Household soaps and other cleaning products can be full of irritants such as synthetic detergents that biodegrade slowly and cause runoff during production. You can reduce your ecological impact by ditching synthetic ingredients and switching to all-natural castile soap. Castile soap is vegetable oil-based and made with only natural oils and extracts. Liquid castile soap costs less than $10 per concentrated bottle and can be found at health food stores and large national chains. Here are 10 of our favorite ways of using castile soap in 10 cost-effective ways:
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We all love our pets, so why wouldn’t we want to get them involved in the Green movement as well? Pets are just as capable of leaving a carbon footprint as we are, so it’s important to be environmentally responsible when it comes to caring for fido or kitty. Check out these five tips for green pet care!
• Scoop The Poop- Use biodegradable bags to pick up after your pet. It ensures that the waste won’t end up in a nearby stream and keeps plastic out of landfills.
• Food For Fido- You wouldn’t feed your kids meat that’s been deemed unfit for human consumption, so why would you give it to your dog? Many dog and cat foods contain fillers, preservatives and meat from diseased cattle. To keep your pet in top shape, try feeding him organic pet food. It’s made from organically raised farm animals and contains no artificial preservatives.
• Get Crafty For Kitty- You can make Green toys that your cat will love from scraps of cloth and yarn that you have laying around. Organic catnip is cheap and easy to grow, and makes a great filler for toys. Not only do these homemade toys cost a lot less than the pet store variety, but they are also better for the environment.
• Protect Native Wildlife- Always keep dogs on leash when outside and keep kitties inside only. Both dogs and cats are natural predators, and will hunt instinctively. Cats can decrease a bird population dramatically if allowed to roam freely. Plus, cats who are kept indoors live 10-12 years longer on average than their outdoor counterparts!
• Cleanse without Chemicals- Pets can be harmed by chemical cleaners, and are more likely to ingest them than humans are. Avoid using harmful chemicals in the house, such as bleach and anti-freeze. Instead, opt for more environmentally friendly options. Many companies sell Green cleaning products designed to be less harmful to animals. Always try to keep pets away from an area that has just been cleaned with chemicals. –Kristen Nipper
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By far the most dreaded household chore, cleaning bathrooms means headaches and burning eyes for many people. No one wants to bathe in germs, but many bathroom cleansers contain incredibly harsh chemicals that can not only harm you, but also the environment. Check out these eco-friendly alternatives to clean soap scum and other bathroom chores for a greener, cleaner bathroom.
• Scrub That Tub- A simple mixture of vinegar and water makes a miracle cleaner when it comes to getting rid of mildew buildup in the tub. Simply spray the solution on the problem area, let sit, then wipe away. Soap scum can be removed with a baking soda paste composed of baking soda and dish soap. Scrub with a toothbrush to remove stubborn patches.
• Polish The Porcelain Throne– To maintain a sparkling clean toilet, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar rather then harmful bleach. Scrub the toilet once a week to keep it at its cleanest.
• Make Your Sinks Sparkle– You can polish your faucet with a vinegar and water solution and wipe mirrors clean with cloth and white vinegar. The sink basin can be cleaned with a mixture of baking soda, dish soap, water and vinegar, which should tackle even the toughest stains.
• Unclog Those Dreaded Drains– Instead of using powerful (but harmful) chemical cleaners to clear a clogged drain, try using a combination of baking soda and vinegar. First manually remove what you can from the drain, and then add the vinegar mixture. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes, and then run some hot water down the drain.
• For Fantastic Floors– There’s nothing grosser than a dirty bathroom floor. Try mopping the floor with a mixture of baking soda and warm water, and you can add some lemon juice for a fresh scent that’s WAY better than Pine-Sol. Hang bath mats to dry after every use in order to avoid a buildup of mildew. –Kristen Nipper
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Having a Green thumb should mean more than just being a good gardener! Follow these 5 simple tips on creating eco gardens to make your garden greener, both literally and figuratively!
• Send Pesticides Packing- Harsh chemical pesticides can have lasting negative affects on the soil and be deadly to certain wildlife. Instead opt for an organic means of controlling pests such as employing the use of ladybugs or moles to eradicate certain unwanted insects from the garden.
• DIY Compost- Artificial fertilizers are harmful to the environment. Try making your own fertilizer by composting scraps of food or using manure from a local farm in your garden.
• Catch The Rain- Using a container to catch rainwater is an inexpensive way to supply water to your plants as well as reduce run-off and soil erosion. Not only will you reduce your monthly water bill, but you’ll also have an extra source of water for other activities, such as washing your car.
• Grow Your Own Food- You can easily produce many common delicious veggies right in your own backyard. No need to waste gas driving to the supermarket and spending big bucks on organic produce that you can grow yourself. Consider collaborating with neighbors, with each household growing enough of 2-3 different vegetables to share among the group.
• Go Native- Plants that are native to your region will require less water and fertilizer, and be more naturally resistant to pests. They’re also less expensive than non-native plant species. –Kristen Nipper
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Let’s be honest: Not all of us can ever hope to become the best chef in the world. But, with a little bit of practice, you can certainly become the greenest! Here are five simple tips for ways that you can make your kitchen more energy-efficient, eco-friendly and start cooking green.
• Put a lid on it- Just by covering a pot on the stove top, you can reduce energy use by up to two thirds and heat food faster, saving you both time and effort.
• Keep the oven door shut- When baking, try to resist the temptation to peek at those cookies every 2 minutes. Opening the oven door lets valuable heat escape and prolongs the time it takes for the food to cook, thus wasting a considerable amount of energy.
• The microwave is your friend- Microwave ovens use up to 80% less energy than a conventional oven does. It also cooks faster, leaving you more time to commit to environmentally-friendly activities.
• Multi-task- Simultaneously preparing more than one food in the same pot saves both time and energy. For example, while boiling pasta you can easily steam fresh vegetables over the top of the pan.
• Keep it simple- Forgo your desire to be the next Paula Deen and toss out all those fancy-shmancy cooking gadgets. Using good old-fashioned elbow grease is the most energy-efficient way to cook. For example, use knives instead of food processors, spoons rather than electric mixers, etc. –Kristen Nipper
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