Clean and Green
The kitchen is the heart of your home, so when making changes to make your home greener, it’s the natural place to start! Get going with these helpful green kitchen-cleaning tips from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:
• To make cleaning the oven easier, wipe up a spill when it occurs. Use mild soap and water before it builds up.
• Use a cookie sheet under your food to catch drips in the oven—you can remove the cookie sheet and wash it. This is much easier than cleaning the oven!
• Try putting a cinnamon stick, lemon, grapefruit or orange in a pot of water on the kitchen stove and simmer to clear the air naturally.
• Essential oils from mint plants, such as peppermint or spearmint oil, are very good at keeping ants, mice and other pests out of the house.
• If there are strong smells in the house, put any amount of baking soda in a bowl and leave it out to absorb the odors. You also can do this in the refrigerator or freezer to eliminate food odors.
Bonus Bathroom tips
Create a mildew and mold inhibitor with 4 teaspoons Borax, 3⁄4-cup white vinegar and enough hot water to fill a 32-ounce spray bottle. Pour the contents into a bottle and shake it to mix the ingredients. Spray this on surfaces, including counters, sinks, faucets and the toilet lid and seat, and then wipe the cleaner off. In addition, homeowners can add borax to laundry to disinfect and deodorize.
Make a scrub with 1 cup baking soda and 1⁄4-cup Borax. Add a few drops of lavender, tea tree or pine oil to scrub sinks and the insides of toilets, in addition to showers. It requires heavy rinsing, so avoid using it on counters.
Build a Greener Kitchen
Remodeling the kitchen presents many opportunities to reduce energy and the amount of toxins in the air. Some ways to do so include installing Energy Star appliances, using materials with low-volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are formaldehyde-free, avoiding vinyl and using an exhaust fan and a range hood vented outside.
The refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave, in that order, draw the most energy, so this is the order in which residents should prioritize purchasing energy-efficient versions of the appliances. The refrigerator utilizes the most electricity because it runs constantly. An electric induction cooktop is one high-priced, energy-efficient appliance that is likely to decrease in cost. It is 85 percent to 90 percent efficient, which will lower an occupant’s energy bills.