I really don’t like cleaning. Really. And all spring makes me want to do is roll down the windows and travel. I don’t ever want to clean. The spirit never strikes.
That said, when my mom is visiting, or other friends are coming over, I have to get to it like all of us do. And I want to do it as green and healthy for my family and for the earth as I can.
That means no nasty chemicals, scents, or extra anything. I want to do it as fast as possible, as little as possible, and move on with life.
I do like to take advantage of the energy of spring to purge. As a recovering pack rat, this is hard. So here are my tips for green spring cleaning (and purging):
*Find all that is not being used: toys, small clothes, housewares, etc., and move it along to someone who needs it! Take the pile (we have a BIG one in the basement) to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or to a consignment store (better yet, a friend who is expecting or has a new baby).
*Clean green. My favorites include any Seventh Generation product. They, unlike many companies, label all the ingredients in their products on every label, and work hard to promote environmental health for everyone. And remember the Dixone 1,4 controversy last year? The Organic Consumer’s Organization found the carcinogenic chemical in many of our favorite green cleaning brands. But they’ve released a new report and study with newly reformulated cleaners, many of whom are completely free of this chemical now. They are also working towards a more clear and better labeling system, similar to the process for organic foods.
The Coming Clean campaign is: “focused on cleaning up the organic personal care industry by ridding of fraudulent labeling that is misleading consumers. The OCA believes that organic body care standards should mirror organic food standard.
This means that:
*Certified organic agricultural feedstocks are utilized in the manufacture of the key basic cleansing and conditioning ingredients, versus petroleum or conventional feedstocks.
*Manufacture of such ingredients is ecological.
*The toxicity of each ingredient is minimal
*Non-agricultural water is not counted in any shape or form as contributing to organic content,” according to the OCA.
Wouldn’t this be amazing? Join OCA’s Coming Clean effort here.
I also love Simply Neutral’s non-abrasive cleaner. I use this everywhere that needs a little more cleaning (let’s just say if you wait as long as I do, you need this stuff). It doesn’t mark up any surface, and scrubs out soap and toothpaste scum in a second (sorry to sound like a commecial). The stuff is green (no odor), safe for your lungs and your kids in the same room.
*Air out your house. All those nasty indoor air quality issues! We’ve got flame retardants in dust, fragrance chemicals, VOCs and who knows what viruses are lingering. If you can, open up the windows and air it out.
*Vacuum. I RARELY do this. And when I took a survey about indoor air quality, it is where I got in trouble. Turns out, chemicals like flame retardants cling to dust and stick around, to be ingested by little hands. Vacuuming regularly cuts this down. I’ve read this, I understand this and I still don’t vacuum much. Maybe you will have better luck!
*Purge your stuff. This one is hard for me, but I am getting better. If you haven’t worn it in a year (okay, maybe two) move it along. Send those books over to the used book store.
*Set up that compost pile. If you’ve stopped composting for the winter, now is the time to get it set up again. There are lots of resources online to help you with this!
Readers, what are your tips for green spring cleaning? I’m sure you are all better house keepers then I (not hard), so please, comment and share here!
image credit: The Bridge to Spring – Part 2 by WisDoc on Flickr under Creative Commons