Frugal, Green & Clean: Cleaning Your Oven Without Chemical Cleaners

A quick and dirty (ha!) post on oven cleaning. Why? Because I’ve been avoiding cleaning mine for the last week and I decided writing about it was a great way to procrastinate yet feel like I’m being productive at the same time ;)

Frugal, green and easy oven cleaning recipe: Mix 2 tablespoons liquid dish detergent, 2 teaspoons borax into 4 cups warm water. Apply the mixture to the inside of the oven – cover walls, ceiling, back, etc. Let sit for 30 minutes then scrub with a scrubbing brush or plastic scouring pad and a paste of baking soda and water. Sponge clean with damp sponge  to remove residue.

All little patience and elbow grease is all it takes!

(Note: while borax is a natural substance it is considered a poison if ingested. Please read this to ensure you use borax safely.)

Green Your Shopping Canada! Free President’s Choice Green Bin!

President's Choice Green Bin We all know by now that using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags reduces environmental waste signifcantly. Here in Canada, President’s Choice, a line of products offered by many grocery stores operated by Loblaws, has some great green options to replace your shopping bags.

My favourite, the PC Green Bin, is a plastic bin that fits easily into shopping carts, has sturdy handles, and holds the equivelent of 3 to 5 plastic bags worth of groceries. It’s super easy to load from cart to car to house and the bins are inexpensive to buy at around $4.99 each.

As part of it’s efforts to promote the use of reusable bins, Loblaws grocery stores in Canada are offering  a coupon for a free PC Green bin with a purchase of $60 or more from April 22 to April 30. Please see coupon for details of which grocery chains are particpating.

PC Reusable BagThis week Fortino’s grocery stores in Ontario have been offering the President’s Choice reusable shopping bags for half price. Made with 85% post-consumer recycled plastic, our revolutionary shopping bag is twice the size of a standard plastic grocery bag and strong enough to withstand 50 trips to the store (about 1 full year).

With weekly use of just one bag, each person can divert approximately 100 plastic bags from ending up in landfill sites each year.

President's Choice Green CartNew from President’s Choice is their new PC Green cart. With the same capacity as three standard plastic grocery bags, this handy shopping bag on wheels does more than just carry a lot of groceries; it actually helps you do your part to protect the environment. The material used to make the fabric for this the bag comes from 100 % post-consumer recycled plastic.

By using this bag on wheels on a weekly basis, you will need approximately 300 fewer plastic bags per year – that’s less clutter in your cupboard and less plastic for you to throw out. The PC Green Cart will be available in stores beginning May 11, 2009 and is just one of the new Green shopping options that will be available on May 11th from President’s Choice.

For more information about these items and others offered by the President’s Choice brand in Canada take a look at the President’s Choice Green Insider’s Report.

And don’t forget to get your coupon for a FREE President’s Choice Green bin!

And you’ll want to enter to win the Earth Day Gift Package I’m giving away.  Contest is open until April 29, 2009 and anyone living in Canada and the United States is eligible (subject to contest rules). Good luck!

Win an Earth Day Gift Package!

Tomorrow is Earth Day but that doesn’t mean you can’t observe Earth Day every day and Frugal Family Life and Walmart ElevenMoms have an Earth Day Gift Package to help get  one of you started on the right foot. Worth an estimated $130 retail the package includes a selection of Clorox “Green Works” cleaning supplies, White Cloud “Green Earth” paper products, and Tide Coldwater laundry liquid, a Brita water filtration pitcher and a Bissell Little Green carpet and upholstery cleaner.

The Green Works cleanering products are 99% plant and mineral based but can take on tough cleaning jobs with ease, they smell great, and are less harmful to the environment.

Tide Coldwater laundry liquid was designed to allow you to get all of your laundry clean without wasting energy using hot water. Depending on what statics you look at 70 to 90% of the energy used to wash a load of laundry is spent on heating the water. By washing everything in cold water you save energy and save money.

The White Cloud “Green Earth” toilet paper and paper towels are made from 100% recycled fibre but feels soft and cushiony like regular premuim paper products do. In the words of my teenage son “finally you got toilet paper that doesn’t feel like sandpaper!”

The Brita pitcher is something we’ve used in my home for years. Instead of buying cases of bottled water we use the Brita water filtration pitcher to filter tap water for drinking water. This saves us money (we estimate over $200 in yearly savings over buying bottled water) and it means a lot fewer plastic bottles that need to be recycled or worse, that would end up in a landfill.

Used with a portable stainless steel reusable drinking bottle (we have several sized from 500ml to 1 litre) we always have fresh filtered water on hand to drink at home or to take with us. The pitcher itself is dishwasher safe (top rack) and fits easily into the refrigerator without taking up a lot of space.

Last and certainly not least is the Bissell Little Green carpet and upholstery cleaner. The Bissell Little Green is made with PVC free tanks and hose, parts manufactured from 100% post consumer recycled materials  and the carton contains a minimum of 75% recycled materials. The cleaning formulas contain no heavy metals or optical brighteners and are phosphate and dye free.

Part of living Earth Day every day is taking care of the things you own so they’ll last longer. Using a product like Bissell’s Little Green to clean spots and spills from carpets, rugs and upholstery is a great way to do that. We’ve used older versions of the Bissell carpet and upholstery cleaners over the years and consider them a must in any home that has pets, children or clumsy people like me who are constanty spilling coffee!

So now to the good part – the giveaway! One lucky Frugal Family Life reader will get a chance to win this Earth Day Gift Package. The contest is open to residents of Canada and the United States and you have until April 29th to enter. The rules are simple:

  1. You must be subscribed to the Frugal Family Life newsletter with a valid email address. The sign up form is on the top right of this page.
  2. You must follow me, @merlene, on Twitter.com
  3. Tweet the following on twitter: Win an Earth Day Gift Package – Including Bissell Little Green carpet/upholstery cleaner & much more http://bit.ly/NAhWm #11momsgreen
  4. You must comment on this post with a way you live Earth Day every day. Please make sure to let me know your twitter name and the name you signed up for the newsletter with so I can validate your entry. That’s it! Good luck!

This giveaway is sponsored by Walmart and the various manufacterers listed above and is subject to Frugal Family Life’s disclosure and giveaway policy. Some of the other ElevenMoms are running Earth Day giveaways too. Check out each of their blogs for more chances to win!

Update: The contest is now closed. The winner will be selected through Random.org and will be notified by email. Winner will be announced on May 1, 2009.

How Green Are You?

Water

Water

Earth Day is April 22 and I’ll be featuring some ideas on how to live a more frugal, more environmentally friendly life. Sometimes it’s the small actions that can make the biggest difference.

  • Turn if off. Is your TV turned off? Guess again. Even when turned off most electronics use power. To save energy (and money!) unplug electronics when not in use or plug into a power bar and turn the bar off.
  • Adust the temperature on your thermostat. Adjusting the temperature just 4 degrees will save you money and reduce wasted energy. Adjust as you leave the house for the day or better yet install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically based on the time of day.
  • Recycle aluminum cans. Recycling cans only uses 5% of the energy needed to manufacture an aluminum can from scratch!
  • Wash clothing with cold water. About 90% of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water. Look for laundry detergents designed for cold water washes.
  • Hang your clothes to dry. For those of you, like me, who can’t hang laundry on a line to dry (I live in an apartment building) you can still use drying racks or hang clothes on hangers on the shower rod. I take most of our clothing out of the washer, hang on hangers and hang them on the shower rod and the clothes are dry within hours. Just be careful not to overcrowd them. Works like a charm :)
  • Say No! to bottled water. Invest $30 and buy a Brita filter water pitcher. Not only will you save money on bottled water purchases but you’ll stop hundreds of plastic bottles from hitting landfills and reduce the energy used recycling plastic – not to mention the toxis released.

These are just a few of the quick and easy small ways we can reduce our environmental impact while saving some money along the way. Makes cents to me.

What small actions have you taken to be a little greener?