It’s that time of year again: flowers are budding, trees are putting on their green cladding and your home utterly needs a thorough cleaning. Whether you like springtime or not, this is the best season to systematically go through your wardrobe, shelves and pantry, throw away useless clutter and clean your house methodically. Although you’ll probably end up with tons of litter, dirt and heavy chemicals on your hands if you use traditional cleaning liquids and space cleansing rites, your painstaking spring cleaning routine can become somewhat greener and just a bit more eco-friendly if you follow some tried and tested tips and tricks. Here, we bring you a few environmentally friendly cleaning materials and methods to turn your home into a snug, fresh safety bubble without bringing your health in jeopardy. Let’s begin, shall we?
Refresh up the air: Do away with chemical air fresheners
If you want to minimize your toxic waste footprint, you’d better swap the regular chemical air fresheners for eco-friendly alternatives. Instead of the potentially health-hazardous commercial fresheners, indoor deodorizers and aerosols, try using natural alternatives like baking soda or home-made fresheners based on essential oils. Believe it or not, a dozen of cut flowers can do the ambience spruce-up trick equally well as a flower-scented spray and it’s incomparably healthier and cleaner than the man-made alternative, too.
Toss the papers: Clean up your shelves, desktops and newspaper holders
If you’re like most average people, odds are you have quite a bit of needless paperware lying around collecting dust. During your spring cleaning routine, make sure you set aside all old mail, catalogues, magazines, ancient bills and newspapers and send them to recycling. To save yourself some precious storage space and reduce your waste footprint, you can also switch from paper-based mailing and text printouts to paperless alternatives like online banking, PC document backup and cloud storage for vital information.
Evergreen home maintenance solutions: Make your own cleaning products
Though most pre-made chemicals can be highly efficient when it comes to home maintenance, they are not exactly health-neutral or eco-friendly. Believe it or not, most cleaning supplies we use daily contain hazardous substances linked to respiratory problems, eye irritation, infertility and headaches, which is why you should be extra careful when shopping for your degreasers, detergents and cleaning liquids. Or, you can save yourself some money and make your own: according to my local house cleaning professionals, eco-friendly cleaning supplies made from a bit of salt, lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda will efficiently remove various stains and blots while keeping indoor air pollution and related health hazards at bay.
A deep rinse: Do away with dirty laundry habits
An inevitable side-effect of spring cleaning, accumulated laundry can take quite a hefty toll in terms of waste, energy and water consumption. According to recent research, each laundry load uses up to 40 gallons of fresh water, while an average laundry drier needs some five kilowatts of energy per hour of use. For a green take on cleanliness, use clotheslines as these offer a convenient and green way to reduce your energy consumption through laundry routines. For an extra dash of environmental friendliness, wash your laundry on the cold cycle if not severely soiled and air-dry them outdoors.
Bill-cutting energy saviors: Minimize electricity leaks
Though you may not believe your electricity bill is high, why not try and cut it a bit, just for fun? For instance, an energy-saving strategy will certainly prove a rewarding follow-up to your spring cleaning routine, so make sure your mobile devices, electronic gadgets and other household energy-suckers are plugged out when not in use. Even on standby mode, your TV set, computer and other appliances use up energy in small portions. The average annual energy leak in the U.S. totals around four percent, which is not as insignificant in figures when translated onto the bill. On top of that, incandescent light bulbs are highly inefficient when it comes to energy conservation, so swap them for compact fluorescent bulbs as these will save you two thirds of the lighting energy bill – and will last as many as 8-12 times longer. For a fresh start of the year, try to reduce your vampire energy consumption and unplug your gadgets and devices when you’re not using them – you’ll thank us for the tip later.
Drown the water bill: Use water wisely
The household of an average citizen of the U.S. uses up to 100 gallons of water daily, and the biggest home ‘drinkers’ include the toilet and shower/bath. If you want to save some precious fresh water and minimize your water consumption in the long run, it would be a good idea to buy a toilet dam and reduce your toilet water waste by as many as 20 percent. Another useful trick when looking to minimize your water consumption bill is to get a shorter shower or a low-flow showerhead: this small investment will save you 50-70 percent of water in the long run, so it’s more than worth your while.
Something old, something new: Recycling and reusing
In case you’re eager to minimize your waste print and find new ways to use old household items, you can reuse torn clothing, ancient newspapers and similar objects instead of throwing them away. For instance, torn T-shirts and old newspapers can be used to clean the toilet, kitchen and windows, while those shabby textile rags will come in handy when dusting and mopping around the house. Additionally, old toys, books, outgrown clothes, spare blankets and wall decorations will make a fine gift to charity, so you’ll be doing something good for the community while keeping clutter out of your house too. Most electronic devices, plastic objects, glassware and paper products can be recycled, so check out your local recycling programs and inquire about the prices and possibilities for turning in your broken hardware and small home accessories if you want to help save the planet.
Keeping your house clean and tidy is not always easy, but with some springtime tender, love and care, housekeeping chores can become as easy as ABC. When cleaning out your home next time, spare a green thought for the planet too – after all, Mother Nature has given us much to be grateful for, and it’s always a good time to return the favor, even through the smallest of gestures.