Spring Cleaning The Green Way

 

Over the years, I’ve made adjustments to household cleaning supplies and materials to cut down on toxic substances.

Here are the things which have stuck for years. Try out a couple (or all of them) if you, too, would rather not spray toxins to clean and are interested in cutting down your waste footprint.

SURFACE CLEANER:
One part filtered water to one part distilled white vinegar with a good shake of your favorite essential oil. Recycle a store-bought spray bottle for your concoction. After using this in my house for many years, even the eco cleaners sold at stores smell like chemicals to me. The water/vinegar combo cleans every surface even leaving mirrors streak free. Vinegar smell will dissipate quickly, and you’re left with a clean, no-lingering-chemicals surface.

SCRUBBING CLEANER:
Instead of bleach, Comet or even a metal dish scrubber try baking soda. It scrubs and shines up just about anything. Much gentler than metal on any delicate cookware, it’s a totally natural substance that won’t irritate your skin like a commercial scrub would (in fact, you can use it to wash your face, scalp, teeth, etc.). It whitens and brightens any surface and will remove grease or scrambled egg residue readily.

RAGS:
You can completely cut out paper towels, if you choose. Repurposing T-shirts, towels, and even old sheets which are past their prime as household rags is a great way to extend the life of those items and clean your house. Anything 100 percent cotton will do. Cut the item into rag-sized pieces and keep a pile underneath each sink. If there’s an especially gross clean up, just toss the rag with the goo into the trash. That stained T-shirt was heading there anyway; you just gave it more shelf life and cut down on plastic and transportation waste by not purchasing paper towels. As a bonus, there’s no residue with cotton, so when you wipe a shiny surface there won’t be any fibers left behind like with paper.

CLOSET CLEAN OUTS:
Be sure to donate any usable items. One person’s trash is definitely another’s treasure. There are donation intakes all over the place (big guys such as Goodwill or Salvation Army plus smaller intakes for charities, thrift stores, and such) or look around for a specific place you’d like to help out such as a family center helping women in conflict, etc. Yes, it’s faster and easier to just toss unwanted things in the trash bin, but the set of plates which just don’t fit into your aesthetic anymore might make someone else’s kitchen supplies complete. And grandma’s collection of vintage board games will probably make someone’s day at a thrift store.

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