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.



Green Spring Cleaning Ideas

25 Green Spring Cleaning Tips

Easy Ways to Green Your Spring Cleaning

DIY Cleaning Recipes for the Whole House

67 Homemade, All-Natural Cleaner Recipes

How to Make Your Own Cleaning Products from Good Housekeeping

Green DIY Air Fresheners

Natural Home Deodorizers and Air Fresheners

Build Your Own Oil Diffuser

Using House Plants to Clean the Air




  • 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.

Green Clean

Chemicals are a part of our modern world, and every individual at some point in time will be exposed to these potentially detrimental substances. As Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring, “As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.”

However, safer chemicals can create a safer world.

When purchasing cleaners, consider biobased and water based cleaners.

Or create your own cleaners with common materials.


According to numerous studies, environmentally preferred cleaners perform as well as – if not better than – commercial chemical cleaners. These five recipes are safe for your health, your wallet and your environment.

To polish silver, cover the bottom of an aluminum or enameled pan with aluminum foil. Place your tarnished silver in the pan. Fill the pan with enough water to completely cover the silver. Add one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt. Boil on your range for three minutes. Remove the silver, rinse in clean water and polish.

To polish furniture, combine two teaspoons of lemon essential oil with one pint of olive oil in a spray bottle. Spray the wood polish on a clean, soft cloth and apply to furniture. This wood polish is safe for both varnished and unvarnished furniture.

To clean glass, mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with one quart of water. To add a fresh fragrance, add drops of your favorite essential oil such as lemon or lavender. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Apply the glass cleaner to glass with a soft cloth or newspaper.

To create a linen and fabric spray, place two tablespoons of vodka in a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with distilled water, leaving two inches at the top of the bottle. Add one teaspoon of the essential oils of your choice. Cinnamon and patchouli create a spicy scent. Lavender and vanilla are calming. Lemongrass, orange and mint are refreshing. Spray onto linens and fabrics as needed.

For an all-purpose cleaner, combine 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 and 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil into a bottle. Apply with a cloth to the surface to be cleaned and rinse well with warm water. This cleaner is effective at cleaning various surfaces including acrylic, ceramic tile, porcelain, marble and granite.