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Best Green Household Items

Today’s top green household products can’t be easily dismissed, even if your idea of “getting back to nature” is keeping a houseplant. In many cases, green products are safer, more durable, and cheaper. You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the Sierra Club to use these five green household products that are good for your health and the environment.

Paper goods.

Paper towels are an addictive waste. The versatility of cloth napkins makes them a great substitute for the disposable version. Amazon has a variety of fancy cloth napkins, though I prefer to purchase everyday cloth napkins from Etsy. If only there were a similar solution for toilet paper!

Reusable water bottles.

With hundreds of customizable and stylish designs, there is no excuse for trashing the earth with ugly plastic water bottles instead of carrying around a reusable one. Stainless steel water bottles keep their shape better than aluminum ones and can be purchased at grocers, drugstores, and big-box retailers. I’ve seen basic models for as low as $5 each, which is a negligible cost when compared to buying bottles of water that you only use once.

Cleaners.

Say goodbye to harsh chemicals and hello to baking soda, vinegar, and lemon. It’s a major bonus that these top green cleaners are incredibly inexpensive. I tested these natural cleaners on the dirtiest areas in my home, the kitchen sink and bathroom shower tiles, and was shocked by their performance.

Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Multipurpose cleaner is a hit with countertops and I have heard that you can also use Next to Godliness Dish Soap in the dishwasher, as shampoo, and when you run out of bubble bath.

When in doubt about the accuracy of “green” and “natural” claims, terms which are not regulated by the FDA, look for products from Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s, or Method. These three trusted brands use biodegradable ingredients and are not tested on animals. Plus, they are readily available at common retailers, such as Target and Whole Foods.

Micro cloth sponges.

Traditional sponges don’t last more than three months before they leave my fingers reeking of mold. It seems so unfair, considering how pricey they are. I switched to quick-drying micro cloths on a whim and found, even though they lack a scrubber, they perform just as well as their traditional rival. The best part is, a set of Super Amazon Kitchen Cloths from Trader Joe’s only costs a few dollars and last for years. I toss mine in the washer when they need a deep cleaning.

Glass containers.

According to Harvard Medical School, microwaving food in plastic containers may not be safe. To avoid this hazard, transition to glass containers with a plastic lid that can be removed during reheating. I like the ones from Rubbermaid and Pyrex is a good bet, too.

If you’re still looking for a particular green product, check out GreenHome.com. This San Francisco-based company has been around since 1999 and sells green products from more than 200 suppliers.

Julia writes the money-saving blog BargainBabe.com.