You’ve all heard about how simple it is to make Earth-Friendly swaps like swapping out traditional light bulbs to more energy efficient LED light bulbs, but there are SO MANY MORE things you can do! The best part about these new swaps is, you might even enjoy some of them and some of them are just as good for YOU as they are for Mother Earth.
So in celebration of Earth Day 2018, which happens this Sunday, April 22nd, here are our Easy Earth Day swaps 2018.
1. Hang your clothes to dry (seriously)!
You don't have to go the full 50s housewife with an apron full of wooden clothes pegs and a Hills Hoist in the backyard (although that would be cool, too). There are smaller, indoor options available that can be used in the tiniest studio apartment with ease. Bottom line? Skip the tumble dryer when you can and your clothes, your energy bill and the environment will benefit.
2. Change your toothbrush
It takes more than 1000 years for a toothbrush to break down. ONE THOUSAND YEARS. Plastic toothbrushes are one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to environmental pollution. By swapping out your current plastic toothbrush for one made of bamboo, you’re doing an easy switch that makes a huge environmental impact. Yeah, if that doesn’t make you think twice about that cheap bumper pack of plastic toothbrushes at the supermarket, I don’t know what will. Cheap is expensive.
3. Drive slow & smooth
You know that Uber Driver who engages in hard acceleration and then abruptly stops? Don’t be that guy. That kind of driving isn’t just annoying, it’s terrible for your car, brakes and the environment! Turns out, you can conserve all three by driving more smoothly. Imagine an egg on your brake and accelerator. Tread gingerly and don’t break it! Once you drive mindfully like this for a few weeks, you’ll start to do it automatically (and save money, fuel and maintenance). It’s win-win-win!
You know this one, but what have you done about it? Go and buy a Brita filter and a chic, refillable drink bottle and you’re done! Bottled water creates over 60,000 tons of greenhouses gases a year in Australia alone. This is how you can help bring that number down.
5. Say NAH to Straws
Plastic straws are a perfect example of those things we mindlessly use once and then toss. Make it a point to ask for “no straws” when you eat out, skip the plastic lid on your takeaway coffee too (better still bring your own KeepCup!). If you have to have a straw, get yourself some great looking stainless steel ones that you can wash and reuse. Easy.
6. Re-Think what’s under your sink!
Of course, this is a shameless plug, but it’s legit. We use too many chemicals in our homes. Buying green cleaning products is one of the most effective ways you can lower the overall chemical count in your home. Beware of “eco-friendly” brands that only talk about what they don’t have. If they are all about “no synthetic fragrance” you’re probably buying a LOT of water and solubilizer (a chemical which makes oil mix with water). That’s not helping get your bench tops clean at all. Murchison-Hume products are glucosides; a sugarcane based soap that cleans just like the supermarket stuff, but does zero harm to the environment or aquatic life.
7. Bring a Better Lunch.
Take the hipster route and only eat leftovers in Mason jars. Of course they make last night’s dinner look great, but they’re also really effective at keeping food fresh and you can heat your lunch right inside. Save money, eat better, healthier food and skip the whole wasteful take-away packaging nightmare.
At MH, we’re all about elevating the everyday. That’s why we’re BIG advocates for actually enjoying our “nice” things on the daily. We make a point of using the real napkins; eating on the china, lighting the candle and making our beds with the best linens we can afford. Life’s too short not to use the good stuff. What are you saving it for?!
In fact, some things are actually degraded by long stints in storage. Linens can deteriorate, perfume and candles lose their potency over time and storing fine china, in particular, can lead to brittleness and cracks if stored incorrectly. Use it or lose it, Sista!
But I get it. Some pieces are really special and you don’t want to use them for Tuesday night leftovers. I store my good stuff, too (although I make it a point to use it at least once a month).
I’ll give you permission to store some stuff, as long as you remember these tips for washing and storing your precious pieces:
- No soaking! Wash them right after dinner.
- Start with the cleanest dishes first. I like to start with the glasses and stemware and work my way through to the greasiest pots last, refilling warm water and adding dish soap as needed.
- If you’re doing a LOT of delicate dishes, place a towel on the bottom of the sink before filling it with water to minimise the risk of cracking.
- Use a mild dishwashing liquid and a soft brush (preferably with natural bristles). Harsh detergents and abrasive scrubbers could cause permanent damage to the glaze.
- Use warm water, never hot, as sudden changes of temperature can cause delicate china or crystal to crack.
- Wash one item at a time to avoid chipping or breakage.
- Step away from the dishwasher! The extreme heat and harsh detergents aren’t great for delicate items, even if they’re labeled “dishwasher safe.” Better play it safe with the good stuff and hand wash.
- Dry dishes carefully with a clean, lint free dishcloth. I strongly recommend you use gloves as china is terrifically slippery when wet!
- Place dishes in a rack for drying (or better yet, get a buddy to help you dry as you go).
- If you ARE storing your china, make sure everything is BONE DRY before you put it away and then use paper plates in between each dish to avoid scratching.
- If you use your fine china very rarely (and again…why???) at least make sure to wash it every couple of months or so to prevent brittleness and preserve the pattern and glaze. This is a great excuse for a fancy dinner party (or even takeaway Chinese on the good china)!
Family dinners on real china can turn an ordinary weeknight dinner into an impromptu dinner party! Get a nice bottle, invite a friend over, use the linen napkins and marvel at how much better your default lasagna is when served on the good stuff.
While our athletes are going for gold here on the Gold Coast, we’re going for a winning finish in the kitchen! Play by these rules to keep your stainless steel appliances and accessories as shiny as those Commonwealth Games Medals…
DO USE A QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL CLEANER
Spray cleaners specifically designed for stainless-steel/chrome will have just the right formulation to clean, polish and protect. Regular all-purpose cleaners won’t offer the same specialised benefits and may even contain chemicals that are damaging to your precious metal.
DON’T ALLOW GRIME TO BUILD UP
Kitchen grime has a tendency to adhere to stainless steel, and will require a lot more elbow grease to remove if left to accumulate. Steel surfaces are far more vulnerable to corrosion and permanent marking if they are coated with grease or dirt, so a regular wipe down really will keep then looking good for longer.
DO GO WITH THE GRAIN
Like wood, stainless steel has a grain, and when cleaning it’s important to remember to go with it. Use long wipes rather than circular motions, this will more effectively dislodge dirt from the tiny grooves in the grain. Minimise streaks and drips by applying the cleaner to a dry lint-free cloth rather than Spraying directly on to the surface you’re cleaning.
DON’T USE HARSH OR ABRASIVE PRODUCTS
Avoid abrasive sponges and cleaners that will scratch the grain over time and cause your steel to lose it’s lustre. Harsh products that contain bleach or chlorine are not only dangerous to bring into our homes but will also damage the finish of your steel surfaces in the long run. Stick to natural non toxic cleaners that are kind to you and your appliances.
When it comes to keeping your home clean and fresh, there is nothing more frustrating than certain members of the household not leaving the bathroom as pristine as they found it (sorry boys we don’t like to point fingers but there’s no denying you have a reputation!). If you dread the thought of your guest’s needing to use the bathroom when they visit unexpectedly it’s time to take action.
Read on for clean and chemical free inspiration.
Keep it Simple and Regular
Cleaning this area of the home isn’t exactly something we look forward to, but it’s much more bearable if you don’t let it get too out of hand. Keep a good cleaning spray within reach so you’re more likely to get in the habit of doing a quick spray and wipe on a regular basis.
Keep it Clean and Green
It can be tempting when faced with what we might encounter in the bathroom to reach for the bleach, but exposing your household to toxic cleaners that contain harsh chemicals is really doing more harm than good (not to mention the pungent smell they leave behind). Opt for natural products that will clean safely and smell lovely.
Keep it Fresh
Fragrance has a powerful influence. A quick spray of a room freshener is a fast and effortless way to make the bathroom a more pleasant place to be. If nothing else you can always squeeze in a quick spritz before greeting those unexpected guests at your door!
Keep it Stylish
If all else fails inject some designer flair. Where space is limited go for items that look chic and serve a purpose, such as a fragrant candle or reed diffuser.
Keep it Together
These Easter holidays make it your mission to encourage everyone in the home to take responsibility in the bathroom. Keeping some cleaning products (stylish of course) right where the action happens is a great reminder, and you never know, if the main offenders are cleaning up after themselves they might be more inclined to keep it clean in the first place!
As the cooler months approach it’s time to get ready for the change in seasons. Strappy sandals and slides will soon make way for boots and loafers, make sure you’re prepared when that first cold morning sneaks up on you!
Love the one you’re with…
Before those new season boots and bags in the window lure you in, take stock of what you’ve got. Show your accessories some TLC and fall in love with them all over again, good news for the planet and your finances!
Clean and Condition…
Prevention is better than cure, use a quality cleaner and conditioner regularly to form a protective barrier from stains and water damage. Avoid cleaners that contain silicones and nasty chemicals that could be harmful to you and your leather. Instead opt for natural products specifically designed for either regular leather or suede, and follow the directions closely.
Before you Store…
When it’s time for a seasonal swap in your wardrobe, remember after cleaning to store your favourite leather items in breathable fabric to prevent mould. Either the dust bag your shoes or handbag came with or a cotton pillow case will do the trick. Keep them in a cool, dry place with good ventilation and they’ll be ready to go next time you need them.
While you’re at it…
Get set to hibernate, show your leather lounge some love ready for those cosy nights in. Just like your favourite shoes and handbags, your leather furniture needs a regular clean and conditioning to keep it looking great for longer. Now you’re winter ready!