Cleaning & Maintenance

A Clean Keyboard and a Clean Earth

No one likes a gross keyboard; when cleaning your keyboard, do so in a sustainable manner. Forget traditional keyboard cleaners, which are full of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases. Instead, turn your keyboard upside over a trash can, then run a strip of double-sided table between the keys. You can also buy a refillable duster that can be refreshed with a bicycle pump.

Air Fresheners

Many air fresheners bought at the store (particularly those with pine, orange and lemon scents) may emit harmful levels of toxic pollutants, especially when used repeatedly or in small, poorly ventilated rooms, according to Berkeley researchers. Make sure your home is free of these air fresheners.

Formaldehyde Safety

Read labels on building products, cleaners and cosmetics to look for formaldehyde, urea formaldehyde (UF) or phenol formaldehyde (PF). Also, avoid pressed woods or particleboard in favor of solid wood or antique/used wood furniture. Furthermore, choose clothing and bedding made of natural or organic fibers. Lastly, don't forget to only paint or apply oil polish in a well-ventilated area.

No Mo' Drano'

Save money and the earth by avoiding harsh chemical drain openers. Use this recipe instead: pour 1/4-cup baking soda down the drain, then add 1-cup vinegar. Cover for 15 minutes. Then rinse the drain with boiling water (and repeat if necessary). A plunger may be beneficial for a serious clog.

Nylon's Many Uses

It seems that nylons only last a few uses before snagging. Don't fear, though, as these amazing accessories have many uses. You can put them over the end of a broom and use it as a duster that extends to those hard-to-reach places; you can use them to dust or polish your furniture or your shoes; you can save them to stake plants, as well.

Shiny Sterling

Looking for a chemical-free way to shine your holiday sterling? Try plain white toothpaste or baking soda. For extra-resistant tarnish, leave the baking soda on the sterling for an hour or so before buffing.