Learning how to greenify your home makes a hugely positive impact on your health – and the planet’s!
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Sure, you’ve started thrifting to greenify your wardrobe. And you’ve probably been using organic and natural beauty and grooming products for years by now. But it’s a bit surprising that few of us put as much effort into what we buy for and do in our homes.
For example? Even the most dedicated eco-fashionistas may still be using totally toxic household cleaners, or nasty, chemical air fresheners. The scented candles you choose may be packed with VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can pollute the air inside your home and lead to serious health problems over time.
Additionally, most of us don’t realise that mattresses, pillows and sofas are often sprayed with flame retardants, which seriously pollute the planet, the air in your home, and can also damage your health.
In fact, there’s plenty to think about in terms of how to greenify your home, but it’s definitely worth doing – you’ll be creating a healthier environment for yourself, your family and even the entire planet. Ready to get started?
Let’s go room by room!
How to Greenify Every Room In Your Home
1. Buy organic towels
Our skin is like a sponge absorbing whatever comes in contact with it, hence having a healthy fabric to dry yourself after having washed is very important. Organic bath towels are gentle on the skin, as well as the environment.
2. Use organic toiletries
As with towels, organic toiletries — such as soap, shampoo and conditioners — will benefit your health, and the planet, since no harmful chemicals will be come in contact with your body go into the oceans. These days, there are plenty of amazing organic soap, conditioner and shampoo options to choose from, no matter what your budget!
3. Try bamboo toothbrushes
Have you ever walked along a beach and seen plastic toothbrushes washing ashore? Plastic is a major cause of pollution, and it’s a pity – especially when there are more eco friendly options available. Bamboo toothbrushes are naturally antimicrobial, and are biodegradable, too – a much better option! We have plenty of suggestions on Eluxe regarding which bamboo brushes you can buy.
4. Shower instead of using the tub
Did you know the average full bathtub uses up to 80 litres of water? It’s an incredible amount, considering a regular 5 minute shower uses about 45 litres. The takeaway? Jump in a quick shower rather than a bath to save water.
5. Install a dual-flush toilet
Were you aware that toilets alone use up to 27% of household water? Nowadays the dual-flush system is very much spread and allows to preserve water and leave minor carbon footprint. If you instal one in your home you may end up saving more than 25, 000 gallons of water per year.
6. Use recycled toilet paper
The average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper per year (over 20,000 sheets). This is detrimental to the tree population, since virgin forests are cut down to make the stuff you wipe your butt with. To save the trees, ensure you buy recycled toilet paper! It will also save energy. Products made from recycled paper uses 50% less energy and 90% less water than making them from raw materials.
7. Use natural cleaning products
This point is going to be reiterated for every room in your house, of course! But the bathroom is where some of the most toxic detergents are used. And you know what? It’s totally unnecessary! Eco-cleaning brand Colt & Willow’s co-founder, Annie McWilliam says:
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Glass Cleaner
- Colt & Willow
- Seventh Generation All-Purpose Natural Cleaner
- Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner
8. Use organic sheets
We spend a great amount of our life in bed. People usually sleep 6 to 10 hours per day, and studies have calculated that the average person spends about 26 years sleeping in their life! Therefore it is important to have a healthy fabric to rest on that doesn’t contain synthetic chemicals, and which isn’t made from petrol-based fibres or synthetic dyes.
Organic cotton sheets are also kinder to the planet and it is a great incentive to those farmers who are committed to growing high quality cotton without the use of toxic methods.
9. Invest in an organic mattress
Once again bearing in mind the importance of where your body puts itself to rest for almost half of the day, there are a variety of health benefits that come from using organic mattresses. They are antibacterial, chemical free and repel dust mites. They also main themselves warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Choosing an eco-mattress is also better the planet, because the use of clean and natural materials that are biodegradable and have been grown ethically will help prevent the destruction of ecosystems.
One of our favourite brands is Simba. They’re the UK’s first B Corps sleep brand. This award is only given to brands that promote social and environmental change in how they work. Their Simba Hybrid GO mattress, below, is their most sustainable yet!
Pretty good, right?
Simba offers not only awesome organic laytex mattresses that will make you healthier with every deep sleep, but organic bedding, too. But that’s not all! They’ll even help you recycle your old mattress. What’s not to love?
10. Do your laundry every other week
Sure, sleeping on fresh sheets is a luxury, But is it really necessary to clean the sheets every week? I’d say no, especially if you sleep in pyjamas! Avoiding the weekly laundry routine is one of the best ways to greenify your home. But it will also save water, energy, money and the items you want to keep clean. If you wash your sheets every two weeks rather than every week, it will extend the life of your linens and save energy, too. Looking for more laundry tips? Click here!
11. Use a battery powered clock
In past centuries the morning sun was the natural wake up call, followed by the rooster’s crow and church bells. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that alarm clocks became of common use in private homes, with the advent of the mechanical wind-up version. Over time, they cemented their position our the bedrooms.
However, modern digital clocks that stay lit up also in the dark provide major stress, anxiety and insomnia, since people have been found to look at their clock when they wake up during the night, calculating the hours they have left to sleep.
Plus, studies have shown that any kind of lights at night can alter sleep. The situation gets worse if you use your smartphones as an alarm clock. Apparently, people give in to the temptation to keep checking their devices, even at night. Mobile phones emit blue light, and this can reduce your melatonin levels by up to 22%.
The solution? Go back to the good old fashioned, battery powered clock to start your day on the right foot!
12. Switch off WiFi and electronics at bedtime
Let’s fact it- we are a digitally addicted society! But having the internet active 24/7 can be harmful. WiFi emits electromagnetic frequencies that can interfere with our bodily functions, including cellular regeneration, fertility and sleep. And when we don’t get proper sleep, this can cause diseases like cancer and neurodegenerative diseases over time.
If you have a smart TVs, cordless phone, Alexa, or cell phone in your room at night, you’re exposing yourself to unnecessary health risks.
For example, the largest study of the effects of cell phones on human health so far compared cancer cases in cellphone users and nonusers back in 2000. Researchers followed cancer rates and cellphone use in more than 5,000 people in 13 countries around the world. They found a loose connection between the highest rate of exposure and glioma, a type of cancer that occurs in the brain and spinal cord.
In a smaller but more recent study, researchers found that people exposed to high levels of EMF for years at a time showed an increased risk of a certain type of leukemia. Further studies show that EMFs impair sleep and immunity responses.
So if you want to greenify every room in your house, start by eliminating harmful frequencies, especially at night. It’s easy to do:
- turn off your WiFi router at night
- never sleep with your phone beside your head
- use a battery operated clock instead of electric
- don’t keep a cordless phone in your room
- never get a smart meter. See why here.
13. Nix the dishwasher
Save water, energy and money by hand washing the dishes. It may not be the most fun way to greenify your home, but the planet will be grateful! You will save 6 to 4 gallons of water per cycle and around 1.59 kWh to 0.87 kWh of energy per load. It’s also good for you to carry out manual activities like dishwashing to decompress. It may be a drag, but it actually helps us to relax, and it even heightens your immune system by keeping your hands cleaner.
14. Use organic dish soap and cleaners
We can never stress enough how our skin is semi-permeable and that it is an easy entry point for toxins. Using a chemical dish soap is clearly bad for our planet, since it gets flushed down the pipes and into the sewage system, badly affecting marine flora and fauna. The same can be said with the products we use to clean our stoves and kitchenware.
By using non-toxic cleaners, you can easily greenify your home. Plus, you’ll create a safer environment for adults, children, pets and all living creatures. It takes very little effort to shop for organic dish soap and cleaners – especially if you know all the best brands.
We recommend Dr Bronner’s – one bottle of their organic soap has a full 18 functions, from acting as a dishwashing and laundry soap, to even a shower gel or shampoo!
Other great brands include:
- Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Household Cleaner
- Biokleen Carpet and Rug Shampoo
- ECOS Furniture Polish + Cleaner
- ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Ecover Dishwasher Tablets
- Method Dish Soap
- Method Squirt + Mop Hard Floor Cleaner
But the best idea? Make your own! Check out these recipes to do so. Easy and cheap!
16. Use natural textiles
From tea towels to placemats, if you want to be greenify every room in your house, it’s essential that you say NO to plastics and polyesters, and YES to more natural materials. For example, Mexican brand Caralarga makes beautiful raw organic cotton placemats and napkins, as you can see below.
17. Use recycled and upcycled furnishings
A fun way to greenify your home is by choosing to upcycle old furniture. This means diminishing forestation, lowering fuel resources, and decreasing what ends up in landfills. Plus, upcycling old pieces unleashes your creativity in transforming old objects into something new and unique!
Recycling – just using old, existing furniture without altering it – is another wonderful option. But don’t think ‘recycled’ means some nasty, flea-ridden sofa found on the street – even choosing to buy antique furniture instead of new counts as recycling – and it’s always a chic decor option!
18. Grow lots of plants
We all know that plants are good for us, as they produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Living in metropolitan areas that have plenty of pollution, plants are pretty much a must-have in any household. Plus, this is one of the cheapest way to greenify your home, as they make for cheap and gorgeous interior decoration!
19. Never buy so-called “smart” appliances
If you want to greenify your home, it has to be ‘dumb’.
“Smart” home appliances are those lighting and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by the owner, often via a mobile app or or a voice assistant like Amazon Echo, and Google Home. Some people enjoy asking “Alexa” to switch on the lights, or telling “Pandora” what music they would like to listen to.
Besides the aberration of using energy to fuel something that’s a convenience rather than a necessity, and so-called ‘smart’ appliances create more electromagnetic forces (EMFs) i your house, which can have negative consequences on your health.
Smart meters, smart TVs, smart thermostats, Alexa, cordless phones and all wifi linked devices emit EMFs, and according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), EMFs are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
The IARC believes that some studies have shown a possible link between EMFs and various kinds of cancers. Is it really worth raising your cancer risk for convenience?
20. Grow your own herbs and veggies
Growing your own food is easier than you may think. If you have a garden, check what grows well in your area from season to season, and get planting! It will save on CO2, since you won’t have to drive to the supermarket, and of course, you can rest assured that your own food isn’t sprayed with harmful pesticides.
Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s possible to to greenify your home by planting plenty of herbs and leafy greens such as kale or Swiss chard, in pots. This will not only ensure you have a steady supply of culinary staples, but they also look lovely in the kitchen!
21. Save water in the garden
If you use a sprinkler or an unattended hosepipe, there is likely going to be an incredible amount of water that goes to waste. Whereas collecting rainwater in a water butt could save plenty of litres throughout the year. You can also use a watering can rather than a hosepipe, directing water straight to the roots of your plants where it will be most effective. If you must use a hosepipe ensure it’s fitted with a trigger nozzle that will stop the flow of water when you release it. It is also recommendable to use mulch to cover the soil in your garden, since it holds water, reduces evaporation, and also keeps weeds down.
22. Attract bees and birds with the right plants
We are all interconnected, and when one species extinguishes itself there is a domino effect. Bees are crucial for the global ecosystem and therefore to humans: Seventy of the top 100 food crops grown worldwide rely on pollinators, this is equivalent to ninety percent of the world’s nutrition. Additionally, about eighty percent of flowering plants depend on pollination from bees. Birds are equally important, as they pollinate flowers and disperse seeds, too.
So why not try to attract both bees and birds to your garden? To do so, first you should ditch all pesticides and fertilisers – in particular, neonics and glyphosate (brand name: Roundup) are very harmful to bees.
Then plant flowers that attract wildlife, like prairie flowers, black-eyed Susans, daisies, grasses and coneflowers. And finally, create a bird feeder by following this tutorial. Then, sit back and enjoy the little Eden you’ve created!
Do you have any tips on how to to greenify your home? Let us know in the comments, below!
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