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Green Cleaning for Guys

Most of us, even though we don’t mean to, treat the environment like a punching bag. The average American creates thousands of pounds of CO2 for heat, light, transportation and other energy-sucking activities each year (calculate your carbon footprint and learn ways to offset it at But if we all make a few small adjustments as individuals, it’ll add up to something meaningful.


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It’s easy to treat the planet like a lady.

Example: An automatic dishwasher uses much less water and energy than washing dishes by hand, and it’s faster and easier to boot. This is a no-brainer of the highest magnitude, and it’s only one of many “small things” we can do.

Here are more suggestions, room by room.

  • Use chlorine- and phosphate-free dishwashing soaps.
  • Don’t pre-rinse dishes before placing in dishwasher (you really don’t need to…honestly).
  • A baking soda/water paste cleans most sink and fixture surfaces (porcelain, plastic, stainless steel and chrome) and countertops too.

To help your fridge run more efficiently:

  • Don’t jam-pack it.
  • Dust the cooling coils underneath or behind it regularly.

    Clean spills on the stovetop or inside the oven when they’re still warm (try to avoid heavy-duty oven cleaners).
  • Fix dripping faucets.
  • Put in a low-flow shower head.
  • Take shorter showers (mine are about two minutes long and I’m squeaky-clean).
  • Try to clean sinks, toilet, shower or bath more often with non-toxic cleaners to reduce the need for heavy-duty chemical cleaner.
  • Get a low-volume toilet.
  • Use toilet paper made from recycled pulp.
  • Clean shower and tub after every use – it requires less cleanser and less effort in the long run.
  • Every few times you change bedding, sprinkle baking soda on top of your mattress and vacuum it up to clean and freshen the surface.
  • Quickly freshen pillows in a dryer set on “air only".
  • Keep closets free of mildew, mold and mustiness by not jamming them with clothes, which hinders ventilation.
  • Keep a container of baking soda or a sock filled with kitty litter in closets and dresser drawers to freshen and absorb moisture.
  • Change or clean furnace/AC filters every two months.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector if you have a gas furnace.
  • Prevent mold by keeping the basement dry with a dehumidifier.
  • Use plant-based, phosphate-free laundry soaps and detergents (it’s on the label).
  • When you replace washers and dryers, buy efficient models.
  • Wash laundry in cold or warm water, not hot.
  • Use oxygen bleach instead of chlorine.
All Around the House
  • Use fewer chemical cleaners, replacing them with green alternatives (again, it’s on labels).
  • Switch to energy-saving compact fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs.
  • Purchase reusable cleaning tools and supplies, not disposable ones.
  • Use dimmable lights.
  • Use rechargeable batteries (once you buy a charger and make the transition, you’ll love ‘em and save money).
  • Try alternatives to disposable diapers (sure it’s more work, but the kid will grow up in a cleaner world).
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Use ceiling or room fans instead of air conditioning.
  • Recycle.
Everywhere Else
  • Take your own canvas shopping bag to the supermarket, or reuse the ones they gave you last time (many supermarkets have a bin at the entrance for recycling plastic bags).
  • Refill water bottles, don’t keep buying new.
  • Carpool or take public transportation.
  • Use drip irrigation, not sprinklers, on your lawn.
  • Buy second-hand clothing (except underwear).
  • Buy in bulk, or purchase products in concentrated form.
  • Compost food scraps with grass clippings and leaves.
  • Get your name off many junk mail lists.


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Green Cleaning for Guys:  Created on December 26th, 2011.  Last Modified on December 30th, 2011


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About Tom McNulty, author of Clean Like A Man

Tom McNulty, author of Clean Like A ManTom McNulty is the author of CLEAN LIKE A MAN — Housekeeping for Men (and the Women Who Love Them). It’s filled with dozens of tips, tricks and MANdatory Advice to streamline housecleaning. The book is available on and on Tom's own website,, where you'll find even more manly cleaning advice.



Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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