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The Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning

March 3, 2024
The Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning

Why Spring Clean Green?

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. As the weather warms, many of us feel an urge to declutter, clean, and refresh our living spaces. However, traditional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that are bad for our health and the environment. Eco-friendly cleaning is a great way to spruce up your home while avoiding toxins.

Going green with your spring cleaning routine protects your family’s health. Conventional cleaners often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have been linked to asthma, allergies, and other health issues. Using natural products avoids exposure to these nasty chemicals. An eco-friendly approach also benefits the planet by keeping toxic substances out of the water supply and reducing landfill waste from discarded conventional cleaning bottles.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to green your spring cleaning from top to bottom. Let’s get started!

Green Cleaning Supplies

The foundation of eco-friendly spring cleaning is stocking your cleaning kit with non-toxic supplies. Here are some of my favorite natural cleaning solutions:

Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a versatile cleaner made from natural mineral deposits. It’s abrasive enough to scour surfaces, absorb odors, clean coffee makers, deodorize refrigerators, and extinguish grease and oil fires.

White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is acidic enough to dissolve dirt, grease, and grime. When combined with baking soda, the reaction causes fizzing that lifts away residue. Vinegar disinfects, deodorizes, and cuts through mineral deposits on glass. Use it diluted or straight for tough jobs.

Liquid Castile Soap

Look for unscented castile soap made from plant oils like coconut, olive, jojoba or hemp. Castile soap helps lift dirt from surfaces and can be diluted as a natural all-purpose cleaner. Dr. Bronner’s and Mrs. Meyer’s make excellent castile soap options.

Hydrogen Peroxide

The same hydrogen peroxide you use for cuts and scrapes is a natural disinfectant and whitener. Use it diluted to remove stains from sinks, tubs, and tiles. Never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar as this creates a harmful reaction.

Essential Oils

Add a few drops of antimicrobial essential oils like lemon, peppermint, or tea tree to castile soap or vinegar solutions for extra germ-busting power. Lavender and citrus oils provide natural fragrance. Now Foods and Plant Therapy offer 100% pure essential oils.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Recipes

DIY green cleaners are simple to mix up from ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, and essential oils. Here are some of my go-to solutions:

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp liquid castile soap
  • 20 drops essential oil (optional)
  • 2 cups hot water

Mix ingredients until dissolved and transfer to a squirt bottle. Shake gently before each use. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a cloth.

Glass & Mirror Cleaner

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp liquid castile soap

Combine ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Mist and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth or newspaper for streak-free shine.

Tub & Tile Cleaner

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • Liquid castile soap
  • 3 drops essential oil (optional)

Make a paste by mixing the baking soda with enough soap to achieve a thick yet spreadable consistency. Apply paste and let sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing clean. The baking soda abrasion cuts through soap scum and hard water stains.

Drain Cleaner

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups boiling water

Pour the baking soda down the drain first, followed by the vinegar. Let fizz for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with boiling water to break up residue. For a maintenance solution, pour 1/4 cup baking soda followed by 1/4 cup vinegar down drains weekly.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Techniques

In addition to using natural cleaning solutions, certain techniques can make spring cleaning more sustainable. Here are some of my top tips:

  • Clean top to bottom to avoid re-soiling already cleaned surfaces.
  • Open windows instead of harsh chemicals to freshen air.
  • Use reusable rags, sponges, and mops instead of paper towels.
  • Opt for a broom instead of a vacuum to avoid electricity use.
  • Clean surfaces with hot water, elbow grease, and minimal cleaning products.
  • Disinfect surfaces with diluted hydrogen peroxide or baking soda paste.
  • Remove stains by letting them soak in lemon juice or diluted vinegar.
  • Absorb grease spills with baking soda or cornstarch before wiping up.
  • Freshen laundry naturally by hanging it outside to air dry.
  • Extend time between deep cleanings by establishing daily and weekly cleaning habits.

Eco-Friendly Tools

Part of green spring cleaning is equipping yourself with earth-friendly tools and accessories:

  • Reusable cleaning cloths: Look for cloths made of cotton, microfiber, and other natural materials instead of paper towels.
  • Natural-bristle brushes: Make scrubbing easier on elbows with sturdy brushes.
  • Wooden dish brush: Abrasion from natural materials cuts grease without chemicals.
  • Silicone scrub gloves: Grip sponges and scrub dishes more easily while protecting hands.
  • Natural laundry detergent: Go for plant-based, non-toxic brands without dyes, perfumes, and synthetics.
  • Wool dryer balls: Reusable wool balls reduce drying time, static, and wrinkles.
  • Cloth produce bags: Avoid single-use plastic with reusable mesh and cloth bags.
  • Beeswax wrap: Swap plastic wrap for reusable, washable beeswax-coated cotton wraps.
  • Refillable spray bottles: Buy cleaner concentrates and fill your own bottles to reduce waste.

Choosing reusable, natural materials cuts down on waste and eliminates plastic and other synthetics that leach toxins and linger in landfills.

Room-by-Room Eco-Friendly Cleaning Guide

Now let’s explore green cleaning methods for each room:

Kitchen

  • Clean with baking soda, vinegar, and castile soap.
  • Disinfect counters and cutting boards with diluted hydrogen peroxide.
  • Degrease appliances with baking soda paste.
  • Remove mineral deposits on faucets with diluted vinegar soak.
  • Freshen drains weekly with baking soda and vinegar.
  • Clean the oven with baking soda paste and water rinse.
  • Soak pots and pans before washing instead of harsh scrubbing.
  • Use plant-based dish soap and reusable natural dish cloths and brushes.

Bathroom

  • Scour tubs, showers, and tiles with baking soda paste.
  • Clean mirrors and glass with vinegar or lemon juice mix.
  • Disinfect sinks and toilets with hydrogen peroxide or castile soap mix.
  • Freshen drains weekly with baking soda and vinegar.
  • Opt for plastic-free cotton swabs, reusable silicone gloves, and natural-bristle scrub brushes.

Bedroom

  • Dust furniture with reusable microfiber cloths.
  • Vacuum carpet and mop hard floors with non-toxic cleaners.
  • Launder bedding and sheets in cold water with natural detergent.
  • Allow sunlight in to naturally freshen and sanitize.
  • Shake out area rugs outdoors.

Living Spaces

  • Vacuum upholstery and carpets with reusable attachments.
  • Dust shelves, baseboards, ceiling fans with microfiber cloths.
  • Clean leather, wood, and other surfaces with castile soap mix.
  • Wash windows and mirrors using vinegar or lemon juice mix.
  • Freshen air with open windows rather than chemicals.

Throughout each room, look for opportunities to declutter and organize in addition to cleaning. Designate donate piles and storage solutions for clutter-prone areas.

Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning Outdoors

Don’t forget the outside of your home when spring cleaning green:

  • Sweep outdoor spaces with a natural bristle broom instead of hosing with water.
  • Mulch flowerbeds and gardens to suppress weeds and feed plants.
  • Clean patio furniture with castile soap mixture.
  • Wash exterior windows and surfaces with vinegar solution.
  • Clear gutters of leaves and debris using gloves and small brush.
  • Pressure wash cautiously using just soap and low water volume.
  • Clean grease and oil stains on driveway with baking soda paste.
  • Freshen trash cans with vinegar spray and baking soda scrub.
  • Weed by hand instead of using toxic pesticides.

The same principles of using natural ingredients, manual labor, and reusable tools apply outdoors. Avoid toxic runoff by limiting use of harsh chemicals.

Now you’re fully prepared to clean green from the inside out this spring! By making your own natural cleaning solutions, using eco-friendly techniques and tools, and thoroughly cleaning each room and outdoor space, you can spruce up your home in a healthy way for your family and the planet. Happy spring cleaning!

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