Lean, Mean and Green Spring Cleaning

Green Cleaning

Everyone knows how dangerous chemical cleaning solutions are, but avoiding them is easier said than done. After all, they’re what we have always used, and you can’t deny their effectiveness. The world is changing though, and everything is becoming more eco-friendly, from toilet bowl cleaners to ways to treat bed bugs in NJ. Make Spring Cleaning 2012 more eco-friendly with these sustainable cleaning choices.

Inexpensive, Green Alternatives

The first thing you need to do is get rid of the bleach and use enzyme and vegetable-based cleaners. Murphy Oil Soap is vegetable-based and works on the most sensitive of materials.

Create your own floor cleaner by adding about a teaspoon of a pure essential oil (sweet orange, lemon, pine, eucalyptus or lavender) with five ounces of liquid soap (veggie-oil based) to two gallons of water.

Disposable is out and reusable is in

A reusable mop may not be as convenient as a single-use variety, but it’s much greener and costs less. Many mop heads can be tossed directly into the washing machine.

Enzyme cleaners work great on carpet stains, as they penetrate the stain and break it down without the use of chemicals. They also work great on windows and other glass surfaces. Most importantly, they are more natural than most other cleaning products.

For other surfaces, like a kitchen countertop, a wet sponge and baking soda can do wonders. For set-in stains, make a paste with this mixture and allow it to set for twenty minutes. Need a little abrasion without having to use elbow grease? Just add in a bit of salt (Kosher, of course). This is a great solution for tile and porcelain stains. However, if grease streaks or mildew are present, use a vinegar and lemon juice mixture and scrub it with a brush after a few minutes.

Green Fresheners

How important is freshness? Well, think about it; what impression do you get if you walk into someone’s home and you are hit in the face with a foul odor? Let’s face it; no matter how tidy you keep your house, if you’ve got odors running rampant then you won’t be getting many visitors. The first steps to a fresh home are changing out wet towels, deodorizing the toilet and changing the bed sheets regularly.

Most people turn to artificial air fresheners to help their home smell better, and it works, but at what cost? Over three-quarters of homes use these, but behind that fresh smell are harmful components that cause respiratory, skin and eye irritation. What’s the solution?

For starters, just open the window for five minutes a day and let the fresh air circulate throughout your house. If that isn’t an option due to the weather or security concerns, try a natural fresher like mint, lavender or orange peels.

Thinking outside the box and getting creative with Spring cleaning will go a long way towards not just going green but saving green and living healthier.

Image credit: Jos Dielis via Flicker Creative Commons

  1. Scott Bartlett

    When I lived by myself and hence had complete control over what cleaning products were used, I found that baking soda and vinegar covered almost all my cleaning needs–from doing the dishes to mopping the floors to cleaning the bathroom.

    I think we can be most green by not jumping too quickly to buy an expensive bottle of cleaner just because it has the terms ‘green’, ‘natural’ or ‘eco-friendly’ printed on them. Other more readily-available cleaners (like the ones I mentioned above) can be spread over longer periods of time, resulting in less waste.

  2. Juan Miguel Ruiz

    Great tips! I’ve started avoiding chemical cleaners ever since my niece got born. It’s been pretty difficult but once you get started, it’s pretty easy. I’ve been looking for a good tile cleaner and this came just in time. Thanks!

    Juan Miguel Ruiz

  3. Suzanne Holt

    Many great tips! My motto is a clean house doesn’t smell….at all. Although air freshners may have a wonderful scent, you’re just spraying toxic chemicals which is one thing I’d rather do without!

    Suzanne Holt

  4. Bill C

    Don’t forget that hydrogen peroxide is a wonderful disinfectant that can be sprayed directly onto counter tops and cutting boards. It has no smell, and quickly breaks down into plain water. Since it is no longer recommended for wound care, and it is still cheap, we may as well get some use out of it!

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