Spring is here! Just as Mother Nature renews the environment, you may be ready to refresh your home. Stay “green” while you spring clean with some simple, sustainable ideas.
- Repurpose old materials to create new cleaning supplies. For instance, you can use an old toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach places such as corners and crevices. You can also use old clothes, sheets and towels as dust rags and dish cloths.
- Consider reusable cleaning products. Choose mops, cloths and sponges that you can sanitize in a hot water wash instead of disposable or one-time-use items. Buy cleaning products in concentrated form, and refill bottles of cleaning solutions when possible. All of these methods will save money and reduce waste.
- Use environmentally friendly cleaners. Create your own environmentally sound cleaners with ingredients commonly found in your kitchen such as white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. If you prefer to purchase cleaners, choose biodegradable or plant-based formulas. Look for certification labels such as Green Seal or EPA Design for the Environment.
- Replace air fresheners with essential oils. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that a majority of common air fresheners contain chemicals known as phthalates. Phthalates can disrupt hormones and cause birth defects. To refresh your home, use essential oils such as lemon, cinnamon, lavender, pine and peppermint.
- Use house plants to clean the air. House plants can absorb volatile organic compounds in the air and actually thrive on ambient chemicals that are detrimental to humans. Gerbera daisy, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, dracaena, philodendron, weeping fig, moth orchid, golden pothos and areca palm are all effective air filters.
- Change your air filters every one to three months and clean vents regularly to improve your indoor air quality, reduce the amount of dust in your home and increase the efficiency of your climate control system.
- Take control of your clutter by parting with items that you no longer need or want. Donate any unwanted items to a charity or resell them at a consignment shop. Or, host a tag sale or a swap. Recycle items that you cannot donate, sell or trade.
- Do not purchase tools, carpet cleaners and other expensive items. Instead, rent them from a home improvement retailer or Fort Bragg FMWR Equipment Rental.
DIY CLEANER RECIPES AND IDEAS …
RECIPE FOR ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER …
- Two cups of distilled water
- One-half cup of distilled white vinegar
- One teaspoon of pure castile (vegetable-based) soap
- 20 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 20 drops of lemon essential oil
Combine all ingredients into a spray bottle and mix thoroughly. Apply to surfaces to be cleaned and then wipe with a damp cloth. This cleaner is safe and effective on a variety of surfaces.