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Cheat Sheet

Green Cleaning For Dummies

From Green Cleaning For Dummies by Elizabeth B. Goldsmith, Betsy Sheldon

If you want to “green” the way you clean your home, these Earth-friendly alternatives to typical cleaning methods and water-conservation techniques can help you shrink your carbon footprint as you go about your daily business.

Green Alternatives for Conventional Cleaning Practices

Switching to greener cleaning practices can make your home a healthier place and save you money. Make the following easy, earth-friendly changes part of your green-clean lifestyle and you can reduce your carbon footprint at home.

Old Way Green Way
Running a load of wash in a hot dryer. Hang the laundry on the clothes line and let solar power do the work.
Burning scented, petroleum-based wax candles or spraying room freshener. Neutralize room smells by using baking soda as an odor absorber or burn soy or beeswax candles with natural scents.
Tossing kitchen scraps down the disposal or out in the trash. Put vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells, and non-animal scraps in a compost bin for great garden food.
Cleaning counters with single-use, cleaner-soaked wipes and then toss. Grab a cloth rag — part of an old towel or diaper — to scrub down the counter and then toss in the wash.
Turning the washer temperature to hot to get the dirtiest of clothes clean. Use cold water wash, presoaking or using a laundry booster, such as borax or washing soda, as needed, and watch your clothes maintain their color and last longer.
Using an antibacterial hand soap that promises to annihilate all dirt and germs from your skin. Wash hands with a plant-based castile or bar soap that does a thorough job of wiping out virtually all germs.
Spraying your shower wall with a cleaner that you know is killing all the germs — because it’s nearly killing you as you breathe in acrid chemical odors. Use a homemade or green, natural cleaner to get your shower clean. You may have to put in a little more elbow grease, but you’ve now got the lungpower to breathe through the workout.

Tips for Conserving Water at Home

Water is becoming the world’s most precious resource, and changing your cleaning habits contributes to water conservation. Practice these clean and green ways to conserve water and reduce water waste at home:

  • Fix leaky faucets and running toilets immediately.

  • Get a low-flow showerhead that restricts water flow to a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute or as low as 1.5 gpm.

  • Make sure that all sink faucets have aerators to reduce water flow.

  • When it’s time to update the toilet, go for a low-flow or dual-flush toilet.

  • Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or washing up.

  • Choose a shower over a bath and save as much as 50 gallons of water per use.

  • Keep showers to five minutes or less.

  • Turn off the shower while soaping up or shampooing.

  • Capture wasted “warm-up” shower water in a bucket and use it for the toilet, garden, or washing machine.

  • Fill a 2-liter soda bottle with water and set it in the toilet tank to displace and save water every time you flush.

  • Replace your clothes washer with a frontload, high-efficiency (HE) model and cut water use 20 to 50 percent.

  • Update your dishwasher with a more efficient machine that uses less water.

  • Always wash a full load of dishes — the cycle uses the same amount of water and energy whether it’s a half or full load.

  • Place a rain barrel under your downspout and capture rainwater for your lawn and garden.

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