family of four standing in front of their home

“Green” has quickly become one of today’s hottest buzz words, so it may seem a safe assumption that more and more people are focused on living a green, eco-friendly lifestyle. After all, it’s becoming easier and easier to find products that simplify that goal.

However, many people report feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of going green – and knowing where to start is also a challenge. So how can you narrow the green gap in your home? If you’re on the fence about going green, here are a few simple changes you can make to reduce the divide.

1. Choose green cleaners

Most people grab cleaners off the shelf at the grocery store without considering the ingredients. Unfortunately, most of them are full of toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Did you know you can use different combinations vinegar, baking soda, and lemon to clean many household items? Not only are these ingredients greener, but they’re less expensive too. You can see if your current cleaning products may be harmful in the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

2. Select natural personal care products

Like cleaners, most personal care products are full of harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and more. A helpful resource for understanding the ingredients in your personal care products is the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. There are many wonderful brands out there now using on the safest, most natural ingredients available. So finding one is easier than ever. And if you’d like to make your own, check out our DIY guides for making natural personal care products for men, women, and children.

3. Switch from disposable to reusable

Still using paper towels and napkins? How about switching to cloth napkins and “unpaper” towels? You will reduce the amount of waste your family adds to landfills, and reduce your monthly expenses on paper products. You can also choose reusable water bottles, lunch gear, and feminine care products instead of their disposable alternatives.

4. Grow your own food

Does all of your food come from the grocery store, where much of it was transported from another area of the globe? Maybe it’s time to grow some of your own food – or even raise a couple of chickens. If the thought of growing a garden seems overwhelming, you can start with herbs and move up from there.

5. Look to natural remedies

What does your medicine cabinet look like? Have you considered swapping some of those items for natural remedies instead? You can make your own cough syrup, immune-boosting serums, and more. Essential oils are another excellent option for many regular ailments like upset bellies, sleep troubles, general aches and pains, cuts and scrapes, bruises, and more.

There are many more things you can do to close the green gap in your home. If each family makes one change every month, we’ll all be on our way to a greener society.

Originally published on October 3, 2014, this article was updated in November 2020.

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.