After the long, cold Wisconsin winter, you’ve probably noticed a build-up of dirt, grime, dust-bunnies, and even clutter in your home or workplace. Spring has finally arrived, welcomed by an abundance of dust particles in the air that winter has so kindly left behind. Yes it’s that time again, folks – spring cleaning time! Now before you make a trip to the store to stock up on some cleaning products and supplies, I’d like you to consider this: many of the items we use to tackle some of our biggest cleaning tasks are not kind to our planet (or your wallet!). Harsh chemicals, wasted energy, and an excess of paper products are harmful to nature, to our animal friends, and believe it or not – to our health. If you’d like to know how you can clean your home or office without harming Mother Earth and her inhabitants, read on. Here are some eco-friendly cleaning tips to help you bring in the spring season.
Tip 1: Ditch Your Fabric Softener
I can give you three solid reasons to ditch your fabric softener: it’s expensive, it’s hard on the skin, and it contains chemicals that promote the growth of some nasty bacteria unaffected by even the most powerful antibiotics. So in place of fabric softener, use sunshine! Hanging your clothes on a clothesline to dry naturally in the sun is free. You’ll conserve energy by not using your dryer, you’ll save money, and your clothes will feel soft and smell fresh. It’s a win-win-win situation.
Tip 2: Who Needs Febreze?
Febreze and other popular air/linen sprays aren’t just tough on odors, they’re tough on respiratory systems as well. Products such as these contain multiple dangerous chemicals that humans and animals breathe in once they’re dispensed into the air, and they don’t eliminate odors anyway – they just temporarily mask them. Commercial air fresheners can cause allergies, irritate the skin and eyes, and studies have shown that excessive use can cause fertility problems or even cancer. Replace these harmful room and fabric sprays with homemade ones. A spray bottle filled with distilled water, a dash of vodka (to preserve it), and several drops of your favorite essential oil(s) does the trick! If you make your own sprays, be sure to label them so that other people in your household know what’s in the bottles.
Tip 3: Substitute Recycled Newspaper for Paper Towels
Before you toss your old newspapers in the recycling bin, use them to clean! Believe it or not, newspaper works better than paper toweling when it comes to cleaning glass and mirrors. Using it in place of paper-toweling creates less waste, and it’s cheap! Newspaper won’t leave lint behind, and it will leave your windows and mirrors streak-free.
Tip 4: Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner
Many commercial all-purpose cleaners contain bleach and other dangerous chemicals. You can make a simple, all-purpose cleaner with equal parts of water and white vinegar, and several drops of tea tree essential oil. Tea tree oil is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic – and it’s completely safe. Add a dash of lavender to really make it smell nice!
Tip 5: Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is a miracle worker when it comes to household cleaning, and it’s safe for the environment as well. You can use it to remove tough stains and odors, and it’s great for bathroom and kitchen surfaces, too. Sprinkle baking soda on spills to soak up the liquid before it sets in, or if it’s too late – put some baking soda over the stained area and saturate it with white vinegar. Let it sit for several minutes. Gently dab the area with a damp cloth, and clean up any excess baking soda with your vacuum cleaner. It’s that easy. You can use baking soda (and vinegar if necessary) on carpets, mattresses, drapes, and even stained clothing. Baking soda is a powerful odor eliminator and is good to have on hand if you’re a pet owner. A little bit of these ingredients goes a long way making them much cheaper alternatives to the products you find in the store.
Tip 6: Purify with Selenite!
Selenite is a treasure that comes straight from Earth herself, and guess what?! It can clean your space as well as your spirit. If you’re not familiar with Selenite, it’s a beautiful, gentle crystal with powerful cleansing and healing properties. A rough Selenite wand, a few tumbled stones, or a pretty Selenite tower placed in any room of your home or office will keep the space around you purified and cleansed. (Please note that Selenite is a soft mineral. Do not immerse it in water – doing so will cause it to dissolve.)
Making the conscious decision to use eco-friendly cleaning products is a great way to show respect for our planet and those we share it with. Showing kindness to our environment and animals in this way will undoubtedly attract many blessings from the spirit realm, and your spring will be all the brighter!
Bio: Kelly Lingen Mahieu is an employee at Mimosa Books & Gifts, a freelance writer, and a busy mom. Her areas of specialty include crystal healing, crystal skulls, tarot and oracle cards, and working with fairy energy for healing and transformation. Kelly became a Master of Crystology after completing Melody’s Laying On of Hands and Laying On of Stones workshops, and is currently studying Fairyology under the instruction of Doreen Virtue. Kelly has created and self-published two oracle decks, The Watchful Eye Oracle and Bright In-sight. You can check out her work by visiting her website lingen oracles
Image: Hanging Laundry, by Kristjan Raud (public domain image via Wikimedia Commons)