Products We Love for Greener, Healthier Homes and Gardens
Brands are stepping up to make our lives easier and better with sustainable technologies and materials.
Sure, you want a flame-retardant mattress to keep your baby safe in her crib. But do you know what's in it? An automatic lawn sprinkler keeps your grass lush and green, but it kicks up your water bill when it comes on even in the rain. And all those paper towels we use once in our kitchens and bathrooms and then toss in the trash? The good news is that we can reduce waste, cut costs and still get great results in our homes and gardens. We’ve rounded up some eco-friendly ideas to help us live greener lives and reduce our impact on the Earth.
Ditch those household cleaners in plastic jugs that wind up in landfills and oceans. Tru Earth’s all-natural laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets, multi-surface cleaners and other products come in biodegradable packages that take up less storage space in your home. Most of these cruelty-free cleaning products come in pre-measured, easy-to-use strips.
Rest easy on a certified organic mattress that doesn’t contain potentially toxic fire-resistant chemicals or materials. My Green Mattress offers mattresses for babies, children and adults. All are handmade in Illinois with organic cotton, latex and insecticide-free wool, components that work as natural flame retardants and antimicrobials and resist dust mites and bedbugs.
Look for the "Caring for Nature" seal on Stihl’s shears, blowers and other outdoor power tools, which means they produce zero or low exhaust emissions. The HSA 26 garden shears run up to 120 minutes if you’re using the grass-cutting attachment, or up to 80 minutes if you’re shearing hedges, on a single charge of the recyclable battery.
Mold and mildew can make you sick and damage your home. Both grow in damp cabinets, basements, under sinks and in laundry rooms and playrooms. Duck Brand’s EasyLiner with Clorox works to inhibit fungal growth and keep shelves and other surfaces clean. The liners come in different grip strengths, finishes and sizes. They’re machine washable, reusable and won’t degrade over time.
Water is wasted — and so is your money — when sprinkler systems run in the rain. Moen’s Smart Sprinkler Controller and Smart Wireless Soil Sensors use your local weather information to skip rainy days and adjust automatically, so lawns and gardens get the amount of water they need when they need it. Use the app to control the system from anywhere. Moen says replacing a clock-based controller with a Smart Sprinkler Controller may reduce an average home’s outdoor water use by up to 30 percent — that’s an estimated 15,000 gallons of water per year.
It’s tough to enjoy the outdoors when you’re swatting mosquitoes, but some devices kill beneficial insects along with the bad guys, and not everybody wants to slather or spray repellants on their skin. Tiki Brand’s Bitefighter LED String Lights illuminate outdoor spaces while also helping ward off these nasty pests. Each weatherproof string has three pods that give off a safe-for-humans-and-pets scent that drives mosquitoes away. The replaceable pods can banish the bugs for up to 200 hours (that’s about one season, according to TIKI Brand, based on an average use of 2.4 hours per day for 90 days). No bugs around? Turn off the repellency and just enjoy the glow. Add up to eight strings for a large outdoor area.
Humidifiers can play a role in your wellness routine. The extra moisture they put into the air is good for dry skin (not to mention frizzy hair), and it can help relieve allergy and cold symptoms like coughing and congestion. Gardeners know that many houseplants need more humidity than the average home provides, and the right amount can even help prevent wood furniture and floors from drying out and cracking. LEVOIT's OasisMist 1000S Smart Ultrasonic Cool Mist Tower Humidifier comes with a voice and remote control and an aroma box for adding essential oils. It holds 10 liters of water and can run up to 100 hours for fewer refills.
Even if you can’t hang string lights in an outdoor space — say you’re on an apartment balcony, at a campsite or picnicking in the park — you can still deter mosquitoes with the portable Thermacell EL55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller + Glow Light. This tabletop device runs on a rechargeable battery that lasts up to nine hours if you’re using the repellant feature and up to 5.5 hours when you’re also using the built-in light. Scent-free, easy-to-refill cartridges diffuse a repellant into the air to create a 20-foot zone of mosquito protection. Turn off or dim the light as desired.
It’s wise to clean your barbeque grill before each use, but sometimes grill brushes lose their wire bristles. That’s bad news if they end up in your food and you ingest them. The Q-Swiper BBQ Grill Cleaner combines a bristle-free brush and scraper with moist wipes to remove grease and grime. You can also buy dry Q-Swiper Grill Cleaning Cloths and moisten them when you’re ready; they’re washable and biodegradable. The Q-Swiper Steam Clean Grill Cleaner with reusable, heat-resistant Kevlar cleaning cloths gives you even more cleaning power.