I’ve always told myself that I care about the environment as much as the next person. Well, at least as much as the next working mom with three kids, three dogs, and a limited amount of both time and the other type of “green” stuff. Yet I am also aware that being a busy, budget-conscious parent and pet guardian doesn’t give me an excuse to add to the depletion of the ozone layer. In fact, just the opposite is true.
From aerosol sprays to insecticides to carpet cleaners, the products we might regularly use in our homes have the potential to harm not only the environment—but our children and animals, as well. So, what’s the best way to protect Mother Earth and our families (furry and otherwise) while effectively maintaining our homes?
The Eco Efforts of a Typical Pet Guardian
In my quest to go green without having to go overboard, I sought out the expertise of my friend Heather Overdorf. As a mom, pet guardian, and homeowner, her decisions about everything from dish detergents to interior decorating have always struck me as nothing if not environmentally friendly. It was only recently, however, that she explained exactly how greener living goes hand-in-hand with her efforts to be a more responsible pet parent.
“Selfishly, I [get] to pay a lot less attention to things going on in my house,” she says. “Since my decorating, cleaning, and cooking all involve green products, I don’t have to worry if my cat, Su, ingests some of the disinfectant that just spilled out of the spray bottle my toddler knocked over. Most of what we keep around the house is all-natural and is fruit- or vegetable-based.”
When asked to describe a specific example of how being environmentally conscious at home benefits her cat, Overdorf cites her use of nontoxic insect repellent. “When we had ants awhile back, I knew we had to be careful about spraying a toxic insecticide because Su licks the windows and floors all the time,” she explains. “It followed that whatever I put on those surfaces would be something she’d inevitably ingest.” Overdorf’s Earth-friendly, kitty-conscious solution to an unwelcome army of ants? “We read about—and ultimately had success with—a mint- and lavender-based spray,” she notes. “The ants were repelled by it, and we didn’t have to worry about keeping Su or the kids cooped up in a separate part of the house all day.”
Next: Tips from green homecare experts