There are plenty of apartment hacks for loving the environment, even if you don’t live in an “eco-friendly apartment.” Here’s the good news: going green doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. It can actually be fun and a great way to save money. Here are a few ways to jump-start your green living:
Reducing Energy Consumption
- Unplug your gadgets. Many electronics consume energy even when they are turned off. By unplugging the TVs, DVD players, consoles, coffee makers, etc. in your apartment when you’re not home or they’re not in use can save a lot on your electricity bill every month.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs use more energy and don’t last nearly as long so why bother?
- Be conscious of temperature. Running heat and air conditioning not only sucks up energy but also money. During winter, turn the heat down by 2 degrees, wear a sweater, and you’ll save green. Washing your clothes on cold will also cut back costs.
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It is not always necessary to use abrasive chemicals for every day cleaning in apartments. With proper use, some eco-friendly sources can get the job done just as well. You may have heard of people who have used natural ingredients that have yielded mediocre results. Our apartment living blog team has done the research for you, and we have experienced first hand some inexpensive and natural ways to clean common surfaces in apartments. The key is using the right solutions for every cleaning need.
What you will need:
- Spray bottles (You can find them in the gardening section of most big box stores)
- Baking Soda
- Castille Soap (Can be found in health food stores. A little goes a long way and must be diluted!)
Vinegar Solutions: It is the safest, most readily available, cheapest and closest to an all purpose cleanser that you can come by. Mix half and half of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean shiny surfaces. Think of this as your own natural windex spray, sans ammonia. You can also use the half and half solution for tile or linoleum floors. For a good grease cutter (read: kitchen counter tops) cut the vingar solution to 1/3 of the bottle, fill the rest with water, and mix in a capful of castille soap to boost your cleaning power. An important note: Do not use vinegar on marble, granite, or any other kind of stone. Use manufacturers cleaners and consult other sources for natural ways to clean these materials.
Baking Soda Solutions: This is another must have for apartments. Baking soda acts like a natural scouring powder, akin to Commet (again, without the ammonia). Sprinkle baking soda on toilets, tubs, tile, and even tough to clean pots and pans. Splash a little water on the powder dusted area, let it dissolve for a few minutes, and use a clean rag to scrub the surface. You can make a concentrated solution for even more stubborn dirty surfaces. Mix baking soda with a bit of castille soap to form a thick paste and use to combat soap rings or dingy grout.
For other surfaces and different types of odd cleaning jobs, you may want to consult an eco-friendly cleaning guide. If you have any other tips for us, let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We will be sharing natural cleaning tips for apartments all week!