Without the distraction of decorations, January is the month when many of us take a good look at the state of our homes. From de-cluttering cupboards to catching up on DIY tasks, spring cleaning fever is definitely in the air.
Will 2014 be the year you go green? By making a few simple changes to your lifestyle and switching to eco-friendly products, you can have the stylish home of your dreams without harming the environment.
Embrace the upcycling revolution
Vintage furniture and furnishings are very much back in vogue. Although home interior trends come and go, shopping second-hand and repurposing items are ones that have persevered in recent years.
One of the benefits of upcycling furniture is that it can be cheaper than buying things brand new. This idea has been cemented into the public’s consciousness thanks to television programmes like Kirstie’s Fill Your House For Free.
However, giving items a new lease of life also means you’re extending their use a little bit longer. At the end of the day, a repurposed pallet is far better as a shelving unit than in a landfill site.
Cut out nasty chemicals
Chemical-heavy cleaning products are nasty for both the environment and your family’s health. Luckily, there are things lurking in your cupboards that can do the same job.
Baking soda is a brilliant substance that cuts through grime and leaves surfaces sparkling clean. As a mild abrasive, it gently wears away stains. However, a chemical reaction occurs when it comes in contact with grease. The resulting substance is glycerol, a common ingredient in soap.
The secret to vinegar’s cleaning power lies in its acidity. White distilled vinegar in particular is fantastic for killing most types of mould and bacteria. Use it to get the shine back on chrome appliances and leave mirrors shine-free.
Lemons are good to clean your home with because of their antibacterial properties. Able to destroy mildew and mould, lemon juice is also an effective deodorizer. Leave half a lemon in your fridge to get rid of unpleasant smells.
Olive oil has 101 uses – from salad dressings and sautéing vegetables to furniture polish, lip balm and a paint-remover for your hands. To buff stainless steel and brass to a high shine, rub a bit of olive oil on with a clean cloth. This will prevent streaks, corrosion and tarnishing.
Save energy the smart way
Saving power and energy is a hot topic at the moment thanks to recent increases in energy prices. However, with some firms raising prices by as much as 18%, being told to turn the lights off isn’t very helpful.
When saving power and reducing wasted energy, it’s important to remember that every little helps. However, there are lots of other things you can do to conserve energy in your home. For example, up to 35% of heat is lost through non-insulated walls. By using an insulating paint additive when you next decorate, a thermal barrier is created to keep rooms warm.
There is also a wealth of innovative gadgets available to measure and reduce your energy consumption. These include everything from eco kettles and rechargeable batteries to dedicated monitors for individual electricals.
Do you have any eco tips you’d like to share? If so, please leave them in the comments below…