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Putting the Green in Spring Cleaning

Come the warmer temperatures, our longing for renewal, shine, even a little spit and polish grows stronger with each passing day.

Spring cleaning is somehow more tolerable than regular cleaning simply because, well, it’s springtime. Add to that ways to clean that don’t pollute or waste valuable resources and you have an activity that’s practically heaven-sent.  So let’s get to it. imagesM6BA60CL

Start by opening up your windows and letting all that fresh air inside your home. You’ll likely need to clean your windows so using a mixture of water and vinegar is a good green way to start. Wipe them clean with newspaper for a lint-free shine. Wash curtains and sheers. Dust shades and blinds. If yours are really grimy you may want to soak them in the bathtub or laundry sink. As the eyes of a home, the windows play an important role in maintaining its appeal. Don’t forget to clean your interior windows and window ledges as well.

The entryway or hallway of your home suffers a fair bit of abuse with the comings and goings of family members, friends and pets. Use an all-natural all-purpose cleaner to wipe away mud, salt stains and grime. Vacuum out your closet and de-clutter. Hang something fresh and spring like on the outside of your door.

Vinegar is a great cleaner for most floors. Mix it with some rubbing alcohol and a few drops of dishwashing detergent. Area rugs will need a good going over after winter’s assault. Sprinkle baking soda on your rugs to eliminate odors. Be sure to vacuum both side of your rug.

Use old athletic socks turned inside out to dust your home. Just cover your hand with the sock and start dusting.

Springtime is the right time to get rid of clothes you haven’t worn and other household items that have been left to collect dust. Consider donating gently used items to charity, where they can get another life. Opt for tearing up old absorbent articles of clothing and towels to add to your rag bag. Think of the money you’ll save on paper towels. untitled

Remember to go easy on the toxic chemicals. Many household cleaning supplies, while safe in small doses, may have longer term side effects. Volatile organic compounds, phosphates, petrochemicals and chlorine bleach have been linked to various health concerns. Instead, stock up on kitchen essentials that with a little finesse on your part do a beautiful job of making your home sparkle. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon, borax and essential oils either on their own or in various combinations make great eco-friendly cleaners that easily match or exceed store-bought products.

There’s no need to choke back noxious fumes or waste gobs of paper and water when spring cleaning. And while old habits die hard, it’s not a bad idea to stop and think can I clean in a way that’s safer, less toxic and generally kinder to the planet.

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