Category Archives: lifestyle

Microfiber for Green Cleaning

Source: Microfiber for Green Cleaning

Natural-Cleaning-Mini-Challenge-Giveaway-win-some-free-microfiber-products

 

 

I write a lot about improving nutrition and health from the inside, but today we switch gears and start making sure we are avoiding toxins from the outside, too!

Everyday we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals in the air, water and our environment, and many more through products we use in our homes and beauty care. Cleaning products tend to be the worst offenders and are some of the most dangerous to have around the house with kids.

Most cleaning products contain harsh solvents, detergents and fragrances as well as harmful chemicals like bleaches, ammonia, sulfates, and parabens. If you’ve ever read the back of a bottle of cleaning spray or bleach, about the damage those chemicals can cause to skin, the respiratory track, eyes, lungs, etc, plus the warning “Can be fatal if swallowed.” Not particularly things you want under your sink with kids around!

As with many things, green cleaning by making your own can save you a lot of money on cleaning products and is much healthier. Microfiber has also helped me save a lot of money and clean naturally over the years.

What Is Microfiber?

Generally speaking, the microfiber used in cleaning cloths is made from a combination of two synthetic polymers–polyester and polyamide (which is nylon). In the highest quality microfiber cloths, these fibers are approximately 1/100 of a human hair in diameter. This makes the fibers barely visible to the naked eye. The fibers are bundled together and spun into thread which is then woven into cloth.

When examined under magnification, an individual microfiber has a split or spoke-like appearance. The area between the spokes creates a larger surface on the fiber itself. When the individual fibers are joined together into thread, and then woven into cloth, the result is a product that has an amazing ability to pick up and trap dirt coupled with superior absorbency and scrubbing power.

In comparison, a traditional fiber, such as a cotton fiber, is larger and smooth. Cloths made from these fibers require a cleaning agent (detergents, soaps and other chemical cleaners) to dissolve the dirt, which is then absorbed into the cloth in order to be removed from the surface. If dirt isn’t easily dissolved, it isn’t easily picked up and can be left behind. While the split fibers of the microfiber cloths are able to pick up and hold dirt, traditional fibers tend to push dirt and moisture around a surface. So essentially, if you want a cleaner surface, choose microfiber!

Why Choose Microfiber?

The use of microfiber in cleaning is growing in popularity. Microfibers are completely changing the way people clean their homes, wash their cars, mop their floors, and even cleanse their bodies. Microfiber enables people to eliminate many of the household cleaners they would typically use. Whether a person has been using commercially produced cleaning products or making their own at home, many are making the switch to a cleaning method which uses only water and a these reusable cloths. In an effort to reduce chemical exposure, eliminate waste, save time and money, and simplify their lives, microfiber is becoming an obvious choice for many.

So what does this mean for you?

It means microfiber can make you into a lean, mean, green cleaning machine! Armed with only water and a microfiber cloth, you are going to have a greater impact than when you employed conventional cleaning methods. We all know why that’s good; cleaning with water is going keep nasty chemicals out of your home and out of our air and water systems.

In time, this reduction in chemical use and waste will translate into an improved quality of life for you, your family, your community and our world. Beyond this, cleaning only with water means no dirt or chemical residue will be left behind on your surfaces, which actually means you’re achieving a “cleaner” clean. Cleaning with microfiber can also save you money as you eliminate, or drastically reduce, the number of cleaning products you buy or make. The cloths I use in my home have been tested for up to 500 washes and carry a 2 year warranty.

Surprisingly, many people have found these cloths last well past both their laundering life expectancy and warranty period. The thought of investing once, reducing the products I use for cleaning from many to few, and reusing my cloths has been quite appealing to my minimalist sensibilities. Just as you simplify and save your product usage, you are going to save in time and effort. Your microfiber cleaning products become a housekeeping ally. Less effort impacts the amount of time spent on household tasks.

Using microfibers to clean has easily reduced my cleaning time by 50%. Normal cleaning surfaces like bathrooms, walls, kitchen counters and floors are much easier to maintain and more thoroughly cleaned when using a microfiber. As an added bonus, special cleaning projects and domestic nemeses have lost their sting. Window washing, polishing the stainless steel appliances and keeping the glass top cooking range clean are tasks I have struggled with in the past, but now no longer dread. Making cleaning truly easy and actually fun is a tall order.

Don’t get me wrong, it is still work, but I’ve found microfiber has removed some of the “labor” from the more laborious job. With three kids, a home business and the joy of homeschooling, I still struggle to find the time to clean. But now, when I do find a chunk of cleaning time, I can get a whole lot more accomplished!

Where to Use Microfiber Cloths

For the record, my thoughts and opinions on microfiber are based mainly on my experience with two different brands of cloths. I started with the jumbo pack of microfiber cloths from Costco and later graduated to Norwex Enviro Cloths. In terms of quality, these cloths are on different ends of the spectrum. While the cloths from Costco were a drastic improvement over the traditional cloths I had been using, the Norwex Enviro cloths have far out performed those I purchased at Costco.

The following thoughts and examples of microfiber usage are based mostly on my experiences with Norwex. As with any category of product, performance varies from company to company and experimentation is required to determine how well different cloths can handle specific tasks.

I’d like to offer a few of my favorite microfiber uses in order to get you thinking about ways in which you might incorporate microfiber into your own home and cleaning routine.

In The Kitchen: This is where I use my microfiber the most. I use it for cleaning counter tops, cabinets, floors, stovetops and stainless steel appliances. The tiny microfibers do an awesome job clearing away dirt and food residues as well as tackling greasy films and messes.

In the Bathroom: You can use a microfiber in the bathroom to easily remove dirt and residues from all surfaces. I especially like it on my shower walls!
On Surfaces with a Shine: Windows, mirrors, chrome fixtures, granite and other shiny surfaces clean and shine easily with a cleaning cloth and specially designed polishing cloth. You’ll be thrilled by how easy it is to get a streak free shine! I’m not sure how readily available microfiber polishing cloths are, but I use the Norwex Window Cloth.

For Dusting: Using microfiber to dust is wonderful! The cloth picks up and traps the dust rather than sending it airborne. Because you’re not using a traditional product when you dust, there is no chemical residue left behind to attract more dust. You will find you have to dust less often!

On Your Floors: Whether you’re the kind of person who cleans floors on their hands and knees or with a mop, microfiber is going to thrill you. The first time I stood up and walked barefooted on my tile floor after washing it with a microfiber cloth, I was amazed. I couldn’t see the difference but I could feel it as I walked over the floor. I had no idea my old product was leaving such a significant residue. If you prefer to use a mop to clean your floors, you will find some companies make specially designed microfiber mop heads which you can dampen and use to wash your floors. The same microfiber principles apply.

On Your Body: In our home we don’t use soap when we bathe. Instead, we use a microfiber body cloth to cleanse our bodies. I wash my face and remove my makeup with a microfiber facial cloth. I love it! I’ve never felt so clean! It can take a little pep talk to convince people to ditch the soap, but once they do, they rarely go back!

For Stain Removal: In the same way microfiber works to pick up dirt from the surfaces in your home, like counter tops and bath tubs, it is also very effective in less obvious areas. Microfiber is wonderful for stain removal. Using only water, I have successfully cleaned upholstery, gotten long standing stains out of carpeting, removed marks and drawings from the walls, countertops and furniture, and removed stains from clothing. I keep a small cloth in my purse for use when I’m out and spill something on myself. We’ve seen microfiber remove blood, wine, green smoothie, waterproof ink, coffee, permanent marker, fingernail polish, grease, rust, vomit, ketchup, and many others.

Bear in mind, when using microfiber cloths the general rule of thumb is to use wet for cleaning and dry for dusting. When using wet, wring out as much water as possible before cleaning. This increases absorbency as well as the fiber’s ability to pick up dirt and residue.

If you are not already using microfibers, you may now be considering adding a few cloths to your home. As you shop for microfiber, bear in mind microfiber cloths are not created equal. Factors such as manufacturing, fiber quality and diameter, in addition to weave and design, can impact the quality of the cloth and thus it’s ability to perform.

Some cloths on the market today take advantage of the natural antibacterial properties of silver to give the cloth the ability to self purify. In these cases you will want to evaluate whether micro or nano silver is being used and whether the silver is added as a coating on the cloth or is embedded in the cloth. All of these factors matter, so do your research. Talk with friends and make sure you’re investing in quality microfiber products that will do a great job and last a long time.

What I Use

Personally, since I discovered Microfiber for cleaning, I don’t use anything else! A product that cleans naturally with only water… I was sold! (Tip: you can also add a couple drops of lemon essential oil for a fresh scent while you clean!)

If you haven’t tried microfiber, the basic idea is that the microscopic fibers in the cloth pick up much more dirt, bacteria and germs than regular cloth. I’ve even seen microfiber alone take off a huge streak of butter on a window (don’t ask….)

My favorite microfiber products that basically clean my entire house are:

The Antibac Envirocloth– a Heavy duty microfiber cloth with silver fibers embedded in it to kill bacteria and germs. It cleans everything from my cabinets to counters to stainless steel appliances. I also use it to clean my bathroom and can literally clean the bathroom from top to bottom with it. I now keep one microfiber cloth in each room for fast cleaning.

The Polishing Cloth– I use this on windows for a natural streak free shine with no chemicals. I use one half wet and one half dry and just wipe down with the damp and dry with the dry side. This also works great for polishing mirrors, appliances and electronics.

The Dusting Mitt Actually picks up dust, even the dust that collects on top of fans (unless perhaps you dust those more often that I do and don’t have dust on top of your fans…). The kids love using this one too and I don’t mind because no chemicals are involved.

The Telescopic Mop– Hands down my favorite because it lets me mop my entire house without chemicals in 10-15 minutes! It uses a heavy duty microfiber pad that can be machine washed and no bucket or chemicals are required! They even make a kids version of all of the above and my kids love to use them!

 

5 Permaculture Principles To Help You Start A Garden

Did you know Permaculture was theoretically developed by two Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s?

It’s one of Australia’s intellectual exports with a global network of practitioners and teachers.

Haven’t heard of Permaculture?

Permaculture is a set of principles that result in designing sustainable and productive systems. Systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community.

Permaculture mimics patterns that occur in nature, to make these systems energy efficient, low cost and with high yielding results.

Recently, I joined a 2-day intensive course to learn about how to grow backyard veggies with Michael Hewins from Milkwood.

Michael’s methods of food cultivation are deeply based on Permaculture principles.

I got in touch with Milkwood to find out more on how Permaculture principles can help you start a garden, sustainably and harmoniously with nature.

If you don’t have a backyard space for a garden, you can even start a courtyard or balcony garden, which can still be productive while helping you to maintain your connection to nature. Another gardening option is taking part in a community garden, getting your own plot, and doing your gardening there.

Here are 5 Permaculture principles to help you start a garden

1. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”

By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

Try this: Planting for your site – figure out where the sun falls and doesn’t, and when. The sunnier spots are always the best place for veggies to reach their peak of flavour and nutrition.

2. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not”

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

Try this: Nutrient cycling, which means employing methods that help you close the loop and feed your garden at the same time. Ideas include worms, bokashi buckets, compost e.t.c.

3. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”

By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.

Try this: Companion planting is a technique that can be used to stimulate plant growth and productivity, increase resilience to pests and diseases, hide your plants from pests or mask their scent to make them harder for pests to find, and attract beneficial insects which act as pollinators, such as bees, or attract beneficial predatory insects that will eat pest insects, such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies.

4. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race”

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.

Try this: Propagating your own seedlings! Not only will it save you money but you become self-reliant when you grow your own seeds for food.

5. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.

Try this: If you wanted to emphasise the Edge Effect Principle, you would perhaps lean toward curved edge garden beds, mandala design garden beds, or just use a large number of smaller rectangular beds.

These 5 principles are originally based from David Holmgren’s 12 principles of permaculture design.

Why is growing your own food important?

Growing your own instills a true sense of the value of food. It’s also a great way to reduce carbon pollution emissions that occur in the food supply chain, areas including transport, processing and food waste.

You can maximise the use of home-produced compost & ‘worm juice’ from your worm farm as fertiliser, rather using than artificial ones, and chemicals such as insecticides and herbicides.

Growing your own also makes a surprisingly powerful statement about reducing our reliance on others for basic sustenance.

So are you ready to start growing seriously great vegetables in your backyard?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below 🙂

Source: http://www.1m5 permaculture principles help you start garden

By: Bronte Hogarth

Happy Earth Day 2015…!!

Earth day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network  and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. Even though we should be thankful to earth every day for all the resources, beauty, love and care it has provided us, this day holds a special significance to celebrate and honour the only plant we have.

The earth is battling with various environmental, social and economical problems that have been originated due to human interest, need and greed. There has never been a better time than NOW to start thinking about the mother earth and heal the wound that we have created. It’s time to do something, no matter how big or small, to conserve, protect, or preserve our planet to thrive on for many, many years.

This earth day let’s look upon some of the  beautiful words created for the mother earth:

1 (9)

 1 (4) 

1 (5)

1 (6)

1 (7)

1 (8)

 1 (11)

1 (12)

1 (13)

1 (14)

1 (1) 1 (1)

1 (1) 1 (2)

  Want to know more about Earth Day?

  •  The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 where 20 million people gathered in the streets of America to protest the Industrial Revolution.

  • In 2009, the United Nations renamed Earth Day, International Mother Earth Day

  • Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in the United States. In recognition of his hard work, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.

  • More than 100 thousand people in China rode their bikes on Earth Day 2012. They did this to save fuel and to reduce the CO2 emissions from vehicles.

  • More than 1 billion people were celebrating Earth Day by 2010, which was Earth Day’s 40th anniversary. More than 180 countries celebrated, and Facebook has become a popular tool to spread the word.

  • Earth Day is meant to show support for protecting the environment

Let’s look at these beautiful video now: 

Some eye opening facts: 

Our small steps towards change can make a big difference:

What are your green acts of kindness this year? Every small act will help heal and take care of the planet earth we call home..!!

Weekly Small Pleasures #9

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I am combining my small pleasures for the past two weeks again as I fail to update it last week.

1.We had a delicious Indian breakfast-buffet at a lovely restaurant. Totally enjoyed the fresh and juicy Jalebis (a popular Indian and Nepalese sweet) coming straight from the wok. And the interiors are amazing.

2.Went to Madame Tussauds Sydney for the first time. Had a lovely time with family and those lovely wax statues. Aren’t they simply gorgeous?

3.Took my in-laws and friends around Sydney. So much fun going around in public transport. We took train, buses and ferries. And you know how Sydney looks in a warm sunny day…priceless!!

4.Went to Newcastle, a city located approx. 2 hours drive from Sydney to visit my aunty, uncle and cousins. Was a lovely family gathering during Easter break.  Again it was lots of yummy Nepalese food.

5.Celebrated two of my cousins birthday. Couldn’t resist those cakes, though I have been doing pretty well since the past few weeks. I am in a mission to shed those extra kilos hanging around my belly.

6.I have been trying to organise my kids stuffs (clothes, toys etc) for a while. I am finally able to get some organizers from Ikea and put away all their stuffs. Not a bad way to wrap up my Easter long weekend. Feeling relieved now.

What are your weekly small pleasures? Would love to hear!

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I came across this blog event ( Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event) a while ago. I found it quite interesting and have been thinking of sharing my weekly small pleasures too, which I have not been able to start due to one or the other reason. As we enter the brand new week of the brand new year, I think this is the perfect time to begin this journey.

This blog event is simply about remembering and sharing those small things that made you happy during the week; things that made you smile, made you laugh, made you do a happy dance, made your heart silently smile, or they even made you cry for joy.

Weekly Small Pleasures

YES! Every Drop Counts..

As we recently celebrate the World Water Day, this interesting infographic on global water availability and usage definitely deserves to look  and ponder upon..!!

Every-Drop-Counts-Infographic

Weekly Small Pleasures #8

I had a pretty engaging week with lots of social activities. Sometimes the weekends are more busy and occupied than the weekdays that  we wish we have a day or two extra to recover before hitting the busy week again. Well, my weekly pleasures for the last week are-

Weekly Pleasure #8

1. Attended an African festival held in the neighbouring suburb. This is an annual festival that is organised to celebrate vibrant African culture, arts and music. More than 3000 people attended the event. The Ethiopian coffee was the best part of the festival.

2. Went to the “pick your own” farm and orchard located 1.5 hours drive from Sydney. Thought my in-laws and children would love it. We all had a great time. Experienced the fun of harvesting apples from the tree for the first time in my life. Loved it!

3. After we finished the apple picking we were looking for a park nearby to have our food and someone directed us to the botanical garden with is just 10 minutes drive from the farm. And the garden turned out to be one of the best park I  have ever been to. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden  offers picturesque view and stunningly landscaped gardens as well as interesting display of flora from different parts of the world.

4. I had to attend a birthday party of my cousins daughter on Sunday. The best part of the ceremony was  the venue, an Indian restaurant located near the beach. Being surrounded by beautiful water view provided a pleasant ambience to the venue. Beach, babies and birthday, could not have asked for a better birthday party.

 What are your weekly small pleasures? Would love to hear!

—————————————————————————————————-

I came across this blog event ( Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event) a while ago. I found it quite interesting and have been thinking of sharing my weekly small pleasures too, which I have not been able to start due to one or the other reason. As we enter the brand new week of the brand new year, I think this is the perfect time to begin this journey.

This blog event is simply about remembering and sharing those small things that made you happy during the week; things that made you smile, made you laugh, made you do a happy dance, made your heart silently smile, or they even made you cry for joy.

Weekly Small Pleasures

Know more about this blog event here Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event

 

My Weekly Small Pleasures #7

Sometimes it is very difficult to manage time to do things that you really like due to family commitments and especially when you are working full time at the same time. That’s what I feel is happening to me right now. I may not be able to update my weekly pleasures on time, but I am still experiencing lovely moments and enjoying every small pleasures that comes by. Here are my small pleasures for the week.

weekly pleasure #7

1. I resumed my work after 6 months of maternity leave. It was a tough call but I survived. Leaving my five and half months old at home (with my In-laws) and getting back to work was definitely not a fun thing to do. But there is also a  pleasure of being connected to people outside home and getting oneself updated with what is happening in the world outside than your world. Most importantly I enjoy my work and love what do. Well. how much I miss my little angel  is a different story altogether.

2. I believe in fate and this has been justified  so many times. I got an opportunity to travel to ISKCON operated Hare Krishna Temple in Hunter Valley  which is three hours drive from Sydney. A day trip was organised by the local community organisations which I  am also a part of . Though the trip was only for senior citizens i.e especially parents, I got opportunity to join as a carer and I absolutely enjoyed visiting the beautiful place and spend some time for religious purpose. Touched my soul!

3. My visit to the Hare Krishna Temple and Gokuala farm got the whole new meaning when I witnessed the beautiful environment surrounding the temple,  green lustre farm and the cows grazing freely in the farm plus many other sustainability living practices being adopted in the farm and the temple. Totally a beautiful experience altogether.

4. Attended a birthday party of my cousin’s two year old daughter. There is no happiness than to see the smiles on those little faces. And   also attended a baby shower of a friend. Babies make life beautiful, don’t they?

what are your weekly small pleasures.. would love to hear!

Also see My Weekly Small Pleasures #6                                                                                                        My Weekly Small Pleasures #5                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #4                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #3                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #2                                                                                                       My Weekly Small Pleasures #1

—————————————————————————————————-

I came across this blog event ( Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event) a while ago. I found it quite interesting and have been thinking of sharing my weekly small pleasures too, which I have not been able to start due to one or the other reason. As we enter the brand new week of the brand new year, I think this is the perfect time to begin this journey.

This blog event is simply about remembering and sharing those small things that made you happy during the week; things that made you smile, made you laugh, made you do a happy dance, made your heart silently smile, or they even made you cry for joy.

Weekly Small Pleasures

Know more about this blog event here Weekly Small Pleasures – Blog Event