Guest post: By Kay Elizabeth Carter
Our homes are filled with chemicals that can make us sick, raise our blood pressure, and induce allergies. If you want to live in a healthier home, there are a variety of ways you can do this without spending too much money or overhauling your current lifestyle. Here are four natural solutions to a cleaner, greener home.
- Cut down on plastic use
One of the easiest ways to go green in the home is to ditch the plastic. The phthalate chemicals found in some plastics (think: storage containers or plastic wrap) can leach into food and have been linked to endocrine disruption, increased blood pressure, allergies, and asthma. Switch out plastic containers for glass ones and use natural beeswax wrap instead of traditional plastic wrap.
You can also avoid plastics in other areas of the house. For example, in the bathroom, you can reduce plastic use by using a reusable safety razor, buying toilet paper wrapped in paper, and using bars of soap instead of a solution that comes in bottles. Around the home, you can use powdered detergent instead of a bottled solution and you can opt for a reusable tote bag that you take with you wherever you go shopping (this cuts down on the amount of plastic bags you use).
- Use natural cleaning solutions
Instead of buying chemical cleaners that come in plastic bottles, consider making your own natural cleaners. Make a fabric softener by mixing one part vinegar with two parts water or use lemons to combat limescale. You could also make a homemade all-purpose cleaner by combining a cup of white vinegar with a tablespoon of baking soda and adding a cup of water and a few drops of essential oil. Pour the solution into a reusable glass bottle and you’re ready to go. Not only are these solutions safe to use, but they reduce the amount of chemicals being circulated throughout your home, ultimately improving indoor air quality.
- Invest in energy efficient appliances
Another way to make your home greener is to invest in energy efficient alternatives. For example, swapping out traditional incandescent light bulbs for LEDs can save you a ton of energy and money in the long run. If you want to save even more energy, consider making the switch to energy efficient appliances. Check your home warranty to see if you qualify for a free replacement before going out and buying a new appliance. Once you have your new appliance installed, be sure to donate your old items instead of throwing them away to prevent material waste from building up in dumps.
- Spruce up your home with house plants
Not only are house plants attractive, but they can help reduce stress and improve overall health and wellbeing. Other benefits of houseplants include increased oxygen levels (which help improve breathing), reduced carbon dioxide levels, reduced levels of certain pollutants, like benzene and nitrogen dioxide, reduced airborne dust levels, and temperature regulation. To improve health and reduce fatigue and stress, consider placing a large plant (about eight inches in diameter) like a spider plant or dragon tree in your living room or kitchen.
Remember: You don’t have to be wealthy or have a lot of resources to make your home a little greener. Just a few simple tweaks in your day-to-day life will help you create a sustainable home environment and protect the earth.