How to Green Your Kitchen

Go green at home with these easy stepsKitchens can be a wonderful source of joy and relaxation, as cooks prepare meals for themselves, friends, and family. But in reality, they are often overcrowded, disorganized, and much smaller than we'd all like. So instead of keeping your kitchen in its current state, try to give it a makeover - in the green sense of the word.

Click here to learn 11 Ways to Green Your Kitchen

Spring cleaning is in full force (or is on the to-do list, at least), and making simple swap outs or changes in the kitchen can not only help decrease the amount of items in your cabinets, but also lessen the impact you're making on the Earth.

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From purchasing eco-friendly cookware to avoiding paper towels and taking advantage of common kitchen staples for industrial cleaners, there's a lot that can easily be done to "green" the kitchen. Though they may not seem significant at the time, little steps and changes can make a big difference over time, especially as more and more people begin to adopt green practices.

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Check out these ideas, including tips from Mary Moppins, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning, on how to use common kitchen items as cleaners.

BambooeeLessen Paper Towel Use
Instead of going through rolls and rolls of paper towels, try using dishcloths or re-usable towels like this product made from Bamboo. Apparently, 20 sheets of Bambooee are equivalent to 60 regular towels and can be washed up to 20 times in the washing machine.

XtremaBuy Green Cookware
Purchasing equipment made of cast iron is a green move because, if properly taken care of, it can last your lifetime and beyond. Or, try purchasing green cookware that you can trust and is safe to use, like the Xtrema products pictured at left. Xtrema cookware is made of inorganic non-reactive natural minerals that make the product environmentally friendly.

IstockPhoto/ThinkStockCleaning Cast Iron
Skip the harsh soap and opt for removing stuck food on a cast-iron pan by boiling an inch of water and a drop of organic dish soap for a few minutes, says Moppins. After, she says to wipe on an oil to prevent rust or sticking.

RELATED: Green Your Kitchen Tools and Habits

IstockPhoto/ThinkStockCleaning Copper
Instead of purchasing chemical-filled copper cleaners online, take Moppins advice to clean both brass and copper: sprinkle a cut lemon with salt. Rubbing the outside of the copper with the lemon will help return its shine, while the salt adds some abrasive elbow grease.

IstockPhoto/ThinkStockThe Usefulness of Baking Soda
Leftover baking soda? Moppins suggests using it for scrubbing sinks or mixing it with vinegar, water, and a little organic liquid dish soap to remove food stuck on the bottom of pans mix the vinegar and water together and heat them, then pour into the pan and add a little dish soap and baking soda to really get tough-to-remove foods off.

ULTRA-FRefresh Drains with Your Own Home-Grown Herbs
If you've taken tip number one and started growing your own herbs, then this will be a no-brainer for you. For unwanted smells, Moppins says to "freshen up a disposal drain by grinding up an oregano leaf."

IstockPhoto/ThinkStockCoffee Grounds - But Not for Drinking
Instead of using baking soda to absorb unwanted refrigerator odors, Moppins says to use coffee grounds, which are more effective.

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- Yasmin Fahr, The Daily Meal