Spring cleaning can be a daunting task every year, but it doesn’t have to mean breaking out all the harsh chemical cleaners and wearing yourself out for an entire weekend! In this blog, we’ll take you through 5 ways to easily and sustainably approach your spring cleaning.
Tip 1: Swap for non-toxic or homemade cleaners
Ditching the harsh chemicals for a natural or plant-based cleaner can reduce your impact when dealing with everyday messes, and especially as you start your spring cleaning.
Over the past few years, many companies have been creating their cleaning products with more natural ingredients and avoiding these harsh chemicals, but they’re also easy to make with items you can find in your own home.
These harmful chemicals can have a negative impact on your own health as well as that of others, including animals and the environment. The EPA says that alkylphenol ethoxylates, an ingredient used in many household cleaning products, “have been shown in laboratory studies to function as an “endocrine disrupter,” causing adverse reproductive effects of the types seen in wildlife exposed to polluted waters.”
Alkylphenol ethoxylates and other surfactants take a long time to biodegrade and often biodegrade into even more toxic chemicals than they were when you brought them into your home.
Cleaning products can also have Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in them, which can negatively affect indoor and outdoor air quality.
Luckily, making your own household cleaner is easy, and depending on what you’re going to use it for, can be done with just two ingredients.
What you’ll need:
- 4 Tbsp baking soda
- 4 cups of warm water
Mixing the two ingredients will create a paste, which you can use to clean your kitchen countertops, the inside of your fridge, and even your sink, oven, and other appliances.
Tip #2: Let the fresh air in
When Spring has finally sprung, one of the best feelings in the world is shutting off the heat, opening the windows, and letting fresh air in. Simply letting in the fresh air can refresh a space without the need for any products at all!
You may not notice that the air in your home has become stale until you open your windows when you start your spring cleaning, or you go away for a weekend, but opening your windows will replace this stale air with fresh air full of oxygen.
Not only can this improve your health, but it’ll also get rid of any odors that have formed in your home from cooking and pets.
Letting the fresh air into the house can also improve your mood. The more oxygen you have in your blood, the more serotonin is released, meaning as you let fresh air into your home and improve your blood oxygen level, your mood can improve too!
Tip #3: Dust first from top to bottom
Dusting from your highest surfaces to the lowest, before you wash your surfaces or vacuum ensures that you don’t have to clean surfaces twice, minimizing wasted time & cleaning supplies.
Dusting will remove allergens from your home that your body can have negative reactions to. These allergens can lead to a runny nose, sneezing fits, and general cold & flu symptoms.
If you dust while your windows are open, you’re improving the air in your home in more ways than one, meaning your immune system has a better chance of fighting against any allergens that persist.
One of the main reasons Spring Cleaning is such a relief when it’s done is because your house looks feels and smells so much nicer than it did before. Dusting will improve your mental health and reduce stress levels once complete, meaning you can relax much more easily.
While dusting can and will improve your own health, it can improve your home’s health too! Dust can have a negative impact on your HVAC system that can cost thousands to repair or replace.
Changing your air filter on a regular basis (once every 4-6 months) should cut down on the amount of dust and dirt entering your system, meaning it’ll last longer and release cleaner air into your home.
Tip #4: Swap disposable for reusable
There are so many ways to swap out disposable items in the home, so ditch the paper towels for quick messes and stock up on reusable, washable dishcloths! While likely a higher base cost, you’ll save much more money in the long run and will have next to no waste as you work through your spring cleaning.
Not only are you saving the waste in your own home, but you’re also potentially saving the energy and waste that went into creating the product in the first place.
Soap bottles are another item that isn’t recyclable. One of the easiest things you can do is purchase one glass soap dispenser bottler and then purchase liquid soap in bulk, refilling the glass dispenser only when you need to.
Tip #5: Set up a clothesline
Everybody’s grandma had a clothesline, right? Drying your clothes outside helps cut out dryer sheets and lower your electricity bill. On top of that, your laundry will be naturally fresh which smells and feels so good!
Not only will it cut down on your electricity bill and buying dryer sheets, but your clothes should last longer too. Using a tumble dryer can be hard on certain fabrics and can wear your clothes down quicker than if they were simply hung up outside.
Your tumble dryer can also impact your HVAC system in the summer months. Tumble dryers heat up your home, meaning your air conditioning might kick on if you’re running the dryer, using more energy than you need to cool your house down. Think about the savings on your energy bill!
Drying your clothes on a clothesline will also keep your more physically active. Skipped the gym that day? Spending 20 minutes hanging up clothes outside in the sun and then taking them down and folding will go a long way to improving your physical and mental health.
These 5 simple steps will make your spring cleaning (and hopefully your life moving forward) more sustainable. If you’re already utilizing some or all of these tips, let us know in the comments what else you do to be sustainable in your home!