Most everyone agrees that caring for our planet is important. But what about our own homes? How much pollution and toxic chemicals are in our apartments without us even realizing it? Many times the culprits are the products we own and use regularly, and small changes can make a big difference when it comes to keeping our spaces clean and clear. Some changes are obvious – use less water, recycle, and walk or bike when possible. Another step toward protecting the environment is switching to eco-friendly products in our homes, where possible. To help get you started, here’s a list of some of our favorite eco-friendly products.
Multi-Use Cloth Towels
In the United States alone, we use over 10 billion tons of paper towels each year, much of which ends up in landfills. To save on paper waste, consider switching to cloth towels for cleaning. Cotton cloths have excellent absorbency and are machine washable, great for heavy duty cleaning time and time again.
Natural Cleaning Products
Many household cleaning products consist of harsh chemicals that pollute our water and air. Ditch the chemicals under your sink and go natural when it comes to household cleaners; maybe even go as far as making your own all-purpose cleaner with vinegar. Fill the empty spray bottle with two parts vinegar to one part water and shake it up. Add a few drops of essential oil to cut the potent smell and add even more purpose to your cleaning efforts. Lemon essential oil is both antiviral and antibacterial, wild orange is tough on grease, and lavender is antibacterial and relaxing.
A few years ago, it was reported that there were enough single-use coffee brewing pods in U.S. landfills to circle the globe 10 times. That’s a pretty good reason to consider reusable pods, which are typically made of plastic and have a removable rid, versus the foil lid on the single-use pods. Reusable pods can be filled with ground coffee and washed out after each brew for continued use.
Natural Laundry Detergent
The chemical-based cleaners and detergents we use at home eventually wash down the drain and into the water system. Luckily, there are several natural laundry detergent options and most of them are available at local grocery stores. A plant-based detergent is ideal; look for products that are non-toxic, non-GMO, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable.
Efficient Shower Head
Showers are one of the top culprits when it comes to water waste and increased utility costs. To save water and money, try installing a water-efficient shower head. Some options are low-flow and others have multiple spray settings, with a water-saving function to help save water when putting soap on or when the water is heating up.
Long-Lasting Dish Sponge
With the number of dishes to be scrubbed and washed each day, most sponges don’t last very long. Finding a sponge that will last a long time, while remaining clean is gold. Search for eco-friendly sponges that are durable, reusable, and microwave or dishwasher safe for disinfecting.
Counteract air pollution and chemicals with live houseplants. Some well-placed greenery can not only brighten your apartment, but clean the air you breathe. Consider plants that are known for health benefits like Peace Lilies, which have the ability to fight toxic gases or Bamboo Palms, which act as an air filter, ridding the space around it of harmful elements and chemicals.
Energy-Saving Light Bulbs
Conserve energy and continue to cut down on your utility bills by switching out your light bulbs. The most popular energy-efficient light bulbs are halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Use controls such as timers and dimmers to save electricity when lights aren’t in use or a lower light level is acceptable.