For a Healthier Home & Cleaner Environment
Why Clean Green?
Many commercial cleaners contain substances that may be toxic and harmful to our environment. Green cleaners help keep potent toxins out of the home, away from family and pets, and out of our water sources.
Here are two ways to clean greener: purchase green cleaning products or if you are a do-it-yourself type, make your own!
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program helps consumers identify products that perform well, are cost-effective and are safer for the environment.
Make your own Green Cleaners
Homemade recipes may require a little more elbow grease and take a little longer to work but help keep harmful chemicals out of the house.
Mirror and Glass Cleaner
Ingredients: vinegar and water
Mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray onto surface and wipe with a lint-free rag or washable, reusable cheese cloth.
Drain Cleaner (for minor clogs)
Ingredients: baking soda, white vinegar, boiling water
First, pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain followed by ½ cup vinegar. Let it fizz for about 10-15 minutes. Then pour a teakettle full of boiling water down the drain. Repeat as needed.
Ingredients: lemon juice and olive oil
Combine ¼ cup lemon juice and 1/8 cup olive oil. Pour small amount on lint free rag.
Air Fresheners & Deodorizers
Everyone loves a fresh, clean smelling house. However, some commercial air fresheners can be harmful. Some natural alternatives are:
- Blend cloves, cinnamon, allspice or other scented spices into a pot of water. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
- Steep leftover orange or lemon slices in a pot of water and simmer for 1-2 hours.
- Place baking soda in an open container in the refrigerator, closet or other enclosed space to absorb odors.
- Pour vanilla extract into a bowl and set it in an out of the way place.
- Mix lemon juice and baking soda to 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle. Spray into air to freshen.
- Pour vinegar in a cup or bowl to rid a room of odors.
Green Cleaning Web Sites
Other things You Can Do
Dry cleaning: When purchasing new clothing avoid garments that require dry cleaning. For items that need to be dry-cleaned, locate an eco-friendly dry cleaner that uses non-toxic methods such as wet cleaning or carbon dioxide systems.
Carpet cleaning: Locate a carpet cleaning service that uses environmentally safe products.
House cleaning services: Find out what products are used by the cleaning service and request that environmentally safe products are used. If necessary, provide all the cleaning products yourself.
Green Living: Energy
For many people energy bills are a large portion of their monthly budget. Whether the energy source is gas, electricity or even propane, there are several things you can do to help reduce energy consumption and lower costs. Consider the following action steps, which range from small do-it-yourself projects to replacement of major appliances with Energy Star® certified models, to help reduce your energy consumption.
Heating and Cooling
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doorframes.
- Use caulk or spray foam to seal any holes where pipes, cables or vents enter or exit your home.
- Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or lower.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Check your system’s air filters often and replace on a regular schedule.
- Replace your furnace and/or air conditioner with a high efficiency model that is appropriately sized for your home.
Use Energy Star® certified fixtures with CFL or LED bulbs, which use a fraction of the electricity as incandescent bulbs and last many times longer.
Plant appropriately sized trees, shrubs and bushes around your home to provide shade from the summer sun, wind breaks, and dead air spaces along the foundation.
Phantom Energy Loss
You may have heard the terms “phantom energy loss” or “standby power” or even “vampire energy”. This describes the power used by chargers, appliances and other electrical items when left plugged in but not actively being used at the time. Examples include leaving your phone charger plugged in after your phone is fully charged or leaving other seldom used appliances, particularly those with digital screens, plugged in.
Are you thinking that this accounts for only a very small portion of your energy usage? The USEPA reports that the average U.S. household spends $100 per year for standby power. Connecting electronic devices to a power strip and then switching off the strip when the devices are not in use for extended periods of time, prevents phantom energy loss.
Resources & Rebates
Ameren Illinois provides an energy-efficiency checklist, along with energy efficiency tips on their Act On Energy website. In addition, access to rebate and cost incentive programs for both homes and businesses is provided.