Helpful Tips for a Green Spring Cleaning

04/02/2010 1:29 PM |

Spring is in the air, which means the neurosis should be setting in right about… NOW! It’s spring-cleaning time, bitches! Here’s a list of tips for a minty fresh apartment sans chemicals.

spring cleaning

Natural window cleaners are important to use because the aerosol spray from chemical ones is harmful to inhale. You can make your own for cheap by mixing three teaspoons of white vinegar with a quart of warm water in a reusable spray bottle, or in a regular bowl to dip your reusable rag into (no paper towels, which just end up in a landfill). For a streak-free clean, wipe your windows dry with crumpled newspaper pages, which micro-buffer away residual cleaner and dirt.

Kick mold and soap scum in the hoo-hah with baking soda made into a paste with just enough water. Just coop up some paste with a reusable rag, and rub the effected areas in small circles to loosen the scum. Rinse when done, and watch it shine! Best of all, there’s no bleach smell, accidental bleach spots on clothes and bathroom rugs, and it’s completely safe to work with! And eat! If that’s what you’re into!

You know how Listerine kills 99.9% of germs in your mouth? Well, the same philosophy applies to your toilet. A capful or two of alcohol-based mouthwash has the same effect as commercial toilet bowl cleaner, but without the petrochemicals (chemicals made from crude oil) and poisoned waterways. For best results, pour it in, let it soak for 30 minutes, scrub around in there with a toilet brush, and flush. Or, if you want to be even greener, save some water and don’t flush until you’ve used the toilet and really need to.

Take the time to give your refrigerator a once-through and compost any old leftovers (providing they get the ok from the compost police). If it looks a little barren when you’re through, fill it back up! A full fridge uses less electricity than an empty one. While you’re at it, give the condenser coils good dusting to increase it’s efficiency even more.

The best way to avoid a six-legged roommate is to prevent it from wanting to move in in the first place. Take precautionary measure like doing your dishes before you go to sleep, sweeping up crumbs and food spills right after they happen, and storing food in airtight containers (better yet, keep it in the fridge to fill it up a little more). If it’s too late for that, fill a reusable spray bottle with 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, 20 drops of peppermint essential oil, 10 drops of cypress essential oil, and spray around the floor and in cupboards. You’ll be living in a single again before you know it.

Skip the Febreeze (who wants to stick their nose into a chemical-soaked carpet, anyway?) and use a tip my friend gave me: an orange in the garbage disposal! It makes the whole apartment smell like citrus and sunshine. Unfortunately, I have never been a proud owner of a garbage disposal, so I can only take her word for it. We low-tech folk can breathe easy by putting a pot of water to boil filled with spices or scented oils. A great recipe for a DIY Lemon Vanilla Spice air freshener can be found here.

Happy spring cleaning!

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