Create an Earth-Friendly Spring Cleaning Checklist

by Teresa J. Mitchell

Earth-Friendly Cleaning ChecklistThe winter months love to create more work for you collecting clutter and dust-bunnies. We hear our closets moaning under the pressure of what's hiding behind the doors. Do we dare take a peek inside? If you're brave enough, the answer is yes!

Spring is the time to conquer your clutter, dismantle the dust-bunnies, and make your house sparkle and shine. Your yearly spring cleaning is about to commence!

When you are getting ready to start, you look in your cabinet to get supplies. Your familiar helpers are all lined up and ready to serve, but are they toxic for you? They could be. Research shows that many common cleaning solutions can be harmful to your health and our planet.

So how do we change the concept of "organized and clean" translating to mean sparkling floors and counters that "you-can-eat-off-of," and have a healthy, fresh pine scent?

Read our checklist of easy-to-implement tidying tips to get you started. Give your house a green cleaning this spring -- one that your health and the earth will love.

Earth-Friendly Cleaning Checklist

✓ Replace paper towels and other disposable cleaning cloths with re-usable materials: Cotton rags, old t-shirts and clean cotton diapers all work well for wiping down windows, furniture and walls.

✓ Detoxify your cleaning closet and replace with earth-friendly cleaning supplies. Do the price tags on the "green" products cause heart failure? There is an alternative:

  • Be a smart buyer: Read the packaging on products and look for key words like nontoxic, biodegradable, chlorine-free, phosphate-free, vegetable oil based, fragrance free and no dyes. Question products that say "danger" or "poison."
  • Raid the pantry and make your own eco-friendly homemade cleaning products. Every-day products like baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice can create a veritable army for attack. Look out dust-bunnies!

✓ Dry fabrics naturally. All those curtains and other laundry items that you washed can be hung outside to dry. If the unpredictable spring weather has you heading for the dryer, remove the items as soon as they're dry.

Alternatively, you can lay your clothing out in a warm, dark area of your home or hang the clothes on the shower rod. Make sure it's sturdy enough for the weight!

✓ Get a fresh, spring smell, safely. Open the window or use a natural "air freshener."

  • Place cotton balls dipped in water and essential oils in rooms around the house.
  • Set out an open box of baking soda instead of using air fresheners (keep out of reach of wee ones).
  • Make a spritzer of one tablespoon baking soda, one tablespoon lemon juice and two cups of water. Combine. Once the solution quits fizzing, pour into a spray bottle.
  • Freshen up even more by adding living plants to your house.

✓ Make your own compost from food waste products. We suspect that if you gave your kitchen a thorough spring cleaning, you'll be able to start yours today. The compost is especially good for that vegetable garden you've started with the kids.

✓ Reduce, regift and recycle. Spring-cleaning doesn't just involve a scrub-down; it's also about getting organized. Do you have toys you're saving for your grandchildren? Clothes you might wear next year?

✓ Store your treasures in repurposed containers. Here's your chance to give shoe boxes and wrapping paper a new life! Sort through your drawers, closets, and the nooks and crannies you've been avoiding. Even your storage can go green!

What changes have you made to make your cleaning routine green? Share your tips!

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