It’s officially Spring, and that means Spring Cleaning time. It’s time to pull out the mops, buckets, and rags, windows cleaners and disinfectants, open the windows and let the fresh air in. It’s also time to be surprised at how horrible some things have gotten while ignoring them for so many months. Frankly, we’re just tempted to douse everything in toxic chemicals. Other people, however, are trying to “go green” with their lifestyles–and these include green cleaning practices. Most cleaners are not what we would consider “green”, but there are some alternatives that will still clean your home and keep to a greener lifestyle. [photo via freedigitalphotos]
Instead of using paper towels to clean windows, counter tops, and other hard surfaces, use old t-shirts or cloth diapers. Simply use them until they are soaked or too dirty and throw them in the washing machine. If you are concerned with washing them with your other clothes, save up enough to run a small load of just cleaning rags. Use a rag mop instead of disposable sponge mops or those mops that require a new paper and plastic pad every time that you use it. Rag mops can be taken apart and thrown into the washing machine with your other rags. Run a small load with warm water and minimal soap to kill germs.
Be careful, though. Products labeled as “green” cleaners may not be as green as they want their consumers to believe, warns RealPropertyGroup.co. While companies are unable to outright lie on packaging, there is no mandate about what meets green standards. You do not need to buy green cleaners to be environmentally safe; you can clean almost anything in your home with mixtures of vinegar, salt, lemon juice, baking soda, and other products you normally keep in your home. These are all products that are made naturally and are safe for the environment and your body to touch, breathe, and even accidently ingest (in small quantities). Some recipes for cleaning everyday household items:
Windows: 4 tablespoons lemon juice & half-gallon water
Vinyl: Pure lemon juice on a cloth can remove stains and spots
Wood Furniture: 2 parts olive oil & 1 part lemon juice
Copper or Brass Antiques: Combine equal parts salt, vinegar, and flour into a paste. Cover the surface and allow it to dry for about an hour. Wipe it clean with a soft, dry cloth.
Fireplace Exterior: Mix cream of tartar and water into a paste. Cover the soot stains on the exterior of the fireplace and allow it to dry. Scrub off.
While you’re moving furniture around and cleaning your home, you may find that you are de-cluttering as well. When you have a pile of odds and ends that you no longer need or want in your home, consider donating them instead of putting them at the curb for trash pickup. A big part of being green is recycling. Recycling is not just about your paper, cardboard, and plastic trash. There are furniture, clothing, and other recycling networks you can find with a simple search online. You can also go to your local township office and they should be able to help you with other resources.