5 Tips for Nature-friendly Spring Cleaning
It's the time of year when we want to start fresh, shake off the chill of the past winter, and brighten up our surroundings. It's time for spring cleaning!
It's important to think about the effects on the environment as we clean our homes. Commercial cleaners that end up running down the drain with our wash water can end up in rivers and lakes. Harsh chemicals and artificial scents can become airborne, harming our own health and that of wildlife in our neighbourhoods. One-time use solutions clutter landfill sites.
It's easy to clean your home using items you already have in your kitchen cupboard. These five solutions should tackle most of the cleaning jobs around the house, leaving both you and nature happier this season.
1. All-purpose cleaner. A 1:1 mix of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle will tackle most household cleaning chores. If you don't like the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil (choose tea tree oil if you're looking for a natural disinfectant). Also use vinegar to clean stainless steel appliances, chrome fixtures, and to remove rust.
2. Add some elbow grease. For those spots that need an extra scrub, sprinkle a bit of baking soda over the surface and before washing with a damp cloth. Apply a bit of pressure and watch a natural shine come through. This pantry staple acts as a scouring powder, fungicide and can also be used as a polish.
3. Scrubbing the tub. Remove mildew from the bathroom with a paste of borax or some grapefruit seed extract (available from health stores). You can also spray the shower curtain with vinegar – see the all-purpose cleaner above – to remove any residue. Calcium stains can be removed with a vitamin C solution: just pop a vitamin tablet into water and soak the affected area overnight; in the morning, the stain should wipe away.
4. Wood that shines. Traditional wood polishing sprays leave a cloud of chemicals in the air rather than treating your furniture. Mix up your own polish with 1 cup of olive oil and a squirt of lemon. Rub on to your treasured pieces with a soft cloth to restore their glow.
5. Skip the disposables. Dedicate some reusable cloths to cleaning instead, and run them through the washing machine (cold water, line dry!) when they get a bit grubby. If you're looking for added cleaning power, microfiber cloths have a natural charge that attracts dust and can be used dry or damp. Even better, make your own cloths from old towels and keep even more waste out of the landfill.