Spring cleaning is great for your home. After months of hibernation, there’s nothing like a weekend-long scrub to make everything feel a little fresher. But as for our collective home, the Earth? Well, when it comes to the environment, spring cleaning can have some dirty consequences. Before you break out the mop, we checked in with the experts for how to keep things eco-friendly this year.
Know what’s in your products
If you’re used to shopping for cleaning products at your local big-box store, chances are you’re exposing your home to some pretty powerful toxins. The good news? You don’t need a chemistry degree to decipher those labels. “I have a secret weapon: The Environmental Working Group has a database of products that breaks down an overall rating,” says Julie Hancher, owner, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Green Philly. “If I’m questioning a product in the store, I search the EWG website. I’ve been notorious to spend twice as long in Target, scanning the best ingredients.”
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Skip the disposables
You already know that paper towels are wasteful. So what can you do about it? Plenty. “To reduce waste when cleaning, recycle old T-shirts into rags and use a mop with reusable pads for cleaning floors,” says Sarah Christie, the blogger behind PeaceLoveOrganicMom.com. “Another way to avoid waste is with reusable paper towels. They come on convenient rolls and are machine washable.”
Look at your laundry
By changing just a few of your modern (and, ahem, extremely wasteful) habits, you can save energy and money. “Try cutting just one load of laundry a week and spreading the clothing out among the other load,” says Nikki Fotheringham, author and blogger at GreenMoxie.com.
“Ninety percent of the energy used for your laundry goes to heating the water, so cold or warm washes are best. If you do eight loads of laundry a week and hang just four of those loads on the line, you can save $47 a year on drying.”
The best way to make sure a cleaning product is safe for your family and the environment? Make it yourself. Christie offers this simple recipe:
1 part vinegar + 1 part water + a few drops of tea tree oil = Your new go-to all natural, all purpose disinfectant cleaner