15 Easy, Green & Non-toxic Nursery Tips
Maybe you recycle and maybe you buy organic food and maybe you use reusable bags, but have you gone green in the nursery? There are tons of ways to create a kid's space that's safe and eco-friendly. To kick off your efforts, here are 15 easy, green & non-toxic nursery tips!
1. When you buy new furnishings, buy eco-friendly, natural, non-toxic products whenever possible. People assume buying green costs a fortune, but that’s not always the case. With an increased demand for safe, eco-friendly products the marketplace is seeing new products come to light every day – which means competition – which means lower prices. Just as an example, check out our posts featuring eco-friendly cribs for every budget and eco-friendly rocking chairs for every budget.
2. Reduce. Especially for first-time parents, it’s hard to know what you’ll need to care for your new little bundle. Inevitably, we all end up with piles of stuff we don’t. When you’re shopping for your child, stop and consider if you really need it.
3. Reuse. When you do need something for your child or her nursery, consider if it’s something you can find gently used. Whether it’s clothes, toys, books, furnishings, almost anything – secondhand retailers are popping up on every corner these days and sites like eBay, Craigslist, Rocka-Buy Gear, Swap Baby Goods, and others make it easier than ever to reuse, reuse, reuse.
4. Recycle. Keep waste out of landfills by recycling everything you can. Visit Earth911.com to find out how and where to recycle everything from shampoo bottles to car seats.
5. Clean green. Conventional cleaners contain harmful chemicals that pollute indoor air and outdoor waterways. Use these easy DIY, super-safe solutions for any surface or wall woes.
- All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon water. (Add a couple drops of lavender or grapefruit oil for a light scent.)
- Mark and Smudge Eraser: With kids come crayons and markers and pencils and oftentimes they leave a little graffiti on your walls. Most marks can be cleaned off of painted surfaces by rubbing gently with a damp rag and some baking soda. Wipe, rinse, and breathe a sigh of relief.
- Sticker Goo: To remove sticker goo, spray with vinegar, wait 15 minutes, then gently rub. Repeat if necessary.
7. Power down. Unplug whatever you can to reduce your energy use. Even when things are turned off, they still pull power from the outlet (referred to as “energy vampires”). Is there a decorative lamp that’s rarely turned on? A radio or clock that’s not necessary? Look around and pull the plugs. Just be sure those cords are kept safely away from baby and outlets are covered using safety plugs.
8. Grow some green. Houseplants are an easy way to incorporate nature into your home and they can also help clean up indoor air. Studies conducted by NASA and other researchers have identified many plants to clean indoor air. Harmful, common pollutants including toluene, xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde (chemicals linked to cancer and neurodevelopmental toxicity – among other things) are absorbed through the plant’s leaves and neutralized in the soil. Check out our full blog post that lists the best plants that are safe and non-toxic for the nursery (and are also fairly durable for those of us with brown thumbs).
9. Make your own baby wipes. Reduce your use of plastic and your contribution to the waste stream by making your own wipes. Here’s an easy recipe from our friends at Healthy Child Healthy World:
Homemade Baby Wipes
- Roll of paper towels (cut in half to make short rolls)
- 1/8-1/4 cup castile soap
- 1/8-1/4 cup vegetable oil (e.g. olive, almond, apricot, etc)
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 plastic container that the roll will fit in
Directions: Cut roll in half and remove center cardboard. In container, mix liquid ingredients, and place half of roll in container, cut side down. Place on lid, seal tightly and tip upside down. To use, pull out from center. Go even greener by using washable fabric squares!
10. Wash your laundry in cold water. Okay, this isn’t a nursery tip per se, but plenty of laundry will come out of that room, so we’ll felt it was still applicable. Did you know that almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water? The Sierra Club says switching to cold-water washing eliminates about 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
11. Hang insulating curtains. Not only do they help block light better (meaning your baby will sleep better), insulating curtains also help keep a room warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer which will reduce your heating and cooling energy use.
12. If you’re expecting, create an eco-friendly baby registry. Click through for 9 non-toxic and eco-friendly baby registry ideas.
13. Make the switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs. According to Energy Star, LED light bulbs use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 10 to 25 times longer.
14. Use non-toxic* paint if you decide to renovate. Lullaby Paints are the perfect choice – truly zero-VOC ** (unlike most competitors) and premium coverage and quality (meaning you’ll spend less per square foot). Also, we’ve revolutionized the packaging! Our eco-pouches are made from recycled materials, use fewer resources, reduce shipping emissions, and extend the life of leftover paint (meaning less waste). Order your free sample cards today to check them out!
*Conforms to ASTMD-4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation and respiratory effects.
**Conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom and office use). Learn more about VOCs and our commitment to healthier paints here.
15. Use natural odor eliminators. Babies = diapers = stinky. We know. But, don’t reach for air fresheners that simply mask odors or numb your sense of smell using toxic chemicals. Freshen diaper pails and stinky places using things like vinegar, baking soda, coffee grounds, and essential oils. Check out our full post “9 Natural Odor Eliminators.”
Have more ideas? Share them in the comments!