It’s that time of the year again- the windows are opening and it’s time for a home refresh. But just how clean are your usual spring cleaning tips? Follow this guide to eco-friendly cleaning and ensure that doesn’t mean feeding the landfill.
10 Spring Cleaning Tips For a Low-Waste Refresh
As the weather begins to warm, taking a few days to clean the home has become a tradition for many of us. It’s a great time to not only deep clean, but also to reorganize and reset after a winter spent indoors. When done consciously, spring cleaning can help lengthen the lifespan of your appliances, clothes, and other household items. When done hastily, it can lead to many still-usable items ending up in the trash, along with the use of many less-than-clean products. Here are a few easy spring cleaning tips to help you approach this year consciously and sustainably.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips For The Whole House
Do: Take stock of what you have
Even if you try to acquire things as mindfully as possible, taking the time to assess what you have is a worthwhile investment. Taking stock can help reduce the likelihood of repeat purchases. And it’s a good way to discover the items that you no longer use or need. Plus, you just might find some hidden gems that you’ve forgotten about!
Don’t: Feel the need to purge everything
It might feel like spring cleaning is the time to simplify and clean out every part of your home. But getting rid of items without taking the time to think it through could lead to an excess of new purchases a few months down the road. And, if your focus is simply on getting rid of items, it’s more likely that they won’t be disposed of properly. When sorting through items you may no longer need, consider if they can be repurposed or repaired, rather than thrown away. Ask yourself “will I need this when the weather changes?” And for the items that do need a new home, donate or upcycle what you can.
Do: Repurpose and repair
When it comes to eco-friendly cleaning and organizing, creating a second life for items is a great way to reduce waste. Old linens can easily become cleaning rags. Bath towels that aren’t fit for the guest bedroom can be reserved for keeping the floor clean on snowy and muddy days (or for pet baths). And a fresh coat of paint or a few swipes of sandpaper can breathe new life into fading furniture or kitchen items. One of our favorite spring cleaning tips for the kitchen is to give your utensils and cutting boards a “deep condition.” Use a fine grain sandpaper to gently brush away any discoloration or stains, then finish your wood or bamboo items with a touch of all-natural oil.
Do: Use simple ingredients to clean your home
Some of the most effective (and safest) ways to clean tough stains can be found in your refrigerator or pantry. Rather than stocking up on cleaners made with heavy-duty, often toxic chemicals, try all-natural alternatives. Baking soda, water, and a splash of lemon juice will get your stainless steel appliances shining. Vinegar and rubbing alcohol make a great glass cleaner. Mix your own eco-friendly cleaning products with these easy recipes! Don’t feel like making your own? Choose Meliora! This B Corp offers that use simple, ultra-clean ingredients.
Spring Cleaning: Laundry and Linens
Do: Take the time to care for hard to wash items
Just like you take the time to get an oil change for your car, take the time during your spring cleaning routine to care for fabrics that you might usually set aside for another day. Couch cushions, decorative pillows. And don’t forget about your winter clothes! By properly caring for and storing your seasonal apparel, you can extend its life. This time of the year can also be great for mending, patching, or hemming anything that needs some extra love.
Do: Choose green alternatives that will last all year
A great place to start fresh for the spring is the laundry room. Consider investing in eco-friendly laundry detergent and fabric softener. You’ll often find that non-toxic, concentrated detergents last for months longer than traditional laundry detergents. And if you do need to refresh your linen cabinet or wardrobe, look for items made from plant-based fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and linen. This will keep your home, and the oceans, free from harmful microplastics.
Tips for Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tools
Do: Use what you have
Before running to the store to grab all-new cleaning supplies, look inside your cupboard. The most eco-friendly cleaning products are the ones that you already have. And simple swaps such as using old T-Shirts as cleaning rags can save you a trip to the store, and save those items from the landfill.
Don’t: Fall for greenwashing
“Eco-friendly” and “sustainable” are buzzwords right now. And sadly, that means that some companies are falsely advertising their products as “green” when they really aren’t. If you’re shopping for eco-friendly cleaning tools this spring, proceed with caution. Look beyond the color of a product's packaging. Ask questions like “what is this product made of?” and “what will happen when I need to dispose of it?” Certifications such as B-Corp, USDA Organic, and USDA BioPreferred can also clue you in to products that are truly sustainable.
Do: Look For plastic-free solutions
Whenever possible, opt for cleaning tools that are plastic-free. Tools made from natural materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo are just as durable as their petroleum-based counterparts. But their lifecycle is much cleaner. While petroleum-based products like synthetic sponges and plastic brushes rely on extractive processes and non-renewable raw materials, natural, renewable materials offer a sustainable option that won’t damage the environment or feed landfills.
Do: Look for compostable and biodegradable cleaning products
Here’s a tip- focus on cleaning products that will keep the Earth as clean as your home! By choosing eco-friendly cleaning tools and products that are compostable or biodegradable, you can ensure that your spring cleaning routine has a just as sparkly end of life. Look for cleaning products that are certified by the Compost Manufacturing Alliance- and make sure that you dispose of them properly. Determine if your cleaning products are backyard compostable, commercially compostable, or biodegradable.
With a little extra care and some eco-friendly spring cleaning tips, you can complete your season home refresh while contributing to a cleaning planet, too.
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