Put a healthy spin on your seasonal house cleaning with these quick and easy, eco-friendly tips for green spring cleaning.
As you begin your annual spring cleaning this year, think green. Green cleaning is a healthy way to clean without using harsh chemicals that are dangerous to you and your family and negatively affects our environment.
Not sure where to start? It’s easier than you think with these helpful tips.
Unfortunately, many products that you find on your local grocer’s shelves are manufactured with hazardous chemicals as part of their main ingredients. But you don’t have to settle for this.
In fact, you might be surprised to find chemicals in these same products that could be dangerous if you have breathing problems like asthma or could be caustic enough to damage eyes, skin or even those surfaces you are cleaning, if the product stays on too long.
But you do have a choice: go green.
Green Cleaning Tip: Always check the label of the cleaning products you use for the ingredients. The rule of thumb is this: If you cannot pronounce the words and the warnings are in abundance, you might want to consider looking for another option. In this case, you might want to consider going for those products with recognizable ingredients and that are nontoxic to man or beast.
Positive Effects for Using Purchased Green Products
So how do you know what is a green product and who determines what is green for cleaning products?
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has long been a supporter for green cleaning products.
Many of EPA’s approved products have a seal on their label that indicates which products are “green” and environmentally friendly, which means to you that these products do not include phosphates or other irritants which might negatively affect our environment or wildlife.
Green Cleaning Tip: When you are ready to buy green cleaning products, make sure that the ingredient list starts off or includes plant-based products. You should also find the EPA label prominently displayed. If the product you are looking at doesn’t have these two things minimally, don’t purchase it.
DIY Natural Cleaning Products (Video)
Household Green Products That Are Perfect for Spring Cleaning
If you don’t want to purchase premade green cleaning products, check out this short list of those products that you probably have at home that are environmentally sound and readily available to use for many of your spring cleaning projects:
1. Baking Soda
There are many household products that are green that you can use. Baking soda is perfect for cleaning, odor control, stains, cooking and even brushing your teeth!
It is a mild abrasive and can be used on a number of surfaces and and for a lot of uses. In addition to their baking soda, Arm and Hammer has created a number of ecocleaning products that are perfect for any home.
Do you need to purchase all of these products? Actually, no, instead buy a box or two of baking soda and see how hard-working it really is.
Here are just some of the few uses for baking soda:
Glass coffee pots. You can use the baking soda to scrub the hard stains and then you can also add a bit of vinegar which will cause a wonderful bubbly mixture that cuts the rest of the grime.
Sinks and Tubs. Baking soda is a mild abrasive so cleaning sinks and tubs is right up its alley. Just sprinkle the baking soda and add a bit of water. Using a clean rag scrub the area clean. Rinse well.
Laundry. If you make a paste of baking soda you can apply it onto the stain. When ready to wash, just throw it in the washing machine with the other clothing and wash normally.
Plastic Trash Cans. Baking soda is perfect for deodorizing and cleaning trash cans. When you add baking soda cover with water and let sit for about twenty minutes to begin its deodorizing magic.
Green Cleaning Tip: Never leave any bucket, trash can or such with standing water where little children or pets can get at it or unattended. Children can drown in little as a 1/2 inch of water. Pets and children shouldn’t ingest baking soda in its concentrated state especially when cleaning.
2. White Vinegar
White Vinegar is perfect for cooking but did you know that it is also exceptional when cleaning. You can use it in the laundry, for windows and it is gentle on many surfaces.
In addition, it is safe to use around pets and children. Dilute it with water (50/50) and put it in a sprayer. Use it as you would an all-purpose cleaner. And, if you doubt its versatility, this site lists over 1001 uses for Vinegar.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is not only great for salads but did you know that it can help your wooden cutting board? It can. Olive oil is perfect for restoring and managing wooden surfaces as it is gentle and naturally restorative to many other surfaces.
The trick to using olive oil is to not saturate the surface but to only use enough to coat it lightly and then buff off the rest with either a cotton or microfiber cloth.
Here are some of the best uses for using olive oil to clean:
Cutting Board. Just place a few drops on your board and rub in the direction of the grain. Doing this task weekly will keep your cutting board looking beautiful for years to come.
Stainless Steel. Olive oil has been suggested as a great way to add shine to your stainless steel. Again only use enough to coat the surface or better yet, place a dollop on a cloth and rub with the grain of the stainless steel.
Patio Furniture. Whether it is wicker, rattan or plastic, olive oil is perfect to bring out the glow of your patio furniture. Just buff well.
Candlesticks. Carol Firenze in her book, The Passionate Olive: 101 Things to Do with Olive Oil says that olive oil is perfect for removing wax and giving the candlestick a shine.
RELATED: How to Clean Stainless Steel
4. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) not only removes makeup but did you know that it also can make your faucets and bath fixtures shine? It can. Try it out on stainless steel and glass.
Rubbing alcohol cannot be ingested and is poisonous, because it turns to acetone in your body. Even so, don’t let it deter you. This is a great product to use. Just use some caution.
Green Cleaning Tip: Rubbing Alcohol is flammable, so be cautious when using it around flames or electrical appliances or switches. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area.
5. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice can remove stains, as well as freshen your garbage disposal. If you add a bit of salt to the juice, you create a mild abrasive paste that can be used to shine up brass.
Want to know more household tips to use up those lemons and clean house in an eco-friendly way?
Check out Billee Sharp’s book: Lemons and Lavender: The Eco Guide to Better Homekeeping, which offers a plethora of ideas for “how-to’s” and recipes, plus budget and eco-friendly ways to take back your life–using lemons, of course.
And, if you are surfing the web, Mother Nature Network also offers more ideas to clean with lemon juice.
Bleach is what you use to get your whites the whitest they can be, so when using around non-color-fast items, beware.
As a cleaner in a 50/50 solution, bleach is perfect for disinfecting children’s toys, pet areas, bathrooms, etc. Again, be careful around questionable surfaces and when in doubt test in an area that is not visible to everyone–just in case.
You can also use it for disinfecting the toilet bowl. Simply pour it in the bowl and then swish with a toilet brush to clean well. Then flush a couple of times to rinse and the bowl should look clean.
Green Cleaning Tip: Be careful of back spraying and getting bleach on clothing. You might be surprised to find white bleached areas where the spray fell.
As you can see you have many options for green spring cleaning that is not only good for you but also for the environment.
For more green spring cleaning tips and ideas for your home, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Cleaning Section and these helpful articles: