Green Clean Your Coffee Maker!

greek-coffee-1328798-639x511Coffee scum. We’ve all seen it. It’s the brown stuff left behind in your coffee mug and the filter basket and carafe in your coffee maker. Coffee scum comes from the fatty acids in your coffee and is exacerbated by the quality of your water and your coffee beans. Here are my tips for how to green clean your coffee maker and prevent coffee scum from forming.

What causes coffee scum?

Coffee’s fatty acids are to blame, but scum can get worse if you have hard water or purchase low-quality beans. The minerals in hard water bond with the acids in the coffee and adhere as scum on your mugs and coffee maker. Poor-quality coffee beans are more acidic than other beans and may leave behind more scum.

How can I get rid of coffee scum naturally?

You need to be careful about the cleaning products you use in and on your coffee maker, since you eventually consume the coffee you brew. Cream and sugar? Yes. Hazardous chemicals? Not so much.

A diluted degreaser with natural ingredients can cut through scum without causing you harm. Look for one with limonene, derived from citrus fruits. After degreasing the surfaces of your coffee maker’s filter basket and carafe, rinse them thoroughly with water.

To clean the interior of your coffee maker, mix equal parts water and vinegar. Pour the mixture into the reservoir of your coffee maker, add a filter to the filter basket, and brew. The vinegar will help clear out the reservoir and lines. Repeat with just water to rinse the maker.

Can I reduce or prevent coffee scum?

Absolutely! If you have hard water, use filtered water to brew your coffee (or take the plunge and install a water softener). Buy high-quality coffee with low acidity and avoid flame-roasted beans, which can increase acidity.

You don’t have to start your morning with coffee scum. Use all-natural cleaners to remove scum and keep your coffee maker in good running order. I can help you find a product that works well and won’t harm you or your environment. Contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

5 Tips for a Healthier and Greener Pregnancy

Healthy Pregnancy TipsA recent poll found that 69 percent of expecting mothers who read the popular pregnancy website The Bump were more interested in going green during their pregnancies than they had been before they were pregnant. Using all-natural, organic products during pregnancy can reduce your baby’s exposure to hazardous chemicals. But switching to organic, all-natural products can also improve your health and well-being during pregnancy. Here are five ways to green up your pregnancy.

  1. Add More (Organic) Green to Your Diet

Greening up your pregnancy diet will make you feel more nourished and support your baby’s development. A well-balanced diet rich in protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and folic acid includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Go organic as much as possible to boost nutrition and avoid toxic chemicals found in pesticides.

  1. Spend Time Outdoors

Taking a moment to enjoy the green outside (or, in Minnesota winters, inside at the Como Park Conservatory or Minnesota Zoo) can boost your mood and increase your activity. Both are good for your well-being and the health of your baby.

  1. Avoid Artificial Fragrances

The Environmental Working Group calls the label “fragrance” a code-word for “chemical cocktail.” Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances. Many of these chemicals may cause hormone disruption, allergic reactions, or worse. Go all-natural during your pregnancy by avoiding products with “fragrance” or “parfum” in the list of ingredients. If you need a scent, go for an organic essential oil.

  1. Chose Organic Supplements

Pre-natal vitamins, omega-3s, and vitamin D are commonly prescribed to expecting mothers. Before heading to the pharmacy to find the cheapest option, take a look online at what organic products are available. Quality and pureness of supplement ingredients is as important as the quality and pureness of your food.

  1. Slather on Organic Personal Care Products

Choose organic, all-natural shampoo, soap, and other personal care products for the same reason you want to avoid artificial fragrances and choose organic supplements. Using organic, all-natural products reduces your and your baby’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Need more green and healthy pregnancy tips? Watch for my follow-up post next month! In the meantime, shop GetGreenwithGene.com for all-natural maternity and baby products.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

5 Creative Uses for All-Purpose Cleaner

Earth's Natural All-Purpose CleanerMy referral networking group has a saying: When you ask for “anybody,” you get “nobody.” Great networkers know that the more specific they are about whom they’re asking for, the more referrals they get.

The same holds true for all-purpose cleaner. Its name says you can clean anything with it—but what does that actually mean? Many times, people end up using their all-purpose cleaner on just one or two surfaces.

No more! Here are five specific, creative ways for you to use your all-purpose cleaner.

  1. Commercial Refrigerators and Cold Trays

Commercial refrigerators and cold trays get grimy fast. Cleaning them out and spraying them down is a daily necessity. Use all-purpose cleaner to scrub away grime, bacteria, and mold from exterior and interior surfaces.

  1. Auto Body Shop Public Surfaces

The surfaces in an auto body shop are easy targets for grease, grime, dirt, dust, and germs. All-purpose cleaner keeps your shop squeaky clean and smelling fresh. Use it at the reception desk, on waiting room furniture, in the bathroom, and on the floors.

  1. Fitness Center Exercise Equipment

‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions, which means your gym is packed. Keep your equipment clean to keep your clients healthy. Spray all-purpose cleaner on weight machines, yoga mats, cardio equipment, and free weights. Don’t forget to wipe down reception desk surfaces and studio door handles, too.

  1. Dog Kennel Crates and Cages

We love our furry friends, but they can really make a mess. If you run a boarding kennel, grooming salon, or volunteer at a shelter, an all-natural all-purpose cleaner can be your best friend. Use it to disinfect and freshen up kennel crates and floors, grooming equipment, and the surfaces in your work room and waiting room.

  1. Horse Fly Spray for Your Boarding Stable

When your all-purpose spray is all-natural, it’s safe for you and your animals. Dilute your all-purpose spray down for an effective fly spray for horses and livestock. Then use it to clean out feed and water pails.

It pays to be choosy when purchasing commercial cleaners. Conventional ones are full of harsh chemicals.

Instead, I recommend my Earth’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, which cleans powerfully with all-natural citric acid and thymol. It’s tough on all sorts of workplace contaminants without being hard on your health or the environment. Purchase online at www.lifespurebalance.com.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

4 Reasons to Use Essential Oils This Christmas

Holiday Essential OilsWith Christmas already here next week, you’re likely already in the spirit of the season. Aromas from boughs of evergreens and holiday baking fill your home and put you in a festive mood.

But you may also be experiencing the stress of the season, especially if you’re traveling or hosting the family get-together. Before you give into your bah-humbugs, take a minute to discover how essential oils can help you make your holidays a bit brighter.

  1. Essential oils reduce stress

They can also help you relax, release frustration, and soothe your anxiety. Here are the top oils for stress reduction and relaxation:

  • bergamot
  • chamomile
  • lavender
  • rose
  • sandalwood
  • ylang
  1. Essential oils give your energy and mood a boost

The holidays take a lot out of us. These essential oils can help you stay energized as you prep for Christmas travel and company:

  • balsam
  • geranium
  • lemon
  • orange
  1. Essential oils help keep your emotions in check

Christmastime can conjure up all sorts of emotions, leaving us feeling adrift. Here are the top three essential oils for feeling grounded:

  1. Essential oils can ease indigestion

It’s true! These essential oils can help with the gas, bloating, and stomach upset that accompanies eating too many Christmas treats:

The scents of many of these essential oils complement the season. Balsam, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint are festive and benefit your overall wellbeing. Add these oils to a body oil for a wearable scent, diffuse them to add scent to a room, or put a drop or two on the inside of your toilet paper rolls to freshen up the bathroom.

However you choose to use them, essential oils can help you relax and enjoy the holiday season. For great deals these and other essential oils, including free shipping on orders over $50, shop GetGreenwithGene.com or contact me!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Get Your Employees Ready for Cold and Flu Season

Prevent cold and flu at the office.With the first major snowfall come and gone, winter’s finally arrived in the Twin Cities. The cold and flu season is also in full swing. Colds and the flu will get passed around the workplace, leading to lost productivity. According to a CVS Health survey, the majority of employees will go to work despite having a cold or the flu. Most don’t want to use up valuable PTO, but others also reported they feared lost wages or the wrath of a mad boss who expects them to be at work no matter what.

But requiring sick employees to report to work is a lose-lose situation. The employee loses out on the time he or she needs to get back to 100%, and the employer loses productivity, profitability, and even puts other employees’ health at risk.

Fortunately, you can avoid lost productivity and profitability with an ounce or two of education and prevention.

Stop the cold and flu with education

To avoid a cold or flu epidemic at the office, educate your employees on why it’s important to stay home when they’re ill. Explicitly state you do NOT want them to come in with a fever or other flu and cold symptoms. Explain your sick leave policies thoroughly so people understand when and if to use their time.

Hold a flu prevention workshop at the office. Explain the symptoms of cold and flu, home care, and when to call the doctor. Train employees on the importance of wiping down desk surfaces regularly, washing hands frequently, and avoiding sharing pens, computers, and food.

Prevention starts at the workplace

Provide your employees with the tools they need to prevent the spread of germs. Keep your bathrooms well-stocked with soap and paper towels and provide hand sanitizer for employees to use throughout the office. Ask a health care clinic to come to your workplace and offer flu shots to your employees. Ask employees to sign up for time slots and make sure they keep the appointment.

Finally, create a policy that encourages employees to work from home when they’re feeling under the weather. Many tasks can be performed at home online or over the phone. Working from home is a good option for employees who are ill but feel well enough to get a little work done.

Don’t let your workplace be ground zero for the cold and flu season. Educate your employees on how these illnesses spread and help them prevent the spread of germs at the office. For more cold and flu tips, contact me!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance