Green-ish Cleaning

This is another old post from the other blog that I have been meaning to move over for a WHOLE YEAR.  Oops. 

I have gotten really good at reducing our waste. I do this for partially selfish reasons (I am way cheap and thrifty), but I also feel good about reducing our impact on the environment. Here are a couple of the things we do:

  • We use cloth napkins instead of paper. (By the way, cloth napkins are way nicer than paper ones anyway. Forget the environmental/money saving issue, they just rock.) I bought two packets and I just wash them with our regular laundry.
  • In the new house, I didn’t install a paper towel holder. This means I keep the paper towels in a cabinet, out of sight and hard to reach. As a result, no one uses them. (We have a dog barf exception to this rule and I always have paper towels.)
  • I keep a huge stack of washcloths in a drawer in the kitchen.  I have thirty identical white washcloths. I use them for cleaning the counters and anything like that. I consider them pretty much one-use because I hate the smell that they get after they’ve been sitting around wet. So I use them and then toss them into the washer. If they are really wet, I hang them over the edge of the washer so that they don’t mildew in there before I get to laundry day. They also get washed along with the regular laundry.
  • I have lots of reusable dust cloths. I have a big mitten one that my mom got me for Christmas one year and four really nice specialty ones that a friend gave me (thanks, Maria!) They are color coded for different surfaces and they work really well. Matt sometimes borrows the glass one for his precious electronics.
  • When I run the dishwasher, I use less soap than the dishwasher calls for and I run it on the light cycle. My dishes get just as clean as when I used to fill up the little soap thing and run it on normal. I also don’t use the heated dry cycle.
  • When I do laundry, I do the same thing. I use about half the recommended soap and run the washer on the quick cycle. My clothes are just as clean as they used to be. I don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softener because I ran out once and discovered that I don’t need it. (Here in Florida Georgia I don’t need it, when we lived in Idaho, I totally needed it. It is a climate thing.)
  • Instead of dryer sheets, I use dryer balls.  I bought mine from here, but you can make them yourself too.  They absolutely replace dryer sheets and also shorten the time it takes for your clothes to dry.  It’s almost a pain because the clothes are always dry before I am done reading blogs and ready to fold them.
  • This isn’t quite as green as my other stuff, but I love it, so I am going to talk about it. I have a beautiful Dyson vacuum cleaner. It gets the carpet so nice and clean that I can’t even describe it. Plus, it doesn’t use vacuum cleaner bags, so that’s got to count for reduce, right? (You wouldn’t believe how much dog hair and dust this thing sucks out of my carpet.)