When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But you can also make a lot of other things, as well.

According to expert cleaners Gleam Clean WA, believe it or not, lemon trees are one of the most common fruit trees in the average Australian’s backyard, but not everyone is using them to their full potential – such as for sustainable cleaning, crafting, and cooking. Read on to learn how underutilised your lemon tree is.

Clean Your Microwave

It can go against every fibre in your being to use a multi-purpose spray solution inside something that heats your food. You might think it’s the only way to clean your microwave, but lemon is sitting right in front of you, ready to take the reins.

Slice lemons in a bowl of water and microwave it for up to ten minutes. Once you remove the container, use a washcloth or recycled paper towel to wipe out the food mess. Your microwave will be lemony fresh for as long as you need it.

Carpet Cleaning

To assist with your carpet cleaning, you can mix lemon juice with a small amount of water. Scrub it into the area using a clean cloth. Then rinse the specific area and then wipe the lemon juice away using a steam cleaning machine with some detergent. Leave it to dry and then the smell should have disappeared.

Cleaning Your Clothes

Okay, so lemon doesn’t really clean your clothes, but it can certainly offer a new brightness. If you want to steer away from manufactured products in favour of sustainable cleaning products, then try lemon as a brightening and whitening agent. A small amount of lemon juice to a load of whites can have more of an impact than you think.

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In a world that’s far more aware of the importance of sustainability, it can be a challenge to get to grips with marketing jargon. You want to make sure the products you purchase are safe for the environment, but how do you understand the various terms that describe if it is or not?

Three terms you will see thrown around quite a bit are: compostable, degradable, and biodegradable. Do they mean the same thing? Are they different? Is one better than the other? Read on to learn what these three words mean, and if you should be using any product labelled with any of them more than the other.

What is a Biodegradable Product?

Something biodegradable is the epitome of sustainability. It means that the item you have just bought can break down into the natural environment through natural elements and organisms.

The way in which they biodegrade can make all the difference as well. If they use water, organic material, and carbon dioxide, they are breaking down without doing any harm to the environment.

Most products that boast a “biodegradable” label feature sustainable materials and plant by-products.

However, how you dispose of your biodegradable product can matter more than you might think. In a landfill environment, it may not be able to break down while being buried under tonnes of trash. The best way to dispose of such products is by sending them to a recycling plant.

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It is easy to understand the ‘why’ when it comes to watering the plants in your garden. However, the ‘when’ and the ‘how’ are often the most misunderstood aspects of the practice of gardening. This can literally make or break your garden. Therefore, it is best to understand what reticulation practices are good, and what methods spell disaster.

Tackling the ‘when’ –

Truth be told, professional landscapers tell us that there is no right time or wrong time to water your plants. The ideal time depends on a number of factors such as the climatic conditions in the area concerned, the type of plants that need to be watered, the kind of soil they are planted in, and a number of other criteria. A little trick to work around this arbitrary situation is to check the soil.

The consistency required to determine if the time is right to water your patch is somewhere between moist and dry. The right balance has to be struck between these two states. The mud has to be moist enough to form a consistent ball in the fist of your hand, but also loose enough to fall apart when you drop it. If you have plants sheltered in a nursery, over time, you get better at determining just how heavy or how light the soil should be when it is adequately watered.

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With solar panels becoming ever more popular in Australia, anyone with Colorbond roofing or who is thinking about getting one will want to know whether it is okay to put solar panels up on such a roof. The simple answer is yes, but there are certain things you should be aware of before you start.

For a start, only allow a professional tradesman to do the work – and make sure they have a good reputation. Unfortunately, there are professionals whose work is nothing short of shoddy and who just want to get the job done quickly and go – after getting paid, of course. Choose someone who is proud of their standard of work and cares about doing the job properly.

When walking on any roof, but particularly on Colorbond, you should wear shoes with soft soles that will not scratch the surface of the paint. In addition, it is important to tread only on the top of the corrugations, never in the bottom part, especially if you have chosen a profile with a wide pan or valley.  The top curve is the strongest part. It is also wise to only tread where the steel sheeting is supported by the timber frame underneath.

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So you haven’t tried your hand at gardening ever before? Or perhaps, have you tried it a few times and failed to create the perfect haven? Not to worry. By following a few tips and tricks, as given below, you can create a beautiful garden space of your own.

  • Clean up the space – This is the most obvious way to begin setting up and planting a garden of your own. Mow up the entire space, and weed out the surface completely. Rake the yard up during the spring in order to remove the debris that accumulates over autumn and winter. This clean up helps to prepare your space for a lush collection of plants.
  • Prepare the soil – The key to a great garden is good soil. The soil needs to be fed with nutrients in order to prepare it for supporting a plethora of plant life. In order to achieve this, you need to add layers of organic matter to the soil. For established or predesigned soil beds, it is advisable to allow the layer of organic matter, consisting of manure, dried leaves, and compost, to sit on the surface for a few weeks, so that it can work its way into the soil bed. In case you are making do with the naturally available soil surface, you can dig it and let the manure mix fill the gaps.

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I’ve got nothing against my bland square mattress — it gets the job done — but looking at this photo just makes sleep time seem that much cooler with the Float Bed. Of course, I live nowhere near the ocean, so this might look a little awkward in my house; but I digress.

The Float Bed comes to us from designer David Trubridge of New Zealand. His new company, Okooko, is an eco-friendly mattress and bedroom-furniture company. It’s a modern take on the traditional canopy bed — and is made of natural latex, bamboo and wool. From the product description,

“In exploring what sleep means to people, David came to the conclusion that beds needed to be more romantic, and more flexible in their design and application. The design elements drawn on in his concept come from the idea that the bed could be moved and used wherever required. The concept forms a cocooning space that gives a feeling of security and serves the purpose of sheltering sleep from the elements, creating a private sleep space within another space.”

Very cool — though as a kid, a couple cardboard boxes and a sheet would have created the same effect. As an adult, if you’d like to grab the Float Bed to recreate those memories, it will cost you $25,000. And it doesn’t even really float! Damnit!

When does a streetlight stop becoming something ordinary and turn into a self-sustaining work of art? Apparently, once it finds its way to Japan. Outside the Panasonic Center in Tokyo, one is greeted with several streetlights that incorporate both solar and wind energy systems. The design is called a ‘Seagull’ and takes advantage of light during the day to store energy for night; while producing electricity to push back into the grid thanks to the wind. The vertical turbine on this pole doesn’t appear to require too much wind to turn. No idea what the payback on this might be, but it’s certainly cool to see it in motion.