disinfecting cleaners

so… my lovelies had the pukes this weekend and i was desperately trying to figure out the best way to clean up behind them.  i’m a die-hard for the clorox bleach spray (gasp!  i know… bad, bad, bad) but i’m really trying to kick the habit.  i found a site that lists a number of homemade disinfectants, but i couldn’t seem to figure out which one would be the best option (or if there is a best option)

here’s the recipe choices

  • Regular cleaning with plain soap and hot water will kill some bacteria.
  • Borax has long been recognized for its disinfectant and deodorizing properties. Mix 1/2 cup Borax into 1 gallon hot water or undiluted vinegar and clean with this solution.
  • Mix a half-cup of borax with 1 gallon hot water. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary or lavender. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and cool. Or add essential fragrant oils instead of fresh herbs. Store in a plastic spray bottle.
  • 2 tablespoons borax, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 cups hot water. Combine the borax and lemon juice with the water in a spray bottle. Use as you would any commercial all-purpose cleaner.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol is an excellent disinfectant. Sponge on and allow todry. Use in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves.

i kind of came up with my own hodge podge recipe combo thing… i ended up using:

  • a quarter of a tsp. of tea tree oil
  • 1/4 cup of borax
  • and topped the rest of the 32 oz. spray bottle off with vinegar

i’m starting to wonder though if i went over the top with the disinfecting agents.  or is that possible?  does anyone else have any tried and true cleaning recipes or more specifically, a disinfecting spray recipe that they rely on?  also, can borax be used in a front loader HE washing machine?  i now have a massive box of borax so i guess i’m going to jump in with both feet into this homemade cleaner adventure.


medicine cabinet… update

well, i did it. i was hanging out over at Mother ‘Hood and there was a post about cleaning products. this post launched quite a conversation about products we have in our home.

i mentioned awhile ago that my medicine cabinet was taunting me and begging to be purged and made over. after spending the afternoon with the comment section of the MH post and then watching a DVR recorded “dateline” episode, i was bothered. bothered enough to act and do the job that i first thought of doing nearly 3 months ago.

i spent a mere 30 minutes digging through the medicine cabinet and the drawers of the built-in in our bathroom. 30 minutes… that’s it! not only did i toss all of the meds we keep around for ‘just-in-case’ situations, but i tossed everything with fragrances, unpronounceable ingredients, and general clutter. i will also confess that i found a few bottles of expired herbs and drugs.

so here’s the aftermath…
disturbing, huh? that’s a full grocery sack and a box of pain killers, cold meds, enough lotion to moisturize a small country of wrinkly old women, and other random varieties of crap.

so here’s the big question… what do i do with all of this? i don’t want to just toss it all in the garbage can to wind up in a landfill. tom and i talked about emptying all of the bottles and recycling what we can and then tossing the drugs. somehow that doesn’t seem like the best option either. is there a safe way to dispose of medications and chemical based products? or do i need to come to terms with the idea that it’s all going to inevitably end up in our streams, lakes and oceans? this isn’t a rhetorical question- i really want to know.

now for the good news. the medicine cabinet has been reorganized with the few items that remained. i also was able to empty a drawer from the built-in and add it to the space leftover in the cabinet

so… top to bottom:
-the first aid overstock shelf (gauze pads, extra large bandages, etc…)
-stella bean’s asthma relief and respiratory shelf. i finally have a spot for the nebulizer and her masks!
-rarely used medications (which is VERY limited now) and extra stock of toiletries
-the girl’s jewelry boxes, travel kits and quick-grab first aid kit (on the right)
-tom’s meds (of which there are many right now) and tinctures
-tampons and will soon be loaded with spare rolls of toilet paper

i must confess that typically i’m the person who over thinks every step of the purging process and i genuinely feel some sort of attachment to everything that’s considered, even if it’s just recognizing it’s monetary value. it’s utterly ridiculous. the reason this purge took me 3 months to complete is because i really thought it would take me hours to evaluate the contents of that damn cabinet. on any other day, with less inspiration, it probably would have taken me hours.

one thing i’ve learned though- every time i purge another cabinet in my house, my head feels a little clearer. i’m starting to subscribe to the idea of feng shui. and every time i push another box or another bag past the threshold of my home, it gets a little easier and the satisfaction gets a little greater.

Cruelty to More Than Just Cows

You may have heard about the ground beef that has been recalled from schools recently because it was made from cows too sick to walk. But have you seen the video?

Not only are these cows being treated in an extraordinarily cruel way, but it is sick to think that these companies would knowingly feed them to children – or to anyone. I urge you to complete the form along the right-hand side of the site to send a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture.

I also urge you not to buy any meat that is factory farmed.  If it means more beans and lentils, so be it; do you really want to eat these dying creatures?  New Seasons is a great place to get sustainably farmed, free-range beef, if you are lucky enough to live near one.

Want healthy, “green” fast food? Head straight to Burgerville!

If you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, and therefore don’t have access to one of these amazing fast food restaurants, all I can say is, “I’m sorry.”

Burgerville uses local, vegetarian fed, antibiotic-free cows for its burgers (they use the same beef source as New Seasons), and cage-free hens for its eggs. Its milk is also hormone-free, and many of the fruits and vegetables are locally sourced.

You can look forward to delicious seasonal treats throughout the year, like their Sweet Potato Fries, Walla Walla Onion Rings, Strawberry Milkshakes, and other delights. They partner with a host of local businesses to give you the freshest, most delicious foods.

All of their nutrition info is available on their site, as well as ingredient lists. They even have a complete chart for people with food sensitivities, and the peanuts in their sundaes are stored carefully and kept separate from other food items, to protect people with peanut allergies.

In addition to local growers and sustainable farms, you can feel good knowing that your money is going to a company that takes good care of its employees, composts its waste, buys renewable energy, turns its used cooking oil into biodiesel, and more.

With so much healthy, sustainable food and such admirable business practices, Burgerville lives up to its slogan – “Where you go when you know.”

To find a location, click here.

organic valley coupons

i just stumbled onto this site where you can print $1 off coupons for organic valley products (milk, soy milk, lactose free milk, butter, cottage cheese and cheese). they require an email address and then you can print up to four of each coupon!

i’ll also add the link to the best price list.


if you’re in the portland area, i highly recommend you visit this site and see if you can recycle anything you might be purging. by now i hope you know how jen and i feel about recycling (and not filling landfills in general), so this post should come as no surprise.

for more information, visit this page. it goes into detail about what will and won’t be accepted and how to sort it. don’t be afraid- it’s minimal work and the payoff is huge!

this page will provide you with the locations.

so c’mon! PURGE! get rid of all of that plastic crap that’s taking up space and leaching toxins. go take inventory of your backyard and ditch the junk now!

what’s in the meds?

after all of this hoopla of cleaning out the pantry, fridge and cupboards, i sat in front of my medicine cabinet this morning and started to wonder what the hell’s in our medications. i have a ton (as you can see) and i try to purge it frequently. i honestly can’t quite figure out what we have all this crap for, but i seem to have a pill to ease nearly every ailment, one symptom at a time.

in my defense, not a single one is expired. this i know. everytime we move (on average, once a year) i go through the meds and toss the expired ones. a longtime friend (who really should be a professional organizer and cleaner) used to help me sort and arrange the medicine cabinet to make it more functional and that would cause me to re-evaluate everything, and yet i still have this disaster of a cabinet full of chemicals.

i’m a lost cause.

i guess what i’m wondering is if anyone has done any research on what’s in our meds. obviously, chemical laden substances are never good, but i’m also willing to accept that my husband will always need a bottle of excedrin migraine within his reach.

since having the babies, i’m much more cautious about what i put in their little bodies. they get the very occasional dose of tylenol, but only when things are really uncomfortable. for the most part, i try to limit them to their vitamins and natural remedies.

is anyone else out there dealing with the same challenge? how are you handling the decisions? and what about first aid stuff?