Calm & Clean for Spring

Cleaning Tips For Your Home & Planet

Cleaning Tips For Your Home & Planet

As the weather turns and the temperatures rise, there is no better time to get busy with spring cleaning around your home. Many of us are attempting to limit exposure to toxins and keep our cleaning products as natural as possible, so the hope is that this budget- and environmentally-friendly list of tips below encourages you to clean up your housework protocol and reduce the amount of paper waste you produce while you’re at it. 

1. All-Purpose Cleaner

In a reusable spray bottle, mix equal parts water and white vinegar. Toss in a rosemary sprig and some lemon rinds and let the vinegar infuse anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Check to make sure your specific countertops and appliances are compatible with a vinegar-based cleaning solution first, but this fresh smelling mixture is great for floors, trashcans, bathrooms—you name it. Cinnamon, cloves, and orange peels are other possible additions for this cleaner. Use your imagination and your house will look and smell naturally fresh in no time.

2. Surface Cleaner

Mix warm water with baking soda to create a safe, effective countertop and appliance cleaner. This combination with a little less water can also be used to make a paste to clean tough stains on toilets. Pour it down your garbage disposal when finished for a quick clean of that so often neglected area. 

3. Laundry Detergent

There are dozens of homemade laundry detergent recipes online with the most common consisting of Borax, washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda), a Fels-Naptha soap bar, and water.
This combination and entire process can appear daunting, but once you make it initially it becomes second nature and lasts forever. Homemade detergent is also incredibly affordable and effective so you may never go back to store brands. 

4. Swap Out Dryer Sheets for Dryer Balls

Not only are dryer sheets a fire hazard and terrible for the environment by providing daily waste, but what do they really do besides add a layer of artificial scent to your already clean laundry?
Dryer balls, most often made of wool, are safer, more sustainable, and chemical-free. They help
your laundry dry faster, thus using less energy, and prevent your laundry from clumping together. Dryer balls last until they start to unravel, often up to 1000 washes, then it’s time to toss. 

5. Drying Rack or Clothesline

Laying clothes flat to dry or placing them on hangers over a drying rack or on a clothesline
(if you have the outdoor space for one) saves loads of energy, prolongs the life of your clothing, and can prevent wrinkles. 

6. Glass Bottles and Dispensers

Stop buying throw-away, single-use plastic dispensers of soap, shampoo, conditioner, and cleaners. Using glass soap dispensers and spray bottles, even when filled with store-bought economy-size refills, is better for everyone. Bonus points if you make your own products!

7. Reuse Household Items 

Cut up old T-shirts and use worn-out washcloths as cleaning rags. If you get the newspaper, using yesterday’s paper with a splash of apple cider vinegar as glass cleaner will leave your surface shiny, plus streak- and toxin-free.

8. Natural Sponges

Natural sponges have antimicrobial properties and last longer than synthetic sponges. Disinfect them every few weeks by soaking in water and baking soda and letting air dry. Natural sponges can also be safely washed on hot in the washing machine to kill bacteria.

9. Compost

Composting can seem like a lot of work at first. Start slowly with a container that has a sealed top.
Throw in eggshells and coffee grounds. When it’s full, spread the mixture as a fertilizer over flower beds or onto your lawn. As you get more into the process, you may want to invest in an actual compost bin and start adding in fruit and vegetable scraps, even human hair! You will be amazed at how much less your trash bin is filling up and how much better your garden and yard begin to look.

10. Recycle

Look up what pick-up recycling options are available to you in the city or county to make recycling as easy as possible. If you don’t want to pay for pick up or it isn’t available in your area, find the closest drop off location and take your plastics, glass, paper—whatever your location accepts. Some even allow you to throw it all in together without having to sort, which is often most people’s complaint about recycling.

11. Weed Killer

Get rid of the chemical fertilizers that do long-term damage to your soil and, better yet, heat things up around the house. Boiling water is an instant weed killer that contains zero chemicals. Be careful not to splash the water on plants or flowers you want to remain intact as there is no going back once the water has touched the landscaping. 

This list is certainly not comprehensive and is only meant to inspire and encourage you to do what you can in your household. For the rest of this year, if everyone works to reduce their impact, imagine the possibilities. Wishing you a clean and healthy spring!

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