Ten tips for a cleaner, greener home

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m all about green, eco-friendly living. I think it’s extremely important to consider what our actions do to the earth and our environment.

One of the ways we tread more lightly on the earth is by making our own green cleaners. You don’t need to dish out tons of money to have a green, clean home. If you don’t feel up to making your own cleaners, make sure you purchase cleaners that are green and eco-friendly so they don’t harm the environment.  Here are a few of my personal homemade favorites.

1. To wash windows, mirrors, or glass, just mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Use it just like you would any glass cleaner. Spray it on & then use newspaper to clean it off instead of paper towels. It works really well. It doesn’t leave any ink behind and as an added plus, it doesn’t leave behind white lint and fuzz like paper towels do.

2. To scrub tubs and counter tops, just make a paste out of baking soda and water. I just mix them together until it is a thick paste and then I use a rag to scrub counters, tubs and sinks. It really leaves behind a nice shine and works very well.  You can add a bit of lemon juice or lavender essential oil if you want a scent.

3. To deodorize drains, pour baking soda down the drain & follow with several cups of either white vinegar or lemon juice. The mixture will foam up and leave your drains smelling much better. Don’t run water down the drains for at least two hours to get the full benefit. I usually do it right before bedtime.

4.  Another way to make your home greener is to reduce your reliance on disposable paper products. We use cloth napkins that I found at a consignment store for every day use and I have a beautiful set of organic cloth napkins in vibrant rainbow colors for special occasions. Just toss them in the washing machine along with your dish towels and bath towels.

5.  We don’t use paper towels. We use rags that are generally made from recycled towels. Just cut the towels into smaller sizes and use them to clean up any messes instead of paper towels. Again, toss in the washing machine with your towels. Instead of using sponges or clothes to wash your dishes, you can use dish cloths and wash them at the end of the day to keep them fresh.

6.  Consider whether or not you need to wash your laundry in hot water. You can use cold water in most cases and save both energy and money.   If you feel you truly have to use hot water, try warm instead.

7.  Do you really need to put everything in the dryer? We use either a clothes line or a wooden rack in front of the woodstove depending on what time of year it is. The clothes dry fine and I’m not wasting electricity. Plus your clothes last longer being hung to dry instead of put through the dryer.

8.  We use cinnamon sticks or shredded fresh ginger in a pot of simmering water on the stove to cover up any odors there may be in the kitchen.  I love the smell and it makes the house smell like I’ve been baking even when I haven’t!  Plus there are no harmful chemicals released into the air.

9.  Use a cotton ball dipped in a tiny bit of lavender essential oil to freshen drawers or bathrooms.  You can place it in a pretty bowl or in between sheets or towels in the linen closet.  It makes the sheets smell so yummy and lavender is very relaxing.

10.  Don’t leave the water running while you wash the dishes.  You would really be surprised at how many gallons of water are disappearing down your drain.  It’s even worse when it’s hot water.  Try rinsing in cold to save even more energy.

What are some ways you make your home cleaner and greener?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Mrs. Meyer’s blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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