- Tip #1: Clean Naturally
Why scrub counters, floors, and tubs with harsh chemicals that reduce indoor air quality and harm the environment when you can use a few common household items to get the job done? Some basic ingredients for DIY cleaners include baking soda, lemon, vinegar, salt, liquid soap, and hot water. Follow these recipes to create nontoxic scrubs for every occasion.
- Tip #2: Clean With Reusable Wipes and Scrubbers
Spring cleaning doesn't have to result in a trash can full of used paper towels. Instead, try reusable scrub brushes or homemade cloth cleaning rags. Synthetic sponges are petroleum-derived and can contain triclosan. Greener options for natural sponges include those made of wood-pulp cellulose. Your best bet? Cultivate luffa (a.k.a. "loofah") in your garden and grow your own "sponge gourds."
- Tip #3: Use Natural Air Fresheners
A clean house is often associated with a "fresh" smell, so it's ironic that synthetic air fresheners could be contaminating homes with phthalates or formaldehyde. To really freshen up a room, try opening the windows first. Next, invest in houseplants. NASA has been studying the pollution-reducing abilities of plants for years. Some of the plants tested by NASA and shown to remove benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air include the peace lily, spider plant, golden pothos, mother-in-law's tongue, bamboo palm, ficus, pot mum, and gerbera daisy.
- Tip #4: Revamp Your Green Routine
After you've purged your closets (recycling everything, of course) and dusted off your shelves, set the stage for a cleaner, greener year. Use spring cleaning as an excuse to reorganize your recycling bins for maximum efficiency or make sure a hibernating bike is tuned up and ready to ride. Clear out pantry space so that you'll have room to store staples bought in bulk. Get out your calendar and designate a regular schedule for repair projects or start hosting monthly repair-a-thons with friends.