It’s spring, a favorite time for people to clean out their homes. But for a lot of people that means using all kinds of chemicals that are harsh on their hands as well as the environment.
Good thing there are plenty of alternatives.
Start your spring cleaning by decluttering. Get rid of the stuff you just don’t need. Whenever possible, resell it or donate it to a thrift store rather than throw it away.
Don’t get rid of things you can reuse just because they’re getting old. Think about creative ways to repurpose things that have broken, and remind yourself you don’t need new versions of things that still work.
Cleaning Without Harsh Chemicals
Have a supply of white vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and lemon juice on hand for cleaning. Vinegar cleans in the kitchen and bathroom by itself or watered down remarkably well. Combine it with baking soda if you need something a little stronger.
The basic way I mix baking soda and vinegar is to sprinkle the baking soda on first. I keep a spray bottle of vinegar so that I can spray the area with the vinegar to get the reaction going. The baking soda also provides a mild abrasive good for scrubbing.
This mixture also works on cloth furniture and carpets. Just work the baking soda into the stains a little with your fingers first, then add the vinegar. I’ve heard it’s safe to run through steam cleaners as well, if you want an easier time cleaning carpets. I haven’t tried that much myself yet, but spot cleaning has been amazing.
With a 3 year old and a 5 year old, we have plenty of spots to test this on. I’m quite delighted with our results.
The olive oil and lemon juice are for your wood furniture. Mix a cup of olive oil to 1/2 cup of lemon juice in a squirt bottle and use just as you would other furniture polish.
Vinegar diluted with water works well for cleaning mirrors, and gives you a chance to use your old newspapers. Newspaper works amazingly well for cleaning glass, and no worries about leftover lint. You can use a little isopropyl alcohol in the vinegar and water mix if you like. This is the combination I’ve used:
1 cup isopropyl alcohol
1 cup water
1 tbsp white vinegar
Mix in a spray bottle and you’ll never miss the blue stuff!
Finish Off Your Spring Cleaning By Planning for the Future
There’s little point to decluttering year after year. As you finish your spring cleaning, promise yourself you’ll think before you buy, and you’ll buy less stuff.
When you buy, buy with the future in mind. This is why buying from thrift stores is good, and buying quality products that won’t wear out quickly makes sense. It’s why buying sustainably produced products matters.
As individuals, the differences we can make are small. But we can have an impact on what is socially acceptable, and the long term impact of that matters.