It’s officially spring. Bring on the April showers, the May flowers, and bunnies – dust bunnies, that is. It’s time for many of us to give our houses a seasonal deep cleaning, in essence kicking out winter and starting fresh. But what if you could clean everything while reducing your carbon footprint in the process? Well, you can, and here are some green, eco-friendly spring cleaning tips to get you started.
Embracing the Three “R’s”
Before you go crazy throwing away everything you haven’t used or even touched in months, consider the three “R’s” – reduce, reuse, and recycle. For every item you’re planning on throwing away, ask yourself if you can use it in a different way around the house. If you truly can’t think of anything, try listing your unwanted things on www.freecycle.org, a site designed to unite people who have things to get rid of with the people in need of said things, and reducing the amount of garbage in the dumps in the process. It’s entirely free to use, and all the items on it are free. You don’t even have to swap anything in return. Also, remember to recycle any old paperwork, plastic, glass, or cans you may come across in your cleaning.
Homemade Cleaning Solutions
You don’t need all of the chemicals in everyday household cleaners to get your place squeaky clean. You can make some cleaning solutions yourself, for example, to make your own glass cleaner, take ¼ cup of white vinegar and mix with 1 quart of water. Fill an old spray bottle and spray on your windows or glass, using newspaper to clean it off. Lemon juice or club soda work just as well as the vinegar does, too. Think you need an industrial strength cleaner to get your oven looking like new? Try making a paste out of baking soda and water. After slathering it on the grime in your oven, let it sit overnight. Then take a sponge, preferably one with a rough side, and scrub. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the excess.
If making homemade cleaning solutions aren’t your thing then we recommend using Common Good Home made in Brooklyn.
Reinvent the “L” Word
If you’re lucky enough to have a clothes dryer on hand for the dreaded “L” word, laundry, consider using a retractable clothesline instead. Almost invisible when not in use, it allows you to line-dry your clothes in your house or outside. You’ll be reducing pollution from the dryer and reducing your utility bill at the same time.
Using paper towels is a convenient way to clean, but it is incredibly wasteful. Do your part and save some trees by switching to fiber sponges and rags. They get the job done just as well, if not better than, paper towels. Don’t have rags on hand? Take old clothes or sheets and cut them to the size you need.
Chances are, somewhere in your house, you have an aerosol air freshener, a plug in air freshener, or something like it. And, you probably spend a good amount of money on them each year. Next time you’re looking to freshen up the air in your home, try putting a few drops of an essential oil, like lavender, on a cotton ball and leaving it discretely, and out of the reach of your children, in a room. You’ll find it to do a better job than those overpriced store fresheners, and you’ll be saving the environment and some money in the process.