With longer, warmer days comes the urge to scrub away the dust and funk of a winter spent indoors. Spring cleaning reinforces the feeling of starting fresh, and it's a great way to maintain optimal health as we move into summer. Sometimes, however, spring cleaning can be a daunting task, especially when you're working to keep chemical toxins and harsh fragrances out of your home. But never fear! Inhabitat has rounded up six of the greenest spring cleaning tips, products, and DIY recipes so that you can start the season off right.
TIP 1: Crush Clutter
Nothing creates a feeling of claustrophobia faster than too much stuff. Before you can clean anything, you have to get rid of some those unused items causing clutter. Consider donating it via peer-to-peer sharing sites like yerdle and Swap It Shop. Too many clothes? Check out SwapStyle. Kids stuff? Swap.com. Books and movies? Try Title Trader or SwapTrees. Want more help organizing your brain so you can de-clutter your home? Check out this “Clutter Free in a Month” infographic or this 4-Week Whole House Cleaning Schedule from Simply Being Mommy.
TIP 2: Upgrade Your Cleaners
“Before you get all Martha Stewart all over your house, it’s a good idea to make sure your cleaners aren’t leaving a trail of air pollution and toxic residue behind,” advises Betsy of Eco-Novice.com. If the labels on your cleaning products say “harmful or fatal if swallowed” or “Danger: corrosive” you probably shouldn’t be spreading them around on the surfaces you, your family, and your food touch, every day. The good news is, it’s remarkably simple to make your own safe and effective cleaning products. Check out “How To: Make Your Own Green Cleaning Products” and Inhabitat’s “Green Home 101: Guide To Green Cleaning” to get started.
TIP 3: Make Your Own Cleaning Equipment
No need to go out and buy a lot of disposable cleaning cloths and dusters. After all, they’re just going to get dirty, so why not upcycle them out of stuff you’ve already got lying around? Here are guides to making your own reusable Swiffer pads, homemade disinfecting wipes, pot scrubbers and even a self-disinfecting toilet brush.
TIP 4: Prioritize Rooms
One thing is certain: if you try to cram all your spring cleaning into one day (or even one weekend) you’re going to be exhausted before you’re halfway through. Many people take a month-long approach to cleaning, focusing on the areas most in need of attention, and working their way backwards. Remember, we’re not talking about a quick pick up: Spring cleaning is about deep cleaning the nooks and crannies that are often overlooked.
Is your kitchen a disaster area? Check out EatDrinkBetter’s 4-step Spring Cleaning Checklist for the busiest room in your house. And don’t forget the fridge! Has your bathroom gathered some suspicious smells and stains? Use this checklist for bathroom spring cleaning. And what about areas that aren’t typically covered in splatters and smudges? They can be pretty dirty too. Check out OrganicAuthority’s guide to naturally deep cleaning your carpet and this checklist specifically for spring cleaning bedrooms.
TIP 5: Think Squeaky Clean Air
Even though they’re dirt’s favorite place to take a vacation, surfaces aren’t the only thing in your home that can be dirty. Indoor air pollution is a real problem in a world where chemicals abound. Blogger Lindsay Dahl has 10 tips for cleaning up indoor air, like changing your furnace filters and skipping the fabric softener.
TIP 6: Get Organized
Once everything’s been washed, wiped, and scrubbed squeaky clean, it’s time to get organized. Hopefully you’ve moved a lot of stuff out of its usual spot while cleaning, and the put-back process is a great time to develop a system that will keep everything orderly until the next big cleaning. The best way to get organized is to make sure everything has a place. Sometimes you have to create a place (like buying a bakers rack or making a shelf for your growing collection of spices), and sometimes you have to ask yourself whether things that don’t have a place should be kept around at all. If you’re stuck, check this guide to organizing your closet, eco-friendly ways to organize your child’s bedroom, tips for organizing the toy box, and Mrs. Polly Rogers 45 Best Organizational Tips for every other spot in the house.
Lead image: Bucket with cleaning equipment via Shutterstock