Golden rules

1: Open windows to freshen your home

There are more toxic gases inside our homes than outside. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), wallpaper and even nail varnish emit harmful gas. Make careful DIY choices and open windows for fresh air.

2: Think about energy saving

Balance good insulation with good ventilation. But don’t open windows when the heating is on.

3: Think quality pieces that will last

Find second-hand furniture at antique sales, junk shops, car-boot sales and house clearances. You can also borrow from a friend or relative. When you don’t want something, pass it on. Don't just chuck it out.

4: Banish aerosols

Air fresheners fill your home with a toxic soup. Avoid wasting money and open a window instead.

5: Floor show

Fitted carpets store up toxic chemicals in your home. So get vacuuming. As carpets wear out replace them with smooth surface such as wood, laminate flooring or natural linoleum.

6: Avoid all PVC products

It may be easy to wipe down, but PVC is environmentally dirty to make and can't be recycled.

7: Ask questions

Sofas, carpets, computers and TVs are coated with fire-protective materials. These brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are hormone disruptors. Ikea does not stock items treated with BFRs.

8: Keep stuff

Buy white goods for the kitchen (eg fridges) which have the highest energy rating and the longest guarantees. This cuts down on the amount being sent to landfill or incinerators.

9: Cleaning up

Clean with natural products, such as salt, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and lemon juice. This will mean a smaller shopping bill, fewer chemicals and less packaging.

10: Avoid dry cleaning

Cancer-causing residues from dry-cleaning can be absorbed into the body. Choose easy-care clothes with less harmful dyes. Avoid using fabric softener by drying outside or hanging clothes near the window.

20 tips to a greener lifestyle >

This is an extract from Save cash & save the planet.