(BPT) - Log onto almost any news website and in just a few clicks you’ll probably come across some story about the environment. Whether it involves international agreements, alternative energy sources or fuel-efficient cars, the discussion is often abstract and far removed from our everyday lives.
Consumers want to know what they can do and how they can contribute to making a cleaner, greener planet.
Minor changes can make a significant difference, particularly with cleaning your home. You can trade in harsh chemicals and wasteful cleaning products for sustainable methods that are just as clean, if not cleaner. Here are five ways you can clean your home the eco-friendly way.
1. Your own all-purpose cleaner. One of the easiest solutions is to make your own all-purpose cleaner. This effective solution only requires three ingredients: Two cups of distilled water, half a cup of white vinegar and 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Mix all the ingredients into a spray bottle and voila! The vinegar is a natural antifungal that effectively kills germs and bacteria, and an essential oil like lavender will leave your house smelling great.
2. A cleaner way to mop. Unfortunately, many of the most effective ways to sweep and mop are also incredibly wasteful, requiring you to use a new disposable pad with each cleaning. The new O-Cedar ProMist MAX Microfiber Spray Mop features a reusable microfiber mop head that can be machine washed up to 100 times. Plus, the reusable bottle allows you to clean with any solution you choose — whether you DIY or buy your favorite brand. Its double-sided mop head flips and covers a surface area that is over twice the size of the previous version.
3. A sparkling toilet. Many of the harshest products under your counter are probably there to get your toilet sparkling clean. But you don’t need chlorine or bleach to disinfect your toilet and leave it looking like new. Instead, once or twice a week, pour a few tablespoons of baking soda into the bowl and scrub it with a toilet brush. In addition, make a toilet cleaner out of one ounce of eucalyptus oil — a natural disinfectant — and a quart of water.
4. Want clean air? Think green, literally. Especially in the winter, smells around your house can become stagnant and it can be a real challenge to chase them away. One of the most effective and visually pleasing ways to freshen up your air quality is with selective house plants, such as:
* Rubber plants thrive in rooms that don’t get much sunlight.
* Boston ferns are some of the best indoor plants for removing pollutants such as formaldehyde.
* Peace lilies are one of the few flowering indoor plants. As such, they bring a little spring to your room and naturally remove VOCs and more from the air.
5. Castile soap. In certain sectors, castile soap enjoys a virtual cult following. This olive oil-based soap is incredibly versatile and can be used as a furniture polish, window cleaner, dish soap and more. Best of all, most varieties you find in stores are all natural and free of toxins.
Though many of the environmental issues we read about may seem like insurmountable obstacles, it is possible to make a difference just by changing how you clean your house.
(BPT) - In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s no surprise that more employees are opting to work from home. While there may be a shift of physical locations — from the office building to the home — productivity is still paramount, making the need for quiet home workspaces more important than ever.
“As urbanization continues, builders and developers are focused on optimizing available land, which results in more homes, apartments and condos built near highways and airports,” says Mark Montgomery, vice president of marketing for leading window manufacturer Ply Gem Windows. “The convergence of telecommuting and higher noise levels means there’s a growing need to enhance homeowner comfort with noise reduction technology.”
If your workspace needs a sound makeover, consider the following tips. For even more information on home improvement solutions, check out websites like www.plygem.com.
Think from the outside in
Everyday sounds like traffic, trains, leaf blowers, music, barking dogs or car alarms may go unnoticed on the weekends, but can easily interrupt conference calls and concentration during the busy workweek.
To cut down on outside noise, look for windows with Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. A typical single hung window unit without sound control glass has an average STC rating of 27. Sound control glass packages, on window lines like Ply Gem’s 1500 Brickmould Vinyl Collection, have ratings of up to STC 35. This reduces outside noise by approximately 40 percent when compared to single hung window units with no protection.
“STC glass packages may not be necessary for every window in the home, but should be considered for the rooms where the reduction of unwanted noise is most important — like the home office and bedrooms,” advises Montgomery.
As an added bonus, according to the Department of Energy, new windows will boost curb appeal, reduce maintenance and can significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Insulate the interior … and the exterior
If your home office space shares a paper-thin wall with, for instance, a loud family room television, adding batt wall insulation for new homes, or blown-in insulation for existing homes, will help blanket sounds and temper vibrations.
For homes that face busy roadways, insulated vinyl siding is another solution. Look for options made with a premium, recycled-content vinyl siding panel permanently bonded with polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation. This wraps the home with continuous insulation to cover the entire exterior envelope — including wall studs where air and sound can penetrate.
Another quick fix for insulating the home office is to install a solid core wood or molded interior door. Many standard interior doors are hollow, which means that sounds pass through more easily. Solid core doors, which are thicker than hollow doors, act as a noise blocker. Once installed, make sure to surround the door with weather-stripping to fill any holes or gaps.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a quiet home office retreat and defending your workspace from unwanted interruptions.
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