The Laundry Room
Like you, I want to wear fresh-smelling clothes, and I abhor the chemical fragrances that have been added to conventional cleaning products. They have an overpowering artificial odor, and they're laced with hazardous chemicals.
You can have the most scent-sational clothes on the block when you use natural Laundry Fragrance ($19 for a 40-oz. bottle), available in lavender, pure grass, Italian citrus and Paris rain. Simply add 1/3 cup to your washing machine's rinse cycle for an olfactory boost. Refills (64 oz.) are available for $25 in three fragrances: lavender, Paris rain and pure grass.
You'll save electricity and reduce the time your clothes spend in the dryer by 25% when you order a set of Dryer Balls ($18). These little wonders replace chemical-laced liquid fabric softeners, as well as disposable fabric softener sheets that invariably wind up in landfills. As your laundry tumbles dry, the spiky dryer balls help separate clothing items, yielding a much fluffier load. Air flow is also improved, thereby decreasing lint and making ironing a snap.
The dish towels you find at local mass merchandisers are seldom manufactured from organic or natural materials, and our dependence on paper towels generates its fair share of trash. I really like these Plant Fiber Dish Cloths, priced at $18 for one dozen (sold as three sets of four towels). The soft, reusable, tear-resistant, lint-free cloths measure 9-1/3" x 5-1/2" and are made of 99.9% plant fiber. As a bonus, each fast-drying, super-absorbent, 100% biodegradable towel contains an agent that inhibits bacterial growth.
I love the smell of fresh parsley when cooking, so why not enjoy it when you're cleaning? If you're sensitive to citrus-scented cleansers, you can tackle jobs large and small with Parsley All Purpose Kleener ($5.85 for 22 oz.). This natural, 100% biodegradable solution has a light parsley scent, and you can use it on kitchen countertops and other hard surfaces. Each bottle has a trigger spray.
Around the House
Bet you never thought of vacuuming carpets and floors as a pleasurable aromatherapy experience. You will if you use Vacuum Beads ($14), available in lavender, Italian citrus, Paris rain and pure grass scents. Each jar handles 12 to 14 vacuuming cycles. Simply place 20 fragranced beads in your vacuum's empty canister or bag, and you'll freshen the air while you attack dirty carpets and floors. Unlike store-bought carpet fresheners, there's no powder residue or artificial odors.
After you've vacuumed, add some natural lavender fragrance to your clothes closets. Lavender Closet Sachets ($12.50 for a set of three 4" lavender-filled organza bags) freshen your linens, while also repelling moths and insects. Each sachet is filled with premium lavender buds that will protect your woolens and cottons.
Harness Mother Nature's power by using houseplants to rid your home of indoor pollutants. In How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office, Dr. B.C. Wolverton explores the dangers of indoor pollution, how houseplants purify the air, growing techniques and the benefits of specific plants. "Plants are the lungs of the earth: They produce the oxygen that makes life possible, add precious moisture and filter toxins," he notes. "Houseplants can perform these essential functions in your home or office with the same efficiency as a rainforest in our biosphere."
If you battle insomnia, you can create a calm, relaxing bedroom environment with Sleep Soother Room Tranquilizer ($16.95 for 8 oz.). Just spritz your bed -- or even yourself! -- with this comforting blend of traditional essential oils, including lavender, neroli, Turkish rose, sandalwood, basil and melissa. Your muscles will relax, and you'll quietly drift off to sleep. If you're still having trouble, turn to Dr. Deepak Chopra's Complete Mind/Body Solution for Insomnia ($29.95), a four-CD, eight-lesson course that shows you how to apply Ayurvedic principles to conquer sleeplessness -- an American epidemic. You'll learn dozens of techniques to restore your biological rhythms and enjoy a sound sleep. A 36-page workbook is included.
Sustainable Home Makeovers