Feeling a change of season coming on? Are your thoughts turning to freshening and cleaning your home after being sealed inside for the winter? Simplify cleaning and help the environment at the same time. You don’t need a million products; there are excellent environmentally friendly products available, and if you buy the right bucket, you won’t have to by another one next spring.
Tasks to consider:
In addition to the common spring cleaning chores, here are some projects I sometimes forget about:
Rotate and flip mattresses
Dry clean pillows and hang them outside in the sun
Go through medicine cabinets and discard expired products
Clear out and clean pantry and kitchen cabinets and drawers
Clean refrigerator and freezer
Open all the windows and air out the house
Clean rooms from top to bottom so dust and dirt will fall onto the areas you haven’t cleaned yet
Wash windows on a cloudy day or the sun will dry your cleaning solution too quickly and create streaks
Put new filters in the HVAC system
Vacuum your refrigerator coils
Clean lampshades and light fixtures
Products and recipes:
‘Green’ window washing solution (courtesy of Better Homes & Garden):
½ cup sudsy ammonia
1 pint of rubbing alcohol
1 tsp. dishwashing detergent
Mix all the above into1 gallon of water
Baking soda is great for scouring counter tops, deodorizing refrigerators and closets and getting stuff off oven walls.
Vinegar and salt paste is good for areas that attract mildew.
Bon Ami, a gentle powder cleanser that has been around for ages and is great for cleaning ceramic, stainless steel and porcelain surfaces. It can be found in most supermarkets.
Martha Stewart recommends Replenish Multi-Surface Cleaner for $8.00 because it is biodegradable, non-toxic, PH neutral and the bottle is reusable.
Choose reusable cloths instead of paper towels. Micro-fiber cloths are available in the supermarket. Or, try these from The Rag Company. From $4.00.
Invest in a good bucket. This is a 9 qt. stainless steel bucket that is large enough to tote your supplies and won’t rust.
Finally, don’t forget to wear rubber latex gloves!
For more alternative cleaning recipes go to www.ecologycenter.org
Note: If this is all too much for you there are ‘green’ cleaning services. Google ‘residential green cleaning services’ for your area. There is also a nationwide chain called Ecomaids. We have not used them, but you can ask for references.
Here is a good list of ‘green cleaning’ tips from Practically Green.
Need a little motivation? Here’s an awesome 30 day challenge to clean your whole house. You’ll be so happy on day 31!