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SPRING CLEANING, GREEN STYLE

When the days start to grow longer and the sun begins to show a little more, it prompts us to begin the quest of getting our home in order. Time to clean windows, window treatments, walls, baseboards, cabinets, floors, and organize closets and other storage areas.  If you are being environmentally conscious, you won’t want to purchase a bunch of labeled bottles of chemical filled cleaners to do these tasks; not only could they harm you, but they could harm your children and pets.  Here are some alternative eco-friendly solutions that are easier than you think to make yourself!

Things you’ll need:

  • Distilled white vinegar (sold in the cooking section of most supermarkets)
  • Baking soda
  • Olive oil
  • Borax (sold in a box in the laundry aisle)
  • Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s brand, found in most natural foods stores)
  • Essential oils (super concentrated natural plant oils found in natural foods stores, usually in the cosmetics section)
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Newspaper

green-spring-cleaning-1Here are a few basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:

  • Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with one quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.
  • Countertops and bathroom tile: Mix two parts vinegar and one part baking soda with four parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour and wipe away.
  • Floors: Mix four cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.
  • Wood furniture: Mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.
  • Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet with straight vinegar.
  • Disinfectant: Mix two teaspoons borax, four tablespoons vinegar, three cups hot water and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.
  • Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.
  • Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it’s out of their reach, as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, while cinnamon, clove and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car, too—try peppermint, which may help you stay alert

green-spring-cleaning-2More Green Cleaning Tips

1. Hang dry your laundry. Drying your clothes in an electric or gas dryer isn’t just hard on your clothes, but it’s also hard on the environment. Don’t stop with natural laundry detergent—to truly stay green, install a clothesline in your backyard. If space (or aesthetics) is an issue, look for a retractable clothesline, which takes up almost no space when not in use. Weather permitting, line-dry your clothes outside to reduce pollution, while also cutting your energy bill, getting more exercise, enjoying the fresh air and extending the life of your clothes. Plus, they’ll smell like a clean breeze (the real kind, not the chemical kind).

2. Add a little greenery. Install a living air filter—houseplants! Some of the most efficient air-cleaning houseplants include spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants and peace lilies. You’ll need 15 to 18 medium-size (six- to eight-inch diameter container) houseplants for the average 1,800-square-foot house. If that sounds like a lot, place a few plants in the room where you spend the most time.

3. Use Cellulose Sponges

Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic, which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water.

Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they’re naturally more absorbent. For general household cleaning, try Skoy Eco-Cleaning Cloths. These cleaning cloths are non-toxic, extremely absorbent (15x paper towels), reusable, and biodegradable.

  1. Ditch the paper towels. Save trees, cash and landfill waste when you buy specially-made, washable cleaning and dusting cloths, available in all types of fabrics, from cotton to microfiber. Better yet, use what you already have and give an old piece of cloth (stained towels, ratty sheets and pillowcases, too-small t-shirts, etc.) a new life. Simply cut or tear your old item into smaller squares (if you want to get fancy, finish the edges with a sewing machine), and voila! Pop them in the washing machine with your laundry to clean, and use them again and again.

 

Cleaning up your home for spring doesn’t have to be dirty work. By implementing some of these ideas and products, you’ll benefit your body, your home and the planet. Many of these changes are small ones, but their impact on your health and the environment can really add up over time.

 

Design Team

The Contemporary Curtain

A brand of PKB DESIGN LLCgreen-spring-cleaning-1 green-spring-cleaning-2

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2 Responses to SPRING CLEANING, GREEN STYLE

  1. I don’t commonly comment but I gotta say regards for the post on this amazing
    one :D.

  2. Very interesting details you have noted, regards for posting.

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