1. Stop using Lysol or air fresheners of any kind – Whether it’s diaper duty or stinky gym shoes, moms use a lot of air freshening sprays to make their homes livable. Think about the harsh chemicals and the aerosol cans used for conventional air fresheners. Think of how much of this indoor (and potentially outdoor) air pollution could be eliminated if every mom in America used natural air fresheners! There are some that you can mix yourself at home, and there are others that you can buy that are much more effective (if you run a day care or have multiple stinkers). Either way, you’ll breathe easier and reduce allergens and toxins in the air!
2. Eat more raw foods – Simply put, if you cook less, you’ll use less energy. You will also retain more vitamins and nutrients in the food you and your children eat. Buying local produce may also save on emissions because the food has a shorter distance to travel to get to your table. It’s healthier for family and the environment!
3. Use biodegradable, concentrated, plant-based cleaners – Yes, you can get all three in one! You may have seen some recipes for homemade cleaners, but your house will probably hold a lingering vinegar smell if you use those – NOT kid friendly. You have probably seen some concentrated cleaning products and detergents, in grocery stores, but very few of them are made from plant derived products or are biodegradable. So, concentrated versions of harmful or harsh solvents are still not truly green, although they are a bit better because you use less of them. (Resource: Make your own non-toxic cleaning kit.)
4. Only wash full loads and air dry clothes – Use less energy, water, and detergents this way! How cool is that? It takes less energy to wash fewer loads and no energy to air dry at all. If you are using the kind of detergent mentioned in tip number 3, using even less of THAT is about as green as it gets. This also protects your children’s skin, using fewer detergents less often.
5. Dress children in layers – The bulk of your energy bill is NOT going to lighting, but to heating and cooling. So, dressing your children in layers keeps those costs low by allowing kids to bundle up or strip down as needed. You use less heating power in the winter and less cooling power in the summer if you simply teach your children to dress appropriately for the weather. Being able to control their personal body temperature can also help cut down on colds; in layers, kids don’t ever have to be too hot or too cold in their clothes.