5 household chores you shouldn't do anymore
Just because your parents did something doesn't mean you should. Here are some once-regular tasks and occasional projects that should either be avoided or done very differently than back in the day.
How many times have you caught yourself muttering, “Dad always did it this way,” as you plunged without thinking into yet another time-consuming household chore?
But the fact is that when it comes to some tasks around the house, father doesn’t always know best (neither does mom, for that matter). Experts say there are several household jobs you just shouldn’t do anymore — or that you should do a lot differently — because we know more now than in dear old dad’s day.
Join our experts on a tour around the house and yard. You’ll learn a few things — and maybe recoup a few lost hours of your weekend.
1. The chore no more: Sealing your driveway
The problem with it: For a long time, many Americans have sealed their driveways with coal-tar-based sealant, both for appearance and weatherproofing. Here’s the rub: It’s bad for you, and it’s bad for the environment.
Coal-tar-based sealants, mostly found east of the Mississippi, usually contain high amounts of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which the U.S. Geological Survey says “are probable human carcinogens and ... are toxic to fish and other aquatic life.” Those sealants flake off over time. In a recent study, the geological survey found that the dust in apartments next to parking lots that had been coated with coal-tar sealant had concentrations of PAHs that were 25 times higher than in apartments next to parking lots coated with other sealants. And if you’ve coated your driveway with the same sealant, you’re tracking the same dust into your own house.
Some governments are taking the findings seriously: Washington, D.C., has banned that kind of sealant. So have Austin, Texas; Dane County, Wis.; and White Bear Lake, Minn.
What to do instead: If you really want to seal your driveway, look for asphalt emulsion-based sealant, which has “far, far fewer” PAHs in it, says Nancy McClintock, assistant director of Austin’s watershed protection department. Other products free of PAHs exist, but they’re rare, McClintock says, and much more expensive.
Or go another route: Don’t put anything on at all. The manufacturers say that applying sealant protects the driveway and makes it last longer, but “we’ve never seen hard data that necessarily proves that,” McClintock says.
2. The chore no more: Putting fertilizer and pesticides on your lawn
The problem with it: “My grandmother and grandfather never put a drop of fertilizer on their lawns — and you know what? They still had a lawn,” says Paul Tukey, founder of the Safe Lawns Foundation and author of “The Organic Lawn Care Manual.” It’s our parents’ generation that went hog-wild with the fertilizers and the pesticides, Tukey says. And we’ve picked up their habit.
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What’s wrong with that? Plenty. Fertilizers run off into bodies of water, creating algal blooms that can kill fish and other aquatic life. Pesticides affect our health: A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that home and garden pesticide use could increase the risk of childhood leukemia by almost seven times, according to the group Beyond Pesticides. Pesticides also been linked to leukemia in dogs and cats, which is up more than 40% over the past 40 years, Tukey says.
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What to do instead: “I’m not saying that everybody has to go around with a weed-ridden lawn,” Tukey says. “Going organic doesn’t mean having to have an ugly lawn.”
Tukey has a few suggestions for going green without much compromise. First, when you mow, “Don’t gather up the clippings. Let the clippings lay on the lawn.” Or, use a mulching mower. “You get some fertilizer back” when you let the clippings remain on the lawn, Tukey says.
Next, mow your lawn at a higher setting, so that grass can crowd out weeds, he says.
Third, if you do have weeds, do your homework. “Know that those weeds are messengers sent by Mother Nature,” Tukey says.
For instance, if your lawn is growing a lot of dandelions, that’s because your lawn is responding to certain conditions. Dandelions have long taproots that dig deep to get calcium and other nutrients. If you spread high-calcium limestone on your lawn, making it available throughout the soil, “the dandelions aren’t going to die overnight, but they will subside,” Tukey says.
Hire a Cleaning lady, better find a job to pay for her, she's not cheap... I have a steamer and love it.. Because I can't get on my knees and have a bad shoulder...
With the exception of a couple left-wing-nuts, it's agreed.
This article should go in the trash bin.
First, the items are NOT chores, with the exception of mopping.
Second, it seems a bizarre green agenda is the purpose and it rambles without any real reason or fact!
I'll avoid any rantings by this fidiot author.
I LIKE THE GAL DO YOU KNOW HER NAME OR DOES SHE DO DOMESTIC KLEANING JJAJAJAJA
The only thing in this article that make sense is not fertilizing your yard. You do not need to. Once your yard has the proper level of nutreients and ph if you do not remove the grass clippings you will never, ever, in a million years need to fertilize. If you do not remove the grass clippings you are not removeing any nutrients from your yard.
If you want your yard to be better and have less weeds, do not mow it so low, or so often. Grass is a very aggressive plant and will knock out the weeds. Also you must plant a mix of the right kind of grasses. That way they can compete with the weeds year around.
And , dont worry to much about the grass clippings killing your grass. I have mowed lawns on foreclosed homes and the grass was 2 feet tall. I just started mowing it weekly and in about 4 weeks it looked great. The people could not belive it . They think I do all this spraying and fert and raking up grass clippings. The cut grass will decay very very quickly in the heat of the summer. Oh what do I know anyway, I have only been growing grass for 20 years on my sod farm. We never haul the clipping off. that would be terriable. Then we would have to buy more fertilizer. And we always let the grass get 5-6 inches tall to get it established well and crowd out the weeds before we do the first mowing.
First of all, is anybody going to even comment on the actual article? This is supposed to be a "household chores" article. How many of you seal a drive-way or replace sub-floors in your home on a regular basis (meaning at least 3 or 4 times a month)? Are these household chores, or once-in-a-blue moon home maintenance projects? The only one I see that's a household chore is the mopping of the floors. How about something on prolonging the times between cleaning the bath or dusting?
****! YOU DID NOT RECOGNIZE MY FIRST E-MAIL. THESE GO GREEN FREAKS ARE OUT OF CONTROL, CONVINCING THE PUBLIC THAT ALL WILL BE BETTER. HOW BETTER WILL IT BE WHEN ALL OF THESE ELEMENTS FROM GO GREEN COST YOU MORE MONEY BECAUSE A LARGE BAND OF WORLD WIDE TRADE FRAKS STAND TO MAKE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND NO REAL ACTUAL GOOD WILL HAPPEN. THEY WILL GET RICH AND YOU J Q PUBLIC WILL GET POORER AND POORER! DO NOT BELIEVE EVRY RHETORICAL BUNCH OF GARBAGE JUST BECAUSE IT SOUNDS CONVINCING.
THIS IS BS. ALL OF THIS GOING GREEN AND SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT IS A BUNCH OF GARBAGE RHETORIC DEVISED BY THE GREENPEACE ORGANIZATION AMONG OTHERS. THEY AND MANY OTHER HIGH DOLLAR INSTITUTIONS ARE CONVINCING THE PUBLIC THAT WE NEED TO GO "GREEN." WHAT THE PUBLIC DOES NOT REALIZE AND GETS SUCKED UP IN THIS GARBAGE IS THAT THE WORLD WIDE "GO GRENN," IS BIG WORLD WIDE CORPORATIONS THAT ARE FUNDING THIS GARBAGR PROPAGANDA. THESE MEGA BILLIONAIRES, WHICH INCLUDE POLITICIANS WILL GET RICH OFF OF THESE THINGS, UNKNOWINGLY, THE PUBLIC WILL HAVE TO PAY MORE FOR MERCHANDISE, CARS, TRUCK ETC THAT GO GREEN AND HYBRID.
ENOUGH SAID, FARMERS HAVE USED COW **** (KNOWN AS MANURE), OTHER PESTICIDES THAN DDT FOR THE PAST 30 PLUS YEARS AND STATISTICALLY, I DO NOT SEE THE LOGIC IN THIS UNNECESSARY RHETORIC TO SAVE OUR PLANET. THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, WE AS J Q PUBLIC WILL BE CONTROLLED IN OUR HOUSE WHEN WE CAN EVEN TAKE A ****! IT IS CALLED GOVERNMENTAL CONTROL AND IT WORKS SO DAMN WELL, THEY CAN ALMOST CONVINCE THE PUBLIC TO JUMP OFF OF A CLIFF INSISTING THEY WILL FLY AWAY MIRACULOUSLY, ONLY TO REALIZE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DECEIVED AND FALL FLAT ON THEIR FACE.