Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) ... our effort to reduce our carbon footprints and improve the world, one challenge at a time!
Last week we tackled household cleansers and, as always, a whole bunch of people joined in and discussed the subject. We found out what works, what doesn't and even learned some new recipes for Eco-friendly, homemade cleansers.
As I investigated the options available, I came across something interesting ... it ties in with both this challenge and a previous one about Eco-friendly laundry habits. Most commercial brands of laundry detergent contain optical brighteners. They are added to give the appearance of brighter colors and whiter whites. In other words, they fool our eye. They do such a great job of "covering up", in fact, that military personnel are cautioned not to use any detergents which contain them because the optical brighteners negate the camouflage quality of uniforms. Wowee! So ... those brilliant colors and white whites may not be as clean as we think.
Here's what our Honor Society had to say this week:
EcoGrrl is taking a master recyclers certification class (yay, EcoGrrl). She shared some interesting information. In her words: "... last week we had a hazchem person speak to us about the popular green cleaners from the store. 90% of them do not have an MSDS available on their website and many refuse to provide ALL of their ingredients, calling them 'proprietary'. the word 'fragrance' is particularly dangerous as it can mean ANYTHING. the only safe cleaner is the ones we make at home like you recommend, unfortunately. here's the thing, all those pesticides and such they regulated back in the 70's? it was only for chemicals/pesticides that came into being AFTER that law passed - everything else was grandfathered and therefore is not regulated. very scary. California just passed the Green Chemistry Initiative which I recommend folks look at and get inspired to contact their own state's govt - California Green Chemistry Initiative." Thanks for that, EcoGrrl!
Our friend Ann stopped by. In this POST, she includes our banner and talks about natural materials.
Have you ever heard of Sand Soap or Sunlight bar soap for dishes? Argentum Vulgaris talks about both of them, as well as other household cleaners found at Grandma's House in this POST. Thanks, AV!
Carli Alice joined us. While this POST wasn't written for our challenge, it is a great article on crock pot cooking which supports one of our recent challenges on energy-efficient cooking techniques. Thanks, Carli!
Our Village is a Little Different uses vinegar for her cleaning jobs. She shares that it even works for getting rid of washing machine odors. Great tip! She wrote the nicest "Thank You" post HERE ... and mentions our challenges. WhooHoo!
İlhami Uyar joined us all the way from Turkey. He shared that while it's important to always choose natural sources ... it's not always possible in his city.
Cinella had a fabulous idea. In this POST, she made participation in our challenge a way to gain entries into her amazing, "Going Green For 2011" event and giveaway. Wow ... I hope you all got in on that!! In addition to that very clever way to spread the word, she updated us on a previous challenge about cooking outside. What's your guess ... did she cook outside? You'll have to go to her place to find out.
The Accessory Lady makes a cleanser which she says works better than bleach in the tub and bathroom. She graciously shared it with us: "I take a small container and mix about two tablespoons of borax cleaner, a tablespoon of baking soda and then add a few drops of essential oil (pine, lemon or grapefruit or a blend of these). Sometimes I include a little liquid castile soap for some foaming action. When I'm almost ready I pour in a little white vinegar and it bubbles. Then I grab my handle brush and pick up a little bit of the paste to brush at the stubborn stains, mildew and soap scum. Then I rinse with a hose and repeat if necessary. For the door I use the same mixture with a sponge then it rinses clean. Seems like a complicate recipe, but if you keep all the ingredients handy then it's easy to throw together. You could also have the powders already blended to skip a step. For quick touch ups during the week I keep a small bottle of liquid peppermint castile soap in the shower to quickly touch up grimy spots during the week." Tnx, AL!
Noteasytobegreen is transitioning away from commercial "Green" cleansers and towards more handmade versions. She uses vinegar and baking soda and shares that it is much safer than bleach or ammonia based cleaners.
Thanks to Amy (The Wayland Cook), our challenge was picked up by The American Agri-Women Daily. Thanks to both Amy and @Women4Ag.
Christine of Our Homeschool Reviews joined our challenge. She mixes 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water, puts it in a spray bottle and uses it to clean kitchen surfaces. She reminds us that vinegar kills germs. Thanks Christine!
In this POST, Kris shares her recipe for granite cleanser. She also sends out a request for a homemade recipe for a cleanser appropriate for her smooth top stove (you know the ones ... they scratch if one uses an abrasive solution on them). Anyone have a recipe?
Nancy, a new follower, stopped in. Nice to see you, Nancy ... hope you join in our challenges.
Mrs. Green is passionate about Eco-friendly cleansers. She talks about it in this POST and she shares uses for vinegar and baking soda HERE and HERE. Thanks, Mrs. Green!
This week our friend Rewinn gets the prize for the most unique cleanser recipe. Here's a riddle ... what item both starts our day (well, most of us anyway) and cleans a pot? You'll find the answer HERE.
Eemilla, a long-time friend, joined in the fun. In this POST, she writes about the challenges she faces in using Eco-friendly cleansers. Thanks, Eemilla!
TLN dropped in. Always nice to see you, TLN!
Our friend, @shoppingcharity, gave us another spot in her paper Shopping Charity. Thanks so much!
Michael Olivia came by and had some very nice words to say about Reduce Footprints. Thanks, Michael!
Jen stopped in and said that she is accepting this challenge. Wonderful, Jen! While it wasn't written to support this challenge, Jen wrote an interesting post entitled "Poop Happens" (this is one that most parents will relate to). Using vinegar, she's cleaning ... well ... you'll just have to go read it!
Our #CTWW Gang lit up Twitter with their comments this week, spreading the word using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're on twitter, be sure to drop by and follow these people:
Thanks to everyone who participated this week. As always, I Stumbled, Tweeted and Facebooked your articles.
Are you ready for something new? Let's get WILD!!
This week we're going to do two challenges ... two unrelated challenges. Wow! The first challenge is a month long exercise which was suggested by Rewinn. The second challenge is inspired by one of my favorite blogs, It's Not Easy To Be Green. Here you go:
Challenge #1 - February is being chosen by snack food manufacturers as "National Snack Food Month". That means that unhealthy snacks will be unusually promoted and consumers will be encouraged to buy them. Processed foods, especially snacks, are bad for us and bad for the planet. So, let's reclaim February for the good food cause. First, visit #28ate to get the facts and then, participate by taking at least one of the actions they suggest. Come back here and tell us what actions you're taking to support healthy food.
Challenge #2 - A recent post on It's Not Easy To Be Green (you can read it HERE) talked about the dysfunctional relationship between humans and the planet. To put it briefly, humans take much more than they give in that relationship. So ... the challenge this week is to explore different ways to give back to the planet and nature ... and then take action. What we're talking about, here, is not just reducing our footprint, but rather giving back. Come up with as many ideas as possible, share them here and accomplish at least one of them this week.
So what do you think? Are these two challenges doable? It should be an interesting week and month!
Thanks, Everyone! Join me in our mantra:
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD, ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!