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Note: I’m linking this post to Julia’s Hooked on Fridays post at Hooked on Houses! Go check it out!!

I am always on the lookout for better/quicker/easier/greener ways and products to clean my house with, and I think that I’ve got a pretty great arsenal of “cleaning weapons” that help me get the job done! I always try to go chemical-free if possible, and if I am using some sort of cleaning product, I only use the “green” kind. Here are my weapons of choice!

My biggest pet peeve in my house, and what I spend the most time cleaning (by far!) is definitely my floors. With 2 big dogs that shed and dig, a husband who lives in work boots, and a crawling baby, the floors need to be cleaned every day. Now if they get cleaned every day is a different story, but they could use it daily! We have laminate throughout the house, and linoleum in the kitchen and laundry area, so it’s nice that all the dirt and hair isn’t stuck in the carpet, and when it’s clean, we know it’s clean! But this means a lot of dirt and hair collects, and I’ve found the easiest way to clean all of that up is by a combination of sweeping and vacuuming. I use a regular old broom and dust pan to sweep up the dirt, but this doesn’t work too great for the dog hair. It seems to really blow the hair around, plus sweeping doesn’t work around the area rugs, so after I sweep, I vacuum. And after I vacuum, I steam mop.

Here’s what’s in my arsenal to clean my floors (click on the photos to shop):


We have a Bissell Lift-Off, which has been used within an inch of its life at our house. It cleans our hard floors, rugs, furniture, windowsills, mattresses (yes, I vacuum our mattresses occasionally)…my only complaint is that it is a little heavy to lug out each time I want to clean the floors really quickly. I think I need a lighter “Stick Vac,” but I haven’t done the research yet.


This (above) is my new favorite thing. I ordered it as a late Mother’s Day gift for myself…during HSN’s July sales (always shop there in July!!). It cleans the floors so great, with NO CHEMICALS!! Which is great because Harper is on the move now! My only complaint with this is that the cord is short so I have to switch outlets a few times when cleaning the house.  I highly recommend it for your floors, though!!  Especially because you just throw the pad in the washing machine (it comes with 2) and that’s it!!  And mine also came with some yummy eucalyptus mint fragrance oil for the water…makes the house smell nice and fresh!

So I guess I haven’t realized how many Bissell products we own until now…


The Spot Bot is great for carpets, rugs, upholstery, etc. You push a button and walk away…I use this on our Flor rug in the living room, and on our couch. Well, Glenn cleans the couch more than I do, but this is what we use. I don’t like to use the conventional carpet shampoos that come with it because of the chemicals…most of the time I just use hot water and it works fine. But sometimes you need some kind of detergent, and I like the brand (and have easy access to) “Earth Friendly Products” and I want to try their carpet shampoo in my Spot Bot.


Another brand that I like to use around the house is called “Bright Green.” I pick it up at Safeway when I’m out of town for Harper’s doctor appointments…no Safeways for 70 miles! 🙂 But so far I’ve been happy with the products I’ve tried: the All Purpose Cleaner works great on my furniture for dusting and fingerprints, the Glass Cleaner makes my mirrors sparkly, and (my favorite and most used) the Dish Wash Liquid doesn’t dry out my hands and smells like Lavender. Yep…no dishwasher at Casa Christensen. Unless you consider me the dishwasher…

If I really need to get something good and clean, and in my opinion the strongest chemical cleaners don’t even compare, I go back to using steam with my handheld steam cleaner.

This little baby cleans everything. Soap scum, toilets, hard water stains, baby toys (GREAT for baby stuff with all those little crevices, plastic numbers, etc.!). I use them with my 2nd favorite cleaning tools (2nd to my steam cleaner) – a big ‘ol stack of microfiber cleaning cloths.


I have a stack of these sitting in my laundry room and I use them for everything – almost completely replacing paper towels. I only use paper towels to cook bacon in the microwave now, ha! They come in a pack of 40, and I still haven’t used all of them one time.  I grab one, clean whatever I need to clean – countertops, baby hands or faces, cutting board, coffee table, TV screen, etc., etc., then I throw it in the washing machine to be washed with the next load and I still have a clean stack waiting. AWESOME!


Although I have my handheld Scunci steam cleaner to clean my toilets, sometimes you need a little eucalyptus scent in the bathroom, which is why I love the Method Lil’ Bowl Blu Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It just makes it feel a little more sparkly and to smell better. I like Method brand products – I also use their Naked hand soaps all over my house! But I really need some pretty dispensers for them.


And for laundry, I’ve really been loving Seventh Generation stuff. I buy it from diapers.com when I order my disposable diapers (I do mainly use cloth, though!). I can wash Harper’s stuff in it, as well as ours and it works great! Plus it’s rated for high efficiency machines.  Have I mentioned that I love diapers.com?

Well that’s about it for my “Weapons of Choice” post – if you have any questions about any of it, feel free to leave me a comment for shoot me an e-mail (lindsay [@] lindsaychristensendesign.com).  I love to help fellow greenies (or greenie wannabe’s!) out!  I also really recommend the book “The Complete Organic Pregnancy” even if you’re not pregnant – it has great green tips and it’s an easy read.

How about you?  Do you have any other green tips or green products that you love to use??

Update: I’m linking this post to Julia’s Hooked on Fridays blog party at Hooked on Houses, and the Frugal Friday Linky Party at the Shabby Nest!  Thanks, ladies!!!!

We have finally gotten back to the backyard project — although the mountain of gravel is still there, ugh. We do have someone who is going to come get the rest, so hopefully they’ll come do that soon! Anyway, we’ve fenced off the sections that will be grass, planted, fertilized and watered, so now we’re waiting…and watching the grass grow! Yes, we have grass!!!

Here is what we’ve been up to:

Ugh...

Dirt, ready to plant

And we have grass!

Getting thicker!!

Hopefully these fences won't have to be up too long!

I cannot wait to 1) get the gravel out of there, 2) have enough grass to take the fences down, and 3) actually like my backyard. It hasn’t happened yet, which is unfortunate during the summer!! Patience, Lindsay, patience…

We were in the market for some new large drinking glasses (we have a bad habit of breaking them!) when we spotted these babies on a recent trip to Wal-Mart!

April 5th 2009
When you live in Likely and get out of town, you have to go to Wal-Mart! We spotted them right as we were leaving the store so we snagged them up and so far they are working wonderfully. They’ve even survived an 8-month old pulling one over on the coffee table! They are the Anchor Hocking 6-Piece Eco Tumbler Glassware Set and they are just what we were looking for! They are nice and sturdy with a slight green tinge (which is fine, as our kitchen is green), and the best part is these green tumblers are produced with a minimum of 35% recycled or reclaimed glass. The packaging also contains 25% post consumer materials and sustainable inks! And the second best part is that they are only $7.97 for a set of 6! They are also made in the USA, which sometimes you really have to look for when shopping at Wal-Mart.

A pretty sweet find if you ask us!

Inhabitots » Green Your Nursery… With Plants!.

Yes, yes…we all hear about how the air inside of our homes is waaayy more polluted than the air outside.  But what do you do about it??

The folks over at “Inhabitots” have a handy little post about the benefits of adding houseplants to your indoor decor.  Not only do they bring the outdoors in and add some gorgeous life to your house (especially with some amazing planters you can find out there – check back for my “Favorites” list of great planters!) they help combat “Sick Building Syndrome” by sucking up the harmful chemicals in your air (carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, etc.) and recycling it into clean, fresh oxygen – sooo good for the lungs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also round up the top 5 plants that NASA and Parent Center list for air purifying, but are also child-safe.

1. Chlorophytum Comosum aka Spider Plant

2. Sansevieria aka Snake Plant

3. Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana’ aka Corn Plant

4. Epipiremnum Aureum aka Golden Pothos

5. Aglaonema Modestum aka Chinese Evergreen

So there you have it – an easy way to green up your house (in more ways than one!) for very little green!  Now head down to your local nursery/home depot/grocery store – wherever you might snag a plant, and don’t forget your list!

Check back soon for my favorite indoor planters!

If you haven’t figured it out already, I have a 6 month old daughter with my wonderful husband, Glenn. She is a complete joy, and I really love the, well, love, that she has brought into our lives. She is amazing, and growing up right before our eyes! Anyway, I have been successfully and almost-exclusively cloth diapering her since she was 2 months old. Even at the babysitter…aka Grandma. Why not from birth? Well, she was a preemie (6 weeks early) so she was pretty small at first, and the cloth diapers I had purchased wouldn’t fit her yet. Plus we had a lot of disposables given to us as gifts for my showers, etc. I use disposables occasionally, but have only purchased one brand, which I will explain later. Here is just a quick post, going through my experiences, some definitions of the different types, and what I like to use!

This all started for me when my husband and I started talking about trying to get pregnant. We were leaving for a trip with a long plane ride (California to Washington DC) so we went to Barnes and Noble to pick up a few books. One I chose was “The Complete Organic Pregnancy.” This is a GREAT book. Even if you’re not pregnant or planning to be pregnant. It changed the way I live. It talks about everything from your makeup, food storage containers, eating organically or non-organically, your mattress, remodeling, diapering…anything you can think of – it’s in there! I then started reading the authors’ blog – Ask An Organic Mom on The Daily Green. I even wrote to them once and they posted a blog about my question! I highly, highly recommend their book and blog. It is a wealth of information about living healthier for EVERYONE. I have read it from cover to cover multiple times, and I am constantly using it as a reference.

The Complete Organic Pregnancy

The Complete Organic Pregnancy

As far as my cloth diapering education goes, I have discovered a few different types of cloth diapers. There are “pocket diapers,” “all-in-one” diapers and the “hybrid” aka g-diapers. You can buy them in all different sizes, or one-size. The one-size diapers have snaps down the front so that they can be adjusted as your baby grows.

All-in-one (or AIO) diapers are pretty self-explanatory: they’re just a ready-to-use cloth diaper. No stuffing, folding, pinning or covers. Shaped like a disposable with snaps or velcro closures and a waterproof layer and absorbent layers sewn inside, they are “all-in-one.” I have purchased one of these to try (from a seller on etsy.com) and they are ok. It could have been the one I purchased, but I haven’t had much luck with them. The first one I got, my daughter wet through it in about 10 minutes. I did contact the seller about it, and she sent me a free replacement which lasted a little longer, but I still prefer others. The other downside to these is because of all the layers inside, they take a long time to dry. If you’re interested, I would search on etsy.com or try these from diapers.com. Let me know if you know a brand that works better!!

All-in-one-cloth diaper

All-in-one-cloth diaper

Pocket diapers are an outer shell made of a waterproof fabric (PUL aka polyurethane laminate) with a suedecloth polyester liner (the part that is against the baby), and they have a pocket that you stuff absorbable inserts into. These are my favorite, by far. You can customize the absorbency by stuffing them with different inserts or more than one insert, and because the inserts come out when you wash them (you don’t have to pull them out before washing – they come out on their own!) they dry a lot faster. They last a long time and are just so easy to use. I first bought a brand called bumGenius from diapers.com. They come in one-size and they’ve worked wonderfully for me. I also own the cow print “Happy Heinys” pocket diaper, which works good, but for some reason seems to leak sooner than the bumGenius. I use it at night now that my daughter wets less overnight. I bet if you follow those links you’ll notice one thing…$18.95 per diaper??? Yep, seems steep, but do the math and you’re really coming out on top. Especially because of the fact that these diapers can be used on more than one child! You can also buy cloth wipes (which I haven’t gotten down yet, but I’m getting low on my Tushies soon, so you never know!) and that will really save you some money as well!

BumGenius One-Size Pocket Cloth Diaper

BumGenius One-Size Pocket Cloth Diaper

After discovering etsy.com, I have found some GREAT handmade diapers that come out to cheaper prices per diaper than buying from diapers.com or other websites. One brand that I would highly recommend is called “Monkey Snuggles.” The diapers are so cute, they work great, their inserts are wonderful (bamboo, too!), and if you buy the starter packs, the diapers can range from about $12-15 each. They are ssooo worth it! I’ve also bought a “wet bag” from them, and they also sell cloth wipes (which I might invest in soon).

Monkey Snuggles One-Size Pocket Diapers

Monkey Snuggles One-Size Pocket Diapers

The other type of cloth diaper that I’ve used is the “gDiaper.” These are a “hybrid,” meaning the outer is cloth, but it has a snap-in plastic liner that you put a disposable absorbant insert into. This insert can be tossed, flushed or composted (the wet ones anyway!). You then put a new insert into the liner and your baby is good to go! How do you flush it? You take the dirty insert, hold it over the toilet, rip the sides, the inner “fluff” falls out, and then you swish it around in the water (with a handy little stick they give you), the fluff breaks apart, drop the rest in and you flush it! Pretty handy. Plus the gDiapers are sssooo stinkin’ cute! I’ve only purchased the starter kit, which includes an orange and a vanilla gPant, but you can buy more colors and patterns from their website http://www.gdiapers.com. They come in 3 sizes (small, medium and large)

gDiapers

gDiapers

One other option that I’ve done with the gDiapers, which my daycare-provider/mother-in-law loves to use, is use a cloth insert in the gDiaper. I ran across some sellers on etsy that tested out various sizes, materials and shapes on their own kids, and now sell handmade gDiaper inserts!! They’re very easy to use and work great. They don’t seem to last as a double-stuffed Monkey Snuggle (which I prefer) but they still last a long time, and the convenience of just swapping out an insert instead of a whole new diaper is great. The ones I bought are made of hemp, and you can buy them here. I’ve seen more sellers jumping on that bandwagon lately, so if you do a search for “gdiaper” on Etsy, you’re sure to find them!  I am planning on buying some more of these soon as well…I only have the 6 which is good for a day and a half at Grandma’s!

Handmade gDiaper inserts made of hemp

Handmade gDiaper inserts made of hemp

How do you clean the cloth diapers??
Well, the wet ones are easy. Just throw them in the washer.
What about the poopy ones??
With a breastfed baby, there really isn’t much more work to do…it’s practically just absorbed into the diaper so you can’t do much. Now that Harper is starting to eat solid foods, it’s a different story. Right now, I just scrape as much as I can into the toilet (I use a flushable wipe) and then throw it in the washer as well. There are “diaper sprayers” out there that you can buy, and I think we’ll need to invest in one soon.
How do you wash them?
I use a baby-approved powder detergent made for sensitive skin called SA8 Sensitive Laundry Detergent. It works great, and that’s what I wash all of her clothes in. You shouldn’t use fabric softener on baby clothes, or on absorbent materials (like towels, diaper inserts, bath mats, etc.) because it makes them lose their absorbency. Most places I’ve purchased diapers from send washing instructions, so that’s handy, too.
Do you use rash cream with cloth diapers?
Nope. You shouldn’t use it because it is hard to get out of the fabric. Plus you don’t need it most of the time – you’re changing them often enough and the fabric is breathable.
Do you ever use disposables?
Yes, occasionally. I used them over Christmas when we were visiting family, or on long trips, or days when I’ll be busy running around and don’t know how often I can change her.
What brand do you use?
I only buy Seventh Generation Chlorine Free diapers. I haven’t bought any since November and still have a pack and a half left (about 60 diapers). The moms over at “Ask An Organic Mom” won’t use these because they have absorbent gel in them. But after doing a little of my own research, it seems like if a company like Seventh Generation is willing to use it in their diapers, then it is safe. Plus I rarely use disposables.

Seventh Generation Diapers

Seventh Generation Diapers

Seventh Generation says this about their diapers:
“You Are Making a Difference
Your choice of our chlorine free diapers could help reduce cancer rates. The U.S. EPA estimates that the maximum safe level of lifetime dioxin exposure is just 0.003 picograms per pound of body weight per day. This exposure is equivalent to just ten drops of water in all the Great Lakes! The current level of dioxin pollution in our world creates an unacceptable cancer risk for almost every man, woman, and child on earth. In fact, modern body tissue carries 50 times more dioxin than that of ancient body tissue. Your choice of our chlorine free diapers helps reduce the amount of dioxin polluting our air, water and soil, and helps make the world a safer, healthier place for your family and generations to come.

 

We Disclose All Ingredients
Our diapers are made of chlorine free wood pulp, poly backing, and a soft poly outer cover. Absorbency is enhanced through the use of SAP, super absorbent polymer (gel).

A Note About Gel
We use absorbent polymer (gel) in our diapers because it is the best method we have found for keeping babies dry and reducing diaper rash. Our exhaustive research on this gel has shown that it is non-toxic and safe for babies while helping keep them dry and comfortable. Independent scientific research on this chemically inert gel, sodium polyacrylate, has shown that it is non-toxic, not carcinogenic, and non-irritating to the skin.”

So that is my little spiel about cloth diapering. I am a big fan of it, obviously, and I think that it is really easy to do! Let me know if you have any questions or comments!! I’ll close with a cutie photo of my gBaby. 🙂

My little gBaby

My little gBaby

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