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This Earth Day, vow to go green

Planting an urban garden is universal!
Planting an urban garden is universal!
Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Earth Day is upon us, and there seems no better time to commit to at least a few green options to care for our habitat. The following ideas are recent excerpts from the Lawrence Journal World Check Out Magazine, and American Profile.com

Cleaning

  • Ketchup can brighten copper and brass pots. Just squeeze some onto a cloth, rub, and then wash
  • Salt is an effective scrubber to use on stains left on coffee mugs and glassware, and won’t scratch surfaces
  • Toothpaste can clean jewelry, coffee table rings, and car headlights. Dab a little onto an old toothbrush for deep cleaning on silver rings, and use a thin layer on headlights and coffee tables. Rinse with a damp cloth
  • Shaving cream can clean your mirrors when you shower, and also be a lubricant for hinges. Wiping it off afterwards with a towel will leave the mirror streak-free and help with reducing or eliminating fog for a few weeks. Spray it on squeaky hinges
  • Lemons can be used to sanitize your counter tops by simply cutting one in half and then drying the surface with a wet sponge
  • Distilled white vinegar with equal parts of water can be used as a cleaning solution for coffee makers and spotless glassware
  • Banana peels can shine leather shoes, whiten teeth, and even polish silver. Buff shoes after applying, rub the inside peel on teeth for 2 minutes when you brush, and polish silver the same way you polish the shoes
  • Vodka can freshen laundry and brighten chrome on sink or bathroom fixtures. Spray vodka directly on clothing and hang to dry. It won’t retain the alcohol smell and dries just like water. Spray onto chrome surfaces and let sit for 15 minutes before wiping, or just apply it to a damp cloth
  • Gatorade, Kool-Aid, or Coke can help remove toilet bowl stains. Pour two cups into the bowl and let sit for two hours or overnight.

Outside week control and pest control

  • For large areas, let the sun destroy weeds by placing 2-4 mil clear plastic sheeting over the area for 4 to 6 weeks. Be sure all edges are secured and the sun will cause intense heat to build up and kill the weeds
  • Corn gluten is a natural herbicide pre-emergent that must be applied 4 to 6 weeks before seeds emerge. Corn gluten is also a slow-release high-nitrogen fertilizer, but it may take a couple of years to remove all weeds
  • Remove seed heads. Lop off the tops of those yellow dandelions before they become puffs of gray floating in the wind
  • Vinegar can kill weeds and grass between concrete cracks
  • Encourage birds to your lawn with feeders, a birdbath, and planting colorful flowers. They eat various insects that could otherwise harm your plants
  • Plant things that repel such as nasturtiums, mint and basil which will attract beneficial bugs while repelling mosquitoes, flies and other pests
  • Repel ants by sprinkling boric acid crystals where they congregate
  • Coffee grounds, sharp sand, pine needles and crushed eggshells around plants can prevent slugs and earwig damage
  • A simple solution of 1 Tablespoon each of baking soda and dish soap in a gallon of water can be sprayed every 10 days on lilacs, roses and other flowers to control black spot and mildew
  • Neem seed oil spray is effective to prevent fungal diseases and insect damage to fruit trees, vegetables, ornamental shrubs and roses

Now you have some great suggestions for making a positive difference for our planet.