Spring time means spring cleaning. Unfortunately, spring cleaning usually entails toxic products, artificial perfumes and corrosive chemicals. From skin irritation and asthma, to birth defects and cancer, commercial cleaning agents are typically the most dangerous products we keep in our homes. To make matters worse, the harsh chemicals in over-the-counter cleaners can linger in your house for days after use, increasing the likelihood they’ll adversely affect not only your home’s air quality but also the environment and our water systems. If you’re looking for safer, more natural and eco-friendly ways to spring clean your home, we got you covered. Here are some of our favorite natural spring cleaning tips.
Because of their natural acidity, lemons are a versatile disinfectant, stain-remover and air-freshener. From deep cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, to restoring table tops, laundry and furniture, lemons are an essential natural alternative to harsh cleaning agents. Quick tip: Use lemon juice to remove tough stains from cutting boards and countertops. For more tips on cleaning with lemons, click here.
Use White Vinegar
It might not smell great but distilled white vinegar is among the most useful natural cleaners in existence. It’s a handy stain remover, deodorizer, and degreaser. Quick tip: In a reusable spray bottle, mix a 1-to-1 ratio of water and vinegar to create a highly effective all-purpose cleaner for use on countertops, toilets, ovens, microwaves, sinks, and more. The possible uses are virtually endless. In fact, here are 95 additional ways to use the cleaning power of vinegar throughout your home.
Avoid using vinegar on granite or marble—vinegar is known to cause damage to these surfaces.
Use Baking Soda
Nothing deodorizes quite like baking soda. But did you know it’s also an incredibly effective natural cleaner? From cleaning mattresses, rugs, and cloth furniture, to restoring grills, ovens, flatware and even silverware, baking soda is as versatile as any cleaner in your kitchen. Quick tip: To clean your kitchen oven naturally, create a paste from a 3-to-1 ratio of baking soda and water; spread the paste on all dirty areas within the oven, and let it sit for at least 5 hours (dirtier ovens may require an overnight soak). Return, wipe the paste from the oven, and the grime disappears. For especially dirty ovens, you might need to repeat this process.
Freshen Your Air Naturally
Did you know store-bought air fresheners are one the biggest sources of air pollution in the home? (Worse yet, they contain chemicals called VOCs, which have been linked to cancer in both humans and animals). Opening the windows in your house for just 10-15 minutes a day can do far more to improve your home’s air quality than any artificial air freshener ever could. Quick tip: For a natural alternative to air fresheners, puncture a lemon or orange with a fork and then slowly bring it to a boil in an uncovered pot—the citrus scent will quickly and naturally refresh your home. However, our absolute favorite way to naturally freshen the air in our homes is through air-purifying plants; check the infograph below to choose one for yourself: (insert graph here)
Ditch the Clutter
Obviously, the easiest way to spring clean your home is to keep it clean all year round. While that’s not exactly realistic, one way to ensure the mess never gets too far out of control is to keep clutter to a minimum. Every unnecessary trinket or knick-knack is just another way for your home to collect dust. As you spring clean this season, keep a basket or bag within reach; anything you haven’t used within the last year, seriously consider getting rid of—but recycle or donate, don’t just toss it in the garbage!
Choose a Naturally Sourced, All-Purpose Cleaner
If we’re being honest, few of us have the time to make and mix our own DIY cleaners at home. Plus, even the best of these have shortcomings, often failing to remove particularly stubborn, set-in stains and grime. Finding an over-the-counter all natural, all-purpose cleaner is important for when DIY cleaners just won’t cut it. However, be sure to read the label, not all cleaners are created equal. Try to avoid the following ingredients when choosing an all-purpose cleaner:
- Artificial colors
- Glycol ether
- Added solvents
- Any known or suspected carcinogen
Make the Switch To Microfiber Cloths
Switching from dangerous artificial cleaners to natural alternatives is a big step in the right direction. But reducing waste is crucial, too. It’s easy to exhaust roll after roll of paper towels when cleaning an entire home. Clearly, that’s a lot of wasted paper. Switching to a reusable microfiber cloth will greatly reduce this waste, and can potentially save your family hundreds of dollars each year. Microfiber cloths last much longer than traditional cleaning rags, and are significantly better at removing dirt, grime and dust, too. In fact, microfiber cloths are so efficient, they often require only water to be effective at removing even the toughest of messes.