Even though we’re all stuck inside this Earth Day, we still encourage everyone to do what they can for the planet. Start with your own home.

Happy Earth Day! This year marks the 50th anniversary of this international event, which is now celebrated in over 190 countries.

Earth Day was started in 1970 thanks to a group of activists who wanted to bring awareness to the well-being of the planet. Air pollution by cars and factories was considered a “normal” part of modern life, and most people were oblivious to the damage they were causing the planet.

After an oil spill in 1969, a Wisconsin senator and dozens of fellow activists put forward the idea of rallying college students, organizations, and religious groups. Over 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day in 1970.

Fifty years later, that number has grown to a billion people participating all over the world.

Unfortunately, we’re all stuck inside this Earth Day, and the usual events have been canceled. But we still encourage everyone to do what they can for the planet. That can start in your own home.

Maid to Clean is a green cleaning service that is focused on making your home clean while sticking to environmentally-friendly values. And we would love to give you some simple tips in order to make your home greener, on Earth Day and every day.

“Going green” has sometimes been seen as something you have to go out of your way to do, or spend a lot of money on. After all, it’s hard for the average person to invest in solar panels for their roof and an electric car for their garage.

But it doesn’t have to be expensive. Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean making massive changes to your life. Instead, focus on small ways you can help the earth, even while you’re stuck at home. These can help just as much, and they’re easy to do.

1. Reuse, whenever possible

Using something more than once means that one less thing has to get thrown away.

Especially when you’re cleaning, multi-use items are very environmentally-friendly. We use cleaning cloths instead of paper towels. They’re a great investment for your own home. Use microfiber cloths to clean your countertops, wipe up spills, and anything else you’d normally use paper towels for. These can then be rinsed off and put in the washing machine. They’ll come out clean and ready to use again.

Try reusable items in other places in your home. In your kitchen, buy dry food items in bulk and store them in labeled glass or plastic containers. This allows you to see how much you have left, plus it makes it easier for you to organize your pantry.

Of course, certain things like medical items should not be reused for the sake of your health. Be sure to follow the CDC’s advice when it comes to masks, latex gloves, and other similar items.

2. Reduce

Reducing what you purchase is especially practical right now, when you can’t get to stores regularly. Instead of buying many single-use items wrapped in plastic, buy items in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging.

Reducing can also give you something to do while you’re stuck inside. Instead of buying bread or cookies at the store – which likely come in plastic or paper packaging – have fun making it yourself – no packaging required.

3. Recycle

If you’re looking into green cleaning companies like Maid to Clean, chances are you already recycle, but it’s still important to mention in this list.

Nearly 28,000 tons of plastic get thrown into landfills every year, while only 3,000 tons get recycled and given a second life. Be sure to check your local regulations to see what materials can be recycled, and if you can commingle items.

4. Check the temperature of your fridge and your home

Check the temperature settings on your fridge and freezer as well. Over time, these can get bumped, or shifted, meaning that your refrigerator is not running at the right. Making sure that these temperatures are set correctly can help you save energy.

As well, be conscious of your home’s temperature, especially if you don’t have a programmable thermostat. Reducing your home’s temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day can bring down your heating bill by as much 10 percent.

5. Use environmentally-friendly products

This is something we’re obviously passionate about, as a business that uses green cleaning products. There are lots of cleaning products on the market to choose from, but some are more environmentally friendly than others.

You can also make your own effective cleaning products out of non-toxic products like baking soda and vinegar. Check out some of our suggestions for ways you can easily clean up common household stains – without breaking out the chemicals. Many of these involve items you already have around your home, like lemon juice, old cloths, and pencil erasers.

6. Choose environmentally-friendly companies

Similar to the above point, it’s a great practice to choose green companies. Going with people who share your views means you can form long-lasting relationships built on mutual beliefs.

Unfortunately, as more people become aware of environmental issues, some companies out there have decided that “green” is an attractive label to customers. They put it on their products or services without changing much about their product.

If you’re in the market for any new service or product and want to choose a green option, be sure to look into their business practices to understand what they’re doing for the environment. Are they just labeling themselves to look good, or do they actually work to better the environment?

7. Support local businesses

As a locally owned business ourselves, we highly encourage people to support people within their community, especially once stores open up again. Local businesses are more likely than international chains to give back to their community, making it a better place to live for everyone. Maid to Clean, for instance, donates to local causes like local schools, food banks, and the Alexandria Humane Society.

8. Use appliances efficiently to conserve energy and water

Appliances take energy and water to run, whether you’re washing one plate or ten, one shirt or twenty.

Make sure to load up your dishwasher fully before running. Or if your dishwasher has a top row setting instead, use that for smaller loads.

Washing machines can use anywhere from 14 to 20 gallons of water per load, depending on their age or Energy Star rating. Older machines can even use up to 40 gallons. That’s a lot of water for just one load of laundry.

Wash your clothes efficiently by washing full loads, and using cold water as much as possible.