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After being stuck in our houses all winter with dust and clutter piling up, the concept of cleaning starts to actually sound appealing. However, have any of us ever taken a minute to consider the effect that spring cleaning has on our environment? It may be surprising to hear that some common cleaning products can be more harmful than the dirt and grime they are intended to clean. It’s worth it to ask ourselves if there are extra measures we can take to ensure that we stay eco-friendly.
Here a few more green-cleaning concepts:
- Hang-dry your laundry
- Replace regular bulbs with LED ones, unplugging any device that is not in use, implementing power strips that can easily be switched off and cleaning your refrigerator coils
- Compost outdated food and donate any canned or boxed items to make room in your food pantry
- Bring more plants into your home to work as a natural air filter
- Instead of using store-bought air fresheners, make your own using water and essential oils
- Swap out your Swiffer mop for one with a detachable head that can be machine-washed for multiple uses
Once the days of winter begin to fade, so does the veil that seemed to have masked all the clutter in your home. If thoroughness is your motto during spring cleaning, then tackling this monster is sure to bring about some anxiety. It may seem easier to throw it all into garbage bags and haul it off to your local landfill, but if the goal is to decrease our carbon footprint, this action doesn’t exactly help.
Reduce, reuse and recycle—these three words are practically everywhere, but how can we apply them to our spring cleaning rituals? Start with three boxes: one is for recyclables, the second for items you can donate and a third for items you can repurpose.
There are many organizations that recycle unwanted items while also helping people in need. When looking for an organization to donate to, keeping it local helps those in your community that need it the most.
Look to the internet for ideas; Pinterest is an accessible and common place for inspiration. Making something new out of something old is a trend that everyone seems to be taking to—ever thought of making a bracelet out of old guitar strings? Creative steps like these help reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste being sent to a landfill. When it comes to up-cycling, the possibilities are endless.
Making your own green cleaning products
If you check the back of a Windex bottle, you won’t be surprised that most of the ingredients listed are not exactly friendly to the environment. In recent years, eco-friendly cleaning products have become more common. However, if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to purchase a ton of new cleaning products, why not make them? You may be surprised to find that most of the ingredients you will need are already in your kitchen.
Whether you need an all-purpose cleaner, bathroom scrub, or grease remover, there are many eco-friendly options to consider. Perhaps the best alternative is a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to add a refreshing scent to every surface you clean. A great way to integrate recycling is to find an empty spray bottle to store your new, green cleaning solution.
Looking for more green cleaning solutions? Visit www.freshome.com/eco-friendly-cleaning-solutions.
Go paper towel-less
You may have seen those paper towel commercials where it takes “only one sheet” to clean-up a massive juice spill. While it seems like a great concept, it’s not always accurate, and it isn’t helping our environment.
Going paper towel-less can save trees, money and reduce waste in landfills, and it’s a lot simpler than you think. Most stores carry affordable options, such as specially-made, reusable cleaning cloths and dust rags that can be purchased. Instead of using a whole roll of paper towels for your spring cleaning, one simple cloth can do the trick. A more cost-effective method is to recycle old sheets and ruined T-shirts.
The ultimate goal of spring cleaning is to end up with a spotless and un-cluttered living space, but we must acknowledge that the earth is our living space too. Implementing even the smallest of changes has the potential to produce a big effect and influence others to move toward a more sustainable future. This year, go green with your spring clean.