A lot is often said about a general desire for us all to live in eco-friendlier homes. With the climate changing, the fact that we need to make alterations to the way we live is obvious– and where better to start than in your own home?

However, many of the measures that are suggested to allow for eco-friendlier homes are rather big. They’re huge changes; installation of solar panels, changing your heating system– massive, expensive projects. You might have all the will in the world to do these projects, but if your budget doesn’t stretch to them, then it feels like you’re letting the side down.

While you might not be able to invest in the big-ticket eco-friendly innovations, that doesn’t mean there’s not something you can do to improve your home. Below are several quick switches that are relatively inexpensive and hassle-free, and can allow you to do your bit for the environment too.

Any Cleaning Product → Natural Cleaning Products

Natural Cleaning Products

The simple truth is that cleaning products alone are causing significant damage to the environment.

You may be wondering how this is possibly the case. After all, if you just apply the cleaning product, then it’s not exactly spreading out into the atmosphere and polluting the O-Zone layer. However, it’s not the use of the product that’s necessary the problem. In fact:

  • Products that are washed into the sewerage system — such as toilet cleaners, dishwasher tablets, and so on and so forth — are damaging the ecosystem of our rivers.
  • The production of these cleaning products is harmful in and of itself. The production of many of these products has a huge carbon footprint, from the research stage right through to how it’s shipped into stores.
  • The chemicals contained in these products can still escape into the air, which can be harmful to your health. This isn’t an ecological concern so much as a health one, but it’s still an issue you should take seriously.

Despite all of the above, conventional cleaning products are as popular as they have ever been.

It’s worth questioning why this might be. Overwhelmingly, the reason that people don’t make the shift to natural cleaning products is that they don’t think these “natural” products will be as effective. We’ve all been taught that throwing harsh chemicals at a problem is the best way of coping with the issue, encouraged by advertisers and — sometimes — even doctors.

However, good cleaning products are just as capable of getting the job done as harsher alternatives. Your floors will still shine if you use an all natural floor cleaner; your kitchen surfaces will glisten if you switch away from a conventional cleanser; your home will still be perfectly healthy for everyone who lives in it. While there are some poor natural cleaning products out there, don’t tar them all with the same brush– try and see if you can find one that works for you.

Cranking Up The Heat → Draft-Proofing Your Windows

Living Room Windows

When you’re cold, do you put on more clothes or wrap yourself in a throw? Or do you reach for the thermostat — the oh-so-convenient thermostat — and turn the heat up a few degrees?

Most people would admit to the latter. That’s fine, to an extent; living in a cold house can be bad for you. However, it’s not just the thermostat that can improve the temperature of the inside of your home. If you’re finding yourself having to turn the thermostat up more often than you would like, examine your windows; they’re the area of your home most vulnerable to drafts. The best way to identify problems is to spray water directly onto (closed) windows from outside, then check inside to see if any droplets have made it closed. If you identify any weaknesses, use insulating tape to cover the crack– and save yourself a fortune in energy bills.

Scented Candles → Beeswax Candles

Scented Candle

Did you know that the fragrance contained in scented candles can be bad for you? This is especially true if you tend to light candles in a space that isn’t well-ventilated; and let’s be honest, few of us open a window when we light a candle.

Not only is the fragrance potentially damaging to health, but the production of typical candle ingredients — such as paraffin or soy wax, along with the chemicals required for fragrance — can be harmful to the environment. If you still want to enjoy the glow of a candle without any of these negative connotations, then switch to sustainable beeswax candles; they’re better for your home, too.

Microfiber Cloths → Natural Sponges

Blue Microfiber Cloth

Microfiber cloths have been hailed as miracle products over recent years, and there’s plenty of good logic behind that. The cloths clean well, often with water the only necessary product, and tend to be reusable.

However, microfiber cloths have one massive ecological problem; they’re plastic. It might not feel like it when you hold one in your hand, but it’s true. Not only is the production of these cloths decidedly non-eco-friendly, but when you throw a microfiber cloth away, it’s not going to decompose for thousands of years.

While they might not be as convenient, a switch to using natural sponges for cleaning is by far the best choice for the environment. Sponges are sustainable; they’re natural, harvested from the ocean floor and regrowing relatively quickly. They’re also very effective, are able to hold large amounts of water, and will allow cleaning products to foam up nicely. They’re also naturally antibacterial, so you can let them dry out of their own accord without having to worry about them developing mildew.

Furthermore, it’s not just cleaning that natural sponges can be used for. Store a few in your bathroom, then use them in place of more conventional bath and shower sponges and loofahs. Opt for the ‘silk’ sponges as they tend to be softest; they’ll last forever.

Plastic Food Storage → Glass Food Storage

Glass Food Storage

As has been mentioned a few times now, plastic is generally incredibly bad for the environment. Switch your food storage from plastic to glass containers for this reason alone, but also because some studies have shown that chemicals in the plastic can leach into the food itself— potentially causing health problems.

So do you think you might be tempted to implement any of these switches into your home?