Every Spring we get the urge to PURGE!  It’s a good thing, or our homes would become pretty cluttered and dirty.  This year, as you get ready to do some Spring cleaning, I hope you will keep these tips in mind:

 1. My BIGGEST pet peeve – chemical air fresheners!  Every time I see these ads on TV, I cringe.  They are used in 75% of US homes, so those ads must be working, unfortunately.  Chemical air fresheners have been linked to developmental and sex-hormone abnormalities and cancer.  Use natural air fresheners like baking soda or essential oils or fresh flowers!  Here are some easy recipes.

2. Make your own cleaning products or use eco-friendly cleaners. Vinegar is 99% as effective as a disinfectant.  Mix it with water to use as an all-purpose cleaner.  Make a paste from baking soda and water to clean stubborn stains in the bathroom and kitchen.  It also works for polishing silverware.  You can find some more great ideas on the eco-etsy blog here.

3. Washing – use a front-load washing machine – they use much less water and are more gentle on your clothes so they will last longer.  Install a clothes line, either outside or in your basement.  I have installed a rod in my laundry room so that I can hang most of my clothes to dry, even in the winter.  I find with the door closed and the dryer on low heat for a short time for the clothes I do want to machine-dry, my hanging clothes dry quite quickly.  Replace chlorine bleach with natural oxygen bleach – it’s biodegradable and non-toxic.

Here is a simple recipe for laundry detergent:
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 liquid castile soap

Shake well or mix in a food processor to prevent clumps. Use 1/2 tablespoon per load.

Add 20 to 25 drops of eucalyptus oil to each load to eliminate dust mites.

4. Reduce water usage.  Install a toilet dam in your toilets – you can make your own from a plastic bottle.  Take shorter showers and turn off taps when you’re not using them (like when you’re brushing your teeth!)

t-shirt re creation by New York designer Stacy J Lee

5. Re-use and Recycle.  Get creative and have fun finding new purposes for things you already have but no longer like or use.  There are lots of ideas on my pinterest page – if you’re not a member of pinterest, let me know and I’ll invite you!