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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?

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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!

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