Here are some easy ways to make “green” a household word from Sara Snows Fresh Living: The Essential Room-by-Room Guide to a Greener, Healthier Family and Home (Bantam, April 2009, $16).
In the kitchen
Stop pre-rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. If you have a newer model, its not necessary, and you can save up to 20 gallons of water for each load of dishes. Save more energy by opening the door and letting dishes dry on their own.
In the bathroom
Skip the bath and opt for a five-minute shower. A full bathtub can use as much as 50 to 70 gallons of water. If you still prefer to take baths, be sure to plug the drain immediately, adjust the water temperature as the tub fills, and turn off the water when the tub is only half full.
In the bedroom
Mattresses are full of harmful chemicals, so an organic cotton, wool, or latex mattress is a better option. If you cant afford a new mattress, start by covering the one you have with an organic cotton or organic wool barrier cloth. And switch out your pillow for one filled with organic wool or shredded rubber.
In the living room
Simple houseplants can be an effective way to clean the air in your home and reconnect you with living elements. Bamboo palm is effective at filtering formaldehyde (found in pressed wood furniture) and benzene (found in inks, oils, plastics, and rubber) while the peace lily and gerbera daisy are good at eliminating trichloroethylene (found in dry cleaning, paints, and varnishes).
In the laundry room
Using cold water to wash clothes will cut down on the energy required to heat the water, and cleaning the lint filter in your dryer before each load will improve circulation and lead to greater efficiency.