Seven simple switches for a more environmentally friendly home

A huge element of embracing sustainability is considering what goes on in your home! It is easy to overlook the environmental impacts of many everyday household items. Recently the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) announced an initiative to rein in “Forever Chemicals

 

We’re here to help with a list of tips to make your home a healthier and more environmentally friendly place.

1.     Use Homemade Natural Cleaning Products.

bottle of organic white vinegar, essential oil + glass spray bottle

If you watched the above video you should have a clear understanding that major corporations don’t care about us or our health. Instead of spending the afternoon Googling “Is my xxx cleaning product safe”? you can make your own. Safe cleaning supplies are surprisingly easy to make –if you have baking soda and white vinegar you can make almost anything. There are recipes all over the inter-webs –like this one here but here are also a few from Good Houskeeping to get you started:

Scented All-Purpose Cleaner
What you’ll need:

  • One part white vinegar

  • One part water

  • Lemon rind

  • Rosemary sprigs

Combine the above ingredients together, pour into a spray bottle, shake, and then let infuse for a week before using. Once done, you can use the homemade all-purpose cleaner to remove hard water stains, clean trash cans, wipe away wall smudges, and much more. Besides a fresh scent, the lemon rind may help boost cleaning power. Caution: Do not use acidic cleaners on granite, as they will etch the stone.

 Kitchen Cleaner and Deodorizer
What you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons baking soda

  • 1 quart warm water

To clean kitchen counters, appliances, and the inside of your refrigerator, all you need is baking soda. “It makes a great deodorizer and can be used to shine stainless steel sinks and appliances,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. To deodorize surfaces, use the homemade cleaner with baking soda solution above or pour baking soda straight from the box and into your drain or garbage disposal to remove odors. To shine and remove spots from stainless steel, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply it with a damp cloth and rub gently in the direction of the metal’s grain. Rinse and buff dry.

And while you’re cleaning, instead of paper towels consider using white rags which you can often buy in bulk or even old t-shirts which can be washed and reused!

 

2.     Compost!  Check out our articles on this topic here and here.

 

3.     Swap Out your Kitchen Utensils for Zero Waste Items.

Switching from paper to cloth napkins allows for a prettier looking table and prevents the need to buy more napkins. Check out these sustainable and stylish cloth napkins that would look good on anyone’s kitchen table!

 

 Invest in some plastic free food storage containers. Ditch the plastic wrap and try Life Without Plastic’s Stainless Steel Food Storage Container. The classic Mason Jar is always a great option too!

 

 Reduce the piles of packaging waste that end up in your kitchen by shopping local and taking reusable containers and bags with you when grocery shopping. Colony Co. is a great brand for this, we’re a huge fan of their Reusable Produce Bags.

 

4.     Switch Your Light Bulbs to LED.

 

5.     Practice Better Toiletry Consumption

The products in your bathroom can produce a surprisingly large amount of unnecessary waste. The good news is that there are a wide range of eco-friendly options for bathroom products and toiletries; here are a couple examples!

For starters, make sure to choose responsibly sourced toilet paper. Some companies are even producing recycled and bamboo alternatives!

There are sustainable options to replace your classic plastic toothbrush and tubed toothpaste. Consider switching to a bamboo toothbrush and help keep millions of plastic toothbrushes out of our oceans and landfills. As for ditching the tube, try toothpaste tablets for a new (and eco-friendly) alternative!

Plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are another waste-producing bathroom product. Check out Love Beauty And Planet’s shampoo and conditioner bars! Or if you are really attached to the idea of liquid shampoo and conditioner, try Plaine Products refillable shampoos and conditioners.

For other ideas and tips, check out our article on low waste products, A Quick And Easy Low Waste Morning Routine For Fresh Summer Skin as well as these: low waste shower routine and plastic free beauty.

 

 6.     Embrace Your Green Thumb

Having plants around the house literally cleans the air, producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Some plants even work as air purifiers removing toxins from the air!

Even in a smaller apartment you can grow your own herbs instead of buying the dried versions at grocery stores. As an added plus, house plants also serve as stylish décor. Get inspired by our 10 favorite plant-based Instagram accounts like houseplant club whose image is on the left.

 

 7.     Instead of Trashing it, Sell or Donate Old Furniture and Homeware

Check out this list of charities that will pick up your furniture for free. And if you want to get rid of clothes check out our article on 5 ways to responsibly clean out your closet.

Please remember this is by no means a must-have shopping list, rather some tips and tricks to keep in mind the next time you need to buy any of the household items listed above.

These are some easy and quick ideas to make your home more sustainable, safer and seriously reduce your carbon footprint.

They say home is where the heart is, so why not make your home good for you and the environment!

–Carolina McCormick