As the warm weather rolls back around, many people find themselves inspired to clean up their living space.
Spring cleaning is a time to get rid of most of the dirt, grime, and trash that typically results from being inside so much during the winter.
If you are preparing to freshen up your home, keep in mind that you can do so in an environmentally-friendly manner.
The following tips outline several ways to go green during the spring cleaning process.
Recycle old clothing
Spring cleaning is about freeing yourself from all of your unused goods and getting a fresh start.
So why not challenge yourself to give away one item of clothing for each new one you buy?
Once you properly sort through your clothes, you’ll be surprised by how many of them you haven’t worn for the last year.
While it may be easier to simply throw out old garments that you no longer want or that your children have outgrown, keep in mind that doing so will simply add trash to the landfill.
And there’s always a good home that can be found for quality clothes that still hold together well – even if they’re last year’s fashion.
Instead, take the time to organize the clothing and donate it to a local charity. Try dropping them off at a charity shop or a clothes bank, where people who need them will benefit.
If there are items that are not in good condition, take a pair of scissors and convert the clothing into rags that you can use in the kitchen or the garage.
Recycle your papers
Whether it’s leftover Christmas cards and wrapping paper or the extensive cardboard packing from unused storage boxes, every Spring clean results in a lot of paper-based waste to dispose of.
Make sure that when you’re disposing of all your paper materials that you do so in an eco-friendly way in your blue bin or at a recycling site.
Avoid paper towels
Cleaning is often a very unpleasant task. Many people, therefore, use paper towels that they can throw away when they are finished using them.
This creates a lot of unnecessary trash, so a better option is to find an alternative method of cleaning.
For example, you can reuse newspaper by balling it up and scrubbing the windows with it.
Your old clothing rags are great for dusting, and if all else fails, you can always use a sponge.
However, remember that sponges get very dirty, very quickly, so sanitize them often by putting them in the dishwasher.
Compost your disposables
Although most of the stuff you’ll be throwing away during the spring clean won’t be suitable for recycling in a green way, it’s still vital to dispose of your ‘green’ waste such as old food and dead flowers in a responsible way.
By lumping your disposables in with general waste, you’re denying them the chance to decompose naturally – and missing out on great fertiliser for a garden or plant pots.
Composting doesn’t have to be for those with 5 acre gardens: all it needs is a small dark bag outside to place your food waste.
In a matter of months you’ll have amazing compost that’s miles better than the stuff you’d get in a store.
Recycle your bigger items
There always comes a time when bigger household items, such as sofas, freezers, TVs or cupboards must be replaced, and their removal requires slightly more specialized treatment.
Don’t just assume everything goes in the garbage. We recommend using the Recycling Center Search at Earth 911 to find out how best to dispose of larger items in your area.
Use natural air filters
Buy a few peace lilies or spider plants, and strategically place them in areas where you would like to have cleaner air.
Generally, this would be a room where you and your family tend to congregate, like the playroom, living room or kitchen.
If taken care of properly, the plants will work to clean your air without the use of toxic chemicals.
For rooms that don’t have plants in them, try to open your windows as often as possible, and keep a fan going to help circulate the air.
Create your own cleaning solution
It is easy to fall victim to the myth that brand name chemicals are the best way to get rid of the toughest dirt and grime.
However, that just isn’t true.
For example, a half a cup of lemon juice, mixed with two teaspoons of olive oil, will help you dust and shine your wood furniture.
If you are working in the bathroom, combine two tablespoons of borax with two cups of hot water. Add in half a teaspoon of tea tree oil and half a teaspoon of dish soap. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and apply it to your toilet or bathtub. It makes a great disinfectant.
To clean your windows, add a quart of water to a spray bottle. Mix in two ounces of vinegar, and you’ll be amazed at how streak-free your glass appears!
Finally, if you notice a pest issue while cleaning, call a pest control company before picking up a can of bug spray. Many exterminators are now implementing green methods to help homeowners battle pesky bugs.
If you are preparing for spring cleaning, remember that using store-bought chemicals and filling up your trash can with old clothes and paper towels isn’t necessary.
Approach the process with an eco-friendly mindset, and you’ll be surprised at how “green” the process really is!
This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.