March 29, 2010

The Secrets of Baking Soda

“Shall I get you a bicarbonate of soda?”  This was a question Curly would ask Moe in the old Three Stooges comedy shorts.  No matter what precarious situation Moe may find himself, Curly would suggest bicarbonate of soda – aka baking soda – as a cure all solution.  While the scenes were played for laughs, the fact remains baking soda DOES have a variety of uses.  Often, it is a much safer alternative to common chemical products people use.
Baking soda is a derivative of sodium bicarbonate which was originally found in mineral springs.  The first early uses of sodium bicarbonate were primarily as a saltsubstitute.  This usage can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians.  However, it was not until the 18th century in France that the modern form of baking soda came into being.  The product was developed from sodium bicarbonate soda ash and it was massed produced for a number of uses.  In general, there are two forms of baking soda: a more natural and more artificial version.  (There are no purely natural forms of baking soda available on the market.)  Obviously, it was closer to its natural state in earlier times.  Today, it is refined in two methods, the Solvay Method and the Trona Ore Method.  The Trona Ore method is a more natural process and those that prefer organic products will lean towards purchasing it.
And, yes, there are millions of people who regularly purchase baking soda.  Ultimately, baking soda is enormously popular because it has almost innumerable uses.  Some of the common uses for baking soda include the following:
Cooking Product – Baking soda is added to a multitude of baked foods for leavening.  (This is probably where it derived the nickname baking soda)  Its main purpose it to make breads, cakes, and other “dough foods” rise when they are in the oven.
Antacid – Sometimes the food you eat just doesn’t agree with you.  Thankfully, you can mix the baking soda with water and drink it down.  This can definitely aid an upset stomach.  And now you know where the bicarbonate of soda joke comes from.
Deodorizer – Baking soda can effectively nullify less than appealing smells.  That is why it is common placed in refrigerators as a “fail safe” against spoiled food and in cat litter boxes for the obvious reason.
Stain Removing – Placing baking soda on stained clothes prior to washing will greatly increase the odds of the stains dissipating.  It can also be effectively used as a degreaser when washing dishes.
Fire Retardant – This is one of the more surprising uses for baking soda.  Believe it or not, baking soda can quite effectively put oil and electrical fires due to its release of carbon dioxide when it comes in contact with the fire.
This is only a brief list of the many uses for baking soda.  Perhaps, in time, a number of other uses yet to be discovered may arise.  What is most amazing about this is that no matter how many products are produced in a lab, no one can come up a product as helpful, popular, and versatile as common baking soda.
Photo by: Thomas Perkins -

March 26, 2010

Volitile Organic Compounds (VOC's) and your health

Source:  EPA

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.  VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
EPA's Office of Research and Development's "Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study" (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas.  TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.

Read more here:
150 chemicals found in the home are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer, psychological disorders (Consumer Protection Agency)

March 24, 2010

8 ways to go green this Spring

8 Ways to Go Green in Spring

If your countertops and tabletops haven’t seen the light of day in weeks because they’re covered with books, magazines, catalogs and mail, then it’s time for a change. Flickr/Basial
There’s nothing we love more than great weather, sunlight and the perfect excuse to get back to nature.
We won’t bore you with those expected metaphors of spring and new beginnings. Instead, we’ve made a detailed of list of simple changes you can make this month that not only reduce your impact, but can also actually save you money.

1. Declutter your life.

We mean get rid of all of that stuff…that is everything you don’t want or use on a regular basis. While “spring clean” may not be a new turn of phrase, the task is no doubt daunting. What do you toss? What should you donate? What can be reused? And, finally, what can you recycle?
Keep It: A good rule of thumb to remember is if you have used it in the past year, chances are you’ll use it again. We’re always advocates for hanging on to the “essentials,” i.e. your flavorful wrought-iron skillet, the wicker basket in the corner that’s great for storage or your fav book that’s perfect on a rainy afternoon.
But while spring may mean a fresh start, it doesn’t have to mean new stuff. If it’s not broken, why replace it?
Donate It: Taking an inventory of your belongings shows you that tastes change and upgrades happen. But we all have those what-was-I-thinking? items as well. Even though these things are disposable to you, they may have many useful miles left. Keep items out of overcrowded landfills by asking family and friends if they have use for any of your unwanted items.
Recycle It: Commercial mail, old magazines, unread books – all of these common clutter items can be recycled. Consider this: A family of four uses 1.25 tons of paper per year on average, and the U.S. EPA reports that recycling 1 ton of paper saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, as well as enough energy to power the average American home for six months.
Trash It: Landfills should be used for items that truly have no other useful purpose. Be cautious when disposing of hazardous materials, as inappropriate distribution can cause toxic components to leach into the soil and groundwater. But even if something isn’t recyclable, chances are it may be reused in some creative capacity.

March 23, 2010

Earth Hour March 27th 8:30-9:30pm

Join the City of Reno and millions of people around the world

Event Page - Facebook

Earth Hour is March 27 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. (local time)
Posted Date: 3/22/2010
The City of Reno will join millions of people around the world in a bold statement showing concern for our planet.

On Saturday, March 27 the historic Reno Arch along with Reno City Hall and other city buildings will go dark for one hour in recognition of Earth Hour. The symbolic event is from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time. Along with the darkening of the Reno Arch, downtown businesses have also been asked to join in this effort by turning off exterior or non-essential lights.

Sponsored by World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is the largest event of its kind in the world. According to World Wildlife Fund, in 2009, nearly one billion people from 4,100 cities in 87 countries turned off their lights, as well as international landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, Great Pyramids, and the city skylines of Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and Tel Aviv. The goal of Earth Hour is to raise awareness about climate change issues, to encourage businesses, individuals, and government to take actions to reduce their carbon emissions and their impact on the environment in their daily lives and operations. 

March 22, 2010

Indoor Air Quality - Spring Cleaning needed

by Scott Smith is an expert on indoor air quality and air purifiers at

Indoor air quality is often much worse than outdoor air. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor air pollutant levels could be two to five times higher than pollution levels outdoors. Considering that most Americans spend an estimated 90 percent of their time inside, indoor air quality has a great impact on our everyday lives. In addition, indoor air pollutants are one of the foremost triggers of allergies and asthma.

Why Winter Makes Indoor Air Quality Worse

Homes are built to be energy- (and therefore cost-) efficient by holding heat in during the winter time and keeping heat out during the summer. Winter weather prompts homeowners to tightly seal any cracks in insulation that could allow cold drafts into the home. This, in turn, also seals off the home from any fresh air and raises the concentrations of both allergens and pollutants in the home.

March 19, 2010

Hollywood pre-oscar party green event

Top Green Cleaning Tips

Employ green cleaning products
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner.

Avoid poor indoor air quality
It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is because of the presence of toxic materials and substances and the fact that homes and buildings are better insulated than ever before (which is a good thing from an energy standpoint). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.

Be careful with antibacterial cleaners
The antibacterial and antimicrobial 'cleaners' that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding "super germs," bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.

Help your home smell baking soda-licious
Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it's also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.

Clean your indoor air naturally
Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you have a fondness for. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also have been known to create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air--pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do. Peace Lilies are a favorite choice.

Toss toxic cleaners carefully
When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they're too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you (see How to Go Green: Water for more).

March 17, 2010

How to clean windows in a green way

If you’re cleaning windows that have been cleaned before with conventional window cleaners, you should start out with this:
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap (Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap is good)
2 cups water
Optionally a few drops essential oil for scent
After you’ve washed your windows with the above a couple of times, you can start using this simpler recipe:
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
Optionally a few drops essential oil for scent
Both recipes are made by combining the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle well, and spray on and remove with a squeegee or a paper towel. I don’t recommend using newspapers for wiping off, as the inks they use for printing may contain heavy metals.
You’re probably wondering why you have to start out with one recipe and then move on to a second. This is because most windows that have been cleaned regularly with commercial cleaners have a layer of wax buildup on them. Vinegar and water alone won’t be able to remove this properly, and you’ll get streaks. That’s why the liquid soap should be added the first few times you use a green cleaner. Once the wax buildup has been removed, vinegar and water is enough to get a streak free, shiny window.

March 12, 2010

Ban the bottle

Ban the Bottle is an organization promoting the environment by advocating bans on one-time-use plastic water bottles. We believe that tap water tastes great and by eliminating plastic bottles in schools, offices and public areas, we can eliminate unneeded waste in landfills. We advocate the use of reusable bottles manufactured by companies like CamelBak and Nalgene.

In addition to banning plastic bottles, Ban the Bottle promotes initiatives aimed at improving hydration for children and adults. We believe that water is the central component to life and staying hydrated can improve performance, health and vitality.

Join them on FB and Twitter.  They also have a blog...
Off to NCET here in a little bit. Hope to see some of my FB friends there~~~

How to Clean a Microwave the Green Way

You don't need harsh and toxic chemicals to clean your microwave.

When a microwave gets dirty with dried and stuck on food, it can seem like a tough cleaning job lies ahead. But you don't need toxic chemicals to clean your microwave. In fact, you don't even need much elbow grease. Follow these simples steps to cleaning your microwave the green way.
Difficulty: Easy

  1. 1
    Place a bowl of water in the microwave.

  2. 2
    Heat on high for 5 minutes or until water is steaming.

  3. 3
    Carefully remove the bowl of water and wipe down the inside of your microwave. You will find that the steam has loosened any food particles and the microwave will come clean easily.

March 08, 2010

Overview of PC TrickleSaver - Energy Savings device

The TrickleStar™ PC TrickleSaver™ reduces the standby energy consumed by PC Peripheral equipment. The product connects to a PC via a standard USB connector and detects the power status of a PC via the USB port.
When a PC is powered the product will switch On all peripheral devices. Conversely when a PC is switched Off, the product will switch Off all peripheral devices. The product is easy to install and provides simple automation to reduce wasteful standby energy consumption.The product is suitable for residential and workplace PC applications.

The product can be connected directly to equipment or connected to a standard electrical powerstrip with a number of connected devices.


The PC TrickleSaver requires the PC to switched off completely.  The PC TrickleSaver will not work when a PC is placed into a sleep / hibernation state.  If you require peripheral devices to switch off in a sleep / hibernation state, a TV TrickleSaver should be used.

Certain manufacturers of products containing hard disk drives do not recommend hard switching off of their products.  We recommend reviewing the manufacturers documentation prior to use of a PC TrickleSaver with these products.

March 04, 2010

New Green Floor stripper - Plant based formulation

Eco-Green Floor Finish Stripper & Emulsifier
Eco-Green® Floor Finish Stripper & Emulsifier targets public works professionals who need to remove floor sealers without toxic solvents

Online PR News – 02-March-2010 – WOBURN, MA U.S.A. – March 2, 2010 – Daimer Industries® Inc., a North American supplier of green cleaners for public sector cleaning professionals worldwide, shipped Eco-Green® Floor Finish Stripper & Emulsifier, a solvent-free solution that strips floor finishes without harming floor surfaces or the environment.

“This product is low-odor, low-foaming and ammonia free,” explained manager Matthew Baratta. “These new green cleaners even leave behind a natural, fresh scent.”

Floor Finish Stripper & Emulsifier is a new addition to the Eco Green line of green cleaners for floor care. The formulation emulsifies floor finishes and sealers without noxious fumes. The greencleaning chemicals are based on green chemicals that biodegradable readily in as little as thirty days, according to laboratory tests. The green cleaners in this floor stripper earned zero ratings in the NFPA diamond of hazards.

The green cleaners in this formulation use Micro-Blasting® technology and non-toxic particles that are up to 100 times smaller than the cleaning particles used in competing products. The new green cleaners can be used undiluted for heavy buildups or diluted for routine floor stripping. The products can be applied with or without mechanical agitation. After applying, the slurry can be removed with a mop, extractor or vacuum. The formula is concentrated and available in 5-, 15-, 55-, 275- or 5000-gallon containers.

Green Cleaning Chemicals for Floors Daimer®'s Eco Green public works line also includes other floor products: carpet cleaners, tile and grout cleaners, concrete cleaners, and multi-purpose hard surface cleaners.

For more information about Daimer®'s Eco Green green chemicals, green cleaning products, and green carpet cleaner formulas visit or call Matthew Baratta at (888) 507-2220.

About Daimer Industries, Inc.®: Daimer®,, is a major supplier and worldwide exporter of the cleaning industry's leading line of KleenJet® steam cleaners/vapor steam cleaners/steam cleaning equipment; Super Max™ commercial and industrial pressure washers, including cold water, hot water, and steam pressure washing machines; XTreme Power® floor cleaners, including carpet cleaners, hard surface cleaners, and floor buffers/scrubbers/burnishers; and the line of Micro-Blasting® Eco-Green® environmentally friendly cleaning products that employ unique technologies and a patented, proprietary chemistry.

March 01, 2010

How to Get Rid of Bugs Naturally

There are way to get rid of bugs naturally without harming your family or the environment. Pesticides and other poisons used for eliminating bugs are potentially a threat to your health, by exposing our systems to dangerous, and potentially lethal chemicals. Following are ways of getting rid of bugs naturally.

Determine what route bugs take to enter your house, and close or fix the entry to block it. This is the simplest and the easiest way to control a bug infestation.  Use diatomaceous earth, an odorless, non-toxic powder made of ground shells of sea creatures known as diatom. This safe yet highly effective method controls flea, cricket, edbug, roach, ant and scorpion infestations.

Make a mixture of powdered sugar and baking soda. Lay it in areas when ants and roaches can access it, and die upon consumption.

Another effective way to get rid of ants is by feeding them grits, a special type of corn. Lay a handful of them on an anthill or mound. Upon consumption, the grits will expand in their bellies and the expansion alone will kill them.

These methods will ensure the bug infestation is taken care of without harming either yourself, your family or the environment.

Read more:
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