Mythbusting: Weird Housekeeping Advice from your Parents

Parents have an answer to everything. It doesn’t matter how bizarre it is: They have a solution to every problem we throw at them. It’s great when you have a stain that isn’t leaving or a smelly room that needs deodorizing, but sometimes parents are wrong: Sorry, Mom! It’s not their fault, though; this false information was passed on from their parents. Basically, we can blame Grandma. But before you toss the butter and lemon slices, some of those strange cleaning tricks do work! Here are some cleaning tricks that I have put to the test; some are myths, while others are truths.

Cold Water Kills the Active Ingredient in Bleach: MYTH

My mom washed all of her clothes in hot water. When I asked her why she didn’t use cold to wash her whites, she replied, “Cold water kills bleach, silly. Why do you think they use chlorine in warm pool water?” It made sense, but after a little research, I found that hot water actually kills the active ingredient in bleach, and bleach should never get warmer than room temperature.

Use Lemons to Remove Coffee Stains: TRUTH

Coffee stains in the cup are quite the eyesore, but my mom had a solution, of course. While handing my mom a glass to drink out of, I tried to explain that the cup was not dirty but stained. She nodded her head once, went to the fridge, and pulled out my bag of lemons. Within seconds, the coffee line was wiped away with a lemon slice.

Clean Tile Grout With Toothpaste: TRUTH

Toothpaste is awesome! Just think about how clean and white it makes your teeth. Toothpaste has tiny abrasive particles that work great at scrubbing plaque and food residue from your teeth. It also scrubs tile grout like a pro. Our bathrooms have white grout that gets dirty quickly, and having our toothpaste handy makes shining it up an easy task.

Use Bleach to Remove Rust: MYTH

I’ve mentioned that in my earlier years, bleach was my best friend when cleaning. I definitely inherited the “bleach love” from my mom. So it didn’t surprise me when my mom suggested bleach when I had rust stains on my clothes. Unfortunately, bleach does not work. In fact, it helps the rust absorb into the clothing easier.

Clean the Walls With Bread: TRUTH

This might be the weirdest tip I have ever read, and the fact that it works makes it even stranger. There is something about rubbing fresh bread on the walls to clean handprints, dirt, and marks off that will make you feel safely rebellious, especially when Mom tells you to. Bread works like a sponge and can safely remove dirt and dust from areas around the home.

Let the Whites Dry in the Sunshine: MYTH

This might have been true years ago, but chemicals in fabrics have changed drastically. The sunshine can cause the material to react to the sun and turn it a yellowish color in response.

Use Butter to Polish Stainless Steel: TRUTH

This is one of those tricks that makes you raise an eyebrow, but butter works wonders at polishing stainless steel. The only problem with butter is that it is messy. Getting the butter off takes twice the work! To prevent a mess, use olive oil instead.

Keep Matches Near the Toilet: TRUTH

I remember going to a friend’s house and seeing a box of matches and a bowl on the back of the toilet. I wondered if they enjoyed smoking while using the bathroom, but I soon realized that it was a way to deodorize a room. It definitely sparked my interest, and I put the matches to the test. To my surprise, it worked great!

Everybody has their own special way of cleaning, and I am always open to new ideas to try and test. What weird ways do you get your home clean? Do they really work, or are they myths passed on down the years?

13 of the Worst Cleaning Mistakes You Can Make

Cleaning is something I am pretty darned good at. At least, that is how I feel most of the time, but there are days when I question my methods. The online world is wonderful at sharing information that you probably wouldn’t have known otherwise. It is also great at opening your eyes to things you are doing wrong. Cleaning is one of those things. Many of my cleaning tricks I learned from my parents, but I have slowly realized that some of those ideas aren’t working. Here are 13 of the worst cleaning mistakes you could make; you might be guilty of doing some of them.

1. Cleaning Glass Windows When It Is Sunny

I always notice the streaks and handprints on the windows when it is the sunniest part of the day. Naturally, I get out my cleaner and begin wiping down the glass, but this is a mistake. The sun causes the cleaner to dry too quickly, and while the handprints are gone, there are plenty of streaks left behind.

2. Overusing Vinegar

I talk a lot about cleaning with natural cleaners to prevent chemicals from harming your lungs and eyes, but vinegar can’t clean everything. It is not a great disinfectant, so put it away when you are cleaning the toilets or a countertop that has chicken juice on it.

3. Using Too Much Cleaner

When you see a stain, it is tempting to pile on the cleaner. More is better, right? Wrong! Take advantage of water and use it to soak areas, then use cleaners to help disinfect and wipe it up.

4. Not Letting the Toilet Brush Dry

My mother spent her entire life hating the toilet brush; she never owned a single one. She used a rag and her hand to clean the dirtiest parts of the toilet. Why would she allow her hand to enter such dark places? She saw the toilet brush for what it was: a breeding ground for germs. Allowing the brush to dry across the toilet before placing it in the holder will prevent bacteria from growing wildly on the brush.

5. Putting Things In the Garbage Disposal That Shouldn’t Go In It

People are constantly telling me about wonderful deodorizers to put in the kitchen drain, and I can’t help but raise an eyebrow or two. Coffee beans are one of these tricks I have both heard and read about, but they should never be placed in the garbage disposal. They will get stuck and could slowly clog your drain. Instead, use lemon ice cubes; they will sharpen the disposal and then melt away.

6. Scrubbing Carpet Stains Out

When a glass of juice is splashed onto the carpet, it is human instinct to grab a wet rag and begin scrubbing hard. This will fray the carpet strands, spread the stain, and force the stain deeper into the carpet. Instead of scrubbing, try using a spoon to remove most of liquid. Then, dab gently at the area to get the remainder of the juice. Once most of it is removed, use carpet cleaner to get the rest of the stain out.

7. Using Furniture Polish to Dust

Furniture polish is an interesting cleaner. Most people don’t realize that polish is used best on natural wood as a way to protect it. Most furniture today already has protective coats, is laminated, or is painted. When you use polish on furniture that isn’t natural wood, you are only making it oily and gross. Instead, use a damp rag to dust and shine up areas.

8. Using the Wrong Tools to Clean

Many years ago, I didn’t own a sponge. I washed all of the dishes with a rag, and boy, did it take forever. Instead of scrubbing away burnt food, I would have to let it soak for an entire night before I could wipe it away. It was ridiculous, and it was a lesson in using the right tools for cleaning. Don’t use a scratch pad to wipe down cabinets, but don’t use a soft sponge to clean a dirty pot.

9. Vacuuming Occasionally to Avoid Hurting the Carpet

I don’t know where this myth came from, but vacuuming will not harm your carpet. It doesn’t wear it out, but it protects dirt from permanently sticking to the carpet. You should vacuum the busiest rooms every other day to keep carpet looking and feeling fresh.

10. Forgetting to Clean the Shower Curtain

People never forget to scrub the toilet, shower, and sink, but the curtain is somehow shoved aside, literally. Every time you clean the shower, the curtain should be disinfected and wiped dry to prevent bacteria and mold from happily growing.

11. Bleaching Everything

There was a time in my life when bleach was my best friend. I used it to wash the counters, the refrigerator, the bathrooms, the doors, and the laundry. After every cleaning day, I would have to take a break to breathe fresh outside air. Bleach is a great disinfectant, but it is a terrible cleaner. It doesn’t break down food or buildup and is awful on the lungs.

12. Not Using the Exhaust Fan

It took many years for me to realize that the exhaust fan was for more than just airing out a smelly bathroom. Turning it on during and after a shower will prevent humidity and moisture from harming a room. Humidity makes it easy for mold to grow and rags and towels to smell like mildew.

13. Forgetting to Clean the Cleaning Tools

Once you have scrubbed down the counters with that sponge, toss the sponge in the laundry or cook it in the microwave for a few seconds. Wash your toilet brush, your rags, and the gloves on your hands when the job is over. There is no reason to let germs find a home after an entire day of battling them. Cleaning is something that you continually get better and faster at, and now that you know these 13 mistakes to avoid, you can also get smarter at cleaning.

5 Easy Ways to Control Pests Naturally

I have a confession to make: I hate bugs. They give me the goosebumps and shudders like everyone else, but they also make me crazy. I don’t necessarily scream when I see a spider dropping from the ceiling or cry at the sight of ants marching across my floor, but I do start performing karate moves that I have never actually learned. The other day, a spider found its way onto my lap, and I lost consciousness for several minutes, but I am told that I beat the spider repeatedly, even after it was obviously dead; my bruised leg is my only memory of the event. Again, bugs make me crazy. So when it comes to controlling pests in the city, I want to do it efficiently and naturally. I want them out of my place without exposing my family to harsh chemicals. A small part of me even wants the creepy things to live a long, happy life elsewhere. If you are in need of some serious pest control, here are five healthy concoctions you can make right at home that won’t harm you or the bugs.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are one of the key ingredients in many natural cleaning solutions. They add a fresh scent that aids the body in breathing, healing, and calming the nerves while deodorizing a home and getting rid of bugs. Strong smells make bugs scatter, and essential oils offer a potent smell that will have the little critters running away. Keep scents around the home and open in the kitchen cupboard to keep bugs out of the food.

Garlic and Pepper Powder

While you aren’t warding off vampires, sprinkling garlic and pepper powder by the doors is an excellent natural way to ward off almost all insects. I like to add it by the cracks outside the door in a very thin line that is barely visible to the eye.

Cucumber

I love cucumbers, so it doesn’t surprise me that ants detest them. We are enemies, after all. Slice a large one and place the pieces by the cracks and openings to repel the buggers away. You will have to clean them up, but it is a great method to deter bugs that have already made their way inside.

Hot Sauce

Tabasco sauce is one pest control tool that seems to work on almost all insects. Shake up a mixture of your strongest stuff and spray it outside the home around the door. The moment insects get a whiff or taste, they will be looking at your neighbors’ places to stay instead.

Lemon Peels

Moths have a way of finding your favorite winter jacket and destroying it. To keep them away, frequently place lemon peels in the closets. This excellent method serves two purposes; the moths will fly away, and you will be left with a fresh lemon smell.

Once you get the critters on the run, you can develop a preventative plan to keep them out. Many pests enter the home looking for a food source. Make sure you store food off of the floor and keep any crumbs swept up. Have essential oils and lemon peels in the cabinets and pantry. If pests can’t find food, they will look elsewhere. Continually spray natural mixtures around doors and windows throughout the year, and keep the inside of the home clean. It does take work to beat pests, but it can be done without resorting to harsh chemicals.

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Doing the Impossible: How to Make Housework Fun

I need to tell you a secret, but you have to promise not to laugh, OK? Alright, here it goes: Cleaning is fun. Don’t roll your eyes at the screen or throw your hands up in confusion. I am being serious! Some of my best childhood memories involve cleaning a family room filled with toys or organizing a dresser cluttered with trinkets and wrinkled clothes. Cleaning can be fun if you make it a game, and kids might even request to play the game another day. Here are eight creative ways to get your family involved in the chores so your home can shine like new.

The Race is On

I might not be in my teens anymore, but I still play this racing game with my wife. A little competition can get the slowest cleaners moving faster. To start the game, pick a room and race each other to see who can finish first. I usually can finish a chore in half the time it typically takes me when the prize is bragging rights.

Music Time

Sometimes, all I need is a little inspiration to get me off the couch and scrubbing the house. Music does just that, and I am not afraid of breaking out my best dance moves (for the sake of the cleaning, of course).

Treats In Between

I have already talked about my love of food before, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I will clean almost anything for food. I break out the chocolate or gummy bears, and every time I complete a task, I reward myself with one small, tasty treat.

Don’t Let the Timer Sound

When I was little, my siblings and I would set a timer as we cleaned. When it got close to the last few seconds, we would run like crazy to the couch, the obvious safety zone, and when the timer sounded, we pretended it was a bomb. If you didn’t make it to the couch, you fell dramatically to the ground. We continued playing until the entire house was clean.

Draw a Chore

My dad created a chore jar the moment I was born; he saw how messy kids were and came up with a solution. If you left something out on the floor and someone caught you, you had to draw a chore out of the jar. It was a great way to get deep cleaning done, and it motivated us to clean up after ourselves. On Saturdays, we all had to draw three jobs to do that day, and even though we knew it meant work, it was always fun to be surprised with random chores.

Celebration Feast

Cleaning can be hard, especially for children who don’t always appreciate the reward at the end. Plan a feast when all of the cleaning tasks have been completed. It motivates everyone, but it is a fun way to get children involved. Let them help choose what is on the menu and the chores that need to be completed.

Party it Up

If you have roommates, then this is a great way to get everyone involved and having fun for a day of cleaning. Order some pizza, drinks, and cookies, and blast some music as you scrub down the entire place. Enjoy laughing with your friends as you chow down on your favorite foods.

Find the Surprise

Toy rooms and bedrooms can turn into war zones fast, and hiding a surprise in the wreckage makes cleaning a blast. Buy a couple of dollar-store toys for the kids and hide them in the mess. As the kids clean, they get to find a surprise or two under the piles. Use your imagination and the creativity that comes with kids to create your own special cleaning game. As your kids, and you, beg for another day of cleaning, you will understand me when I say that cleaning is fun.

The Best Pizza in New York City

Cleaning is definitely my world, but every once in a while, I have to eat. When it comes to New York City, I don’t have to worry about finding a place to stuff my face with my favorite food. You see, I love pizza, and New York City knows pizza better than anywhere else. My pizza obsession has led me to try countless locations, and I feel somewhat knowledgeable on the subject. Maybe I’m not an expert, but if you need something to hit the spot, these six locations will do just that.

Motorino

Located in a new location by the Williamsburg Bridge is the popular Motorino. If I had to pick two pizzas to try, I would recommend the Pugliese and the soppressata picante. Both are packed with savory flavor and a kick of unique spices.

Rosario’s Pizza

If you aren’t wanting to buy an entire pizza, which is unthinkable, Rosario’s Pizza sells $2 slices for the individual looking for a fix. This pizza is like crack; it is that good and that addicting. While a single slice might seem like a good idea, it might be better to buy the whole pizza because you will be back for more. Remember I said it was like crack?

Di Fara

Di Fara has been around since 1964, and there is a reason it is still in business; it is screaming good! The only problem is the wait can be long because everyone wants to eat here, so don’t plan on swinging by for a quick bite.

Roberta’s

Roberta’s might do some unusual things, but no one can deny that the pizza is delicious. The Cheesus Christ is topped with layers of melted cheese bursting with dairy flavor. For a unique pizza that has a touch of sweetness, ordering the Bee Sting will give you that original pizza flavor with a dab of honey on top.

Louie and Ernie’s

I go to Louie and Ernie’s for white pie on a perfect thin crust. The creamy sauce leaves me licking every drop of sauce off my fingers, and the mozzarella cheese makes this pizza at the top of my list.

Coals

At first glance, the pizzas here look like something I put together in my own kitchen; they have a strange, oblong shape, but man, are they good. Coals just might be my favorite restaurant, with the best crust I have ever tasted. Some people peel the crust off and set it aside for the garbage can, but at Coals, the crust is ripped off so I can eat it first.

Now that I have shared these tasty places, you might be wondering which of these spots is right for you. There is only one way to solve this mystery; you have to try them all. You can start at the top of the list and work down, or you can start at the bottom and work up. It doesn’t really matter which is first or which is last, when all of these pizza places are drooling good.

Make Your Wooden Kitchen Surfaces Last Forever

Kitchens are all unique. They come in different designs and color schemes, and even the materials used for kitchen surfaces can vary widely. I can give you plenty of advice on cleaning, but depending on the surface, it may or may not apply. That is why today, I am going to focus on cleaning wooden surfaces in the kitchen. It is an area that I think is often overlooked and thrown into the same bag as granite and laminate counters. If you have ever cleaned a wooden cutting board versus a plastic one, then you know wood has its own special qualities. Whether you have wood cabinets, wood countertops, or a wooden cutting board, you are going to want to keep them clean so they can continually look their best. Here are my favorite ways to clean my favorite material that comes straight from nature.

Wooden Kitchen Cabinets

When I moved into my home, my cabinets were brand new. They were everything we had dreamed of, and I often would go into the kitchen just to stare at them. Now, kitchen cabinets are not cheap, and replacing them was something I was determined not to do for at least 30 years. Exactly how did I plan on keeping them so long? By taking care of them with love and a rag. Wood is affected by its environment, and constant sun exposure can cause the wood to fade and lose its original charm. I keep my curtains or blinds closed to prevent the sun from shining in all of the time. Cabinets also get the most wear through the process of opening cupboards and drawers, but knobs do a great job at preventing rubbing on the wood. The last thing to consider is cleaning the cabinets regularly. Never use pads or abrasive cleaners that will scratch the wood. When deciding what cleaner to use, stay away from most cleaners filled with chemicals; they can take off the stain and protective coat on the wood. A basic soap mixture with water will sanitize dirty areas.

Wooden Cutting Boards

Bacteria can easily get trapped in wood, so it is important to clean wooden cutting boards properly after every single use. After you have finished cutting on the board, immediately rinse it with water. This will rinse most of the bacteria out and prevent them from soaking into the wood quickly. Avoid cutting meats on a wooden cutting board, and use soap for cleaning after cutting fruits and vegetables. To deodorize the area, spray some vinegar on the surface. If you love tomatoes as much as I do, then your cutting board might have red stains: Grab some salt and scrub it on the spot to remove the stain easily.

Wood Countertops

Cleaning wood countertops is not like cleaning a wooden cutting board. This might sound confusing, but while a cutting board doesn’t need to look pretty, you are going to want your countertops to look good. As soon as you spill something on the wood, immediately wipe it up to prevent stains. Soap and water are your best friend, and vinegar is your enemy. I know I am always pushing vinegar, but vinegar is acidic and can dissolve the glue that holds your counters together. A bleach mixture can sanitize an area, but don’t overuse this toxic substance. You aren’t going to want to chop your chicken or favorite vegetables on your countertops, either, like you would on a cutting board. Wood scratches easily, so use a cutting board for everything. Be delicate with your wooden surface by using a rag and staying away from scrubbing pads.

Maintenance

Taking care of wooden surfaces in the kitchen is all about maintenance. If you avoid cleaning the cabinet fronts for a year or two, you are going to be left with a greasy coating and a lot of gunk. Getting dirt buildup off might take some scrubbing, and scrubbing can scratch your cabinets and wear them out. So keep this buildup away by washing wooden cabinets about once a month or whenever there is visible dirt, grease, or grime on them. For countertops, wipe them down daily and after every use. Wood is a beautiful look in the kitchen, and continually cleaning and taking care of it is a sure way to help it last for many years.

The Top 7 Things to do Outside in New York City

When summer rounds the corner, my feet suddenly develop a mind of their own. Once the sun peaks over the horizon, my feet walk my body out the door before I’ve even had the chance to eat a proper breakfast. I spend more time outside in the summer than I do in my home. I can’t really complain; I love summer, and soaking in every last ray of sunshine before the weather goes cold is always my goal. What exactly do I do in New York City? Well, thousands of people around the world travel to visit this amazing city, so you can guarantee there is plenty to keep you entertained in the summer weather. Now it can get expensive if you fill your summer plans with the most popular tourist attractions, but there is plenty to do that is absolutely free. Here are seven fun things you can enjoy outside this summer.

1. Central Park

This park is a classic, and there is always something happening here, especially in the summer months. Check out one of the events, walk the paths, and admire the statues scattered throughout the park.

2. Governor’s Island

This is an amazing little gem that is perfect for a day outside. First you get to board a ferry that costs $2 round trip and ride across the water with an ocean breeze blowing across your face. The ride alone is refreshing, but once you cross, you can spend the day having fun with family or friends. There is a nice area to sit and relax, so make sure you pack a picnic or try out the local shops for a special lunch or dinner. A sandy area is laid out for volleyball, and there is a playground for children to run wild on.

3. High Line

If you haven’t been to this new creation, then you must go now. I literally mean right now. Taking an old railroad and turning it into a garden is pure genius and makes the experience unique. The park is high enough that you get views of New York City and Hudson River below. With two miles of greenery lacing this path, I enjoy a popsicle or two while walking the entire length.

4. Public Boathouse Kayaking

Kayaking at the public boathouse is one of the best ways to enjoy the summer weather. It will work your muscles, splash you with water, and keep you entertained. It can be a little addicting, so expect to come back once a week for the rest of the summer season.

5. Staten Island Ferry

Riding this ferry a few times a year is the perfect way to cool off and enjoy the most special parts of New York City. The price to board the ferry is absolutely free, and you get a 20 minute ride both ways. On the ride you can see the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Skyline, buildings in the distance, tugboats, and Governors Island. Once you cross, you can enjoy Staten Island, or you can hop right back on for another 20 beautiful minutes.

6. Green-Wood Cemetery

A few weeks ago, a relative was visiting and I mentioned a stop by the cemetery for some outside fun. He agreed, but only after giving me a concerned look. Who goes to a cemetery for fun? If you haven’t been, it might sound strange, but plenty of people have made their way to this peaceful place. The soldiers buried here date back to the Civil War, and the history lined along the graves is incredible. It is huge and many of the graves are breathtaking.

7. Rockefeller Center

This building is fun to visit in both the summer and winter months. While the ice rink and Christmas tree are magnificent to see in the cold months, the art, flowers, and landscaping make summer extra unique. There is plenty to explore both indoors and out, and it is this creative place that makes New York City summers so special.

Going Green: The Best Way to Stay Cool in New York City

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The sun is shining outside, and no matter what you do, you can’t get comfortable. Your shirt is sticking to you, and your feet are pink, swollen, unrecognizable sausages. You love summer in New York City, but man, it would move along more smoothly with a little air conditioning blowing your way. I definitely understand the summer sweats, but instead of rolling around in it, find creative, green ways to cool yourself off. You don’t have to have air conditioning to enjoy the summer, but it will take more than the flip of a switch to avoid the heat. If you are ready to cool yourself off in a green fashion, then here are seven things that might help you out.

Eat a Popsicle

Reach into that freezer and grab an icy treat; it will feed the sweet tooth and cool you down. I sometimes get a little crazy with the ice pops and eat 10 in a day, but oh, they are so good – I just can’t help it.

Hit the Pools

Stop moaning and groaning about the heat and get out and enjoy it. The best way to take advantage of New York City summers is going swimming. Nothing is better than jumping into a cool pool and then getting out in the sun to dry off.

Take a Cold Shower

I usually take my showers early in the morning, but during the summer, I have been known to save my showers for the hottest hours during the day. It cools me down so quickly that the moment I step out, my goose-bump-covered arms welcome the heat.

Go Grocery Shopping

Poking your head in the freezer is a sure way to cool you down while wasting energy quickly. It might be tempting, but it isn’t worth increasing the electric bill. Take a trip to the grocery store instead and walk through the fruit and frozen meat aisles.

Expand Your Mind at the Library

While everyone else is suffering from sweaty armpits at home, you can get comfy at the library and read a good book. The air conditioning will blow right over you, making it hard to leave this wonderful place behind.

Fill a Spray Bottle with Water

Keep a spray bottle filled with water in the refrigerator and spray yourself throughout the day. You will instantly feel refreshed and ready to take on the sun.

Don’t Cook

Are you thinking of baking a delicious cake, cookies, or brownies this summer? Well, throw those plans out the window and don’t look back. Leave the stove and oven off and forget they exist, because your new best friend is your blender. Whip up some smoothies, juices, and homemade ice pops. Make blender salsa and salad dressings for summer meals that will cool you off.

New York City summers make it easy to stay green. With the constant sun and extended daylight hours, you don’t have to worry about cranking up the heat, using the oven, or turning on the lights. Will it get a little hot? Of course, but with an open mind, you can make the heat your best friend. Don’t be afraid to eat a few ice pops or browse a few air-conditioned stores. Summer is here, and it will slip away before you know it.

Image Courtesy of Kathy (Flickr)

Cleaning Up with Green Products

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Green is the new thing. I see it everywhere; it is printed on clothing, listed on cleaning products, and advertised on TV. As I read more about a specific product, I am often disappointed to find that it isn’t so green after all. What exactly makes a product green? Most products are considered green if they reduce waste, conserve energy, save water, decrease pollutants, improve air quality, or are created naturally. Others products are marked green when they are created with recycled materials or decompose easily; this helps the environment by decreasing waste.

Slapping the green label on something is easy if it helps the environment in any way. Unfortunately, many products benefit the environment in one way but hurt it in another. If you are grabbing green products off the shelf without reading the ingredients, you might be the one who isn’t benefiting from a “green” claim. The only way to ensure that you are cleaning your home with the safest natural cleaners is by creating them yourself. Here are four green ingredients you can use to make your own cleaning products that won’t emit harmful toxins into your home.

Baking Soda

That little orange box holds a powder with a powerful punch. Not only is baking soda non-toxic, but it is an affordable way to do green cleaning around the house. Starting in the kitchen, open an entire box and place it in the refrigerator to deodorize any stinky smells. Then, sprinkle a little across the counter surfaces and scrub them down with a wet cloth. Walk to the bathroom to use baking soda on surfaces and in the drains and to clean combs and hairbrushes. You can even put it on the carpets to lift out stains and vacuum out smells.

White Vinegar

That strange-smelling bottle might turn you away, but it is liquid gold in the green cleaning world. Vinegar is awesome. It is my favorite cleaning product, and it is stored right in my food pantry next to the animal crackers and bottles of water. It is green, safe, and used inside and outside of the home. Counters in the bathroom and kitchen can be wiped down with vinegar so they shine and are stink-free. Grease stains are easily wiped away by combining vinegar and baking soda and applying this to the area. Sinks can be free of soap buildup and grime by scrubbing them with a rag dipped in vinegar. A vinegar and baking soda mixture works great on shower heads, toilets, and bathtubs. This green product can even be used on your precious car; wipe down leather, wash away water stains on the outside, and polish the plastic with vinegar.

Water

Most cleaning products found on the shelf are diluted with large amounts of water. It helps weaken chemicals, cuts the cost in half, and gets more life out of key ingredients. The same idea applies to green products. Adding water to vinegar will help it last longer and save you money, but it is also the most natural ingredient you can add to your DIY cleaners. Water soaks tricky areas so food and grime can be wiped away easier. It can be combined with vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils to create the cleaners you need around the home.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have grown popular over the past few years, and it is no surprise why; these yummy oils are safe and still serve many purposes. Lavender can be added to any green cleaning product for a fresh and relaxing scent. What most people don’t know about lavender oil is that it is an antiseptic and antibacterial substance. My other favorite oils are lemon and peppermint; they improve people’s mood, boost alertness, and work as an antiseptic. Essential oils make it fun to create your own cleaning products, so you can know exactly what is being sprayed in your home.

Image Courtesy of go_greener_oz (Flickr)

New York City’s Most Expensive Luxury Apartments

nyc-luxury-apartments

Touring homes and apartments is one of my favorite things to do. When I start daydreaming of winning the lottery, I pull up a real estate site and browse through the most expensive apartments I can find in New York City. I drool over the floors, walls, lights, kitchens, the views from their windows, and even the toilets. While I will never own one of these luxury places, I can still dream about walking in one. Exactly how expensive are these apartments? Well more than any amount of money I will make in my lifetime. Apartments range from $40 million to more than $100 million, and you’d better believe that celebrities, professional athletes, and CEOs jump at the chance to live in these luxury buildings. Denzel Washington and baseball player Alex Rodriguez are said to live in $40 million apartments. You can find these apartments by Central Park, throughout the city, and on “Billionaire’s Row” of West 57th Street. Now, to give you an idea of what millions of dollars can buy you, here are seven of the most expensive apartments in New York City.

15 Central Park West

For those who call this complex home, they get treated to a swimming pool, 14,000-square-foot gym, and a cinema. The view of the city from the windows is beautiful, but having all of Central Park right at your doorstep makes for the biggest yard and garden one could dream up.

145 Hudson St., Penthouse

This penthouse is probably my favorite on the list. The price might be a whopping $48 million, but the entire place is lined with glass. Everywhere you look are windows, and it adds to the sleek, modern feel. A parking space comes along with this place, and as all New Yorkers know, that is a rare thing to have.

944 Fifth Ave.

This apartment was built in 1925, and with 18 rooms, it has that old-fashioned style. It covers an entire floor, allowing for views of the city at every angle. Need room for guests? No problem: This apartment has an entire separate living quarters for guests.

One57

This is one of the newest complexes in New York City and has sold a penthouse for a record-breaking price of $90 million. Yikes! The kitchens are a dream to any chef, the bedrooms are wrapped in windows, and the bathrooms are finished with only the finest materials.

25th East 77th St.

Located on top of the Tony Mark Hotel is a penthouse that screams luxury. The moment you walk through the door, you will be greeted with 26-foot ceilings in the living room. If that doesn’t impress you, then the skylit conservatory and elevator will.

157 West 57th St., Penthouse

Drive on West 57th Street and you will be impressed by many billion-dollar buildings; you can also find this penthouse, with a price tag of $115 million. With 13,554 square feet, there is plenty of room for the biggest of families. You can fit grandma, her ten kids, and your cousins and uncles inside, too. The outside of the building has a rich, modern look and is a small taste of what’s inside. Everything is outfitted with only the best, and if you are short on cash, there are apartments on lower levels for only $55 million; that’s almost an affordable price, right?

1 Central Park South, Eighth Floor

This gigantic condo sits on top of the Plaza Hotel and is laced with thick moldings, exquisite floorings, and bathrooms you could only dream of. For $55 million, the views, separate area for staff, and 11-foot ceilings complete this package.

I know my feet will never know such fine floors and my body will never experience these luxuries, but if I close my eyes, I can almost imagine what it would feel like to stand in a window of one of these apartments. My imagination leads me to believe that it would be magnificent.

Image Courtesy of Roman Iakoubtchik (Flickr)

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