As days get longer and snow melts, my thoughts turn to spring cleaning: out with the old-man-winter accumulation and in with sunshine and spring-green-clean! Here are easy, cheap, homemade spring cleaning tips and earth-friendly tool swaps. Save money, labor and the environment with these solutions.
* Bagless vacuum vs. traditional bag cleaning: Bagless vacuums save us $80 a year. Emptying canisters directly saves environmental paper waste from bags, too. Clean filter regularly to avoid costly replacement.
* Carpet sweeper vs. vacuum: Daily vacuuming is a big environmental and cost drain. Using a push carpet sweeper is cheaper, eco-friendly and easier on my back.
* Broom vs. vacuum: Whenever possible, sweep instead of vacuum. This reduces airborne allergens. It’s more user-efficient as brooms get into corners and under furniture and appliances. Sweep carpets with a clean broom (use only for carpets). My grandmother used a plastic carpet rake to give high-pile rugs that freshly-vacuumed look.
* Rag vs. lint roller: Lint rollers are convenient, but expensive and trash-producing. Wipe upholstery with a reusable damp rag. For ground-in grime, use a soft-bristle brush.
* Angled dust mop vs. vacuum: Skip chemicals and cut energy use with a hinged dust mop. The angled head does corners, walls, ceilings and floors. Use mop head dry to remove cobwebs and wet to wash walls. Remove pad and wash.
* Fur or cotton dust mop vs. feather duster: Choose a dust mop head that collects and traps dust. Feather dusters just redistribute it.
* Pet brush vs. lint roller: Remove excess hair from pets before it gets on furniture and clothing. Brush animals and discard fur outside. This isn’t trash–birds appreciate fur for nest building!
* Plastic vs. metal scrubbing pads: Metal pads rust and scratch. Soap-coated ones contain harsh chemicals. Plastic scrubbers clean safer and last longer.
* Water vs. detergents: Plain hot water cleans as well as chemicals for many purposes. Cleaning products build up on surfaces as soap scum and wax and produce their own grime.
* Scrub vs. spray: Use elbow grease over chemical cleaners. Plastic scouring pads remove soap scum, food grime, wall scuffs and furniture spills.
* Cloth rags vs. paper towels: Soft cloth rags don’t scratch or produce waste and can be reused. They’re spring cleaning miracle tools!
* Sooner vs. later: Save work by cleaning immediately. My 13-year-old stove looks better than many newer ones because I wipe down after use and don’t wait for food to harden.