10 Ways to Make Your Home Green Today

Having a green home can start at the construction phase, but if you’re not in the market for a new house, there are plenty of cheap, simple, quick ways to make your home a little more eco-friendly. If you’ve been thinking about jumping on the green bandwagon but aren’t sure where to start, here are just ten ideas to help you start going green today:

1. DIY Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies can be a serious drain on your wallet, the environment, and the air quality in your home. Instead of

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spending a fortune on cleaning supplies from the superstore, make your own using basic ingredients that cost next to nothing. Vinegar is great for disinfecting and deodorizing almost anything, and baking soda makes a great gentle scrubber for hard surfaces of all sorts. Sprinkle some salt on tough countertop stains, and then scrub with the inside of a lemon cut in half for a great soft scrub replacement!

2. Hang Clothes on a Line

You can save about 700 pounds of CO2 every year by line drying your clothes instead of drying them in the dryer. Even apartment dwellers can get away with hanging clothes on a folding rack or on hangers on the shower curtain rod. Don’t like the stiff feeling of clothes that have been line dried? Stick them in the dryer for eight minutes before line drying them. You’ll still save a ton of energy, but you’ll get softer clothes.

3. Wash in Cold Water

Most clothes don’t really need to be washed in hot water, and you’ll save about 80% of your laundry costs by washing in cold. It takes energy to heat up all that water! You may just want to invest in cold-water laundry detergent, but it’s really not necessary for most of your clothing loads.

4. Change the Thermostat

If you’re wearing tee-shirts in the living room in December or sweaters in the dining room in July, you’ve got a problem. Every degree you turn the thermostat towards the ambient temperature cuts back your energy costs by about 3%.

5. Use a Low-Flow, Aerating Shower Head

This is a quick fix you can do at home on your own. Install a low-flow shower head that also aerates the water to increase water pressure without requiring more water. It might cost a few bucks at your local hardware store, but it can save you money in the long run on your water costs.

6. Buy Secondhand

When it’s time for new home furnishings, dishes, or appliances, try checking out Craigslist or eBay before you buy new. You’ll save a ton of cash, and you’ll also go green by reducing the raw materials wasted in the manufacturing process. On average, about 93% of raw materials used in manufacturing are wasted! You can save on much of this waste by buying cheaper, used items online, many of which are only a year or two old!

7. Plug Appliances into a Power Strip

Your appliances suck energy – called phantom energy – when they’re not even switched on! It’s great to make a habit of turning off the television and computer when not in use, but they’ll still use energy. Plug them into a power strip, instead, and then turn off the power strip or unplug it from the wall when you’re at work or asleep to cut down on energy usage.

8. Plant Native Plants in the Garden

Trying to grow plants that don’t naturally grow in your area is a recipe for intensive gardening that involves lots of watering and lots of chemicals. Skip all this by doing what organic gardeners do – planting things that are naturally suited for the area where you live. This is even more important in dry areas, where you should plant drought tolerant plants to get the best gardening results with the least waste.

9. Invest in a Water Purifier

There are tons of great, affordable water purifiers on the market today that can improve the taste and quality of tap water. Invest in one, and keep it always full in your fridge. That way, you can have great-tasting water at home and fill up bottles for work. Skipping the plastic bottles cuts back dramatically on waste, and it’s a lot cheaper, too!

10. Think About Your Spending

All too often, we’re prone to spending on whatever sounds good at the time or whatever is cheapest. When it comes to going green around your home, more thought is required. For instance, it’s a better idea to buy energy-efficient appliances that will last for years instead of older used appliances that will consume more energy. Research all your choices before spending any money, and you’ll make your home greener through your spending habits.

Having a green home doesn’t have to start with a new water heater, insulation, or windows. Those big things can seriously help, but so can little things like making your own cleaning supplies. The great part is that most of these little ways to go green also save you money!

Sierra Dawson is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey, where you can find cash back rewards for your next home improvement project.  She hopes these 10 simple ways to make your home green today will inspire you to take action.

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