If you're planning to partake in the tradition of spring cleaning this year, you might be anticipating/dreading the inevitable extra-large batch of trash, pile of “to-donate” items, and residual chemical-ly and over-powering floral scents lingering around your home. If this sounds like an unappealing way to end a day of hard work, here are some ways you can plan ahead for a low waste and non-toxic cleaning sesh.
Step 1: Tidying
Putting everything in its place and discarding what you don’t love or need is such a satisfying way to kick off your cleaning routine. If you could use a little guidance on the process, we highly recommend reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. (Pick up a copy at your local library, or download it on the CloudLibrary app!) When you can achieve owning only things that “spark joy” it becomes a lot easier to refuse acquiring things you don’t need, which will simultaneously allow you to be a better friend to the planet, and make next year’s spring cleaning a lot easier.
After you’ve identified things you don’t want to keep, it’s time to figure out the most responsible way to discard them. You can always donate all of your haul to Goodwill, but there are some other options that might afford your goods better use. Here are a few:
Old textiles beyond their useful life | Bring to your closest H&M store for recycling or see if you have a local textile recycling dropbox like GemText. All textiles are welcome at either – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets!
Books | Donate to your local library branch or nearest Little Free Library, or send to Better World Books.
Step 2: Surfaces
- Try making your own all-purpose cleaning solution. Challenge yourself to clean every surface in your home with just three ingredients! It's totally do-able!
- Look for scrubbers, scourers, and dusters made from compostable materials.
Step 3: Floors
- Ditch the disposable sweeping and mopping sheets and use a rag instead. A standard dishcloth is the perfect size to wrap around your sweeper.
- Floor scrubbers aren’t meant to last forever, so they shouldn’t be made out of a material that will. Look for plastic-free options.
- Instead of purchasing a floor cleaner in a disposable plastic spray bottle, consider making your own!
This spray bottle has recipes for cleaning wood and tile printed on the side!
Amber Glass Spray Bottle | $14
- Check the material make-up of your carpet or rug. If it’s made of natural fibers, the contents of your vacuum bag can go in the compost!
- Get rid of stubborn odors lingering in your carpet like smoke, mildew, or pet messes with a vinegar-based DIY solution. Mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts water, and pour it in your carpet cleaner or just spray directly on the carpet.
- If your carpet is smelling a little stale, instead of spraying it down with synthetic fragrance, sprinkle some baking soda over the carpet and let it sit for an hour or two before vacuuming.
- If you're opting to use a fabric spray on your carpet, look for one that comes in recyclable packaging and that has an ingredient list you can pronounce.
Room & Linen Mist | $20
Step 4: Appliances, Knick Knacks & Everything Else
We mentioned those magic three ingredients that can clean pretty much everything you own. Well, put those babies to work!
Use VINEGAR to:
- Help dissolve mineral buildup in your steamer, coffee maker, or your shower head by soaking in warm vinegar.
- Let silicone and plastic sit in vinegar to remove stains.
- Clean cutting boards by spraying with undiluted vinegar and rinsing clean.
- Use it to polish copper, silver, brass, or bronze.
Use CASTILE SOAP to:
- Clean makeup brushes by placing in a warm cup of water with a couple of drops of Castile soap and letting soak for 10 minutes.
- Use 1-2 parts Castile soap with 4 parts water for an all-purpose cleaning spray that can be used to scrub down your walls.
Use BAKING SODA to:
- Deodorize your fridge, trash can, pet bedding, or shoes.
- Rub dry baking soda on mugs and tumblers stained with tea and coffee or on other stained spots like scuffs on the wall or tarnished stainless steel.
- Pour on oil stains in your garage or driveway.
Let us know in the comments if you have any other eco-friendly hacks for cleaning days! And if you're in need of any supplies, be sure to check out what we have in store. Happy cleaning!