“Going green” can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s the little changes you can make in your life to do your part in helping the environment. Did you know that the average home contains up to 25 gallons of toxic chemicals, many of which are in store-bought cleaners? Replacing some products that you commonly use with green alternatives is easier than you think!
For example, do you take reusable grocery bags with you to the store? Think of how many plastic bags they send you home with for your food. Instead, keep a few reusable bags in your car to do your part in going “bagless.” Or how about using cloth napkins at home instead of paper?
Cleaning products are often full of harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your skin or health. The EPA estimates that indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air due in part to chemicals found in many household cleaners and air fresheners. Make your cleaning products using eco-friendly ingredients such as baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, tea tree oil and washing powder.
- Oven Cleaner: Sprinkle water in the bottom of your oven then cover with one cup of baking soda. Sprinkle more water on top then let the mixture set overnight. The next day, simply wipe away.
- Window Cleaner: Mix two teaspoons of vinegar with one quart of warm water. Spray on the window and wipe with newspaper to avoid streaks.
- Drain Cleaner: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Mix one cup white vinegar with the juice of ½ a lemon. Pour the mixture down the drain after the baking soda, wait five minutes, then pour a gallon of hot water down the drain.
- All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix ½ cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of baking soda into a ½ gallon of water. Use it on countertops, sinks, appliances and other surfaces.
Going green isn’t only about the products that you buy and use, it’s about your home habits. Try opening the blinds and letting in natural sunlight. You can save energy during the day by not keeping lights on when you use the sun’s free light. And as a winter bonus, 10% of energy can be saved on heating when you let sun in during the day. While we’re talking about sunlight, did you know that having your refrigerator in the sunlight will force it to work harder to stay cool? Move it into the shade to save some energy.
If you really want to take going green literally, improve the air quality in your home by growing houseplants. A spider plant in the bathroom will help purify the air. Outdoors, you can protect your local environment by planting plants that are native to your area. If you have a garden, try setting up a rain barrel to water your plants.
What are your favorite ways to go green? We love learning about new green alternatives!