Now that spring is here, the Albatross Designs team is definitely feeling that ‘spring cleaning’ bug. With this urge to clean house also comes the desire to make sure any cleaning or refreshing efforts are as sustainable as possible. This is particularly important because traditional, store bought cleaning products are not only filled with ambiguous ingredients and harmful chemicals, they are also riddled with plastic! The good news is that having an eco-friendly spring cleaning isn’t as daunting as it may seem! With just a few swaps and DIY recipes, you can get to spring cleaning and give your home a natural and sustainable refresh. Here are 4 tips and tricks for spring cleaning – the eco-friendly way:
1. Refill Your Spray Bottles
- We’ve mentioned it before – but it’s worth saying again – that in most cases, the optimal eco-friendly choice is to extend the life of the items you currently possess. And since we know that on average less than 9% of plastics generated actually get recycled (source: EPA), there’s more than 1 good reason to make sure that for your spring cleaning you are reusing any plastic spray bottles or other cleaner containers you currently have instead of buying new ones. How, you may ask? Well, a lot of products like castile soap, dishwasher detergent, and floor cleaner have bulk refill options at your local low waste/sustainability store. So whenever your cleaner product runs out, instead of buying a new bottle with new packaging, you can simply take the clean, empty bottle to your local bulk store and refill it! We partner with a ton of amazing low waste and refill shops through the Albatross Blade Take Back Program. You can look through our Instagram to see our highlight posts of these stores and potentially find one near you! Some of these stores also carry concentrated cleaner tablets, which are becoming more popular and can be another great, low waste alternative. These are little, dissolvable tabs that can be placed into a spray bottle or other dispenser with some warm water, and then after a few minutes (and sometimes a bit of shaking), they become a full bottle of whatever cleaning product you need! There are tablet options for products like dish soap, all-purpose spray, and glass cleaner.
2. Make DIY Cleaning Products
- We also realize that a zero waste store or a wide selection of refillable products may not be available in your area. As such, it may be easier and cheaper for you to achieve an eco-friendly spring cleaning by making your own products from DIY recipes! Making your own products is a great budget-friendly option, and it also allows you to create more natural products with no ingredient uncertainty because you made it yourself! To start, we must discuss the staple: distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is basically the magic ingredient when making your own cleaning products, and can be used in many DIY recipes. You can use plain vinegar, or you could also make citrus-scented vinegar by soaking orange or lemon peels in vinegar (click here to check out our blog post with the recipe for this!). Just to list a few of the DIY cleaner possibilities:
- Combine 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and essential oil of your choice to make an all-purpose cleaner.
- Combine 1 cup water, ¼ cup vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, and essential oil of your choice to make a dusting spray.
- Combine ¼ cup rubbing alcohol, ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, and 2 cups warm water to make a glass cleaner.
- There are also tons of recipes out there for other homemade cleaning products, like toilet bombs, shower spray, and floor cleaner. Check out Pinterest or YouTube for examples!
3. Donate Gently Used Items
- While we don’t necessarily recommend getting rid of stuff just for the sake of it (see note above about using what you already have!), if you are planning on doing a cleanout of your belongings as part of your spring cleaning agenda, make sure to donate those items to a charitable organization. A lot of “unwanted” things end up in the landfill, but more often than not these items are still in good or gently used condition and can be passed along to someone who may have a need for them. Pickup Please, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity are worthy and benevolent organizations you can donate to, and they all have locations nationwide. American Cancer Society also has a line of thrift stores called Discovery Shops that are available in a few states. And you can always drop-off your donation items at Goodwill.
4. Run a Diffuser
- Once your spring cleaning has concluded, you may want to maintain that fresh, clean feeling by adding an aroma to the air. While you could light a candle, the best way to achieve this natural ambiance is by running a diffuser! Most candle companies are getting better about omitting harmful, toxic ingredients, but it still can be tricky to know if the candle you’re buying is actually safe to burn in your home (source: Green America). This is really what makes a diffuser a healthier and eco-friendly alternative! And unlike candles, diffusers don’t need to be monitored while in use, making them safer and hassle-free. Diffusers also allow the flexibility of picking your own scents. The endless combination of scents you can make using essential oils is guaranteed to create a wonderfully cozy aroma for your home.