Greening Spring Cleaning for Earth Day

unrestrainedly Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 10.16.58 PMSpring has officially sprung here in Philly, and our family has been enjoying catching up on taking our dog to the park, bike rides, picnics and … cleaning. While businesses and stores will look at professional cleaning services (The Cleaning Crew) to deep clean their area, what can we do to keep our homes clean? Ahhh, Spring Cleaning at home is a good way to start!

Home cleaning is something we all do on a regular basis, but it’s generally only surface-level cleaning. A bit of dusting, vacuuming, and maybe mopping the floor once in a while. But rarely do we pull out all the stops to clean the corners behind the bed, the upholstery on a couch, lounge cleaning, window washing, etc. But a deep clean is necessary for a home to stay healthy and prevent problems like mold or asbestos. Of course, there’s a right way to clean, and a wrong way.

As Earth Day approaches, I thought I’d share some of our strategies for keeping our cleaning supplies – well – clean. While we can always be more eco-conscious, I think this is an area where we’ve been successful in greening our everyday routines.

One of ways we do this is by using homemade cleaning products almost exclusively. And focus on waste management, like buying products that could be recycled or reused. Opt for reusable products like gloves, and cloth diapers by reducing the use of plastics or non-biodegradable products. Are you confused about where to buy these kinds of eco-friendly products? Online sources might save you from this confusion, by providing numerous natural alternatives.

Putting together natural alternatives to store-bought products helps us save money, is environmentally friendly, and eases our minds about the substances to which we expose ourselves, especially our children, who alternate between being genuinely engaged and helpful with cleaning projects and going on spray-every-item-and-being-in-the-house missions. We tend to stick with pretty simple recipes that rely on easy-to-find things that are always in our pantry.

Here are some of my favorites:

What you’ll need:

Spray bottles and cloths (we use cloth diaper stuffers for our rags)

Vinegar, rubbing alcohol, liquid soap, baking soda, your favorite essential oils

All-purpose cleaner

In a spray bottle, combine 3 parts water, 1 part vinegar and 5 drops essential oil (I like lavender or lemon for this). This is our go-to cleaner and deodorizer for most surfaces. It’s best to buy distilled water or filter your own as this will prevent minerals and chemicals added to tap water from causing stains when the cleaning solution dries.

Air freshener

In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 15 drops essential oil. Distilled water is not necessary but is preferrable to help keep the scent of the essential oil on form.

Glass cleaner

In a spray bottle, combine teaspoon liquid soap, cup vinegar and 2 cups water and wipe glass with a sheet of newspaper rather than a cloth.

Laundry support

For stinky loads (especially cloth diapers), add cup vinegar to a second rinse cycle.

Drain / Garbage disposal

Pour cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar down drain; let stand for about ten minutes, then run hot water and disposal. Running citrus peels and ice cubes are other natural ways to keep the garbage disposal fresh.

Making and keeping these solutions on hand is easy, inexpensive and green. It’s the way we clean our house – what are your Spring Cleaning tips and tricks?


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