Green Cleaning TIps
Check out our green cleaning tips!
Check back periodically for updated Green Cleaning Tips from Green Maids Cleaning, LLC.
Rethink single use items when covering food and drinks! For storing leftovers, covering open cans of pet food, or carrying coffee on the go, reusable lids are a great alternative to the disposable kind.
Single use lids and covers, whether metal, plastic or paper, are often not recycled and end up in landfills. Reusable lids, made of dishwasher-safe silicone, can save you money and reduce waste. They are flexible, durable, and BPA-free, and are available in a variety of sizes online or in eco-conscious retail stores.
Another tip is to swap your plastic wrap or foil for beeswax food wrap. Made from cotton infused with beeswax, it’s washable, reusable for up to a year, and compostable. In addition to being planet-friendly, beeswax wrap is more “breathable” than plastic and will keep foods like bread, cheese, and produce fresher for longer, saving you money!
Do you have a bag full of reusable bags at home? Most of us have accumulated a collection of totes – the kind given out at events, with magazine subscriptions, or as thank you’s for charitable donations. But having them doesn’t do any good if you don’t use them! Reusable bags aren’t just for the grocery store. Keep a stash on hand in a very visible place – by the front door or on the passenger seat of your car – and use them anytime you shop, whether you’re buying books or clothes or office supplies.
Single use plastic bags have a huge impact on the amount of waste that goes into our landfills and oceans. It takes about 1,000 years for plastic bags to degrade, and in the process they contaminate soil and water by leaching toxic chemicals. They also pose a danger to birds and marine life when they’re mistaken for food and ingested.
Studies have shown that in cities where plastic bags have been banned, the amount of plastic particles detected in nearby waters has dramatically decreased. It’s time to ditch the plastic and do our part for the planet. Make a habit of carrying reusable bags wherever you go!
Reconsider fast fashion when holiday shopping. Cheap, mass-produced clothes make it easy to buy trendy items that get discarded after a season or two, but the environmental costs are steep.
In addition to the sheer volume of clothing that ends up in landfills, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions each year. Synthetic clothes often contain microplastics, along with dyes and chemicals, that make their way into our water supply and pose a danger to marine life.
When shopping for clothes, opt for quality over quantity and choose items that are sustainably made and built to last. Do laundry only as often as necessary, using an eco-friendly detergent, and consider repairing clothes that are torn or missing buttons. Whenever possible, purchase used items and donate what you no longer wear.
How many paper bills do you still get in the mail? Sign up for paperless billing to save trees and money!
If you’re like us, you get a bill in the mail but pay it online and just throw the bill away. Few people sit down to write checks and mail their payments back in the mail.
Most companies would rather go fully paperless, and provide incentives (discounts) to get you to sign up! Check with your utility companies and service providers to see what you can get to have your bills emailed to you.
Think that going paperless doesn’t have much of an impact on the environment? Think again.
“Reducing your paper consumption is a simple way to have a huge impact on the environment, and especially CO2 emissions. An average tree can only produce about 17 reams of paper, and takes about 100 years to grow. What’s more, over 50% of paper comes from virgin forests, and about 16% of those are old growth. Producing those 17 reams from one tree will release about 110 lbs of C02 into the atmosphere. The real cost, though, is the loss of a “carbon sink”: if left alone, the average tree would absorb around a 2,000 lbs of C02 in its lifetime. That’s why reducing paper usage has a direct impact on a company’s carbon footprint.” – Paperless Productivity
If you’re someone who likes to have a green lawn, you likely also spend a lot of time and money to keep it that way. Between mowing, weeding and watering, our lawns need a lot of care! And that care impacts the environment, which is why many people are moving to install artificial lawns. They’re not only easier to maintain, but they’re better for the Earth.
Save on Water
Your lawn needs a lot of water to stay healthy and green. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we use over 4 billion gallons of water a day for lawn irrigation. That’s a lot!
Save on Pesticides and Fertilizers
Many people use harmful chemicals to keep their lawns growing and free of bugs. But those pesticides and fertilizers can run off our lawns and into waterways, impacting our drinking water and recreation spaces.
Save on Time
With an artificial lawn, your time to maintain it goes way down! No more mowing, wedding, trimming, watering or seeding. Think of all the other things you could be doing! (Like enjoying it.)
Save on Money
Water, fertilizer, lawn equipment… it all costs money! With an artificial lawn, you’ll save money long-term on those expenses.
Would you consider an artificial lawn?
Every year, over 100 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States. Unless you’re extremely diligent about your food scraps, we all create food waste. Instead of throwing out your scraps, think about how they can be better utilized through composting!
If you don’t have the space or time to create your own at-home composting system, we highly recommend signing up with a local company like Mr. Fox Composting.
If you do have the space and desire to create your own at-home composting system, there are lots of ways to do it!
- You can purchase a compost bin – they come in all different shapes and sizes, and you can find one that works for your space.
- You can build your own composting system with wooden pallets, a plastic tote or 30-gallon plastic drum, or many other common items.
- You can go without a container and just bury your compost in your garden, which will then turn into fertilizer for your soil.
Single-use water bottles are incredibly wasteful, and are so easy to stop using! We don’t recommend re-using those plastic bottles as the plastic begins to break down over time and you’ll end up ingesting plastic particles. Instead, find new ways to stay hydrated.
Step One: Find your perfect reusable water bottle. There are great options in hard plastic, glass, and metal. Pick a fun color or pattern, and one that is insulated to keep your water cool!
Step Two: Determine your method for refilling. It could be straight from the tap, getting yourself a filtered container or or a filter that attaches to your faucet. There are plenty of great methods to refill your reusable water bottle!
Step Three: Stay hydrated and feel good about helping to save the planet and reduce plastic use!
Have you talked with the kids in your life about how they can also live a greener lifestyle? There are a lot of small things that kids can do to help make a positive impact on our environment and introducing these concepts early can create lifelong habits!
- Make sure they turn off lights when they’re leaving a room
- Have them turn off the water when they’re brushing their teeth
- Purchase reusable food baggies or containers for lunches rather than single use plastic baggies
- Hold a swap with friends – they can swap clothes, books, toys and more!
- Keep a pile of scrap paper (old bills, junk mail) for kids to doodle or color on
- Plant a vegetable garden with the seeds from vegetables
- Bring them to a refill store and teach them about reducing plastic use
There are so many fun things you can do with kids to teach them about living a greener life. What do you do in your home to promote being eco-conscious? Let us know on our Facebook page!
We recently talked about how refill stores can help you reduce your food and product packaging waste. Another way to do this is to shop local at farmers’ markets! Farmers’ markets don’t just showcase fruits and vegetable vendors, many of them also include crafters, butchers, brewers, florists and more! You’ll eat better, save on food packaging, and get to support people in your community.
Check out these farmers’ markets if you haven’t already!
Portsmouth Farmers’ Market
Saturdays from 8am – Noon
1 Junkins Avenue (City Hall)
Runs from May 7 to November 5
Gateway York Farmers’ Market
Saturdays from 9am – 1pm
1 Stonewall Lane (York Chamber of Commerce)
Runs from May 21 – November 12
Dover Farmers’ Market
Wednesdays from 2:30 – 6pm
550 Central Avenue (Dover Chamber of Commerce)
Runs from June 1 to October 5
Exeter Farmers’ Market
Thursdays from 2:30 – 6pm
Runs from May 12 to October 27
Which one is your favorite?
(Featured photo from Portsmouth Farmers’ Market)
Are you someone who asks people to leave their shoes at the door? Your guests may not like it, but it’s a great choice to make for your home! There are so many reasons why taking your shoes off at the door is better for your home, your health and your overall happiness.
- Not surprisingly, your home will stay cleaner. Shoes can hold on to dirt, mud, leaves and more and that can be left on your floors when you don’t take your shoes off.
- It’s better for your health. When you walk around outside, you don’t know what kinds of bacteria, pesticides, or feces you’re stepping in. Do you really want that in your home? We don’t think so.
- Keep your floors in better condition. Different types of shoes can leave scuffs, marks, or dents in your floors. Leaving shoes at the door means you’ll keep your floors undamaged and beautiful!
Getting into the habit of leaving shoes at the door can be difficult, so we’re here to help. Our regular deep cleaning services help keep your floors free of debris and harmful bacteria.
A hot and dry summer in New England means we’re more likely to hit drought status and have water bans implemented in our towns. A water ban means that excessive water use, like utilizing a sprinkler for your lawn or garden, is banned or limited. It’s necessary to ensure that households have access to running water for basic needs like bathing, cooking and drinking. But that means that your lawn and garden can suffer!
Rain barrels come with a lot of benefits and can be easily installed yourself or through a local gutter company or contractor.
1. You’ll conserve rainwater for use on your lawn or garden. Average rainfall of one inch per 24 hours can result in more than 700 gallons of water that runs off your house! You can also use it for other things like washing your car, walkways, sidewalks and more.
2. Reduce runoff pollution and erosion. When rainwater flows freely from your downspouts, it can pick up pesticides, fertilizers, oil and more and carry them to local waterways. Collecting it limits that runoff and helps the environment!
3. Save on your water bill. If you’re not using your hose or sprinklers as much (or not allowed to due to a water ban) you’ll save money on your water bill!
Talk to your gutter company or purchase a rain barrel yourself online and start saving water and money!
The way we purchase and consume food plays a huge role in climate change. Not just food waste, which ends up in landfills and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas, but also our food packaging. The creation of food packaging, like plastic containers and bags, plays a big role as well. We all work to limit our food waste and recycle as much packaging as we can, but sometimes throwing things out is inevitable. Or is it?
More and more refill stores are popping up across the country, which allow you to purchase items in bulk without the packaging (you bring your own reusable containers!). It’s a great way to limit your packaging waste and purchase only the amount food you really need. We love our local choices here on the Seacoast, and hope you’ll check them out!
Where is your favorite refill store?
According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, there are more than 90 million clothes dryers in the United States. On average, clothes dryers are the 3rd most energy-hungry appliance in your home (after the refrigerator and the washing machine).
Air-drying your clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by an astounding 2,400 pounds a year, and help you save on your electric bill. Think of the impact if we all used our dryers a little less!
Use this beautiful summer weather and reduce your carbon footprint… plus get the benefit of giving your clothes the sun-touched smell only air drying can give them!
How many paper towels do you go through in one week? It’s probably more than you think and impacts the environment more than you know! While you don’t have to give up paper towels completely, studies done at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) show that making changes to our paper towel consumption does have a positive impact on the environment.
When scientists compared the seven most common methods for drying hands, they found that paper towel use generates 70% more carbon emissions than cold air-driven hand dryers.
No need to rush out and get yourself a hand dryer (where do you even start to shop for one of those?), just switch out paper towels for a cotton towel. Using a cotton towel is 48% more eco-friendly than drying off with a paper towel.
So next time you’re going to dry off your hands, reach for a cotton hand towel and work to decrease your overall paper towel consumption.
When choosing plants and trees for your yard, look for plants native to your area. Native trees and plants provide habitat for and attract birds, butterflies, and other beneficial local wildlife. Local plants thrive in the temperature, rainfall and environment of your area!
Once established, native plants require very little maintenance because they are naturally resistant to local pests and disease. Because they do not need fertilizers, pesticides, or any additional watering (roses – we’re looking at you!), they are easy and inexpensive to maintain and are environmentally friendly. They are also not invasive to your area.
Here is a wonderful resource from the National Resources Conservation Service in collaboration with the New Hampshire Conservation Districts about native plants for different soil types!
What kinds of native plants do you have in your landscaping?
Whether it’s from kids, pets or from just being clumsy, spills on carpets are inevitable but thanks to this week’s Green Tip; stains don’t have to be! Instead of reaching for a chemical laden carpet cleaner, try out this all-natural spot cleaner the next time your drink decided to land on the floor. You probably have all of the ingredients in your house right now!
Mix 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup borax and 1/4 cup vinegar, then apply this paste to deep stains or heavily soiled sections of carpet. Allow the paste to sit on the carpet for several hours until it dries completely, then vacuum it away.
Wool dryer balls are all the rage these days but how is adding a few balls to your dryer helpful, you may ask?
For starters, wool balls are a more eco-friendly choice than traditional chemical laden dryer sheets because with all that bouncing around they do, they actually reduce dryer time. Saving you on time and energy. Compared to traditional dryer sheets, they also last longer, cutting down on single use waste. They also don’t contain any of the chemicals and fragrances found in many dryer sheets. Best yet, once a natural wool dryer ball reaches the end of its life, it takes much less time to decompose than a polyester dryer sheet.
Now’s the time! Pick up some wool dryer balls, we promise you will love the change!
- As you read this tip you may be wondering if we are trying to repel vampires or insects with this week’s green tip! But it turns out mosquitos and other insects dislike garlic as much as vampires! If your garden is being overrun with pests, this all-natural spray may be the ticket!
• 4 cloves of garlic
•1 Tb Mineral Oil
• 1 tsp dish soap
Chop garlic (or use 4 cloves worth of minced garlic) of and cover them with mineral oil. Allow mixture to sit and soak for 24-48 hours. After they are done soaking, remove the minced garlic chunks and mix the oil with 1 pint of water and 1 tsp of dish soap. This liquid is the base. To use in your garden, add 2Tb of concentrated garlic liquid to 1 pint of water in a spray bottle. Be sure to test and make sure plants can handle mixture. If there is any plant damage, solution may need to be diluted more.
Here’s a tip for any teenager to keep in their back pocket the next time your father asks you to mow the lawn: just tell him to let it grow another week. Right before your father loses his mind, let him know that letting the grass grow can reduce carbon emissions. It doesn’t matter if the mower is gas powered or electric, waiting longer between cuts will condense fuel or electricity usage. And longer grass is more drought resistant in the summer months.
One last Hail Mary before he throws you outside and changes the locks – let him know that less frequent mowing will encourage the dandelions, and other wildflowers to grow and bloom. This will attract bees to pollinate the surrounding flowers and plants. It’s worth a shot, right?
Houseplants create more than just an improved look and feel to your budding interior design skills, they also earn their keep by improving the air quality in your home. Different plants can serve a variety of purposes, so base your choices less on aesthetics and more on function:
- The “Dracaena trifasciata” plant emits most of its oxygen at night, which makes it a perfect addition to your bedroom.
- Peace lilies and Boston ferns love atmospheric conditions in rooms with high humidity, and often absorb mold spores from the air. These plants would be an ideal fit for your bathroom.
- Weeping figs are known to be one of the best plants for removing formaldehyde released from furniture and carpets, a byproduct from their manufacturing, making them a great fit for your living room.