The snow is finally melting away and spring is around the corner with sunny days and warm weather. While staying warm during the cold months with the windows tightly closed, toxins have had the opportunity to build up in the home affecting the air quality. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pollutants can be up to 10 times higher than outdoor levels. Now is the time to consider effective and environmentally friendly practices to spring cleaning. Then, on the first warm day, throw open the windows, put on your favorite Rock the Green playlist and spring clean the home! Here are some tips to help:
Green Cleaning Products
There are many eco-cleaning products on the market, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and Seventh Generation that are readily available in stores. There are also many options available for purchase through the Internet. Most eco-products are nontoxic, biodegradable and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). However, be careful with vague claims and be sure the company clearly and specifically defines its green claims.
Another option is to make your own cleaning products by simply using vinegar and baking soda. Mix a little warm water with either one and you have an instant eco-friendly cleaner. Pinterest lists many ways to create your own cleaning products or, for more ideas on how to use vinegar, check out Reader’s Digest‘s “150+ Household Uses for Vinegar.”
Springtime also involves cleaning out the closest and getting rid of old clothes. However, before sending anything to the trash try to reuse the clothes in a different way. Many items can be re-imagined as a new outfit, blanket, pillow, or more. It’s a great time to be creative! Old clothes can also be used as rags for your eco-friendly cleaning products instead of using paper towels. If other ways to reuse old clothing items won’t work for you, donate to the local Goodwill!
Furniture can also be repurposed, but if you’re looking to make room for something new or just get rid of pieces you don’t use then donate the items. There are many great ways to get rid of furniture, including local Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, women’s shelters and churches. There are also programs such as Freecycle.org, where items can be listed for free. If you live in a college town you can also post on Craigslist for students to be able to reuse items in dorms or campus apartments. There are many options!
When giving the house a good spring clean remember to clean out the coils of appliances such as refrigerators to remove any pollutants and to make them more energy efficient. It’s also a great time to replace air filters and do a home energy assessment. Make sure your home is ready for the hot summer months ahead!
Get rid of clutter and save a tree by getting rid of junk mail. By using a service such as GreenDimes or 41 pounds you can opt out of lists for junk mail. In addition, it’s a great time to set up bank accounts for online billing and payments.
Once the weather is nice it’s time to get outside and enjoy nature. Remember to spring-clean the yard by planting a garden and new trees in it. Early spring is the perfect time to start planning for fresh food in the summer!