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Eco-Friendly Household Tips

Updated on October 10, 2016
Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy lives in Austin, Texas and has written about environmental issues and conservation for more than a decade.

Conserve Water and Electricity, and Save Money!

Don't run faucets longer than needed!
Don't run faucets longer than needed!

Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly

Green living and environmental conservation are hot topics (and we're not even talking about Global Warming here!), and they will continue to be high priorities for years to come.

Take a look at how eco-aware you are and see if you can show Mother Nature a bit more love. There are dozens small steps you can take to help make your home, community and our planet a greener place during the month we all think about, well - green!

Here are a few easy ways to be more environmentally conscious at home. Pick something meaningful to you and your family, and give it a try!

Start a new habit!

If time is limited and you're not really in the mood for a dramatic change in your lifestyle, try adding just one new habit (or two, or three . . . ) to your lifestyle that can make a difference.

Recycle: If you haven't started recycling yet, start doing it now. Most communities provide free bins; if yours is sitting in the garage filled with old toys or boots, shake it out, donate the clothes and boots, and start using it. Put every envelope, newspaper, cereal box, plastic milk jug, empty can and other recyclable item you'd normally toss into the trash into the bin. It takes a few days or even a week or two to get into the habit, but once you do, you will feel be very aware of things that need to be recycled. Worse yet (or better yet), you'll even feel a bit guilty if you overlook it now and then.

Save Water! Pay attention to how much water simply goes down the drain while you're rinsing dishes, brushing your teeth or shaving. Turn off the tap if the water is running with no real reason while you lather up or brush your enamels. For shaving, try filling the sink with hot water (it should be warm after the shower runs) and dunking your razor into it rather than running water endlessly. Use a glass filled with water to rinse while brushing your teeth; there should be enough left in it to rinse the brush, too. If you have a large pan to wash, fill it with water and rinse dishes in it, then put it in the dishwasher.

Green Living Saves Money

Environmental awareness at home can lower household bills.
Environmental awareness at home can lower household bills.

Energy Efficient Dishwashers Save Electricity | Money

How to Conserve Energy and Water in the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the main places where you can reduce energy costs, save money and also save the environment. Many of the water-saving pointers above are habits we can change in the kitchen. These tips and the ones below also work to help you save money at home, and also help you go green in an apartment.

Dishwasher Tip #1: Turn off the drying cycle! Unless you really need it for some reason, it's just a waste of electricity. Years ago, Grandma dried dishes on a wire rack - so your dishes will be fine if they aren't electronically dried. Your electric bill will go down, too.

Dishwasher Tip #2: Use only half the soap you normally use. Dishwashers do much of the work without the extra soap. Fill the soap dispenser only half full; if there are two dispensers, fill each about halfway, or even less. Your dishes will still get clean, you'll save money on dish soap, and you'll help the environment by putting fewer chemicals into the system.

Dishwasher Tip #3: Check your manual and use the most efficient cycle. If you're a pre-rinse junkie, you won't need the full pots and pans cycle. Look for the cycle using the least amount of water that runs for the least amount of time. If you can't find your manual, check the manufacturer's website and read it online.

Use a Clothesline to Save Money

Drying clothes outside saves energy, and makes them smell fresh!
Drying clothes outside saves energy, and makes them smell fresh!

Energy Savings Tips for Laundry

Laundry - Washing Machine: Use the same soap trick with your laundry (add much less than the soap manufacturer recommends) - it works, trust me!

Unless you spend all day in the mud (well, this might apply to your kids!), use way less soap than you think you need. With sheets, for example, you're mostly getting rid of perspiration rather than actual dirt. You'll get the same results, with softer clothes, if you use less soap. The main reason towels get stiff after many uses is that they're filled with soap residue.

As mentioned, front-loading washing machines save water and also reduce energy costs for clothes dryers. These machines spin more water out of clothes, which means your dryer will not run as long.

Laundry - Dryer: If you can dry clothes outside, that's a great money saver that also conserves electricity. But that's not always convenient, and in some neighborhoods, it's restricted. You can, however, try setting your dryer on a shorter cycle; in most cases, clothes dry a lot faster than we realize. But we're used to turning the timer to 60 minutes and letting it rip. Check your load after 30 minutes to see how dry it is, then adjust up or down to get the desired dryness in the least amount of time.

What Do You Think?

Do you think we protect our environment enough for future generations?

See results

Ways to Join the Environmental & Green Movement

Show your love to the environment and appreciation for organizations that preserve it by joining or donating to a group. If you attend a benefit auction or gala, you'll even have a dressy night out while you're at it.

Do some volunteer work to help clean up a highway, park or greenbelt; you'll meet new people and feel a sense of accomplishment. Many groups have volunteer opportunities for all ages; you might be able to involve your kids and teach them a bit about community responsibility.

No matter what you decide to do, you'll warm your own heart by showing your love to the planet we call home!

Comments

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  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

    You are right, PeachPurple - we use thousands of gallons to wash clothes. In the days of wringer washers, people used the same tub full to watch several loads (whites first, then colors, then dark clothes), and everything came out fine. I now have a front-loader, and I love it. I use minimal soap (unless you're rolling around in mud or something, you need very little soap), so the clothes get clean and never look dingy. The earlier front-loaders had some issues with the gasket, but newer ones are great.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    great tips, i try to use the washing machine 2 days once instead of everyday. Do you know that each cycle takes up more than 8 pails of water??

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Many thanks, Peggy, for reading, voting and sharing. Cutting back on dishwasher soap is one of my favorites; I not only feel I'm putting fewer chemicals into the environment, it's really obvious after a few years that we've all been using way too much soap anyway! So it saves money.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Hi Marcy,

    We are big on recycling things but I have learned some extra ideas from reading this hub. If I am home and it does not matter how soon we need the dishes out of the dishwasher, I will start opening it and letting them air dry. I'll also start using less soap in the dishwasher and washing machine. Thanks for this informative hub. UUI votes and will share.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    One of the big blessings in my area was when our local municipality started a Single Stream recycling program. Everything goes into one bin, and it simplified life & make it easy to recycle things!

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    We recycle. The cans we recycle are supposed to have the labels taken off and washed inside. So when I do my dishes I throw the cans in my dishwasher. My niece thought that was so funny. They don't recycle where she lives. She lives in MN. I have found that many larger towns don't do that. We have recycled for many years. Voted up on your hub.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, sgbrown - I can see why water conservation is important where you live. I grew up with well water, and we learned to conserve very early. Thanks for reading, and for your votes!

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    This is a wonderful hub! We all need to be a little "greener"! I try to recycle what I can. I have a separate recepticle for garbage, paper, plastic and aluminum. I keep 3 of them in my laundry room, out of site. With hubby and I living in the country, we are on well water and I learned to cut down on my water usage quickly. It is amazing how much water you can save when you try. This is a great hub! Voting up and useful! :)

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks so much, Rusticliving! It's so great to see the increased awareness of our environmental resources and how fragile they are. I cringe now when I accidentally don't recycle something or let the tap run too long!

  • Rusticliving profile image

    Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

    Marcy, this is such a great article. You have really done a fabulous job in supplying us with valuable information! Thumbs up my dear.....and very much shared! ♥

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Chrissie - I agree with you! Once I started researching and writing about Green living, I was appalled at some of my own bad habits! I'm constantly aware now when I let a faucet run longer than it needs to run, or when I throw anything away.

  • chrissieklinger profile image

    chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

    I agree with everything you said here. I just wish more people would realize how every activity they do effects the Earth in some way.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Pinkchic18 (by the way, your profile pic is so great, and it's perfect for Valentine's Day! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • Pinkchic18 profile image

    Sarah Carlsley 5 years ago from Minnesota

    These are great tips! Every day is a great day to help the environment :) Great hub!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Winter here is mild so far - but we did have a huge wave of thunderstorms last night and there's been flooding today. We're making up for the draught last year. I hope.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, J Red Horse and epigramman - I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment!

  • epigramman profile image

    epigramman 5 years ago

    ......yes Mother Nature and our environment deserves our attention and respect too - and your wonderfully researched hub just proves it ......you obviously have a very caring considerate heart and your hub is pro-active and very inspiring - and it just starts with one person and then a human chain can take place and we can all chip in and do our part.

    lake erie time ontario canada 6:29pm how is your winter so far?

  • J Red Horse profile image

    J Red Horse 5 years ago from The beautiful wilderness of the White Mountain of N.H.

    Dear Marcy,

    Great Hub post, everyone should read this.

    As you can probably tell by my name I'm Native American and we live in harmony with mother earth below our feet every waking moment of our lives.

    Your message is a good one for both people and the earth, it is important that we respect her in all her glory.

    You are a wise woman and a caring one, and Mother Earth thanks you as I do also.

    Jess Red Horse of the Northern Blackfeet Nation.