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15 July 2014

DIY Versus Store-Bought Cleaning Products: What's the Difference?

Here at AspenClean, we're often asked why people should purchase our products. This rings especially true when we hand out homemade, healthy cleaning recipes at the events we attend. If you can easily make a healthy, natural cleaning product in the comfort of your own home, why should you purchase ApsenClean (Or any other company's) cleaning products?

Photo: Rob Bertholf
The answers are more simple than you might have thought. For example although lemon peel might be highly effective in cleaning and shining your kitchen sink, there are several practical considerations to account for before employing it as your primary cleaning tool. The first is the most obvious: time. In today's world, many of us simply do not have the time to make "homebrew" cleaning products, even if it's as easy as cutting lemon peels into squares. Time is also working against you with most homemade cleaning solutions. In the lemon peel example, you'll find that the peels quickly begin to go bad after coming off of the lemon itself. Refrigerating the peel will not slow down this process by much, and a cold peel is ineffectively for cleaning. In the case of a homemade spray product, the organic ingredients will begin to spoil shortly after preparation. This means that a savvy DIYer with enough time at home could make a fresh batch every time they wish to clean, but for those of us who are more hard-pressed for time, making product every single time anything needs to be cleaned is not reasonable. AspenClean cleaning products, despite being 100% natural, have carefully balanced pH levels to ensure that the organic ingredients in each bottle remain fresh and effective, until you need to use them.

Works great, smells bad

On the more technical side, there are two main reasons why DIY do not compare to professional made cleaning products: separation and efficiency.

Separation refers to the settling of various ingredients at the bottom of a bottle, while the liquid portion remains at the top. This "separation" can severely reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning product, depending on how long the ingredients have been apart. Many homemade cleaning recipes will inevitably lead to separation if they are left to sit for a even a few hours.

While many do-it-yourself recipes are highly effective at doing light surface cleaning, we've found that it still requires a professional-grade cleaning product to effectively combat that tougher dirt. Why is this the case? It's simple: there are ingredients in professional-manufactured products that would be difficult to replicate in the home for a similar effect. For example, AspenClean uses limestone in our SuperScrub powder. Limestone is 100% natural, and is a gentle abrasive, meaning that it helps loosen tough dirt and grime that would be difficult to remove otherwise. While "mainstream" companies might prefer a harsh chemical abrasive, AspenClean chose to continue natural ingredients. Don't take our word for it-we're EcoCert certified.

Proven effective and trusted by the pros!
Not only is this safer for the person doing the cleaning, it is also much better for the surface the product is being applied on. While limestone might sound a bit aggressive, it is completely safe to use on delicate surfaces such as stovetops, with absolutely zero marring. Another example would be our white vinegar mix. Although it is entirely possible to create your own cleaner using vinegar at home, it is not pleasant to work with due to the smell. Finally, all AspenClean products are infused with organic essential oils extracted from only the finest of ingredients. Not only does this leave your home smelling fresh-it also provides the benefits of aromatherapy, which can have many positive impacts on the health of your family.

So while AspenClean does not discourage home-making cleaning products from time to time, our research and experience indicates that it does require a professionally-produced cleaning product to thoroughly clean the home, once in a while. Do-it-yourself solutions might be helpful in between regular cleanings, but they're no substitution for years of careful research and development.

8 July 2014

Healthy Cleaning At The Cottage

Summer is (finally) here again. If you're anything like the team at AspenClean, you're probably dying to get out into the great outdoors and enjoy the sunshine after that long, brutal winter. For many people, the days of summer fun and sun mean driving up north for a remote weekend at the cottage. But cottage life brings a whole series of challenges along with it, and we're not just talking about the bugs!

Photo credit: Miika S.
If you're looking for a natural cleaning solution for your summer home, we know how difficult it can be to find a safe, but effective cleaner for the surfaces in your cottage. When you're up North, there is more than just the safety of your family to take into consideration-you also have to worry about the safety of the environment and wildlife around you. But how can you safely clean your cottage while protecting your family and the wildlife?

Our microfiber cloths are handy around the cottage-and reusable!

AspenClean's all-natural cleaning products are not only great around the house-they're also great around the cottage! Our products are all rated to be septic-tank safe, meaning that you can rest easy knowing that your clean home won't result in a damaged tank. Our All-Purpose Cleaner is great for those messy deck barbecues-just spray and wipe! Got a grimy window or boat windshield? Our Glass Cleaner is borderline magical on tough streaks stuck on vehicle glass. Forgot to clean up a spill when you left for home last time? Not a problem. With the SuperScrub Cleaner, all you have to do is  sprinkle some powder on, let it set for a few moments, then wipe off with one our high-tech microfiber cloths. Not only are our cleaning products natural and safe for the environment, they`re very easy to work with. You won`t need to haul a bucket around the cottage and rinse off any residue-AspenClean products are specially formulated so that they`re easy to clean off, meaning that you can spend more time relaxing with your family, and less time worrying about tidying up the day after.

Some simple tips to keep the cottage fresh and tidy:

  • Remember your water source: Some cottages do not feature modern plumbing systems. Take care not to pollute your local bodies of water.
  • Weigh down food wrappers and trays: We`ve all experienced food trays blowing away during an outdoor cookout. Make sure you weigh them down carefully, so that you`re not littering inadvertently.
  • Be conscious of what`s outside: Unlike in the city, there are many different animals roaming around cottage country. Carefully consider what you`re leaving out overnight. Will an animal be attracted to it? Will they try to pry it open? What if they put it into their mouth?
  • Re-use as much possible! Whether it`s our microfiber cloths, or simply a paper towel, remember to select products that can be reused as much as possible in order to cut down on the amount of rubbish you generate.

1 July 2014

AspenClean Products: Natural Efficiency

At AspenClean, we're extremely proud of the natural, organic, and healthy aspects of our cleaning products. What we don't say quite as much, however, is that our products are also extremely efficient. Don't believe us? Our professional cleaning teams only use our proprietary products, and service over 100 homes a month. Our clients can't believe the amazing job that our teams perform, thanks in part to our specially-designed cleaning products.

When it comes to cleaning homes professionally, speed is always a concern. In order to safely and efficiently clean our clients' homes, our cleaning products have been specially designed to be easy to use. Not only do they not require rinsing, they leave behind no residues of any sort. While we can't share the exact secret of why our products are awesome, we can safely tell you that it's due to our unique formulas that took years to develop. Clients who want to use our products at home on their own can read the back of each bottle to see exactly what goes into their product.

AspenClean products: 100% Natural, 100% Effective

So what are you getting when you squeeze our European-manufactured spray triggers and release that magic that blasts away the dirt from your home? Almost all AspenClean products are made with a large of amount of water, ensuring that the product comes out in liquid form. Water, of course, is natural, so it doesn't stain or foam very much, and is helpful when trying to scrub away tough stains. Some AspenClean products also contain natural, mild abrasives such as limestone, which help loosen stubborn dirt. Organic essential oils round off the recipes, leaving your home smelling natural, with the benefits of aromatherapy.

AspenClean's professional cleaning teams combine our products with microfiber cloths to achieve maximum cleanliness and efficiency. What makes microfiber so special?
How Microfiber Works
After extensive research, we concluded that it was simply one of the best choices to clean homes safely and effectively. Microfiber clothes trap dirt and moisture, meaning it will suck up any cleaning products and grime with only a quick wipe. Microfiber is also free of the lint that plagues traditional cloths, meaning that they're safe to use on delicate surfaces such as stainless steel, chrome, and glass. In fact, many of those who swear by using newspaper to clean their windows switch to AspenClean microfiber and Glass Cleaner once they see the amazing streakless results!

27 June 2014

Eco-Friendly Treats Your Dog Will Love

From chemical preservatives to animal by-products, salmonella to melamine, dog treats can be pretty harmful for your pet without you even recognizing it! If you don’t know what an ingredient is, chances are you wouldn't eat it, so why should your dog?
Here are some alternative, more Eco-friendly treats that your dog will love from us at AspenClean!

  1. Stew: I personally make my dog a stew once a month and freeze it in containers meant for 3 day portions. Things you can include are potatoes, a meat or fish of choice, rice or quinoa, parsley and carrots. Throw it all into a crock pot for the day and you’re dog will not only smell the delicious stew, but they will gobble it up, too!
  2. Dehydrated sweet potato: super easy to make! Simply cut lengthwise fairly thick strips of sweet potato, and bake them at the lowest temperature (175 for me) for roughly 8 hours on a baking sheet. 
  3. Hemp: Treats with hemp meal are great for digestion, and hemp is also environmentally friendly because it can grow extremely fast in any climate with little or no herbicide, fungicide or pesticide. 
  4. Apples: my dog absolutely adores apples to no end! Plus, throw the core into the compost and you’re saving the planet! A little dab of natural peanut butter couldn't hurt either!

18 June 2014

Tips for a more Eco-Friendly Camping Trip

The summer months are among us and if you’re anything like AspenClean, you will try to go camping as much as you can! The only problems I seem to run into while camping, other than the 3 hours it takes to set up a tent, is all of the waste that is produced when buying pre-packed food, cooking utensils, and camping supplies. Here are a few tips to make your next camping trip a little more environmentally friendly:
  1. Solar powered equipment: from generators to fly traps, flashlights to lanterns, there is a large amount of gear out there that does not require any batteries or energy of any sort, other than from the sun. 
  2. Gear made from recycled materials: North Face, Patagonia and Mammut now carry gear like sleeping bags that are made from recycled materials. Or, you can order online from Play it Again Sports, and be a bit more environmentally friendly when camping.
  3. Reusable cutlery and linens: this one is a major, because paper plates and plastic knives and forks are a huge problem when it comes to creating waste while camping. Bring old towels and reusable napkins as well as reusable plates and cutlery, and not only will you be saving the environment, but in the long run you will be saving your wallet as well.
  4. Natural Fire Starters: rather than buying fire starters think about using dry pine needles and grass when starting a fire. You can even pack your own if you have access to some! This is another tip that will save your wallet as well as the environment.
  5. Pack your food: from hot dogs to marshmallows and lunch meat, there is a lot of plastic garbage that will need to be tossed out throughout the trip. Think about picking up hot dogs from a butcher and putting them in reusable containers, and also consider packing a ton of fruit for snacks, because all of the plastic bags and wrapping is harsh on the environment.

9 June 2014

Father's Day With AspenClean

After Mother`s Day, attention generally falls to the next day of recognition: Father`s Day. Yet, just like the day, it always seems that appreciation for dads come much after that for the mother. It`s a tough job being dad, and they rarely get the recognition they deserve.

AspenClean wants to take the time to give tireless dads a nod of appreciation for all the work that they do on behalf of their family. In recognition of father's day, we've put together a short list of gift ideas on how you can help dad relax and unwind.

1. Help him clean out the garage

Even though it's 2014, it's likely that the garage is "dad's room" in your household. Whatever his age, if your dad likes working in the garage, chances are he could use a hand cleaning it up. But how can you help?
Soak up that motor oil!

If dad is a car or motor enthusiast, chances are, an oil spill will or has occurred in the garage. Motor oil is icky enough as is, and putting on layers of protective clothing and getting out the chemicals won't help make it any more pleasant. If you want to help dad deal with these oil spills with ease, why not gift him a bag of kitty litter and some AspenClean Superscrub? Simply use the kitty litter to soak up the excess oil, then drop in some Superscrub powder. Not only will this help absorb any remaining oil, it will also begin the cleaning process. Mix in some water with your SuperScrub, and let the powder settle for a moment. Once you start scrubbing, the magic begins. The SuperScrub will clean up that nasty mess, and leave behind a fresh, natural scent from the organic essential oils. All dad has to do after scrubbing is a quick hose-down with some water, and the garage will look cleaner than it's been in years!

2. Help him clean his favorite toys

Is dad big into tools? Does he have a large collection in a toolbox or hanging on pegs in the basement? Help him make them shine for the rest of the year. If dad has a large collection of reflective metal tools or gizmos, you can polish them by using a dab of toothpaste. Just make sure you rinse it off properly afterwards. You'll be amazed at just how shiny you can make metal surfaces using this simple trick. If the idea of rubbing that minty freshness over a wrench doesn't appeal to you, grab an AspenClean Glass Cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Our Glass Cleaner is not only fantastic for cleaning windows and other glass, but is also an indispensable tool for cleaning off dirty stainless steel surfaces. Spray onto the tool and give it a good wipe down with the microfiber cloth. Just make sure all of the cleaner is completely dried, and you'll have a blindingly-clean tool.
Let dad relax...we'll do the heavy lifting.

3. Give dad a break

Just like mom, dad does a lot more work behind the scenes than you might think. Give him a break this year. Offer to help him take out the trash, or do all the dishes. Does he go online to pay the bills? You could give him a hand by helping him file away the paperwork afterwards. If dad is the primary homemaker in your household, why not let him put his feet up by having the house professionally cleaned?

4. Take dad for a day out

If dad is a big sports fan, consider taking him to a game of his favorite sports team. Mini-putt is also another great idea that's fun for the entire family, and dad can work on his swing at the same time. Of course, one of the safest bets is simply to take dad out for dinner. Remember to book a table in advance!
We're sports fans too!

The Father's Day Gift Pack: The “Go Natural” Gift Guide for Guys

“Go Natural” Gift Guide for Guys 

Father’s day is just around the corner. Although this one day is an opportunity to pamper the dads in your life, why not step it up a notch and spend the whole month celebrating men in all their glory. From husbands to brothers, from nephews to sons, there are always reasons to make the men in your life healthier and happier.
Photo: Liz West
1) Organic Vegetable Box Subscription 
Organic veggie boxes are all the rage in urban centres around the country. They allow Canadians to do three things they love; support local farmers, go organic, and eat fresh and healthy foods. This year, sign your guys up for a program with one of your local organic co-ops and arrange to have delicious fresh produce delivered right to his door. You get what’s in season and a chance to expand your culinary skills by being
introduced to delicious produce that may be new to you. Do you know how to prepare kohlrabi?
Steak! Photo: Taryn

2) Organic Meat Delivery Subscription 
If you think the organic veggies box will put a smile on your favourite fella’s face, wait for
his reaction if you chose to opt for an organic meat delivery, too. Meat share co-ops are
available across the country and ensure that the animals are organic, grass fed, raised
sustainably, humanely, and that none of the animal is wasted. Meat from grass-fed
cattle has been shown to be lower in overall fat and higher in some antioxidant nutrients
such as Vitamins A and E than grain-fed cattle. While you are at it, try some of the
amazing, natural BBQ and jerk sauces available at your local health food store.

 3) Natural Bathroom Bundle 
The bathroom is a hotspot for exposure to harmful chemicals such as parabens, siloxanes and phthalates found in shampoos, body washes and skin care products. Take the time to prepare a natural pamper package for your guy with a shampoo, body wash and deodorant that is free from common nasty hygiene chemicals.

4) Organic Beer
Do the men in your life love beer? Is the sky blue? Another great gift idea to show your guy you care is to grab him a case of organic ale to enjoy while relaxing with the boys. Certified organic means that the foods and drinks we consume have been grown and handled according to strict procedures, without persistent toxic chemical inputs. It also makes a great marinade – new research shows that marinating a steak in a dark beer for four hours can cut the presence of carcinogens from grilling in half!

5) AspenClean Gift Certificate
What guy likes to clean? In fact, both men and women alike probably dread the task of cleaning. It's probably one of the most necessary, but most despised parts of maintaining a healthy home. Why not give your guy a break with an AspenClean gift certifcate? He'll be able to relax, while the professionals fight the grime.
Get your gift certificate today!

6) Spruce up His Gym Bag
Men love surprises. Why not support his work-out by popping in a high-protein “doggie-bag” for his trip to the gym. There are a variety of high-protein work-out bars now on the market that aren’t filled with synthetic ingredients. A mix of nuts and seeds can also provide some excellent protein, essential antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin E for tissue repair and good fats.

7) Facial Care
Whether clean-shaven or sporting a manly mane of facial hair, get your guy a premium organic facial or beard care product. Whether hydrating and soothing razor-burned skin or styling that hipster mustachio, going for a natural, toxin-free product will reduce his skin’s exposure to conventional, chemical-laden products such as BHA and BHT which are known endocrine disruptors.

8) Hydration On-the-Go
Hydration is only complete when you pair a fluid with electrolytes. Assemble a collection of natural, on-the-go hydrators for your guy, including coconut water, maple water, coconut powder and a toxin-free re-usable water bottle to store it all in! All of the above beverages are naturally sweet and tasty, and pack an extra nutritional punch.

9) Healthy Snack Basket
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. When in doubt, get your guy something tasty to snack on. Whether your man has a sweet tooth or is the savoury-type, there are a host of healthy snack options, from seaweed chips to coconut chips, to take on his summer outing. Visit your local health food retailer and put together a collection of certified organic, fairtrade and GMO-free snacks to satiate his constant desire for munching.

This gift guide is courtesy of our friends at the CHFA.
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