Happy Spring Equinox! In the grand old tradition of spring cleaning, we've rounded up some of our top tips for green cleaning--without toxic chemicals.
1. Open the windows
Now that it's a little warmer out, it's time to get more fresh air into your home. Good ventilation is key to combating indoor off-gassing.
2. Cull your winter clothes now
The best time to clean out your seasonal clothes is as soon as that season has ended. If you've gone a whole winter without wearing those boots or that sweater, it's time to give it away. It will be a lot easier to convince yourself to keep things if you do this task next fall.
3. Use baking soda on musty carpets
Instead of using chemical cleaners, simply sprinkle baking soda onto your carpets for smell reduction. Sweep it around for a bit, let it sit and then vacuum it up.
4. Clear your windows with vinegar
Combine 2 teaspoons of vinegar with 1 quart of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe to get rid of finger prints and other greasy buildup.
While you're at it, could you do us a favor and skip the paper towel and use a washable rag instead? Or if you're cleaning something so gnarly that paper towels are a must, at least compost them.
5. Make an all-purpose cleaner with natural ingredients
Tea tree oil and lemon extract have both been shown to have anti-microbial properties. So, you can make a good all-purpose cleaner by combining 10 drops of lemon extract (or zest) with 20 drops of tea tree oil in 1 quart of water. This works great to clean tile, countertops and floors. Our sister site MNN recommends adding lavender oil for an extra-good smell.
6. Flip your mattress
Not all mattresses are designed to be flipped, but if yours is, it's good to flip it twice a year. Why not use the equinox as a reminder?
Just like carpet, you can use the baking soda trick on your mattress to absorb oils and odors. Here are more tips on cleaning your mattress without chemicals.
7. Cook up a pot of happy smells
Many air freshener products actually have phthalates masquerading as "fragrance." For a more natural good-smell fix, why not boil up a pot of your favorite herbs and fruits? Try combining cinnamon and oranges or cloves and apples. You can also add a few drops of essential oils.