Spring Is Here And It’s Time To Air Out Your Abode!
Spring cleaning can take many forms. It can be actual cleaning (see recipes below for some great chemical alternatives) or de-cluttering and organizing. The change of seasons can even mean organizing mentally and bring a time for New Years-style resolutions. If the flowers are budding, so are new ideas.
Ideas To Take Advantage of Your Spring Cleaning Energy
- Do an inventory of your stuff. Pretend you’re packing it all up and ask yourself “If I was moving, would I keep this?” Donate all the stuff you don’t want to keep to your local thrift store. If it can’t be donated, it can probably still be recycled. RecycleScene.com’s search bar is a great place to start looking to start learning how to recycle. Overwhelmed by how much stuff you’ve got? Don’t abandon your project- start small with one closet/desk/cabinet at a time.
- While you go through your many possessions and weed out the superfluous stuff in your life, you’re bound to come across creative projects you’ve been meaning to get to. If these are dear enough to be saved from the donation pile, set a timeline in which to accomplish them. Stick it somewhere front and center. Use spring cleaning as an excuse to finally do it. Use our DIY section for more ideas.
- Organize your recyclables! Make yourself a recycling center for easier home recycling. This handy brochure (download) prepared by Iowa State University, University Extension will get you started.
Out with the old, in with the new. BONUS! Start your spring shopping with a discount. Great deals on attractive recycled home decor and jewelry, toys, and gifts for everyone at the Ultimate Green Store. Get 10% discount with promo code: GREENLIVING
There’s a secret that you may have picked up on by now: you don’t have to go out and buy cleaning products. With simple items around the home, you can make your own. They will last longer and be safer for pets, your children and you. You can get a lemony fresh scent with- get this- lemon juice!
Some ready-to-use cleaning products may contain chemicals, dyes and fragrances that will cause skin irritation or air pollution. Here’s some spring cleaning tips from RecycleScene that will help you reduce the use of toxic chemicals and avoid their side effects while saving money. You win!
Many of you may already be familiar with the baking soda and vinegar trick. Baking soda absorbs odors and is a mild abrasive. Distilled white vinegar removes soap scum and grease. Mix either one with water, and you’ve got a lot of your kitchen and bathroom cleaning products covered.
Mix ingredients for each recipe in a spray bottle. Use for cleaning everything from floors and walls to countertops, carpet and upholstery.
- Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in one quart of warm water.
- Add 1/2 cup vinegar to between 1 cup and 1 quart of warm water.
Recycling Tip: Remember that you can gain a “new” dusting or cleaning cloth by cutting up an old shirt or old flannel that wasn’t high enough quality to donate to a thrift store, and old towels work well for larger areas like floors or walls.
Recipes for the trickier stuff
As recommended with a lot of products, test out a small portion of it before applying.
Furniture Polish: Mix 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Or, mix 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar and a few drops of food-grade linseed oil, jojoba or olive oil. Rub with the wood grain using a soft cloth. Buff with a clean corner of the rag.
Instead of bleach, try 1/2 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide in the rinse cycle of your wash.
Tip: Rust stains can be removed from porcelain by scouring with cream of tartar, which is a mild acid.
Ingredients: If you can’t pronounce them…
Avoid chlorinated compounds, petroleum stuff like surfactants and distillates, phenols and formaldehyde. Words such as ethylene/ethyl, butyl/alkyl, benzene, phenols and formaldehyde indicate a product with ingredients that are bad, m’kay.
Sad But True: Manufacturers are not required by law to list their ingredients unless they are active or contain stuff that we know is harmful. But that leaves it pretty wide open- be aware if the product only lists “active” ingredients. If other ingredients are not listed, you don’t know if they’re good, bad, or ugly.
When it comes to products in concentrated form, this also may have reduce packaging, but take note: there may be health risks with concentrated products, so read your label. Ready-to-use products may be safer than some concentrates.
Recycling Tip: A product’s packaging can sometimes be wasteful. When you make your own cleaning solutions at home and reuse your spray bottles or containers over and over, you also reduce waste. Best practices include reduce packaging of products first and then make sure you can recycle its packaging materials, such as plastic bottles.
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