As a clean living advocate, I’m always searching for ways to reduce our exposure to harmful and toxic chemicals. Spring cleaning is a perfect time to make intentional shifts towards “green”!
Here are five green cleaning tips to incorporate into your spring cleaning routine.
Tip 1 :: Let the Sunshine In
Toss out all your air fresheners and let the spring air do the trick. Not only do plug-in air fresheners contain harmful ingredients, you need power outlets for more important things like Alexa or your phone charger. Open your windows and use the breeze to help detox your indoor air quality. Also, make sure you are changing your air filters every 90 days (more frequently if you have pets).
Tip 2 :: Switch Cleaning Products
It can be hard to understand which ingredients are harmful and toxic for your family. Product labels and clever marketing tricks can also trap you into thinking products are safe. Let’s simplify it! If the bottle has a disclaimer such as “harmful or fatal if swallowed” then it’s not ideal that we spray it all over surfaces where we eat, bathe, or let our children play.
While I have a few store-bought cleaning products I use and trust, most of my favorites we make ourselves. (Store-bought faves: Seventh Generation Glass Cleaner, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap, Bon Ami Powder, and the Norwex Mopping System)
Don’t be daunted by the idea of making your own cleaning products. I’m far from a “Pinterest-perfect” mom, and even I can do it! Just think simple and inexpensive by using ingredients already in your kitchen cabinets. My go-to ingredients include: white vinegar, salt, and olive oil. Grab a couple spray bottles on your next trip to Target and you have everything you need!
- All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. I use this on toilets, windows, mirrors, sinks, etc.
- Dishwasher Cleaner: Place white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl and run the hot wash cycle.
- Microwave Cleaner: Place a bowl of white vinegar, heat on high for two minutes, and then wipe out grime with a wet cloth.
- Soap Build-up Remover: Mix one part salt and four parts vinegar. I use this on faucets and sink drains to achieve a sparkling clean look.
- Dust Remover: Many times I simply use a microfiber cloth, but for deep cleaning, a natural dusting spray is simple to make. Mix 1 cup water, ¼ cup white vinegar, and 2 teaspoons olive oil (add 10 drops of lemon essential oil if you want the “I cleaned the house” smell). Shake before each use to mix the oil and water.
Tip 3 :: Implement a “No Shoe Policy”
A “No Shoe Policy” reduces the dirt, germs, and chemicals entering your home. This will help tackle your dust problem and make rushing out the door much easier. Add a simple shelf by your garage or entry door and you will no longer search for your children’s shoes.
So basically, I’m saving your sanity and health! You can thank me later. 🙂
Tip 4 :: Reduce Clutter and Go Paperless
I don’t know about you, but mail is the death of me! Catalogs, unsolicited subscriptions, and bills pile up on countertops or in “everything drawers”. Shifting to paperless can reduce clutter and help the environment.
This is a perfect family project! Our six year old is in charge of getting the mail and he loved helping me go paperless. Get an old Amazon Prime box or whatever box you have and use it as an unnecessary mail box. After 1 – 2 weeks of piling up your unnecessary mail, take 30 minutes and go to the websites to remove yourself from subscription lists. Then go to your bank, student loan, power company, etc. sites and request paperless service. Then let your kids throw the full box into the recycling bin.
Now we often have mail days with only fun mail! Mail isn’t a dreaded activity when it is letters from grandparents or happies from friends; plus, my countertops are spotless. (Okay . . . maybe not spotless!)
Tip 5 :: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (or Sell!)
Spring cleaning is an ideal time to declutter and purge closets, playrooms, and garages. As you remove unused, unwanted, or broken items, always remember the saying we learned as kids: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.
(I have taken the liberty of adding “Sell” because I believe one mom’s trash is another mom’s treasure!)
Here are some ideas we have used for our family. I hope these help you brainstorm ways to incorporate this idea into your spring cleaning.
- Reduce: Switching from zip top snack bags to reusable snack bags
- Reuse: Using glass spaghetti sauce or salsa jars to store nuts & other dried foods
- Recycle: Purchase non-toxic personal care and cleaning products to ensure bottles can safely be recycled
- Sell: Have your kids sell their old Lego sets before they purchase new ones. (This solves so many things including . . . “Mommy, can I buy this?”)
Happy Green Spring Cleaning
I wish for you a manageable, and dare I say enjoyable, spring cleaning season! May you adopt safer, less toxic, and environmentally friendly habits into your routine with these green cleaning tips. Happy Spring from my family to yours!