Small Steps for a Healthy Home

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Everyone runs out of the house in the morning and lights get left on without even putting any thought into it. We’ve all done it and until we are adults paying the bills each month, it’s no big deal. So you can tell yourself or other people you live with “don’t forget to turn off the lights” over and over again, or you can take action

Easiest way to solve this problem is to get a couple sensors so that lights are only used when someone is in the room. It may take a little getting used to because they will probably startle you at first until you get used to them but if you use the energy-saving bulbs, they won’t be super bright right away and easing into this routine will be gentler. If you are not looking for a constant on & off of lights, try putting timers on them. Set the timers for when you are typically home and in the appropriate rooms you put them in. Even just doing this in the rooms that are most forgotten would be a help.  

Try new cleaning products or create your own. The everyday spray cleaner is convenient but not in the long run. Keep in mind you, your family and your pets are all breathing in whatever you’re cleaning with and most products contain harsh chemicals that can cause health issues down the road, and can even be deadly to your pets if constantly inhaled or ingested. Whatever you use to clean sinks, toilets or any drainage area will go down into the waste water and have to end up somewhere. You may not ever think about it because let’s face it, “out of sight, out of mind” but every time you put cleaning products down the drain, you are polluting the environment because that is where they end up. The harsh chemicals do not break down and travel on to contaminate oceans and soil, changing the chemistry of whatever lives there. 

Today’s market offers several alternative non-toxic, biodegradable options for most brands and are available at both natural and traditional grocery stores, along with smaller stores such as pharmacies and bargain chains. Many people make their own because it is easy and more cost-effective. For an all-purpose cleaner, baking soda can go a long way because it is a natural scourer, polisher & fungicide. Natural oils such as tea tree or citrus make perfect disinfectants, and try switching to white vinegar with borax for an alternative to toilet cleaner. 

Many trash disposal companies offer options for recycled items to be separately picked up, however every day we are creating waste that could easily be reused and not just dumped into our landfills. I am referring to composting. It can be gross to some, but when done properly can save a lot of room in your trash, wallet and more importantly the amount of landfill. Items we use often such as eggshells, tea leaves, coffee grounds fruit / vegetable cutoffs and other organic matter you use in your daily life that we consider “trash”. Create a bin to dispose these type of scraps and mix them in with your grass cuttings or leaves, add some water and you have a natural, nutritious soil enhancer while reducing the amount of trash bags and landfill waste.

Using the dishwasher? Put it on the shortest run to save both electricity and water. Do you wash your dishes by hand? If you have a double sink, perfect! Fill one side and let the dishes soak instead of keeping the water running. If you only have a single basin sink, fill it to soak then fill it again to rinse or use the tub. The goal is to not have the water continuously running when it is not necessary. Same goes for other mindless water wasting home routines such as keeping the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving. Point is, stop and realize where you are wasting water and energy, and be conscious about doing your part to reduce wasted water.

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