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3 sustainable spring cleaning ideas for your zero waste home

March 13, 2020

Spring is coming and we’re excited to hop into environmentally sustainable  spring cleaning using eco-friendly products and zero waste living practices!

Home spring cleaning services can be a convenient way to get your cleaning done, sure. On the other hand, you can have more control over sustainable household products used in your spring cleaning if you’re holding the spray bottle. Plus, it will be much cheaper to spring clean your home using eco-friendly products than it will be to hire spring cleaning services.

If you aspire to run a zero-waste household, sustainable household products that produce little to zero waste are key to accomplishing your goal.

What are some cheap and sustainable ways to spring clean your home at little to zero cost? Here are eco-friendly cleaning products and tips that adhere to zero waste living practices for spring cleaning your household. No spring-cleaning service necessary for a deep, zero waste clean!

Spring clean your kitchen using a natural, environmentally-friendly product

Your pantry or kitchen cupboards are a great starting point for a sustainable spring cleaning. You can create homemade cleaners with products that you may already have. Your ally in cleaning your kitchen likely already lives in it: lemons! Lemons possess antiseptic and antibacterial properties and are a natural deodorizer. In short: lemons are a great green cleaner!

Here are a few ways to use lemons to spring clean your kitchen:

Natural alternatives, like lemon, to use in sustainable spring cleaning

  • Revive your pots’ and pans’ shine. Split a lemon, dip half in baking powder, and scour your copper pans and pots using the cut side of the lemon.
  • Remove stains from containers. Using the other half, mix lemon juice with baking soda to make an environmentally friendly paste. Use it to rub out stubborn stains from plastic containers.
  • Sanitize your cutting board. If you’re left with one slice of lemon, rub it on your cutting board to sanitize.
  • Need an all-around cleaning solution? Marinate the lemon peel in white vinegar for a couple of days, and then use the mixture as an eco-friendly cleaning solution. You can use this solution to clean the stove tops, your microwave, and other small appliances.
  • Use the remaining lemon peels to freshen the air in your kitchen and home. Simmer the peels in water on your stove top for a fragrant, natural air freshener. Looking for other natural air fresheners? Here’s more.
  • For those who want to go beyond the kitchen, you can use the lemon peel as a seedling starter. Using the peel as a cup, you can poke holes for drainage and put soil in it in which you can bury seeds. Once winter ends, you can move the lemon cup itself to the garden and plant your seedling.

There’s so much use you can squeeze out of this one fruit to aid your spring-cleaning efforts with little to zero waste and no additional cost.

De-clutter your wardrobe while producing little to zero waste toward sustainable spring cleaning

What’s fashionable comes and goes. Living a zero-waste life promises longer-term benefits. Textiles can be some of the most wasteful items, because they generally cannot be recycled. Instead, textile items at the end of their lives are typically disposed of in the garbage.

Textile and fabric materials to be repurposed, fixed, and donated for a sustainable spring cleanInstead of tossing unwanted or broken garments, here are a few zero waste ideas:

  • Bring out the thread and needle and fix small holes.
  • Make rags out of unwanted or old cloths. Repurpose your old clothes by cutting them into squares and rectangles to make cloth rags that you can then use to dust and wipe down during your spring cleaning.
  • Make a welcome rug out of old clothes or stuff them into pillows after shredding them.
  • Clothes that are not too worn, old, or broken, can be sorted and packed into a box for donation. Remember to make sure that your unwanted items are still in good condition. Donations do not equal the garbage after all. When getting rid of unwanted stuff, here are some more crafty ideas to try.

Again, you don’t need a professional spring cleaning service to clear out your wardrobe. You can accomplish a deep clean consciously and at a cheaper price on your own.

Use environmentally friendly tools to go with your eco-friendly cleaning products

As great as it is to use a lemon and vinegar solution to wipe down items, the tool used to wipe items matters too! Keep an eye on the objects you use for spring cleaning that can only be used once (single-use items) or contain plastics. If you’re working toward a no waste household, spring cleaning offers opportunities to accomplish this.

Sponges can be a very useful but problematic tool. Most cleaning sponges are made of plastic, meaning that as time goes on, the material degrades. As the sponge wears and tears, bits of plastic escape down the drain and into the environment, wreaking havoc. Use a dish rag to clean your kitchen or a cleaning cloth. Need a rougher texture to scour pots and pans? Use a steel wool or even coarse salt.

Dusting can often be accomplished easily with a cloth rag. A neat trick would be to use an old sock worn in your hand. Try to stay away from single-use sheets for dusting. Just as you don’t want the extra expense of a spring cleaning service, it’s easy to drop the expense of single-use dry or wet sheets and paper towels; opt for reusable cloths instead.

Refer to your municipalities’ disposal and drop-off information for materials that must go to waste

For items that you cannot help but chuck out, make sure to check your municipality’s  drop-off programs, disposal information, and collection requirements for proper disposal. If you find yourself unable to be completely zero-waste at the end of your spring cleaning, the next best thing is to make sure that recyclable items get recycled.

An important part of making sure that materials get recycled properly is not tossing non-recyclables in the recycling bin. Contaminating your recyclables with garbage can undo your recycling efforts and send a whole batch of recyclables to the landfill; stop wish-cycling.

What other tips can you share on how to spring clean the household sustainably?

Have ideas you want to pitch or want to write for Recycle Coach? Email us at partnerships@recyclecoach.com.

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