10 Tips for Green Spring Cleaning

Springtime has a way of inspiring us to fling open our doors and windows, clear out clutter and get down to the nitty gritty of cleaning house after a long winter. This spring, before you pull out your usual bucket of cleaning supplies, do a quick check to make sure you're really keeping your home clean and safe.

Nix nasty cleaning products
The vast selection of popular home cleaning products in your local stores (and maybe in your home) include cleaners that are loaded with artificial colors, strong fragrances and harsh cleaning agents like bleach, ammonia and alcohol. These chemicals may make your home seem ultra-clean, but the truth is that they pose a major threat to your home's indoor air quality.

Reduce indoor air pollution
Indoor air pollution in the home can actually be worse than outdoor air pollution, and most of it comes from the evaporation on VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and the offgas from cleaners and air fresheners. While the artificial scents of your favourite products might give the illusion of a clean home, they really contribute to filling the air and surfaces of your home with toxic chemicals. These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, irritate soft tissues of the body like the eyes and nose, and may contribute to antibiotic resistance.

If you're looking for ways to spring clean and remove clutter while cutting down your home's indoor pollution and reducing waste, here are a few top tips.

10 Green Cleaning tips

General cleaning
1.    Get windows squeaky clean with a spritz of 80/20 water-vinegar solution and wipe with newspaper.
2.    Use natural fiber rags and sponges – avoid disposable paper towels.
3.    Keep mold and mildew at bay with a spray of 1 cup water to 1 drop tea tree oil.
4.    Consider using simple non toxic cleaners like baking soda, lemon, vinegar, essential oils and borax.
5.    Avoid any products containing corrosives, ammonia, chlorine bleach, phosphates and petroleum products (diethylene, glycol, nonylphenol ethxylate and butyl cellosolve).

Air freshening
6.    Instead of air fresheners, try dabbing essential oils like lavender or citrus on cotton balls and placing them discreetly around your home.
7.    Use house plants like ivy, ferns and spider plants to naturally clean the air.

Decluttering
8.    Collect your unused items and clothing and separate into piles for donation to local thrift or community garage sale.
9.    Control your paper clutter by banking online. You'll cut down on paper waste and have fewer things to file.
10.    Recycle old paint, oil and electronics at appropriate locations in your community.

If you prefer using store-bought "green cleaners", check out brands like Seventh Generation, Simple Green, or look for mainstream name brand products bearing the Clean Seal label.

More green cleaning product resources:

2 comments
Posted by Kate on May 19,2009 at 10:22 PM

Cleaning your closet means getting rid of stuffs that you don't need. If you don't want to dispose or give your stuffs away, you put them in your storage room for keeps.

Posted by Green Cleaning on May 12,2009 at 4:16 PM

Great information! Cleaning is so difficult because you want to make your home clean but what you're using to do it might actually be worse. I have tried creating my own solutions to clean with and it really works. I got some recipes off Sierra Club Green Home and went to town. There is so much out there that is green to clean with but I thought I would be resourceful and make my own! Go green!!

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