Manufacturers hitch a ride on the green bandwagon

"The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on." Thomas Jefferson, Letter to James Madison, 1785.

Today is Earth Day. I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few new earth-friendly products, and even though house cleaning is not my expertise and heaven knows I’m not very good at it, I will include a few green cleaning tips.

Sonia is a manufacturer of bath vanities, storage solutions and accessories. As a green manufacturer, Sonia operates under an in-depth environmental-protection policy that assures products are made in a way to decrease the use of natural resources and hazardous chemical products. The company’s new Atic Pop line literally pops with color and modern, contemporary design. It’s perfect for the ultra modern home (www.sonia-sa.com).

Julien also manufactures an innovative line of kitchen sinks, work stations and bathroom suites. It has just introduced a utility/laundry sink collection. The concept is a refreshing change from the built-in look. As a responsible corporate citizen, Julien selects the most environmentally friendly procedures and materials. Julien is fully compliant with the International Organization of Standardization (www.julien.ca).

* Thyme Travel has introduced its newest fragrant living collection called Indigenous. The line consists of candles and mists for the home with sensuous names such as Blue Lotus, Neroli Blossom, Oolong Casis, Tamarind Lychee, Verbena Bamboo and White Persimmon (www.thymes.com).

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning green is not only good for your conscience, it can be good for your wallet, too, according to Bridget Bodoano and her new book "The Little Book of Quick Fixes for Eco-Conscious Cleaning" (Quadrille Publishing, May 2007).

This book shows how everyday cupboard staples can be highly effective cleaning agents, while also maintaining the eco-friendly outlook that many of us have adopted.

Bodoano also discusses the best ingredients to clean green without breaking the bank.These include:

* Vinegar. The product of choice among the cleaning intelligentsia, vinegar is acidic and versatile, making it a very useful ingredient in cleaning to bust dirt and kill limescale. Bodoano shows what kinds of vinegar works best and how to incorporate vinegar into your daily cleaning routine.

* Lemon juice. As an acid that easily cuts through grease, this natural agent is a great disinfectant. Bodoano’s tip: "Fresh lemons are best, and you also can use the squeezed halves to wipe over surfaces to clean them.

* Baking soda. Readily available in supermarkets, baking soda is an alkali and a versatile cleaner. Bodoano discusses how baking soda can be used best and how it can speed up the cleaning process when mixed with other ingredients.

* Borax. A nontoxic alkali available as a white crystalline powder, borax disinfects, bleaches and deodorizes. Bodoano shows how borax can clean, and also act as an insecticide and fungicide.

* Washing soda. A mild alkali, washing soda can be used as a general cleaner and a great stain remover. Bodoano’s tip: "Washing soda is very useful for unblocking waste pipes."

* Olive oil. A dab of olive oil on a duster brings sheen to wood and picks up dirt, as well. Alternatively, mix vinegar and olive oil in equal parts for a more thorough job. Bodoano’s tip: "Don’t use your best extra-virgin olive oil, go for something more refined or opt for sunflower oil."

* Baby oil. A little baby oil goes a long way. Dab a few drops of baby oil on a lint-free cloth to get those streaks off of the silver backsplash. Bodoano discusses how you can add a bit of baby oil to your cleaning water to enhance the look of vinyl and linoleum floors.

So, you see, there are millions of products available that are environmentally friendly. For more information, hop on the Web before you buy. Happy Earth Day.

Carolyn Muse Grant is the editor of Southern Nevada Home & Garden magazine. Her Inside Spaces column appears weekly in the Home & Garden section of the Review-Journal. Check out other decorating tips in Southern Nevada Home & Garden magazine, which is published the first Saturday of each month. Send questions to cgrant@reviewjournal.com.

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