Green at Home
"Nearly every commercial cleaner can be replaced with safer, commonplace ingredients. It all starts with a simple box of baking soda." -- Linda Mason Hunter in Green Clean

One Person/One Light

I learned this simple green action from a 12-year-old.

A person only needs one light on at a time -- so...there should be one light on per person in your home.

Survey your lighting habits tonight. As you leave an area, turn the light off.

 

Solar Panels

It's time to consider solar panels when Home Depot stocks them. You can get a free home assessment from Home Depot. Call Installation Services (1-800-HOME-DEPOT) to book an appointment for a solar technician to provide a custom assessment at your home and determine the most cost-effective solar energy solution.

plastic bottleDon't Use Plastic Water Bottles

It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone. That's enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.

That bottled water you’re drinking could have come from a faucet the next town over or from a company with a history of bacterial contamination.

But you wouldn’t know that from the label, according to an environmental group that examined 173 different brands of bottled water on the market.

There are lots of alternatives. Find one that suits you and leave the plastice bottles in the store.

 

air freshener

Are Air Fresheners Good For You and For the Environment?

At the present time, the ingredients in air fresheners do not have to appear on the label. However, many sources assert that most air fresheners contain chemicals that you really don't want to breathe or that are dangerous to skin or eyes.

Most of the information on the internet is not from scientific sources. One source interviewed by CBC asserted that "Health Canada has approved the additives."

Health Canada does have information abut about volatile chemicals in the air and suggests that "one easy tip to improve the quality of your indoor air is to avoid the use of plug-ins or aerosol deodorizers (air fresheners)."

Health Canada and Volitile Organic Compounds

See also this page from CHMC:

Contaminants in Your Home

So, do your homework. Research air fresheners on the web to decide for yourself.

In the meantime use natural sources such as cinnamon sticks or lavender.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

To soften your clothes in an ecologically sound way, add some baking soda to your water-filled washing machine, then pour in 1 cup (250ml) of vinegar during the rinse cycle. Don't worry, you won't smell like salt and vinegar chips.

75 uses for Baking Soda

Adding vinegar to the rinse water for your towels makes them more absorbent. Commercial softeners can make your towels water resistant!

From the Vinegar Institute

Are You Living With A Drip?

A dripping tap can fill 55 one-litre bottles a day. If you let it go unattended, you could be wasting over 20,000 litres of water a year!
If you're not up to tackling the job, help the economy by calling a plumber.

Air Cleaner

Help clean your air with houseplants; studies have shown that they can clear toxins like benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air (these baddies lurk in paint, varnishes, particle board, foam insulation, cleaning products and other common household materials). Philodendron, dracaena, spider plants and peace lilies are particularly good clearing the air.

 

Parfum/Fragrances

Manufacturers are not required to provide information about what chemicals are contained in their "fragrances" or "parfums". Until fragrances are defined better, choose fragrance-free products for your laundry and your home. Even be careful about cosmetics.

By the way, your laundry will smell just plain clean instead of "mountain stream" or "vanilla" or "lavender lily" clean or whatever name the manufacturer gives to the dose of chemicals they use to create the fragrance.

Use That Dishwasher

Using a dishwasher can save hundreds of gallons of water when compared to hand washing -- provided you do full loads in your dishwasher and use it only once a day.

 

Cleaning Your Shower

Here's a green way to keep your shower stall clean and shiny. Combine the Dawn and the vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray your shower stall including doors and taps. Leave for a few minutes and rinse off.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Dawn liquid (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 part white vinegar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 professional sprayer (this solution won’t spray well from a cheap spray bottle)

 

Drinking Water

From WorldWatch

Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste