When we think about being healthier and more eco-friendly at home, the bedroom is usually one of the last places we consider. However, there are easy ways to clean up the air inside your family’s bedrooms and reduce your utility bills at the same time. Here are a few places to start:
Lighten the Mood
There is a bigger selection than ever when it comes to energy-saving light bulbs. Halogens, compact fluorescents, and LED lights are a few options. All will last at least 25 percent longer than traditional incandescent lamps. The key is to pick the right bulb for your specific fixtures. Some bulbs are not suitable for dimmable lights, for instance. Make sure to check the label before you buy. New, more efficient incandescent bulbs are also beginning to appear on store shelves, so look for those too.
Buy Better Bedding
So-called “wrinkle free” bedspreads, sheets and pillowcases are usually loaded with chemical products that actually release formaldehyde, which can’t be washed away. Instead, opt for bedding made from natural fabrics such as cotton or flannel.
Fans are Your Friend
A simple way to lower your utility bills is to use a ceiling fan to keep the treated air moving. In the colder months, your fan blades should turn in the clockwise direction to force warmer air collecting at the ceiling down toward the floor. You can tell that the blades are turning in the wrong direction for the colder months if you feel a breeze pushing down on you when standing directly under the fan. Reverse the blade direction in warmer months.
Clean out the Closets
Are your closets jam-packed with clothes that you and your family no longer wear? Don’t let them take up valuable space when they could go to someone who wants or needs them. Many well-cared-for clothes hold a lot of value and can be sold in consignment shops or online sites such as eBay. Of course, you can also donate them to a local charity and claim a tax deduction for the value of your goods.
Select Safer Scents
Many of us use candles or other air fresheners in our bedrooms. However, when you burn many popular candles made of paraffin, you are actually polluting your air with petroleum by-products.
A candle made from natural beeswax or soy is generally a better choice. Another option for a sweet-smelling room is to use essential oils. Add a few drops of these plant-based oils on cotton balls and place them around the room. Or add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with water to spray over larger areas.
Terri Bennett is the author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living,” available at DoYourPart.com.
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