Green Tips for Every Room In Your Home

Our pals Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, authors of Squeaky Green: The Method Guide to Detoxing Your Home, share their tips for eco-tizing your digs.
  1. In the Living Room

    Today
    Unplug any electronics that you’re not using. Leaving them plugged in—yes, even if they’re turned off—wastes lots of energy and ups your monthly electric bill as well.

    This month
    Buy a vacuum that sucks...dust particles, we mean. It needs a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to collect and trap dust. Try the Hoover Mach 5 Cyclonic. $169, Hoover.com

    This year
    If you’re painting, shop around for no-VOC and low-VOC formulas. (Most paints have VOCs, such as formaldehyde.) Try Benjamin Moore Aura paints. About $19/quart, MyAuraPaint.com


    Photo by Ellen Silverman
  2. In the Bedroom

    Today
    Trade incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent ones (CFLs); they use a whopping 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer. Try the 13-watt Ecobulb, which gives off a seductive light in the boudoir. $5, Walgreens.com

    This month
    Get Rover his own bed. Hair and dander that your pup drags into bed are dust mite food. We love the Eco Slumber. $78, WestPawDesign.com

    This year
    Sleep in peace by investing in a PBDE-free mattress. PBDEs are flame retardants but have been shown to accumulate in humans and are linked to health problems in animal studies. Mattresses at IKEA are PBDE-free and affordable (Ikea.com).


    Photo by Ellen Silverman
  3. In the Kitchen

    Photo by Preston Schlebusch
    Today
    Nuke food in ceramic or glassware only. Some plastic containers radiate an icky petroleum product that can get absorbed into your meal.

    This month
    Swap your cleaning sprays and countertop wipes for products that are biodegradable, like the ones at MrsMeyers.com. Bonus: They’re aromatherapeutic!

    This year
    Nonstick pan coatings may contain a chemical that can seep into your food. Ditch nonstick cookware and switch to silicone or cast iron (Le Creuset has fun, bright options at Williams-Sonoma.com).


    Photo by Preston Schlebusch
  4. In the Laundry Room

    Photo by Mark Lund
    Today
    Set the thermometer on your washer to cold when you do your laundry. There’s one exception: bedding. You need to use hot water for bedding in order to kill dust mites.

    This month
    Switch to a concentrated laundry detergent. Since it has less water, it’s lighter to ship, which is easier on the environment. Here’s one you can try: Method 3x laundry detergent. $8, MethodHome.com

    This year
    Replace your washer and dryer with an Energy Star model. They use less water and cost less to run (which means lower utility bills for you). Check out the Whirlpool Duet Ultra Capacity Plus washer. $1,000, BestBuy.com


    Photo by Mark Lund
  5. In the Bathroom

    Today
    Shower curtains made from PVC may give off gas that you inhale during a hot shower. Replace yours with a cotton or canvas one. Our fave: a classic hotel shower curtain. $63, RestorationHardware.com

    This month
    Install a water-saving showerhead. There are affordable models that cut water use by 50 to 70 percent and can save a family of four up to $250 a year. Go for The Lowest Flow showerhead. $12, Gaiam.com

    This year
    It’s time to get a new throne! A low-flow toilet uses only 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Compare that to the (whoa!) seven gallons that are used by less efficient, older toilets. Talk about waste. TOTO makes several highly rated models. Prices vary, TotoUsa.com


    Photo by Preston Schlebusch