How to bring sustainability to your Spring cleaning
Winter is fading, a new season is approaching and nature is back in full growth. It’s not unusual to give into the new chapter of Spring as an opportunity to declutter and organize your life and home. Let’s do some Spring cleaning!
While cleaning the house might satisfy our mind, it’s not always quite so satisfying for the planet. Many cleaning products contain aggressive chemicals or offer single-use wipes or bleaches and sprays in non-recyclable plastic containers.
It’s likely that if you look under your sink or in the closet, you’ll be greeted by a rainbow of plastic-filled cleaning products. But don’t fret! There are still plenty of ways to clean your home by using responsible and eco-friendly alternatives.
Reusable Rags and Recycled Tools
Replace disposable or single-use kitchen towels, Swiffers, and dusters for square cloths made from old t-shirts, bed sheets or bath towels. These can be reused and washed and do just as good of a job at cleaning as disposable items that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
You can carry out the dirty work with clean, eco-friendly tools that are good for the environment. From laundry baskets made from recycled materials, multi-functional brushes made from sustainable goods or reusable boxes and glass jars for storage. Tidying and organizing your house can be done with various items that can be reused and don’t need to leave a trace on the environment.
Try the Natural Way
Whether removing stubborn stains, cleaning glass or clearing a blockage, there are other alternatives to chemical cleaners. Natural solutions also work effectively and can often be made from ingredients that we have lying around the kitchen.
Vinegar is a truly versatile Spring cleaning companion. It is great at cutting through grease. You can dip a scrunched-up sheet of newspaper in it and rub in circular motions for sparkling windows free from streaks. Is your showerhead blocked? Try submerging it in vinegar overnight and see how easily it clears. Likewise, if you have any copper, brass or pewter that is looking dull, a paste of vinegar, salt, and flour scrubs will tarnish them to bring their shine back.
Try squeezing some lemon juice into a bowl of water and popping it into a dirty microwave on high for three minutes. Leave it standing for a couple more and then wipe the insides down with a dry cloth, you find it easily removes any leftover residue! Lemons also make for a great all-around general cleaner when left to infuse in white vinegar for a couple of weeks.
You can get rid of stale odors from your fridge by leaving a small amount of baking soda in an open pot overnight. You can also combine baking soda with water to clean stainless steel and any stubborn watermarks on hobs. Use a cloth to remove baked-on food from dishes and pans. Sprinkle it over a damp sponge and gently scrub marks off walls and mildew off shower curtains. Clear clogged drains by mixing them with vinegar and pouring it down plugholes.
Lower Energy Consumption
In a recent book by Erin Rhoad called “Waste Not Everyday” she points out that “the majority of the environmental burden caused by fashion happens after we take the clothing home: 82% of the energy a garment will use is in the washing and drying we do each week”.
One way to override this is to cut out doing laundry on half-empty loads. Try to just do full loads and use opportunities where possible to dry laundry outside in the sun and air. You can also hand wash items rather than dry-cleaning them and lower temperatures to between 30 and 40 degrees.
You can try not to use the vacuum so often, opting instead for the natural bristles and fibers of dustpans and brushes, and while you’re dusting off the nooks and corners of the house, why not consider switching the house lights for LED bulbs? LED bulbs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. While they are slightly more expensive, they will save you money in the long term. Finally, don’t forget to clean your fridge! The more food you keep inside, the more energy it takes to cool them. Try to use leftovers as best you can and consume what you have each week rather than letting them pile up.
So, now you’re set for a sustainable, green Spring clean, what are some of the tips you have discovered?