Spring weather inspires most of us to follow Planet Earth’s cue, sweeping out the cobwebs that come from spending months indoors and shining up our dwellings in anticipation of an active summer.
If you’re anxious to rid your home of the dust, dirt and clutter that tend to accumulate over the colder months, it’s likely that you’ll be tempted to load your cart with lots of cleaners and disinfectants from the nearest retailer. Resist the urge. Conventional cleaning products contain some of the most environmentally offensive substances known to man. It doesn’t make sense to clean up dirt by polluting your air, now does it?
From DIY solutions to recycled tools, here are three of our favorite ways to keep your spring cleaning projects truly clean!
Natural Air Freshener
Don’t waste $5 on a canister of artificial air freshener that will only infuse your home with toxic chemicals. Toss open your windows and let the wind wash away the funk of winter naturally! Placing a fan in the window, facing out, can get air moving as well, making your home smell as fresh as the outdoors. You can also simmer lemon peel in water on the stove top, adding water as needed, for a fresh, clean scent.
Cleaning up dust and grime can be a nasty business. In our haste to get the gunk out, we often reach for paper towels and other single use cleaning tools. While these items are more convenient, they’re awfully wasteful, especially when a more eco-friendly solution is just as easy to find. Instead of wiping windows with paper towels, use crumpled up newspaper. Cut old towels into cleaning rags, turn old socks into handy dusters, and sew up a few reuseable covers for your Swiffer with this pattern from Berlin’s Whimsy. Sponges are great reusable cleaning tools, but after a while, they become incubators for bacteria. Sanitize them by rising thoroughly and then soaking in cold, heavily salted water for an hour or two. You can also run them through your dishwasher’s sanitize cycle along side last night’s dinner dishes.
DIY Cleaning Solutions
Think expensive chemicals are the only way to tackle the dirtiest corners? Think again. It’s possible to make your own cleaning solution, for just about any job in the house, with ingredients that are probably sitting in your pantry right now. Here are just a few:
- Drain Cleaner: Dump 3/4 cup of baking soda down the drain and chase it with 1/2 cup white vinegar. Plug the drain, let it sit for 30 minutes and then rinse it out with a kettle full of boiling water. Repeat every few weeks for a clog-free bathtub.
- Wood Polish: Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a quarter cup of lemon juice for a non-toxic, gentle furniture polish that will remove dust and bring wood surfaces to a brilliant shine that won’t dull wood over time.
- Disinfectant: Tea tree oil instantly kills bacteria, viruses and mold, so it’s an ideal antiseptic cleaner for extra-germy spots like doorknobs and toilets, advises EcoSalon. Add two cups of hot water to two tablespoons of 20 Mule Team Borax, plus 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap and 1/2 teaspoon tea tree oil. Put it all in a spray bottle, shake it and apply it to any surface that needs to be disinfected.
- Glass Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar (apple cider vinegar will work as well), 1/4 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, 1 Tbsp cornstarch (reduces streaking), 2 cups water in a squirt bottle and let your windows have it.
Do you have a favorite eco-friendly cleaning tool or DIY recipe for non-toxic cleaners? Please share it in the comments!
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