Spring Cleaning: 5 Green Tips To Save Money, Time and Your Health!
By Brie Parker
It’s almost that time of year! Time for sunshine, lighter clothes, and often times, spring cleaning. If you’re like most people, the thought of deep cleaning your house sounds agonizing and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be! Spring is the perfect opportunity to kick up your feet and relax in a clean, organized, and relaxing space. In fact, maintaining a clean space promotes relaxation, productivity, and overall health – especially when you use non-toxic cleaners with organic, homemade recipes! This spring, take back your happy space with these 5 green cleaning tips to save your time, money and health!
- Declutter and Donate
One of the best ways to clean and improve your space is to get rid of items that spent the winter collecting dust. Rather than just throwing them in a landfill, donate them to your local charity, church, or thrift store. Clothes, shoes, electronics, toys, books, movies, and even food can be given away for someone else to love (plus they’re tax deductible)! The less clutter there is, the easy it’ll be to clean! As for stained or torn clothes, you can use them as cleaning rags in place of costly and wasteful paper towels.
- Ditch the Chemical Cleaners for Easy DIY Recipes
Have regular cleaning products ever caused you to have a sore throat, headache, or nausea? That’s likely because of the unregulated and toxic chemicals in conventional cleaning products, which are often linked to asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, and more. If any of your cleaning products have a label that says “CAUTION”, “WARNING”, or “DANGER, you definitely should not use them where you and your family live every day! Instead, make your own DIY all purpose cleaner with simple, non-toxic ingredients, like baking soda, vinegar, borax, lemon extract, and warm water. You could purchase all these items and even new spray bottles for less than $5 at the dollar store and make enough supply to last months.
For an easy all purpose cleaner, mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts warm water. Add a bit of lemon extract or essential oil for an natural, chemical-free scent, especially lavender, peppermint or tea tree. Not only do they smell amazing, but essential oils are known to have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, so they clean just as effectively but without harsh toxins or side effects.
- Switch out your cleaning tools
Deep cleaning your house doesn’t have to result in a lot of wasted paper towels or money spent on refills for this or that. If you never want to spend a lot of money or time in cleaning again, you should definitely invest in some microfiber rags. They average about 50 cents each if you buy a pack on Amazon or at the local car store and work amazing on glass, floors and dusting. Microfibers are 99% effective at removing bacteria from dry surfaces, while also reducing the need for water or cleaning products. Plus, they’re hypoallergenic, super absorbent, and you can reuse them again and again! Instead of putting conventional swiffer wet pads on your mop, attach a damp microfiber to the bottom for a chemical-free and streak-free floor cleaning! Finally, for really tough stains, ditch the chemical bleach for melamine foam (otherwise known as magic eraser). They’re eco-friendly, chemical-free and work like magic on tough stains that would usually require bleach – especially mold, mildew and soap scum.
- Open and Clean the Windows
This Spring, one of the best ways to improve indoor air quality and prevent dust is to open the windows! This helps circulate air and eliminates any airborne dust or allergens that may have accumulated over the winter. Brighten the room by cleaning the windows with a natural, homemade window cleaner. Mix one part water, one part rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of lemon or essential oil for a cleaner that’s great on any window, mirror, or glass. Instead of paper towels, use a dry microfiber rag and wipe in circles for a natural, streak-free shine.
- Break It Into Teams and Tasks
You don’t have to spend your entire weekend cleaning! To save yourself time and frustration, always clean from top to bottom. Start cleaning high items like door frames, vents, and ceiling fans and work your way down. Start with the worst rooms first, which are usually the kitchen and bathrooms. You can even try this handy step-by-step checklist from Lowe’s to clean your bathroom. A very efficient, professional house cleaner wouldn’t spend more than an hour and a half in a big, uncleaned bathroom, so if you use the products, tools, and checklist mentioned above, it should only take you that long, too!
If there’s more than one person in the house, assign each person certain tasks to complete 10-15 minutes at a time. With each task that’s completed, reward the kids with a treat or reward yourself with a glass of wine! Below, we’ve listed just a few cleaning tasks that take 15 minutes or less:
- Clean the inside of your microwave. Put a cup of vinegar or water in your microwave for 30 seconds – afterwards, everything in the microwave should be much easier to wipe clean.
- Take a swiffer extended duster the ceiling fans, vents, and door frames
- Spray and scrub the front of your cabinets
- Remove items from counter top, then spray and wipe counter tops
- Spray and wipe the front of your appliances
- Beautify the toilet. Start from the top of the lid and make your way down. Best to wipe with toilet paper close by, to avoid cross contamination on your new microfiber rags.
At the end of the day, if there’s too many tasks and not enough time, you can always contact your local, eco-friendly cleaning service. However, be aware that the saying “you get what you pay for” really applies with the cleaning industry, so use Google or Yelp to research well-reviewed and accredited companies. Try to choose an eco-friendly and locally owned business over a national chain service. You’ll not only get a healthier, cleaner home, but likely more affordable prices and better customer service, while supporting a local, green business. Cleaning is hard, tedious labor so they’re services aren’t cheap, but afterwards, your home will be way easier to maintain and well worth the saved time, stress, and improved air quality.
About the Author
Brie Parker is a local entrepreneur, educator, and activist with a passion for empowering others to live more sustainably. After receiving her BA in English at the University of Delaware in ‘14, Brie moved to Philadelphia, where she formed Philly Maid Green, an all-natural cleaning service. They implement 100% eco-friendly practices in every aspect of their business – from their handmade, non-toxic cleaning products and educational workshops, to their low-emissions travel and use of recycled materials. Since 2015, their work has been featured in Generocity, Philly Voice, and the TV show Hoarders. In 2016, they received their Green America Certification and were voted one of Philly’s best cleaning services by Expertise.com. When she’s not working, Brie spends her time hosting educational workshops, participating in environmental work, or studying for her TEFL certification to teach English abroad.