9 Eco-Friendly Products to Have in Your Home
These eco-friendly products won't hurt the environment. Plus, many of them will minimize your child's exposure to harmful chemicals.
Want to buy eco-friendly products for your home, but don't know where to start? If you want an easy way to figure out what will be best, think about the products you use most often.
Start with cleaning supplies, suggests Paige Wolf, author of "Spit That Out: The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt." "I've been making my own cleaning supplies, but there are some brand names that do the work without all the harmful chemicals," she says.
"Seventh Generation Cleaning Wipes work really well and are safer to use. There is also strong evidence that cleaning your hands with antibacterial soap can contribute to antibiotic resistance. One company, Clean Well, makes safer alternatives. I also like the gentle, nontoxic baby wash from Earth Mama Angel Baby. This takes the fear out of when your child accidentally -- or on purpose -- drinks bath water." Ugh.
Here are nine other eco-friendly products that make an impact that you may want to consider having your errand runner pick up for your home:
1) Apple Cider Vinegar
The queen of multi-tasker solutions, apple cider vinegar "can morph into many different uses," says Yoli Ouiya, founder of Yoli's Green Living. "When one part vinegar is mixed with one part water in a spray bottle, it becomes an all-purpose cleaner that's antibacterial and nontoxic. Apple cider vinegar is a cost-effective and powerful ingredient to add to the natural upkeep of your home."
2) Energy-Saving Lightbulbs
Every home needs light bulbs, but they tend to die quickly and are then thrown away. Those that are Energy Star-certified use 70 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional light bulbs -- thereby saving money and helping the environment.
3) Dryer Balls
Dryer sheets are easy to replace with reusable dryer balls, such as Woolzie's Dryer Balls, or Nellie's PVC-Free Eco Dryer Balls, which last up to two years and are completely nontoxic. "Remember, conventional dryer sheets contain artificial fragrance, animal tallow and other potentially toxic ingredients," says Wolf.
4) Low-Flow Shower Heads
A normal shower head uses up to eight gallons of water in a minute. Low-flow shower heads bring it down to as little as two, all without sacrificing pressure. They can be purchased for as little as $10.
5) Rechargeable Batteries
Every household knows that batteries disappear into a never-ending abyss of energy. Rechargeable batteries are more environmentally friendly and cost as little as $15 for a pack that can be reused a hundred times.
6) Reusable Water Bottles
Save money and the planet with reusable water bottles, which you can buy with or without water filters, depending on how secure you feel about the quality of your tap water.
7) Reusable Kitchen Towels
Skoy's line of towels can't be beat. They're biodegradable, reusable and affordable. Replace those paper towels with cloth towels today.
8) Environmentally-Friendly Toothbrushes
Dentists recommend replacing toothbrushes every few months. Radius and Izola both offer environmentally-friendly alternatives that are excellent at cleaning teeth. Izola's toothbrushes are made from sustainable bamboo and nylon bristles instead of plastic.
9) Solar Panel Charger
If your budget allows, a solar panel charger, such as this one by REI, is one of the most environmentally friendly items you can have in the house to power your devices in case of an outage. The charger stays charged with the sun's rays and allows you to charge your phone or tablet anywhere.
Before you purchase any so-called environmentally friendly product, see if it has been certified by Greenguard Environmental. Some products claim to be environmentally friendly, but really aren't.
Want more environmentally friendly ideas? Try these Energy-Saving Tips.
Lisa Iannucci is a freelance writer who has written for many national and local publications.