Best Ideas For An Eco-Friendly House

By Shannon Gurnee
In Home Reviews
May 10, 2020
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Today, on Redhead Mom, we’re sharing a partnered guest post about the best ideas for an eco-friendly house.

Whether you have been a vegan for many years, or if you have just completed a vegan fair and are thinking about going the distance, or if you want to live a little more environmentally conscious this year, then you may have to rethink some of the things that are in your home. 

When you’re a vegetarian, you usually like animal-friendly cosmetics and vegetarian food. Still, when it comes to household items, even furniture, it’s not always clear what vegetarianism is and what it isn’t. 

The fact that products contain animal byproducts is not something brands tend to rave about. Therefore, you should be aware of which household items may require double-checking. 

mom and daughter on couch

                                                                                                                                                         Photo by Paige Cody

How To Have An Eco-friendly And Vegan Home

From a few no-no ingredients to other key production items to look out for, we’ve done our research. 

The ideal vegetarian lifestyle is that it goes hand in hand with a friendly attitude to the land. Therefore, even if you are not a vegan, whether you make a small change or decide to renovate your home completely, you should enjoy a much more conscious and ecological environment to be proud of.

Find The Perfect Vegan Couch And Accessories

For your sofa, armchairs, headboard, and everything else to be vegan, you want to make sure it is made of cotton or synthetic materials.

If you still like the look of the leather, you can go for a fake leather piece as it looks more and more stylish, and if you’re a full lagoon for a deep-seated sofa (you know the ones we’re talking about), now you can even find a vegetarian Chesterfield.

The changes you make depend on whether you want to buy something new, or if there’s a range of vegetarian and greener fabrics to choose from. 

These are your options when you buy something new for your home. However, if you’ve only recently invested in an expensive leather triplex suite, what options do you have? 

You can donate it to a charity or sell it on eBay for a good price and use cash to invest it in a new or previously favorite vegetarian room ( eBay is also the perfect place to look!).

You can use it to the bitter end, and that should be enough to keep your conscience in place.

Then, when it comes to choosing upholstered furniture, bedding, etc., choose natural materials such as organic cotton, environmentally friendly banana fiber, bamboo, Tencel, or other recycled natural/synthetic fiber. 

What one can do with natural fibers now is pretty incredible, and when the texture is good too, you won’t miss out on any of your old soft interior items! Remember to recycle what you have.

Try A Homemade Furniture Polish

If you bought a beautiful wooden piece of furniture, such as a coffee table, bookcase, or bedside table, it’s vegetarian and eco-friendly until you sand it down and apply a few layers of furniture polish. 

Yes, not so obvious, but many furniture polishes contain animal derivatives such as beeswax. You can get around that by choosing a vegetarian furniture polish or by making your own!

There are several uses of coconut oil, but did you know that furniture polish is one of them? It moisturizes the wood, highlighting its natural colors, and the high content of saturated fat means that it also slowly oxidizes. 

Besides coconut oil, you can use soy wax, olive oil, walnut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil. 

Here is how you can use coconut oil or other oil of your choice for furniture:

  • Sand and prepare the wood as needed, let it dry.
  • Use an old rag to apply oil all over the surface in long, even strokes.
  • Let it dry for 10-15 minutes before polishing with a dry cloth in a circular motion for extra gloss.

 

coconut on counter

                                                                                                                                                 Photo by Tijana Drndarski

You can use most oils in their pure form. However, you can add white or apple cider vinegar to any of them, and this will actively clean up any dirty traces as you go. 

Also, the antibacterial properties will prevent it from rancidity. Try it on the bed frame, on the dining table, and on any other piece to see how stunning it will look.

Check Out The Vegan Paint Options

The choice of VOC-free and non-toxic paints usually means that they are better suited to you, to the environment, and more favorable to vegans. Casein is an animal-derived from milk, and its fast drying, durable and persistent properties mean it is often present in wall paints. 

Beeswax is another product that may be present in the conventional wall and household paints. Still, there are more and more paint brands such as Farrow & Ball and Dulux that create environmentally friendly paint formulations that are low VOC, vegan, and therefore harmless to your health and the environment.

Paint Brushes Need To Be Vegan Too

Paintbrushes are often made of “natural” bristles, which usually means that they are made of animal fur or a combination of animal furs. From pony and bull hair to “Sabel” type labels that may indicate a combination of mink, ferret, and caress fur, to “camel” hair that may be made from goats, squirrels, and other animals, “natural” paintbrushes are not vegan.

There are vegan alternatives, fortunately, which even tend to work better. Instead of absorbing the paint, their texture provides a smooth and consistent finish, and they are easier to clean. 

Therefore, whether you’re painting furniture or a little watercolor for an original print, take one of the many beautiful synthetic brushes around. 

Start Using Vegan And Natural Cleaning Products

There are currently a lot of vegan cleaners out there. If you want to play even safer, you can do it yourself. 

Honest Company spray on kitchen counter

                                                                                                                                        Photo by The Honest Company 

There are many natural alternatives to bleach and other cleaning products that you can use safely, knowing that they are gentle on your surfaces, that they are vegan and environmentally friendly:

  • Lemon juice – a natural disinfectant, which also smells of lemon
  • Baking soda – when mixed with vinegar, a powerful cleaning paste is formed. Have a look at these tips on cleaning with baking soda
  • Castilian soap – dilute with water and use this pet-friendly and biodegradable soap everywhere.
  • Vinegar – use with a rag and dilute with water and some essential oils for a more pleasant scent.
  • Tea tree oil is often used as a natural antibacterial agent, mix a few drops with water and use it where needed.

 

As we said, non-vegan stuff is everywhere unless you know what you’re looking for. Take the above on board, and if you’re in any doubt about buying something new, check the list of materials and where it came from. Always read in the fine print.

Use Eco-friendly Toilet Paper

Yeah, you even have to watch your toilet roll! Make sure to check the logo of the bouncing rabbit and look for bags that are marked as recycled or biodegradable. 

Some companies use chemicals on the production line as well as animal derivatives in the final product to bind the fibers. Therefore, you need to triple-check that what you are buying is certified as a vegan product before bringing it to your organic home.

Minimize Your Food Waste

Food waste is considered one of the worst things we, as a society, can do to the environment. 

Wasteful food wastes time and effort that has been spent growing food, delivering it to the supermarket, and the hours that you spend earning money to buy that food. 

Worse, it can also lead to wastewater that has been used to grow the products and increase the carbon footprint in the region after they have been discarded. 

While it is incredibly challenging to get rid of food waste completely (after all, some things can get spoiled earlier than expected), there are ways to get rid of how much food you throw away as one person.

Simple Ways To Limit Organic Waste

  • If you have a lawn or garden, think about composting certain food waste.
  • If you’re a big fan of citrus fruits, think about making jams out of the citrus peel.
  • Got some carrots and celery that are close to spoiling? Collect as much as you can and use the leftovers to make your vegetable broth
  • Do you often buy too much of certain ingredients or have an unusable amount of spices and certain foods in your home? Take your measuring cups to the supermarket and buy them in wholesale baskets whenever possible so you can buy the correct amount of each item.

 

There are limitless break-ins to reduce the amount of food we throw away, but not all of them will be feasible or applicable to your unique situation. 

Feel free to experiment with different break-ins and remember that following an environmentally friendly lifestyle is not about always being perfect, it is about doing your best. 

Use Reusable Shopping Bags For More Than Just Groceries

So we know what you’re thinking: Of course, I know how to use reusable shopping bags. However, we felt it was worth repeating, given how disposable plastic affects the environment and wildlife. 

Millions of animals are exposed to disposable plastic items, such as plastic shopping bags, tangled in meshes, or sharp or otherwise damaged plastic items every year, to name just a few of the negative consequences. It is time to get rid of plastic bags once and for all, no matter what you are going to shop for. 

We recommend that you keep several reusable grocery shopping bags in your car at all times and folding bags in your wallet/ backpack/ messenger bag, so that you have an environmentally friendly bag at hand, even if you make unexpected purchases. 

Start A Compost Heap!

It is a more advanced step that will not apply to all of you, as you will need composting supplies and outdoor space.

However, even if you cannot create a compost heap, you can compost your food waste! If you have a program for composting in your town, it will be easy. Just find out what you can and cannot compost and start with good practice throwing your waste in the right bin.

Unfortunately, not all cities have such programs. If you do not do this, you can still compost your waste. You can find a neighbor who has compost to which you can give your waste as a gift. 

You can even give it to a local company that has a composting basket (e.g., an entire grocery market or another organic food store). You may look silly, bringing a bag of compost with you to the shop. However, anyone who weirdly looks at you can be inspired to do the same if you share this creative, environmentally friendly advice! 

Scented Candles 

Fortunately, there are eco-friendly alternatives for scented candle fans, most of which are based on pure vegetable wax or beeswax. 

There are three things to look out for and avoid. Paraffin wax produces a lot of smoke, so it’s bad for health to burn around the family. It also leaves soot on the walls. Watch out for candles that are filled with chemical-based aromas as they are unnatural and can lead to allergies. 

Beeswax is a good bet because it is non-allergenic, non-toxic, and smoke-free. Candles based on vegetable waxes are free of toxins and are durable due to their lower combustion temperature. 

To Sum Up

Many of us know that we should be more environmentally friendly. However, with the busy schedule of modern life, changing the daily routine may seem impossible. 

Instead of focusing on changing your life, think about making an investment that incorporates environmentally friendly behavior into your existing life and environment. 

More environmentally friendly behavior will not only help you to contribute to a sustainable environment but also save you money.

About Has 1837 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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