How to Make Your Home More Green
Check out these expert tips on making your home, yard, and even your car greener, cleaner, and healthier.
Environmentally Safe Yard Products continued...
Grubby control. Looking for a lawn that's luscious and green? Among your fiercest foes are grubs that lunch on your lawn, creating brown and bare spots. Avoid toxic bug-killing chemicals and instead fight nature with nature. Spray microscopic worms called nematodes on your grass, says Marshall. The nematodes infest and kill grubs by eating them from the inside out (gross, yes, but effective). Even better, the more the nematodes eat, the more they reproduce, preventing future grub trouble and improving the health of your lawn without hurting your own.
Grass roots. Once you have your grub problem under control, manicuring your lawn so it's green -- and "green" with the environment in mind -- isn't hard. You don't need heavy fertilizers, says Marshall. Instead, learn how to cut your grass right. Don't cut it too short, but let the blades grow out 3 to 4 inches so the grass can establish a strong root system. Also, put the bagger aside. While you don't want to have big clumps of grass suffocating your lawn, a well-spread layer of fresh-cut grass acts as a natural fertilizer. Your neighbors will be jealous, and your lawn and your health will thank you.
Mosquito fix. Spring and summer bring warmer weather, longer days ... and pesky mosquitoes harboring dangerous diseases -- or at least itchy bites. Skip the bug repellents, Marshall suggests, and concentrate on eliminating standing water around your home, such as kiddie pools, birdbaths, and rainwater buckets. Mosquitoes lay eggs and make a happy home in water.
Green Car Care
The average American spends about 25 minutes each day commuting to work, which means your wheels are probably as dirty as your house, if not more so. You sneeze in it, eat in it, and put your not-always-clean hands all over it, yet your car rarely gets a scrub-down. Marshall and Cole offer four tips for sanitizing your vehicle the healthy way:
No slacking. Don't let your car get so gross that it's out of control. Stay on top of the leftover food you usually ignore in the backseat. Throw it out now to eliminate the need for heavy-duty cleaning chemicals later.
Water works. Don't give germs a free ride, literally. Clean your car at least once a month with soap and hot water or an all-natural cleaner like vinegar. When you're done, leave the windows open to air it out.
Outside help. Don't clean your car in the garage, especially if it's a small, confined space where things like gas and paint are stored. Park in your driveway, roll the windows down, and go to town.
Suck it up. Use a HEPA vacuum in your car, as well as your living room, especially if your ride is long overdue for a cleaning. Trapping car crud inside a HEPA-equipped vacuum is just as important as catching the stuff from your rugs.