Green Ideas for the Holidays

The holiday season is here! Christmas Chanukah & New Year’s is a time of cozying up in the house. We must not forget that the most wonderful times of the year are also very messy – The cooking, the Christmas tree, the decorating, the torn gift-wrapping and empty toy boxes, the living room suddenly becomes an overwhelming mess. The kitchen isn’t pretty either. Making the family feast invariably leaves greasy stains everywhere.

We at Harmony Maids have put together some eco-friendly ideas to prepare your house for entertaining and fill it with seasonal spirit and natural scents. We’ve also gathered tips for eco-friendly gift wrapping that minimize waste, expense, and stress – and maximize your time to enjoy the holidays.

Wrapping paper

If you buy wrapping paper, make sure it’s recycled and recyclable. Better yet, use old maps, newspaper comic pages, children’s artwork, or pretty bits of old linens for wrap. Finish off gift-wrapping with a sprig of berries or pretty leaves instead of ribbon.

Send Green Greetings

Send an electronic greeting using one of the many services online. Often, you can easily add photos or even family videos to the message making it personal.  If you like the traditional way, buy greetings cards made from 100% recycled paper. You can even find options that have seeds embedded in the fibers. Your recipients can plant the cards and the resulting flowers will remind them that you care.

Eco-Friendly Lighting

Candles and holiday lights are part of the season for many people — after all, Hanukkah is known as “the festival of lights.” But electric holiday lights consume a lot of energy and standard paraffin candles are made from petroleum products. To conserve energy if you are stringing up lights:

Turn them on only at night

Use LED lights. They are brighter than standard mini-bulbs and use one-tenth the energy, so you’ll also save on your energy bill.

When it comes to lighting a menorah, buy candles made with natural ingredients such as palm oil, soy, or beeswax. Electric menorahs are another option.

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Two Natural scents Ideas for the 2010 Holidays

Many people are sensitive to artificial fragrances, which contain suspected neurotoxicity that can give them headaches and difficulty concentrating. It is healthier and more thoughtful to avoid them!

First here are the ingredients for a healthy mix:

Lemon peel from an organic lemon
Lime peel from an organic lime
1 cup fresh or dried peppermint leaves
1 cup fresh or dried rosemary leaves

Ingredients for an Earthy/Exotic mix:
You like warm and spicy scents? Try any of these ingredients, or a combination (use a blend of vanilla, clove, cinnamon, and orange peel):

1 whole vanilla bean, broken in pieces
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 three-inch piece cinnamon stick
Orange peel from an organic orange
1 cup sandalwood chips
1 cup bay leaves

Happy Holiday from Harmony Maids

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Live in Harmony this Thanksgiving

Live in Harmony this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is around the corner, whether guests are expected or not, the time has come for a full attack on house cleaning.

I know some people already anticipating holiday cooking and shopping stress. We need to shop, cook, buy some gifts and most importantly we must clean our home.

At the end of the day, most of us are getting really tired after all that preparation.

First, we need a good plan for the menu, grocery shopping, and preparation. Harmony maids can help you with house cleaning, to help you turn holiday stress into Thanksgiving cooking success.

Chemicals can have a significant impact on the health and cleanliness of your family and home. Green cleaning is the new wave in many household cleaning services in the Los Angeles area, due to the safety and effectiveness of the products and the techniques used. It minimizes the health risk to our families and pets.

Harmony maids cleaning service is an easy way to rid your home of chemicals, while ensuring your home is clean with no additional cost for harmony green cleaning.these services typically use only Green Seal certified products, and eco-friendly methods.

Harmony maids are here to help you get your house ready and clean for the holiday. We would like to offer you a $20.00 off gift for your special holiday cleaning.

Have a stress-free holiday dinner!!! Schedule your appointment today.

Thanks for visiting! Happy Thanksgiving!

The Harmony maids Team

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Green on a Shoestring, You Sure Can!

Cheap AND green? Doesn’t sound all that possible, I know, but it IS! I was sitting right where you are not too long ago, before I found a few of my fav’s for this awesome new way to clean! Cleaning products in general are very pricey, and if you’re an avid bargain hunter, as I am, it’s a direct hit to the ego when you HAVE to buy something and it’s not on sale, or even worse OVERPRICED! Well, fret no more friends, I think I just might have the cure to the highway robbery woes in the cleaning isle!!!

 

Let’s start with a little review of what we already have at home that can be useful…

 

Lemons can help for deodorizing and works well against common household bacteria.

White Vinegar cuts through grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.

Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, and can be used to scour and scrub.

Cornstarch – can be used to wash windows streak free, polish some furniture, and to clean carpets and rugs. )please see my tip and tricks area for recipe)

A mild Soap of any kind  – can be you old reliable for most cleaning (add your favorite essential oil for a kick!)

 

Now, let’s look at what we might need to buy…. (don’t worry its all very inexpensive!)

Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (skip this one if you have multiple allergies to chemicals.

Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, which is a mineral!  Can be used for grease, stains, softens water, cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.

Rest assured there are so many others for specific surfaces, fabrics, odors etc, and they’re only a click away!

 

Anyway, I hope this helps and if you have any you want to add, feel free to leave them on here!!!!!

Alert! Cleaning products are Dangerous!

Newsflash: It seems that not even when a slew of people getting severely poisoned by the dangerous gasses, fumes and other pollutants emitted was enough of a shock for some of us (Ahem… myself included) to look into the whole matter of cleaning products and their level of danger… It also seems that most of us have already heard about the woes of mixing Ammonia and bleach or bleach-contained products, but what about other mixtures, or even worse, products that are terrible on their own? Sadly, there are many, many more products and mixtures of those “chemical yuckies” that are equally or even more dangerous for us to worry about! (gulp!)

After digging to see the actual numbers on this whole issue, I found them to be staggering; according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 2.5 million poisonings are confirmed each year, with a total of around 4 million actual callers! Can anyone say yikes! This just completely blew my mind, I mean; I have a son, and imagine how many of those poisonings are children! Shivers, shivers and more shivers! With of all this info that’s out there, what do we have to weed through, and what do we actually have to learn more about so this doesn’t happen to our families? Another words, at very least I think its probably good to know what is on the Dummies list at the AAPCC, right? So, I found out some basics and mapped it out, so you don’t have to go on the hunt like I did…

Firstly, Bleach mixed with anything is a bad idea for sure, but especially with any acid-like substances like:

Ammonia
Vinegar
Detergents
Toilet bowl cleaner
Automatic dishwashing products
Oven cleaners
(Mixing Bleach=Big no no!)

Never fear, there are many solutions here! Green Housecleaning products are readily available, and way less money than you would think!

Automatic dishwasher soap is one of the most toxic products we have in the home, try using a natural or green household cleaning alternative. The one I recently found and love is Mrs. Meyers for the automatic Dishwasher soap. They have essential oil scents and make the house smell wonderful! AND (drum roll please…) very, very affordable!

Febreze-type of products are extremely toxic and bad for pets, skin, eyes, and the drains! Keep it away and try a green Fabric freshening alternative: Put 20-30 drops of Lavender into a clean spray bottle, fill the rest up with water and VOILA! Clean and even pleasing to the senses, what more can you ask for? Magical and lovely, Lavender is a natural sanitizer and has a pleasant clean fresh type of smell that can pack a punch against some of the toughest stinky contenders!

If you still think that green housecleaning products are out of your budget, then listen here: Clearance sections in those particular departments will save you cash=o=la! So, my friends, think green and budget friendly as a very possible pair! …Happy Green cleaning day!

A Green Home…for Busy People

For those of us in the greater Los Angeles area, we are more privy to the latest inventions, technology, and services to get in the spirit of going Green. A “Green Home” is a term that’s used more and more frequently these days to describe the use of earth friendly products and methods in our homes. And according to the Green Building Council, a green home is “a high performing home that is energy and water efficient…has good indoor air quality…and uses environmentally sustainable products”.

Now don’t get me wrong… I absolutely love the idea of saving the planet, and I love even more that I can be a part of that, like a green superhero…or something along those lines…
But everyday there seems to be another and yet another way to be greener, which is all very wonderful and all, but because of this, it can feel very overwhelming or even taxing to think about. If you’re like me, and have little to no free time, then tell me if this thought hasn’t crossed your mind, “ok, I buy the recycled paper towels, and I buy organic foods, what else do I realistically have time for?”

After much thought (in between classes, work, house cleaning, and wiping noses) I feel I’ve come up with a busy-person-friendly way to earn a little more of those green friendly points. But before we even go there, let’s try to think of being Green as a gradual process, not a stagnant condition. Since we all have different lifestyles, being a Green Home can mean something a little different for each household. Our main goal is to reduce environmental impact in whatever way you can do for now, its all part of your own process.

Buy a book on natural remedies, house cleaning, green housekeeping, household cleaner alternatives, or green cleaning; they are some of the worst things that a household can contribute to the environment. I use mine for anything from nosebleeds to natural dusting. You’ll be shocked to see how easy some things can be used and how much money you can save on your next visit to the store!

Go online or talk to some friends about what they might do to Green-up their home to get ideas, its good to ask, since your friends will likely have a similar lifestyle. We all love to give advice about something we may know about, and that includes your friends!

With your new knowledge as your guide, go through the house-one room at a time, do as little or as much as possible and pick it up in a day or a week. Start with the bedrooms, since the will have the least to change out. Look for anything you can change out—energy efficient light bulbs, weather stripping, air fresheners and go from there.

Remember to keep your eyes on the Green Home prize and that progress is what’s important!

Thanks for your comments. We will upload a new blog in July and yes HM is looking into producing eco-friendly air fresheners ! Let us know if you tried making your own and what your family  thinks..

Jennifer @Harmony Maids

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Improve Air Quality – Don’t Pollute It!

Synthetic air fresheners don’t really clean your air, they do the opposite. They mask bad scents and neutralize our sense of smell, while polluting the indoor air.

 

The good news is that there are many pure and natural ways to make your home smell clean – above and beyond Green Harmony Cleaning, of course!

 

To truly freshen your air, it’s time to go natural:

  • Make Your Own: If you make your own air freshener – you know exactly what’s in it: Now that’s refreshing!  Simply mix 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil with two cups of water. Keep it in a small spray bottle and spritz away!
  •  Diffuse the Situation: Create an easy scent diffuser using two or three organic cotton balls.  Soak them in your favorite essential oil and place them in vacuum cleaner bags, wall vents, air conditioner units, dehumidifiers or humidifiers, air purifiers….wherever the scent can be carried into your home.
  •  Light the Way:  Tap into the purifying power of toxin-free candles – nonpetroleum based and VOC free – and clear the air, while setting the mood!  Look for beeswax, soy and other vegetable-based waxes. Avoid VOC-laden synthetic fragrance candles. Opt for those made 100% from pure essential oils instead.

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Fragrance? Not so fast…

Behind the pleasant sounding concept of ‘fragrance,’ rests an unpleasant gang of chemicals called phthalates, which are thought to be reproductive toxins.

Toluene, another common fragrance ingredient, is a neurotoxin that can damage the liver, kidney and brain.

And to top it all off, fragrance is the leading cause of irritation and allergic reaction in cosmetics.

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