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Ready to Make Your Home and Yard More Eco-Friendly?

Follow our tips to make your house greener and healthier -- inside and out.

The Eco-Friendly Yard continued...

Diatomaceous earth is made up of tiny fossilized water plants, and it works by dehydrating bugs that inhabit your garden and devour your plants. The mineral-based pesticide's flower power comes from its all-natural composition, which chemical counterparts can't compete with.

Shoes off inside. Leave your yard outside. Before you step into your home, remove the dirt and germ magnets from your feet and take off your shoes. "When you wear your shoes in the house, you are introducing all kinds of chemicals into the environment," Bark says. "There's no point in making big changes if you don't start small and take your shoes off."

If you filled up your car with gas on the way home, you just trekked gasoline into your kitchen, where you prepare food, she explains.

Or if you entered a public bathroom, the industrial cleaners used to disinfect the floors are now on your carpet.

One of the cheapest and simplest solutions to going green is to invest in a nice pair of slippers and leave your shoes at the front door.

Coffee grounds for your garden. Coffee grounds are a little-known wonder for enriching the soil and fertilizing your flowers. According to Bark, the grounds are filled with nutrients like nitrogen that plants love. So the next time you brew a pot of coffee, just toss the grounds into your compost pile and sprinkle the nutrient-rich mixture right on top of your flower beds before watering, about once a week. It's an excellent way to boost your garden and recycle waste, Bark says, without any chemical fertilizers.

DIY Green Cleaning

Going green is an easy recipe to follow, and most of the ingredients you'll need are already in your kitchen cabinets. Here's a  sample of cleaning products you can make at home, from the book Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home, by Christopher Gavigan.

Natural drain cleaners. While harsh drain chemicals work magic on clogged drains, so can a simple solution of 1 cup baking soda poured into the sink or tub, followed by 1 cup vinegar. After some bubbling and fizzing, your drain should be flowing freely.

Non-toxic mold remover. After donning gloves and a mask so you don't inhale spores, eliminate mold by spraying with vinegar at 5% concentration, or by scrubbing with a non-ammonia detergent such as borax, hydrogen peroxide, or tea tree oil.

Healthy air freshener. For a lemon-fresh smell to deodorize the air, mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle. Spritz and savor!

Eco-friendly flea control. You don't need a pesticide to kill the pesky fleas on your dog. Instead, wash him with 1/4 teaspoon of an essential oil that is insect-repelling, such as citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus, rosemary, or bay leaf, with 1 teaspoon of a chemical-free shampoo and 1 cup water. Pour it over your pet, let it dry a little, and then rinse.

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