Are you ready to spring forward? The clocks have been set, and the race is on to declutter and clean.
Spring buds are blooming, and it inspires you to make your cleaning green, too. Transform your approach to spring cleaning with these 11 sustainable and eco-friendly methods.
Crack Your Windows
You can’t get more natural than fresh air. So enjoy the mild springtime weather, and let the breeze in.
Mold, dust and other unhealthy residue builds up in the home, circulated by and through the air vents. Letting in fresh air will help lessen lingering, unexplainable odors in the home and renew your connection to spring after the winter. When the night comes, fall asleep listening to the crickets.
Clean Glass and Mirrors With Vinegar
When cleaning glass and mirrors, a basic recipe to remove common stains is formed by mixing one part vinegar to four parts water in a spray bottle. Use as you would any glass cleaner.
Variations of the glass- and mirror-cleaning recipe may depend on the stain type. For example, waxy film is best removed by a combination of two parts water and one-quarter cup each of vinegar and dish soap.
Make a Green All-Purpose Cleaner
Hate the smell of all-purpose cleaner? To create a less chemically harsh all-purpose cleaner, combine these green ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon borax
- ½ teaspoon washing soda
- 1 teaspoon castile liquid soap
- Any essential oils of choice
Mix ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. If using citrus essential oils, fill a glass spray bottle with the recipe, as a plastic bottle will wear down over time. Use as you would any all-purpose cleaner.
Use Lavender to Freshen the Air
Lavender essential oil has many benefits, including fighting bacteria, improving sleep quality, repelling bugs and purifying the air. To freshen the air in your home, add this oil to your diffuser’s arsenal. Your mood will lift and you’ll have lighter dreams, too.
Polish and Degunk Surfaces With Toothpaste
Toothpaste is an unlikely and versatile cleaner to polish and degunk multiple surfaces in the home. With this minty white goo, you’re able to:
- Scrub away linoleum scuff marks with a squirt and dry a cloth
- Add a thin layer to a cool iron to clean it
- Use non-gel toothpaste to remove ink stains
- Buff your nails for a great shine
- Polish various surfaces, such as diamonds and refrigerator seals, by rubbing softly with a toothbrush
Scrub Out the Oven With a Baking Soda Paste
To clean a gunky oven, combine a paste of water and baking soda. Salt, as an addition, will help for tougher stains. Heat up the oven with the paste inside, and scrub out with steel wool, water and a rag after 20 minutes.
A little vinegar added to water on a rag helps remove baking soda residue. Extra stubborn stains may have to be left overnight and scrubbed out in the morning.
Transform Old Clothes
Upcycling old clothes is a popular trend that isn’t going anywhere fast. Turn baby clothes and blankets into a new quilt. Cut a bulky sweater in half, and add buttons and holes for a new spring cardigan. However, some clothes can’t be saved in this way.
That’s when you transform old clothes into cleaning rags, to be used to polish the furniture, floor, tile and other household surfaces. Clothing fabrics can be scratchy or smooth. A soft flannel makes for a good wood polishing material. Use light colors on light surfaces you don’t want stained, if the dye still has yet to sufficiently fade. Just cut up the material, and you’re good to go.
Make Your Laundry Routine Energy-Efficient
If you can’t yet invest in an energy-efficient washer or dryer, a few laundry routine hacks will save you money and help the environment.
Did you know you may be using too much laundry detergent? When most people see suds, they think cleanliness, but suds actually don’t pick up dirt well. The blue of your detergent may also risk dying your clothes from too much usage. Cold water works just as well to clean as hot, in most cases.
Your best bet is to find a nontoxic, clear alternative and follow the instructions on the label. The proper proportion of detergent, water and spinning will keep soapy residue and dirt off your clothes.
Hang Clothes to Dry
On a calm spring day, save your power and hang your washed clothes outside. If you replace your softener with half a cup of vinegar, it will also help you avoid starchy clothes when hang drying.
If the weather isn’t mild, hang your clothes in a sunroom, or hang delicates in the bathroom, point the fan at them and crack a window. This will dry the items faster and provide circulation to avoid mold and mildew.
Deodor the Garbage Disposal With Fruit Peels
You may have heard of using vinegar to help battle smells and bacteria in the garbage disposal, but what about fruit peels? Freshen up a gross-smelling garbage disposal by letting it break down old lemon, lime or orange peels.
Spend the day making a delicious fruit dessert, and save your collection of peels for the garbage disposal.
Use a Small Broom to Dust
Don’t waste paper towels or use endless chemicals on your furniture. Invest in a small, natural brush to wipe dust off shelves and other surfaces on a weekly basis. Once you have a routine set into place, the dust will have less opportunity to settle, and less cleaning products and paper towels will be used on a once-a-month dusting pass.
Remember: Old clothes transformed into cleaning rags also make for great reusable dust removers in particularly stubborn spaces.
With greener cleaning methods, you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals, and your home will be just as clean, if not more so. As buds bloom and green vines advance, use spring as inspiration to bring eco-friendly and sustainable cleaning practices into your home.