Tag Archives: House

Do Your House Cleaning Products Affect Your Health?

Most homeowners expect house cleaning products to do one thing – clean. Many consumers focus more on punchy taglines such as “kills 99% of bacteria” or “tough on stains and grease!”. But they neglect the fact that store-bought cleaning products contain a lot of harmful chemicals.

Most likely, you check the food labels to make sure that they are organic, MSG-free, etc.before you buy them. But do you ever stop to check the labels of the cleaning products you buy?

Admit it or not, you think your cleaning product is the best because it promises to kill more bacteria than its competitors. What you don’t know is that many of these cleaners and detergents contain harmful ingredients, which are great for cleaning but poses a certain danger to your health.

Read The Label: What It Says Matters

How do you know if a cleaning product is harmful? You need to know what chemicals are dangerous to your health and avoid buying products that contain such ingredients. These include bleach, parabens, ammonia. They affect your health in several ways but mostly affect the lungs. With continued and excessive exposure, these toxins can affect other parts of your body, too.

Several eco-friendly cleaning products contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. Some products are labelled as natural, but it doesn’t mean they are safe to use. Don’t be fooled! There’s nothing organic with these products. They can lead to chronic respiratory illnesses and headaches. Products containing VOCs include air fresheners, oven sprays, dish detergents, floor polish, and aerosol sprays, to name a few.

Go Green!

Although purchasing “eco-friendly” or “green” products is a sensible choice, making sure that your cabinets are filled with safe and healthy cleaning solutions does not always mean that they are the best options. Cleaning agents aren’t regulated and held in the same standards, such as food. Simply put, there are “green” products that aren’t any better than regular cleaning agents.

So how can you make sure that you are getting an effective and healthy cleaning agent? Simple! Make your own! You don’t have to overspend. You can simply use basic items that you most likely already have in your home. A few ingredients you can use include salt, lemon juice, vinegar, water, baking soda, and borax.

You will have countless options when it comes to making a green cleaning solution using simple and affordable ingredients. For example, you can create a natural scrubber using lemon juice and salt. Get rid of stubborn stains by sprinkling baking soda and vinegar on the affected area. It will trigger a chemical reaction that will lift the stain without any problem. But if you are not really into doing the cleaning by yourself, you always have the option to hire a company who offers house cleaning services while using only the best and safest green cleaning solutions.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a housekeeper, a business owner, or a homeowner, always remember that using store-bought cleaners can lead to health issues, especially if you are constantly exposed to it. Don’t put yourself or your loved ones at risk. Go green now! Take your health seriously now before it’s too late. Use natural ingredients instead of regular chemical cleaners. This way, you know precisely what your cleaners contain.

Green House and Its Requirements – Its Relevance For the Environment

When you look around seriously for a green house, among many features, the surroundings of your dream house should be a primary concern. The other aspect, as important as the primary concern, is the features which are essential for the less consumption of energy and fuel on a day to day basis.

The proposed home is located at such a place where everything essential for normal living is available easily. Then it can be classified as a green home rather than a home which is located far away and you have to drive around a lot for trivial things. A house requiring so much travel can not be considered as green home even if the ambiance of the atmosphere is too environmental friendly. This is because of the simple reason that you will be expending more time and money than necessary for fuel expenses.

Many people dream of self sufficiency for a green home. Self sufficiency means producing enough food for a normal family from a well maintained garden, solar energy panels or a wind/water mill within the compound.

Both the above conditions proposed have a common point. They do not need the support of the local grid fully or partially. An apparent contribution towards the environment is evident, that is they are not part of high consumption of energy.

If your search has landed you in a place where you are not in a well placed location and instead have many facilities for self sufficiency then, your concentration should be on a well designed home. The designing has to be made in such a way that the place is cool in summer and warm in winter, with the bare minimum need for air conditioning and heating.

With this type of environmentally healthy design along with the use of certified energy content appliances, you will contribute significantly towards energy saving. But for many, the initial investment is prohibitive and this will pay off handsomely in the near future.

The acquiring of a green home is not the only avenue for helping the environment. We have to insist for the products which cause less damage to the environment during production. Additionally, we can stick to the use of products which are bio degradable for cleaning purposes etc.

We will be significantly contributing to the well being of the environment. So be a part of the elite who are hell bent on creating a healthy environment for self and future generations.

Ways to Make Your House More Green

Building a new home is a perfect time to integrate green features in it. A green home not only reduces cost of construction, but also makes it more marketable in the future. Let’s see how you can make your house more green.

Make your walls and roof well insulated

Effective insulation makes your apartment warm during winter and cold during summer. Through wool, glass fiber batts and reflective foils, you can insulate the walls and roof of your house. Heating and cooling process account for more than 50% of the home’s total energy consumption.

Replace old and leaky windows

Replace old and leaky windows with energy-efficient models. You can also boost efficiency of the windows via weather-stripping. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones is a common practice followed by green homeowners.

Install plenty of ceiling fans

Installing ceiling fans in every room is a great way to reduce carbon footprints. Ceiling fans are cheaper than air conditioners and consume less power. They reduce your monthly electricity bill and protect the environment.

Use energy-saving light bulbs

Compact fluorescent lamps are a part of eco-friendly houses. These bulbs, though expensive, consume less energy, produce less heat and last longer than traditional bulbs. You can save a lot by using these energy-efficient bulbs.

Plant trees around your house

A good landscaping is essential to make your house green. Hence, plant plenty of trees and shrubs around your home. They not only improve the home’s overall look, but also generate pure oxygen – an absolute must for a healthy living.

Use energy star appliances

Energy Star is a renowned symbol on energy-efficient appliances. Energy Star is a program started to cut greenhouse gas emission. Energy Star appliances are cheaper as compared to others. When appliances meet certain criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency, they earn this label.

Have cross ventilation

Cross ventilation helps a house to cool down fast. You can make cross ventilation by opening doors or windows on the opposite side of your home. This allows free-flow of breeze. Don’t just open a single door or window. Have higher ceilings and wide entry halls for more circulation of air.

Opt for renewable source energy

Opting for renewable source of energy reduces dependence on coal-burning power plants. These plants emit a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Install solar panels on roof to harness the power of sun. Your electricity bill will scale down manifold when you opt for natural sources of energy.

Upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system

Upgrading your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system reduces your energy cost by nearly 30%. Divide your heating and cooling system into multiple zones in your home to save money.

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – An Environmentally Friendly Way to Clean Your House

Most of us never realise that our homes are extremely polluted, and it is we who pollute them. It is the trivial routine choices that we make which a go a long way in keeping a home healthy and safe. Our choice of washing liquids is one of them. It is worthwhile to switch to tile cleaners as the normal traditional cleaners release harmful and toxic chemical compounds into the air and it is this air that you and your family is going to inhale.

However, just switching to a healthier and more eco friendly cleaner does not ensure that your home will be less polluted. There are a bunch of tips that you must follow to make your home pollution free. You must try and use as little of the cleaning substance as is possible. Even the best of such products do pollute the environment, even though the extent of damage might be very less. Also, they utilise a lot of natural resources in their manufacture and packaging. And they don’t come cheap either, so using them in small quantity is going to go well with your pocket too.

One of the simplest ways to switch to a more eco friendly and less expensive cleaning schedule is by using microfiber cloths. Normally used to clean lenses and electronics, they are not easily available in stores. But if you can get hold of them, they are an excellent investment. They have many advantages over normal cleaning equipment. The two major ones being that they don’t need any soap or detergent, just water can be used to clean things with these cloths. Secondly, they last for as long as a few months, sometimes even years.

Their intricate woven structure is designed in a manner that the small nodules are spread all over the surface of the material to be cleaned. This structure closely resembles that of soap lather, which is why these cloths can clean filth and grime just with water. Generally, solid surfaces can be cleaned without using a cleaner, but if something is extremely dirty or if you want it to be antiseptically clean, you can use a little mild cleaning substance. It might not make a lot of difference, but psychologically it will make you feel more comfortable and safe.

The best part about them is that their inbuilt structure ensures that they last for a long period of time. It makes more sense economically to buy a few of these and be relieved for months together. Then you don’t have to bother about getting towels, sponges and other cleaning cloths. If the microfiber cloth become dirty, all you have to do is wash itin a washing machine.

It’s high time that you give up your sponges and dusters and switch to eco friendly and convenient to use microfiber cloths.

House Moving, the Environmentally Friendly Way

House moving may not always be the most eco-friendly affair. Moving out of a home requires a significant amount of resources, supplies and not to mention, time. If we are not careful, the entire process can leave a huge mess of non-recyclable material (particularly if you have a habit of storing non-essentials in the house) and generate harmful emissions, all of which is not environmentally friendly. Fortunately with a little effort and planning, even when moving, we can still do our part to save the earth. If you’re planning to relocate soon, here are some tips to help minimize the eco-damage associated with moving.

Plan For a Single Trip

Automobiles release a large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and a moving truck contributes to these emissions. It gets worse if you have to make multiple trips when relocating. You can minimize these emissions by planning for a single trip and one of the ways to do this is to rent a large-enough vehicle. A smaller vehicle may have to do several trips and that would contribute a large amount of emissions. Look for a vehicle that will fit everything you need to move so that you only make one trip.

Donate or Sell What You Don’t Need

Bulky items such as furniture and old electronics you don’t want anymore only add weight and take up space in the moving truck. The heavier the truck is the more emissions it releases and the more fuel it uses. Hence, you may instead wish to donate some of these items or get rid of them in a garage sale. Alternatively, you can also sell them online. Sites like eBay are great for this purpose.

By selling or donating your unwanted items, you will free up more space in the truck and also minimize fuel consumption. The unwanted items will also be put into good use in another home rather than wastefully dumped.

Use Green, Biodegradable and Recycled Packing Supplies

Not all packing supplies are recyclable. Hence to move the eco-friendly way, make an effort to use green moving supplies where possible.

Rather than using new cardboard boxes, use recycled ones. Instead of Styrofoam peanuts, lay your hands on green packing peanuts and don’t forget to choose biodegradable packing tape. But don’t stop here. You may also consider using old newspapers or linen to wrap up delicate items or use packaging from old purchases. Doing so will have an added benefit of helping you minimize moving costs. In addition, non-disposable containers are terrific when used for a green move; instead of using just traditional cardboard moving boxes, try using plastic containers, clean trash cans and plastic bins.

Packing Breakables For a Move

Instead of bubble wrap, shredded newspaper and linen can be used as an alternative to wrap breakables and paintings. Just wrap your fragile items with linen or newspaper, tape it down with green packing tape and you’ll save a ton on bubble wrap. More importantly, you won’t have to throw anything away when you get to your new home. It’s a simple solution that works for your benefit and for the environment.

Hire a green moving company

Lots of moving companies advertise green business practices and they make excellent contractors for an eco-friendly move. Some green movers use low-emission vehicles and recycled supplies which help cut down on toxic emissions while other movers power their offices using renewable energy. Green companies make it a point to reduce the effects of toxic waste and facilitate house moving the eco-friendly way.

Other Little Things to Consider

If you are cleaning up the old place after the move, use environmentally friendly cleaning products or insist that your hire cleaners use them.

In you new home, find all opportunities to install and use only energy saving gadgets. For example, use LED lighting instead of incandescent bulbs or dc motor energy saving ceiling fans instead of the traditional ac motor powered ones. Above all, get rid of the habit of buying things on impulse only to dump them a few years later.

Do the above and you would have done your part in ensuring that your house moving process is as eco-friendly as possible.

Build Your Own Affordable, Eco-Friendly House

What is the best way to build a low-cost home that doesn’t harm the planet? Most materials such as concrete and steel are highly processed and transported long distances, making them unaffordable to millions who are in need of housing. These high-tech materials also cause a great deal of harm to the environment. The answer is to utilize locally available, low-impact natural building materials such as earth, stone, straw and small diameter wood. This article explores several methods of using earth and sustainably harvested wood to cut housing costs to rock-bottom prices. And because the techniques are user-friendly, they are ideal for do-it-yourselfers.

Earthbag building: Like other earth building methods, earthbag building is simple to learn and extremely low cost. It has evolved from the military’s use of building durable, blast and bullet resistant structures with sandbags for 100 years. Modern-day builders are using the same basic process of filling and stacking bags to build beautiful houses, offices, shops, schools and orphanages. Earthbag buildings are resistant to mold, fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, insects and rodents.

Since the main building material is earth, which is often free or very low cost if delivered, structures can be built literally dirt-cheap. No expensive equipment is needed. Most people already have the basic tools around their home – shovels, buckets, garden hose and ladder. The building process is so simple that unskilled workers can learn each step of construction just by watching for a minute. Earthbag building is extremely adaptable and can be used to build almost any shape imaginable, including domes, vaults, roundhouses, or more typical square or rectangular designs.

Small diameter wood: U.S. forests are currently overcrowded and prone to forest fires. Millions of acres are destroyed each year to fires and disease. Gleaning small trees from the forest in a sustainable manner actually improves the health of the forest and reduces forest fires. With an inexpensive firewood permit (about $20), anyone can obtain wood for building their home. Most of this wood usually goes up the chimney to heat homes, but it is much more valuable when turned into useful products with a long life. All the wood for a house can be obtained this way at much lower cost than buying dimension lumber from a building supply center.

One option is peeling the bark off and using them in the round for pole frames. Wood in the round is much stronger than sawn lumber and requires less processing. With a portable mill or chainsaw attachment, do-it-yourselfers can also mill their own wood for beams, joists, studs, trusses, purlins, window and door frames, trim, cabinets and furniture. Where I live, builders are culling standing dead trees (sound wood) from the forest so as to avoid the time and effort of seasoning the wood. In addition, using sustainably harvested wood as described here is more aesthetically pleasing than conventional stud walls covered with sheetrock. The beauty of the wood is left exposed, honoring the tree from which it came.

Tamped earth floors: Traditional poured earth floors can last for many centuries, thereby saving a small fortune on wood floor framing and replacement of carpet and linoleum every 15 years. Earth floors look like leather once finished and are extremely beautiful. (They’re being used in trendy, custom homes.) However, poured earth floors take a long time to dry, making them impractical in all but hot, dry climates.

Tamped earth floors use less water and dry much faster. These floors can typically be walked on one or two days after installing. The building process involves screening road base or other appropriate soil through 3/8″ mesh. This mix is spread out in 2″ layers and tamped level. The process is repeated until the desired height is reached. Material for the top coat is screened again through 1/8″ mesh. The top coat mixture is hand-troweled and burnished, using just enough water to bond well. After the floor has thoroughly dried, seal with several coats of linseed oil thinned with turpentine.

Earthen plaster: The most beautiful wall finish I’ve ever seen is earth plaster. If you’ve never seen earth plaster before, you may think of dreary brown walls. Do an Internet search for “earth plaster” and you’ll see the amazing results. Because there are many kinds of clay, there’s no limit to the range of colors, textures and special effects. One popular method uses mica in the plaster to create sparkling, brilliant walls.

Earthen plaster is the probably the most user-friendly wall finish. In many cultures women, children and the elderly have done the plaster work for centuries using just hands and basic tools. The key to durable earthen plaster is wide roof overhangs of about 36 inches. Keep rain and snow off the walls and it will last a long time, requiring only minor touchup.

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about using natural building materials. Thanks to the Internet, now it’s very easy to learn about these and other low-cost building methods. Additional articles on the above topics are available for free on the author’s websites.