are treated with propylene glycol and though categorized by the FDA as “generally regarded as safe”, that’s not assurance enough for me. According to Swiffer, the wet cloths may irritate skin and aggravate known skin conditions.” Considering that concentrations of toxic compounds are higher inside than outside, it’s best to avoid them when you can. Indoor air pollution, partially caused by the use of chemical based cleaners, is a much more serious problem than people realize and one of the reasons for increased cases of asthma and allergies.  Additionally, the chemically treated, single use wet cloths end up in the landfill leaching toxic chemicals into the soil and water table.

There is no question that Swiffer is easier than an old-fashioned mop, but what happened to cleaning with natural and safe ingredients like soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax?  All it takes is a little elbow grease and a good sponge mop.

If you insist on the convenience of a Swiffer, there are similar, more eco-friendly options.

  • Method Home floor cleaning mop with non-toxic compostable sweeping cloths.
  • Gaiam’s Spray Mop Kit where you add your own cleaner or nontoxic vinegar and water, spray the fine mist and mop up with a microfiber cleaning cloth (the eco-friendly cleaning rage today).  The set includes five washable MicroTech Cleaning Cloths.

    Gaiam’s Spray Mop

  • Amazon also sells a microfiber mop called E-cloth microfiber mop, as do Bed, Bath and Beyond and Whole Foods.

E-cloth Microfiber Mop

I hope this helps Jennifer– let me know what you decide.  Safe cleaning!

Betsy

Information compiled from www.treehugger.com, inhabitat.com, www.swiffer.com, vermontcountrystore.com, classic.akc.org

 

 

Frozen Lemons

One of my readers sent me a write-up about the secret of frozen lemons.  Rather than just using the lemon juice and wasting the rest of this nutrient-rich fruit, freeze it.  Wash it first and once frozen, grate the unpeeled lemon and add it to salads, soups, stews, ice cream, cookie dough, chicken and fish dishes, rice, martinis, whatever, for much added nutrition and taste.  What a great idea!

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all know that lemons are chock full of Vitamin C, which helps to neutralize free radicals linked to aging and most types of disease, as well as fight colds and flu.  But did you know that lemons contain more health benefitting nutrients than other citrus fruits like oranges or tangerines?  They contain citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.   Surprisingly, the lemon peel contains as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice.  Below is a list of some of the many benefits of this powerful and flavorful little fruit:

  • Lemons contain more potassium than apples or grapes.
  • Lemons help restore balance to the body’s pH even though they are acidic.
  • Lemons help detoxify the liver and improve regularity.  A large glass of water with fresh lemon juice is an important way to start the day.
  • The citric acid in lemon juice helps to dissolve gallstones, calcium deposits, and kidney stones. 
  • The lemon peel contains the potent phytonutrient tangeretin, which has been proven to be effective for brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
  • Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties; experiments have found the juice of lemons destroy the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.  They can also destroy intestinal worms
  • The Vitamin P (bioflavonoid) in lemons strengthens blood vessels and is useful in treating high blood pressure.
  • Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, including naturally occurring limonene, which studies have shown slows or halts the growth of cancer tumors in animals.

As we make our way through what is being reported as a severe cold and flu season, throw a couple of lemons into the freezer and “grate” your way to good health!

 

Information compiled from www.care2.com and http://www.nutrition-and-you.com.

 

 

 

 

GREENER ALTERNATIVES TO CHLORINE BLEACH

 Chlorine Bleach is one of the most effective clothes whiteners and disinfectants, but it can be toxic. Chlorine (Cl2) is among the ten highest volume chemicals manufactured in the United States. It is used in cleaning products and as a bleaching agent and was the first poison gas to be used as a weapon during World War I.

Chlorine bleach releases dioxin, furans and other organochlorines into the air. Low level exposures, mostly through inhalation, can cause wheezing, sore throat, shortness of breath and cough. With higher levels of exposure, you can experience chest tightness and bronchial spasms.  Studies have shown a relationship between long-term dioxin exposure and kidney, bladder, pancreatic, and other cancers. If chlorine bleach gets on the skin or in the eyes, chemical burns can result.  As with most toxins, children are more affected than adults.  And, of course it eventually finds its way to the water table.

So, what is a safer and effective alternative to chlorine bleach?  Several items right in your kitchen cupboard, like vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, borax, washing soda, (not mixed together however!).

Here are two recipes for bleach from Leslie Reichert’s Joy of Green Cleaning.

Laundry Bleach

1⁄4 cup borax 1⁄4 cup vinegar 1⁄4 cup hydrogen peroxide

Heat the vinegar in the microwave for 30 seconds. Dissolve the borax into the vinegar, and then add the peroxide right before adding to the wash. The peroxide will not stay active for very long so you add it to the mixture right before using it.

Old Fashioned Laundry Whitener

Winter – This is an old remedy that will remove spots from your clothing when all else fails. Wet the clothing that has the spots with water and place it outside in the snow on a sunny day.

Summer – Wet the clothing with water and 1⁄2 cup lemon juice. Place outside in the sun and the combination of the lemon juice and sunshine will bleach the clothing a bright white.

If you don’t want to make your own bleach, Seventh Generation, Ecover, Bi-o-kleen, and Earth Friendly Oxo brite have great products.  They can be found at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and some conventional supermarkets.

Information compiled from: http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/emergency/chemical_terrorism/chlorine_tech.htm, http://healthychild.org/issues/chemical-pop/chlorine/, http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2007/10/02/consider-these-environmentally-friendly-alternatives-to-bleach/

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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