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By Jackie Burrell
Saturday, April 26th, 2008 at 6:15 am in Parenting Issues.

Karen Rezai mixes green cleaning products (Dan Rosenstrauch/CC Times)
In case you hadn’t noticed, things have been very, very green around here. Not just here, but in your supermarket aisles, TV ads and everywhere anyone’s selling anything. Forget new and improved. Now it’s all about green and improved. Today’s Times features a Green Guide to living, complete with Bay Area resources for recycling just about anything. But we were particularly struck by Karen Rezai (pictured above) and her “green clean, happy home” outlook on life. Karen’s the president of the East Bay Holistic Moms Network and, she says, there’s no need to douse your home with chemicals when you can dig into the pantry instead.

It was five years ago, Rezai first started looking for more healthful alternatives to chemical-laden products. But the task took on new urgency with the birth of her son, Aidan, now 2. “As a breast-feeding mom, I wanted to make my environment as chemical-free as possible,” she says. “I was looking for something less caustic, less dangerous to inhale.”
The Green Guide (Illus. by Jeff Durham, Contra Costa Times)
So she started making her own cleaning products, using the same ingredients that served our grandmothers and great-grandmothers so well: water, vinegar, baking soda and castile soap. Read more in the Green Guide, then dig into Jenn Savedge’s new book, “The Green Parent,” which includes tips on everything from eco-responsible lunchboxes to DIY cleansers.

Instead of using foil and plastic baggies to wrap sandwiches, says Savedge, use reusable containers. Use cloth napkins, not paper, and opt for reusable flatwear, rather than disposable. Nix the juice boxes in favor of refillable drink containers, and use a lunchbox or tote, rather than paper bags.

We ran a few of Savedge’s DIY cleanser recipes in the paper; here are more:

“All-Purpose Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water in a spray bottle. Need to cut through kitchen grime? Add 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing soap.

Furniture Polish: Mix a 1-to-1 ratio of olive oil and vinegar (or lemon juice) to clean and polish wood furniture.

Oven Cleaner: Make a paste of 1 cup baking soda and water. Apply to grimy spots and let stand. Then scrub with a scouring pad.

Windows: Mix 3 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 quart water in a clean spray bottle. Can’t see through the handprints? Try a mix of a teaspoon liquid soap, 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 cups water.

Toilet Cleanser: Make your toilet sparkle by adding 1/2 cup vinegar to the toilet bowl. Let sit 30 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush. Or, sprinkle a little baking soda inside the bowl and scrub.

Tubs and Sinks: Sprinkle baking soda on porcelain tubs and sinks. Add a little liquid soap to a wet cloth and use it to rub in the baking soda. Rinse well, to avoid leaving a hazy film.

Drain Declogger: Clean sink and tub drains by pouring cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup vinegar. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water. For tough clogs, let it sit overnight before rinsing.

Carpets and Rugs: Fabric flooring tends to soak up the odors of the home, whether they are related to a pet or child. Sprinkle baking soda over the surface of the carpet and let it stand 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.”

Need more ideas? Pick up a copy of the book. Browse the green parent ideas on Savedge’s blog. And click “comments” to add your own green ideas right here!

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One Response to “GREEN CLEAN, Happy Home”

  1. Rick Hirth Says:

    There is obviously sooo much more to know about this. I think you made some pretty neat points in Features also.

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