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"Green" Solutions
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subego
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Dec 11, 2014, 02:19 AM
 
I'm not what you'd consider a "green" kinda guy, but I've come across a few things where the green option is far superior to the others.

The first is white vinegar. It has more uses, but the two I've found are:

1) Mold removal
2) Hard water stain removal

It's shocking how good it is at both of these tasks.


The second is a plumbing snake. Much better than drain cleaner for removing clogs. I have yet to meet a clog it couldn't fix.


I'm sure we can add to this list.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 11, 2014, 02:21 AM
 
Honorable mention goes to shaving your junk instead of using that shampoo shit when you get crabs.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Dec 11, 2014, 03:24 AM
 
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character." - M.L.King Jr
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 11, 2014, 03:27 AM
 
Shampoo apologist.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 11, 2014, 03:39 AM
 
While we're at it, "shampoo" is a totally ****ed up word.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Dec 11, 2014, 06:40 AM
 
Great segue to your anti-shampoo platform. Bravo.
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osiris
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Dec 11, 2014, 10:42 AM
 
how about baking soda? That crap does everything too.
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The Final Dakar
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Dec 11, 2014, 10:45 AM
 
I hear all anti-crabs shampoo is vinegar and baking soda.
     
osiris
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Dec 11, 2014, 10:46 AM
 
It's good for lobster too.
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BadKosh
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Dec 11, 2014, 10:48 AM
 
Clorox! Kills germs and mold. Makes sink drains smell better.
     
el chupacabra
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Dec 11, 2014, 11:56 AM
 
Industrial strength hydrogen peroxide can be used for water deposits mold or whatever; cleans very quickly.
Washing hands with soap & warm water is no more affective than soap & cold water.

Which Household Cleaners Contain Toxins? | Mother Jones

The sad part with some of these is the ingredients that do most the work are non-toxic. The toxins are often small amounts of chemicals used in the manufacturing process which they didn't now how to remove cheaply. Sometimes toxins are added for fragrance. Drain cleaner for example is mostly sodium hydroxide (nontoxic), and bleach breaks down into salt and water.
     
P
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Dec 11, 2014, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Clorox! Kills germs and mold. Makes sink drains smell better.
Sodium hypochlorite - brand name Clorox in many countries - is special among cleaning agents because it is actually chemically active. Almost everything you can buy for cleaning is pretty much diluted soap (chemically, tensides) and perfume. All that does is dissolve things that are otherwise not inclined to dissolve. Sodium hypochlorite is an oxidizer. Germs are not washed away - they're killed, and then washed away.

Not sure how green it is, though.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 11, 2014, 04:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Great segue to your anti-shampoo platform. Bravo.
It's pretty useless. Bar soap FTW.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 11, 2014, 04:36 PM
 
As per el chup, I wash my hands in cold water, but that's because I'm too impatient for the pipes to warm up.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Dec 12, 2014, 08:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It's pretty useless. Bar soap FTW.
As a raging shampoo apologist, I should point out that shampoo is just mostly a mild soap. If I start using body soap - I never use nasty bar soap, you dirty, BMW-driving hippy - for my hair, the ol scalp starts to get nasty within a couple days.
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subego  (op)
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Dec 12, 2014, 03:44 PM
 
Lack of hair will fix that.
     
Doc HM
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Dec 13, 2014, 07:04 AM
 
It's shocking to think looking at Isle upon Isle of "specialist" cleaning products , bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, window cleaner, all in 30 different brands and smells that it could all be contracted down to two natural products.

Mad. Ness
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subego  (op)
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Dec 13, 2014, 06:26 PM
 
Which two?
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 13, 2014, 06:33 PM
 
Another one I can add is pumice stone can clean even the most horrific toilet bowl.

You can get it on a stick. "Pummie" is one brand.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 13, 2014, 08:42 PM
 
The "problem" with this as a "green" solution, for me at least, is I'm not going to clean the whole horrifying bowl with it. I'll Soft Scrub that mother****er first. I wanna keep my distance until things simmer down a bit, then I'll use the pumice on a stick.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Dec 14, 2014, 01:03 AM
 
Just how long does this toilet go between cleanings? Can this amount of time be measured in the lifespans of smaller mammals?
( Last edited by Cap'n Tightpants; Dec 14, 2014 at 03:47 AM. )
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Amber Neely
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Dec 14, 2014, 03:20 AM
 
Well, you asked for it. You may have well installed a soapbox right on the floor of this specific thread and wrote "For Amber's Use"

Hi my name is Amber and I'm your resident reviewer. I'm also your resident environmentalist, lifelong asthmatic, and allergy-collector. I can't use most household cleaners because I tend to either be violently allergic to them or they launch me into an asthma attack. Here's my current list of things I cant use:

- Ammonia
- Bleach
- Soft Scrub/Comet
- Simple Green (been hospitalized for this one!)
- Most commercial cleaners because they contain the aforementioned bleach or ammonia

However, despite the fact that I'm allergic to everything, everyone is always really impressed with my general upkeep of my apartment. I'm not sure if this is because they expect me to be a slob so I lowered the bar for them, or if they're slobs so I look impressive by comparison, or if they're actually impressed, but it doesn't matter. My apartment is usually immaculately clean and here's how I do it:


Amber's All Purpose Cleaner: It Really Stinks!™

(Use on: Sinks, counter tops, showers, inside/outsde of fridges and coolers, etc etc - I also use it to detail moms car, just make sure you air out the car lest you want to suffocate yourself in vinegar stink)

Recipe:
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons dish soap (I use dawn original dish soap original, Palmolive works well too - just don't use any stupid "great for hands" stuff. You want the manly, abrasive dish soap)

How to use:
1) Spray on dirty stuff
2) Wait 10 minutes
3) Scrub with microfiber cloth
4) Rinse
5) Let it air out for a while, it doesn't take too long
6) Ta-da

How it works: This seriously removes mold, soap scum, etc etc. Largely because the CH₃COOH (acetic acid) in vinegar eats through stuff that is stuck on, and soap acts like a lubricant to get under the stuff and pull it off. The water just helps stretch the stuff a little further - not that distilled vinegar is expensive, I generally have 2-3 gallons on hand at any given time.

"No Seriously You Can Clean Glass With This!" Glass Cleaner™
(Use: Clean glass and mirror. Works especially great in households where your boyfriend manages to get toothpaste on the mirror constantly)

Unsurprisingly, a lot of glass cleaner has ammonia in it, which tends to cause me to wheeze or break out in a rash, so here's a weird window cleaner that doesn't

Recipe:
- 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 cups warm water

To use:
1) Put that all in a spray bottle
2) Shake it up
3) Spray on mirrors/windows and wipe off with paper towels
4) Stores practically forever, just shake it really well before you use it

Why it works: I .. don't know. I assume it works really well because the cornstarch is a mild abrasive, the vinegar contains acetic acid, and rubbing alcohol allows it to dry quickly to a streak-free shine. I have never met a glass cleaner that works so well.

Mama Neely's All-Purpose Ant Killer: It's Not Pet or Baby Friendly™
(Use: Get rid of sugar ants hecka quick)

My mom and I make this stuff seasonally. I dunno if you kids have the same gross situation as I do, where somehow the interm between the first full melt of winter and the last frost of spring brings some kind of hell-wave of sugar ants into your home. I guess that's a really common thing in older houses in areas that have long winters.

Recipe:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp Borax
- 1 cup water
- cotton balls

How to make/use
1) Boil water and sugar together until it is dissolved into a simple syrup.
2) Cool slightly, then pour into mason jar and mix in two tablespoons of Borax while still warm.
3) Let cool completely, then soak cotton balls in the solution, put them near where you find ants and wait.
4) Store excess in labeled mason jar under the sink or wherever you store the "no-touchies" for kids

Warning: Not safe for kids or pets, so if you have kids or pets who are or may be prone to eating cotton balls soaked in borax

How it works: Ants are stupid and will drink this solution which is high in boric acid, which is poisonus. It kills them, but not before they take it back to their queen and feed it to her. Takes a few days to work, and you'll have to keep the cotton balls wet with the stuff. Love this solution because it doesn't require me to spray any lasting chemicals in the air, and borax is only toxic if ingested, and I'm smarter than your average house ant, so it's win-win.

So there are my three favorite "green solutions" for house care that I can think of off the top of my head. I probably have like 500 more it's just that I use these ones the most.
( Last edited by Amber Neely; Dec 14, 2014 at 01:06 PM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 14, 2014, 04:39 AM
 
Hail, and well met, Amber!

I still have a plate of borax "sugar cookies" hidden in a cabinet to help with my building's cockroach problem. Was able to keep them out of pet range by flinging them behind the radiator.

Have you tried "Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap"? It's very good stuff, and doesn't have any nasty ingredients I'm aware of. If you can handle Dawn, you should be able to handle this. Be sure to dilute it.

I tend to be wary of detergents in general, though not for green reasons. It's more a question of how thoroughly you can rinse the item in question. I've done my share of ultimately making something dirtier, because I couldn't rinse away the thing who's one job is to attract dirt.

That's one of vinegar's best properties IMO. Rinsing it out is optional.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 14, 2014, 04:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Just how long does this toilet go between cleanings? Can this amount of time be measured in the lifespans of smaller mammals?
"I'm troubled you need to think about this answer..."
     
Amber Neely
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Dec 14, 2014, 01:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Have you tried "Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap"? It's very good stuff, and doesn't have any nasty ingredients I'm aware of. If you can handle Dawn, you should be able to handle this. Be sure to dilute it..
After googling it, the bottles are REALLY familiar. Like, super familiar. I wonder if I've run into it elsewhere. As far as the ingredient list goes, it is probably pretty safe for me. I'd love to try their mint and eucalyptus ones. Maybe after the holidays settle down, I'll treat myself to some new soap!
     
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Dec 15, 2014, 05:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Amber Neely View Post
How it works: This seriously removes mold, soap scum, etc etc. Largely because the CH₃COOH (acetic acid) in vinegar eats through stuff that is stuck on, and soap acts like a lubricant to get under the stuff and pull it off. The water just helps stretch the stuff a little further - not that distilled vinegar is expensive, I generally have 2-3 gallons on hand at any given time.
I think the main benefit is that the vinegar moves the pH out of the neutral zone. Many things that are hard to clean off are only so at pH 7 - soap scum in particular happens to be much easier to clean at either acidic or alkaline pH.

Originally Posted by Amber Neely View Post
Unsurprisingly, a lot of glass cleaner has ammonia in it, which tends to cause me to wheeze or break out in a rash, so here's a weird window cleaner that doesn't
Clearly cleaning agents are different on different sides of the pond. I think most of the ones I see are just dish soap and water.

The ant killer thing is very interesting, will have to remember that.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 15, 2014, 09:25 AM
 
Dish soap and water is used as glass cleaner?

Doesn't it streak all over?
     
Phileas
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Dec 15, 2014, 09:34 AM
 
We've got three cleaners in the house - Dr Bronners for humans, floors and dishes. Water and vinegar for general cleaning. And liquid soap for laundry.

There is zero reason for buying specialist products, the ingredients in most cleaners are identical.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 15, 2014, 09:38 AM
 
I like me some Murphy's Oil Soap for wood floors.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 15, 2014, 10:28 AM
 
We've already had world spanning recommendations for Dr. Bronner's. What I want to add is it works perfectly with foaming soap dispensers. I've had other soaps clog them up.
     
osiris
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Dec 15, 2014, 10:38 AM
 
Yeah, that Murphy's is nice for wood floors. Great smell too.
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subego  (op)
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Dec 15, 2014, 10:45 AM
 
Nailed it.

Like Phileas said, it's probably very similar to what's in Dr. B's, but Murphy's smells like what a freshly mopped wood floor should smell like.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 15, 2014, 12:05 PM
 
What I use on my skull:



Unsurprisingly, ingredient-wise it's Dr. Bronner's in solid form.

What's nice about it is it lathers in even the most ridiculously hard water.
     
Amber Neely
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Dec 15, 2014, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I like me some Murphy's Oil Soap for wood floors.
I went to a teeny Catholic school in the 90s and they used Murphy's Oil Soap for cleaning pretty much everything, regardless of whether or not it was wooden. I hate the smell of it, but it's sort of a love-hate thing because of the nostalgia. Every time I smell it, I gag a little, but then I remember the days of packed lunches and scraping my knees on the blacktop while playing dodgeball.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 19, 2014, 08:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post


What's nice about it is it lathers in even the most ridiculously hard water.
Didn't pay attention to the overflow on my hot water heater.

The water in my apartment is so hard, said overflow creates a green and teal, mineral sludge which ultimately clogs the drain. Then my laundry room floods.

Never happened once in 10 years, and has now happened twice over the last few months.

I actually can't leave dishes in the sink anymore, because they'll get covered in hard water spots which need serious scrubbing (or vinegar) to get rid of.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 19, 2014, 09:01 PM
 
It's Friday. This sink was spotless on Tuesday.

     
reader50
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Dec 19, 2014, 09:06 PM
 
If by your hot water heater "overflow", you mean the TPR (Temperature-Pressure Relief) valve, it shouldn't bleed. It's to prevent a steam explosion if:
a) incoming water pressure is lost
b) there's backflow prevention on the supply line
c) all your HW taps are turned off
d) the water level in the tank falls below the temp sensor
e) and the burner just keeps running.

Or, in case the temp control switch stuck ON. Or if your water supply started delivering 100+ PSI.

In most cases, the TPR valve will outlive the HWH without ever being triggered. It covers a few unusual situations where the HWH could become a steam boiler. If it's bleeding, the TPR valve is defective, or something else is weird.

ps - don't pull the lever to test it. It's not really designed for regular operation, and may not reseat perfectly. Especially if it is no longer brand new.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 19, 2014, 09:29 PM
 
Really? This has been happening to this heater since day one, and the heater it replaced did it, too.
     
reader50
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Dec 19, 2014, 09:37 PM
 
The TPR valve responds to over pressure, or over temperature. Since it affected both heaters, you're probably not set to a dangerously high temp. It's possible you're getting unusually high pressure coming in, but there's a more likely explanation.

Is there a check valve right before the HWH? That will force bleeding after anyone finishes using some hot water. Fresh cold water will have replaced the hot water that left the tank. As the tank brings the temp back up, water expansion will have nowhere else to go.

Come to think of it, my experience is with small water systems. It may be normal in a city system to have backflow prevention on every house. In which case you'll get TPR bleeding.
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 19, 2014, 10:30 PM
 
I don't see a check valve, but it may be where it forks off the main line.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Dec 19, 2014, 11:14 PM
 
If it really is hard water you can get a water softener and it'll fix that. We have well water with a considerable amount of limestone in it, but our Kinetico softeners take care of it (and they don't use electricity, very green). Plus there are other benefits, like using a LOT less soap and brewed beverages tasting better.
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jmiddel
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Dec 20, 2014, 03:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What I use on my skull:



Unsurprisingly, ingredient-wise it's Dr. Bronner's in solid form.

What's nice about it is it lathers in even the most ridiculously hard water.
I love this stuff, have been using it for years, also on my skull, it leaves hair soft and almost conditioned without the gunk. Hypoallergenic.
     
jmiddel
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Dec 20, 2014, 03:45 PM
 
Re water softeners, has anyone heard of this saltless product: Home Water Softener and Water Treatment Systems | Clearwater GMX ?
     
subego  (op)
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Dec 20, 2014, 05:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
If it really is hard water you can get a water softener and it'll fix that. We have well water with a considerable amount of limestone in it, but our Kinetico softeners take care of it (and they don't use electricity, very green). Plus there are other benefits, like using a LOT less soap and brewed beverages tasting better.
Sadly, those look like they'd take up space I lack.
     
iMOTOR
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Jan 9, 2015, 02:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post


ps - don't pull the lever to test it. It's not really designed for regular operation, and may not reseat perfectly. Especially if it is no longer brand new.
I just replaced a water heater and the paper it included actually advised testing the relief valve on a regular basis for safety.
     
reader50
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Jan 9, 2015, 04:47 AM
 
The paper is wrong. A TPR valve is an automatic device. To actually test it, you should expose it to overpressure and/or overtemp water to see if it opens. Pulling the lever only tests if there is water inside the heater.

The valve relies on a flat washer (made of synthetic rubber) with a spring holding it against the valve seat. The washer ages over time, indents against the seat ring, and becomes brittle. Where any significant flex will produce cracks. Popping the valve with the lever will open it more than minor bleeding does, greatly increasing the chance it won't reseat exactly as before.
     
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Jan 9, 2015, 05:16 AM
 
I suspect they say that they say that to make sure the valve hasn't rusted solid, which would prevent it from opening in an emergency.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Amber Neely
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Jan 9, 2015, 11:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I suspect they say that they say that to make sure the valve hasn't rusted solid, which would prevent it from opening in an emergency.
I believe that you are correct. I think you are supposed to pull it open every so often to make sure that it hasn't been either rusted or damaged in some way.
     
reader50
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Jan 10, 2015, 02:10 AM
 
Since they're made of brass, rusting is not a concern. Even the spring inside is stainless steel - I've never seen one with rust on it.
     
   
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