Why You Should Unplug Your Appliances

Unplug appliances

If you’re like the typical American, you’ve probably got about 40 household appliances that you routinely leave plugged in – even when these devices aren’t actively being used.

But did you know that even when they’re turned off, appliances and electronic gadgets gobble up energy, costing you money?

The average U.S. household spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And the DOE says that anywhere from 5% to 10% of your residential electricity is sapped by devices that are plugged in 24 hours a day.Experts say that most plugged-in appliances generally only eat up low levels of electricity, just about a watt or two. But some electronics – like computers and TVs – consume a lot more power, even when they’re just in standby mode. And it’s the cumulative effect of having so many devices plugged in around the clock that can really add up – hurting your efforts to be eco-friendly and cost conscious.

So here’s a quick rundown of a dozen household appliances and electronics you should unplug to save both energy and money:

  • Desktop computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Televisions
  • DVD players and VCRs
  • Modems
  • Cable TV boxes
  • Cordless phones
  • Stereos and radios
  • Coffeemakers
  • Lamps
  • Toasters
  • iPods and electronic gadgets sapping energy from a plug-in transformer

Things like your DVR and alarm clock need to stay on for obvious reasons — you don’t want to miss a TV program you meant to tape or wake up late for work because your alarm clock wasn’t plugged in.

Alternatives to Unplugging Household Appliances

While it’s smart to unplug to save money, some devices don’t lend themselves well to being constantly unplugged and then re-plugged. Take your cable box, for instance. Unplugging it means the cable box may need a few minutes to reprogram once you plug it back in. That’s kind of a pain, especially if your box doesn’t reboot itself automatically and you have to do a manual reconfiguration of everything.

And what about your washer and dryer? It could certainly help to unplug those mammoth appliances, too. But depending on where and how your washer and dryer are set up, it may not be easy – or even possible – to push those heavy-duty appliancesto the side and get to the plugs on a daily basis.

These are just a few reasons why it can be a hassle to go around unplugging devices and then plugging them up again the next day. Besides, who has time to do that every day? So here’s another option: Use a power strip for various devices, and simply flip the power strip switch, rather than unplug everything.

Another tip: Opt for devices with built-in, energy-saving features. For example, some cell phone chargers “unplug” internally when no phone is connected. Also, various retailers offer plug adapters or power strips that only use power for a pre-set time (like three or six hours) After the pre-determined time ends, these gadgets stop eating electricity.

Finally, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of unplugging electronics around your house, think about ways to tweak your energy use. For instance, say you and the kids are big Wii fans. If you keep the Wi-Fi connection active on your Nintendo Wii even while the game isn’t in use, it’s sucking up about 10 watts of power. But by turning off the Wi-Fi connection, your energy usage drops to just 1.3 watts.

Keeping The Environment Safe From Harmful Chemicals


Think about recycling and maybe the first thing to pop into your head isn’t damage that’s done to the earth when we use products with harmful chemicals, but that’s part of the cycle, too. As well as reducing waste, recycling products and reusing what can be reused, protecting the earth from harm is all a part of the same cause. It’s not something we set out to do, at the beginning of the day; the thought isn’t, “Hmmm, how can I hurt the Earth today?” It probably sounds something much more like, “Gee, I need to clean today, let me reach under the cubboard and see what I have,” not realizing that whatever is done with the products I use to clean, once I’ve cleaned, can be harmful to not only the earth itself, but any living things that may come in contact with the wash off.

We live in a sterilized world, where the idea of a clean home, clean work place and clean where ever we take our children is the first order of business. But we need to stop and think about what harm we may be doing in our quest for the cleanest living area. Is it worth a colony of ants to clean your kitchen floor with a harmful chemical, and that when you dump out the bucket that contains those chemicals, onto the ant hill, you risk wiping out the entire population? Maybe you don’t like ants, and maybe that wasn’t the best example, but you know what I mean. We have a responsibility to the other creatures that share this Earth with us to not purposely do it, and them, harm. We need to be mindful of what our actions are producing and how our actions affect all other living things.

There are so many options for safe-cleaning on the market today that you don’t really have to look much further than your local grocery shelf. Pay attention to the words that describe the items you are buying. Do they contain the words, toxic, poisonous, or dangerous? If they do, then keep reading the next product’s ingredients, there is a better choice out there. Many chemicals are unable to breakdown after they have been used and may make their ways into the streams and have a disasterous affect on any forms of life that inhabit the stream. It will only take a little effort on the part of consumers to prevent something like this from happening, but we must start somewhere. We need to be careful with the chemicals we have easy access to and become more responsible for what happens as the result of our choices. It really isn’t all that hard to make an informed choice and help the Earth; we certainly don’t want to hurt it but being irresponsible with basic cleaning products can do just that; we can end up causing great harm to the planet on which we live. Remember, it doesn’t take much more than a little awareness to be an advocate for the health of the place we call home.

Be Smart. Shop Smart. Clean Smart.



Green Cleaning Tips


If you have taken the time and effort to remodel or redecorate your home and going green, then it is important to remember that you have to maintain that greenness afterwards as well.

Cleaning green is an excellent way to honor your going green choices. Many individuals think that going green is something new; however, if you speak to some elders you will see that being green has been around for quite some time ñ at least in the cleaning department.

Our grandmothers probably used things like lemon juice for laundry stains and baking soda to clean out the refrigerator.  Sometimes something old is something new again.

Paper Products

It really is not necessary to go through a case of paper towels every month for the sake of cleaning your home. Saving paper by avoiding disposable paper towels is a top-notch way to save trees. When you save trees, you save the environment.

* You can use newspaper and a vinegar and water solution for sparkling clean windows.
* Use washcloths for wiping down countertops and tables instead of disposable sponges.
* Use old clothing cut into squares for polishing furniture and throw them occasionally into the washing machine.
* Use cloth baby diapers for cleaning your car and throw them into the washing machine along with your other rags.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has long since been used for cleaning in a variety of ways around the house.

* Lemon juice can remove tough stains such as cosmetics from your bathroom countertop. (Of course, spot test a small area and speak to the manufacturer before applying.)
* Instead of using bleach, try a half cup of lemon juice in the rinse cycle for brighter whites.
* Water, vinegar, and lemon juice will tackle the inside of your refrigerator and leave it smelling, well ñ lemony fresh.
* A little squeeze of lemon mixed with your dish detergent will help when you scrub pots and pans.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has many uses around the home, some that you may never have tried.

* Put some baking soda on a damp sponge with a little kosher salt and watch your bathroom sparkle.
* Baking soda is an excellent cleanser for your refrigerator mixed with water and some lemon juice. The lemon juice gives your refrigerator a nice, clean scent.
* Baking soda added into your rinse cycle of your wash will create a soft, clean feel to your clothing.

Common things found in your home such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar go a long way in green cleaning.

You can also learn tips and tricks for creating your own laundry detergent and soap. All-natural essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil are excellent additives to a homemade laundry detergent or a homemade furniture polish.

Here are a few basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:

  • Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.
  • Countertops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.
  • Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.
  • Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive and oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.
  • Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.
  • Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.
  • Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.
  • Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it is out of their reach as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car too—try peppermint, which may help you to stay alert.