If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, chances are you want your house at its best. This year, cut some corners — that is, cut out toxic, chemical-based cleaners and overuse of water and other resources to get your house in shape both before your guests arrive and after the meal’s over. Incorporate our eco-friendly tips into your cleaning routine this Thanksgiving.
Sweep instead of vacuum. Save a little bit of energy by pulling out the broom instead of the vacuum to get your floors crumb-free both before and after your meal. Bonus: A broom is much easier to wield than a heavy vacuum, and it’ll get into those nooks and crannies that your vacuum might not be able to reach.
Use white vinegar for just about everything. Use it full-strength or mixed with water to wipe down counters and appliances (it cuts the grease). Mix with hot water and add a few drops of mineral oil or grapeseed oil to mop wooden floors or clean wooden cabinets. Mix it with water and put it in a spray bottle to clean mirrors and glass windows, and use wads of old newspaper to wipe it clean. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, don’t worry. The odor dissipates as it dries.
Polish silver naturally. Vinegar, mixed with a few tablespoons of baking soda, will also clean your silver just as well as a chemical silver polish. Soak it for a few hours, then rinse it off and dry with a soft, clean cloth.
Degrease dishes with baking soda. Mix baking soda with water in that greasy roasting pan or make a baking soda and water solution in the sink to soak dishes. After a 15-minute soak, they’ll be easier to clean.
Create a dishwashing station at your sink. Once you’ve packed your dishwasher full, use the proper technique to wash the rest of your dishes: Fill one side of your sink with hot, sudsy water, and the other with cool, clean water. Scrape off as much food as possible, then scrub the dishes in the hot water, and dip them in the cold water to rinse off the soup. Using this method will help save a lot of water and dish soap. As for the dishwasher, wait to run it until you go to bed, as the energy costs are lower, and turn off the heat dry setting so the dishes air-dry on their own, which will conserve energy.
Air-dry your linens (then pull out the iron). Save energy by washing your linens in cold water (use a less toxic, bleach-free detergent), then dry them on a clothesline in the back yard, on a rack or hung over your shower curtain rod. When they’re dry, use an iron to get out the wrinkles — an iron uses far less energy than a clothes dryer.