March 20th marks the first day of spring and with it visions of sunshine, dewy grass, blooming flowers, and blue skies. With everything so fresh and lively, it’s no wonder we want to bring that into our homes with a good old-fashioned spring cleaning!

Before you start gathering those trash bags of unwanted clothes and stocking up on cleaning supplies, think about how you can be more eco-friendly during, and after, your big clean-out.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind while you’re cleaning:

    1. Ditch the paper towels: Paper towels are our go-to for cleaning, wiping, and drying. Chances are you’re using too many paper towels. There are many options for reusable towels including biodegradable cotton or bamboo cloths that can be wrapped onto a roll for reuse. Cut-up old towels or t-shirts are great for messy jobs in the kitchen or garage. If that’s too much change, start small and put your used paper towels in the compost bin!‌
    2. Switch to cleaning products that are non-toxic and biodegradable: We all have that collection of various chemicals and spray bottles under our sink to make our house feel clean, but it could be doing more harm than good. With just a few basic ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, you can make your own chemical-free, all-natural cleaners. Search “non-toxic cleaning products DIY” on the internet for recipes. or this simple non-toxic multipurpose cleaner can be made easily at home:
      1. 1 part vinegar
      2. 4 parts water
      3. Leftover citrus peels
      4. Add 1 tablespoon Baking Soda if you’d like it to deodorize too!
      5. Bonus – put your cleaners in an A Simple Planet bottle you are finished with to reuse before you recycle it!
    3. Compost expired food and donate the rest: Many of us grab the garbage bags when it’s time for the Big Pantry Cleanout and toss the whole lot into the garbage bin. Instead, grab paper bags. Expired foods can go in one bag and into the compost bin. Unexpired shelf-stable goods can go in another bag to be dropped off for donation to a local shelter or food pantry. You’ve just cleaned your whole pantry with no waste!

Now that your house is feeling fresh and emptier, here are some eco-friendly habits you can adopt to keep that “clean” theme going:

    1. Hang dry your laundry: The nicer weather is the perfect opportunity to cut down on your electric bills and reduce your household’s carbon footprint by hanging up wet laundry. We automatically think about hanging clothes to dry outside, but you can also hang dry clothes indoors. A retractable clothesline in your shower is efficient and space-saving! Clothes hung to dry will last longer and keep their shape and fit because they aren’t being subjected to the tumbling and high heat of the dryer. Plus the smell is amazing!
    2. Go paperless: Let’s face it, it’s a Digital Age! Opting for electronic communication eliminates paper waste and the carbon emissions it takes to get that statement to your house. Not to mention, it’s probably easier to look up your statement online than sift through the drawers of your file cabinet. You can go ahead and recycle those boxes of old statements and get back some space in your house!
    3. Reduce your plastic waste at home: There are so many alternatives to one-use plastic. Products to reduce plastic waste include aluminum drinking bottles and glass food storage containers. But how about reducing plastic in the bathroom? That clutter of plastic shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel bottles get thrown in to recycling every few months. A Simple Planet makes it easy with hair products in reusable aluminum bottles (which look a lot nicer than plastic to begin with!) and refill pouches that get mailed back, sanitized and reused again! Each pouch is a plastic bottle saved – it really adds up! Plus you can be sure that your hair products are crafted with natural products – great for your hair and the environment!

Hopefully, we’ve given you a few jumping-off points to get your Spring Cleaning accomplished that makes you feel good about your home and our home – Planet Earth. Now head outdoors and enjoy the sunshine!