When asked how to have a cleaner, greener home, I had to really put my thinking cap on! I LOVE having a clean home but I don’t love the cleaning part of it. My obsessive, compulsive side comes out in full force when I start cleaning. There, I admit it. When I get to cleaning, I clean every inch of something until it sparkles. If wasn’t meant to sparkle, well it sparkles anyway because I cleaned the heck out if it. oops!
Saving money is a big deal in our house so my ten tips for a cleaner, greener home revolve around small steps you can make in your household routine that won’t cost you a fortune!
1. Reduce your usage of paper plates. I know paper plates are a must sometimes. I use them. But we also have collected an assortment of plastic, kid-friendly plates (Target has a great selection!) that are also dishwasher safe. I don’t have to worry about the kids breaking my nice plates and they really aren’t that hard to clean so I find myself using fewer paper plates! YAY!
2. Try cloth napkins! When setting up the preschool, we decided to be green and not ask the families to provide supplies. To cut down on supply costs, we bought cloth napkins for the kids to use. I am sure most of the kids will be confused at first but it will be a big savings and introduce 3 and 4 years to an easy way to make life greener!
3. Use bar towels instead of paper towels. This is another idea from our preschool set-up. While we still bought a big package of paper towels, that one package will last at least the full school year. Most of the messes will be cleaned up with the bar towels (they are super cheap) and then tossed in the wash. What a way to save on costs and not waste so much!
4. Turn off the lights. When you are cleaning, do you remember to turn off the lights? I admit I drive my husband nuts turning off the lights around the house. I hate seeing lights left on in a room that no one is in. I find that with the curtains open that most rooms don’t even need the lights on to do what you need to do during the day … have you tried just leaving the lights off during the day?
5. Fill up the sink with water instead of running the water. This is my husband’s trick. I will give him credit. I like to do dishes as they get dirty. He likes to let them pile up but he fills the sink with warm soapy water and adds dishes to the water. This way he doesn’t have to run the water later to scrub them clean. It saves water which is key for us since we have a well. Even if you don’t have a well, you should be trying to save water as you are paying for it!!
6. Use green cleaners or make your own! I go the route of buying green cleaners. I switch around on brands but I like the smell of the green cleaners and they are just better to use with the kids around. As the fall comes around, we may try our hand at making some cleaners for our house. Do you have a favorite recipe you want to share with me? If you do, let me know!
7. Open the windows while you clean!Since Fall is here by the calendar, think about opening the windows as you clean. I know this helps my cleaning attitude a ton. Plus it airs the house out and gets you turn that expensive AC off!
8. Air dry your rugs and heavy items. Ever think about how long the dryer runs when you through that bath mat or comforter in there? Forever, right? I dry our rugs out front or out back. It might take most of the day but it is worth it. If you dry your clothes outside, you are doing even better in being green while cleaning! I don’t do that due to my allergies but I can easily do this for rugs or other heavier items in our house!
9. Break out your broom and dust pan. Yeah, you know you have them. You don’t have buy extra pads or supplies. It doesn’t cost you electricity to use them. Just break them out and use them. You will be surprised at how easy it is to use them. If you have kids, get them small brooms. My girls think it is the best thing every to sweep with their brooms. I so don’t get it but I am not going to stop them!
10. Make your own laundry soap. This isn’t something I do right now either but I recently saw a blog post by another mom for her recipe for making her liquid laundry soap. I have a stash of laundry soap in the garage still so I am using that up. Her point was that she was paying extra for no dye, no perfume soap (the kind I get too!) so why not just make her own. It sounded really simple. If you can’t do this, we recently found a green version of laundry soap at Sam’s Club. When comparing prices, it was pennies more than regular soap. (That bottle of laundry soap is for the preschool napkin, bar towel, and bathroom hand towel washing!)