Spring cleaning is a big task so it’s understandable if the environmental impacts of cleaning are not on your mind. But, if there was ever a time to consider how household cleaning impacts the environment it is in April: when spring cleaning meets earth month.
Before you start your spring clean, keep in mind these five earth-friendly spring cleaning tips that will help you minimize your ecological footprint.
Your spring clean will likely involve a lot of washing, especially when you give your kitchen a deep clean. If we aren’t mindful of water while we clean then we’re likely to keep the tap running or use water inefficiently.
Potable water is a valuable resource that we often take for granted. This is because for most Canadians, the immediate need to conserve water isn’t a major issue. However, we must remember that there are many places in the world where water is a finite resource, so we should all do our part to limit water waste.
One of the easiest ways to save water during your spring clean is to use tubs for soaking. For example, when you are cleaning out the fridge, have a tub of hot soapy water on hand for empty containers soak in. Once you are ready to wash them, you’ll only need to remove them from the tub and rinse, and occasionally scrub anything that needs it. Soaking in a tub will use much less water than if you soaped and washed each piece individually.
This is also something you can do anytime you hand wash dishes.
The second part of being water-wise is being conscious of what drains from our homes. The term “water pollution” conjures up images of oil spills and industrial waste, but household water pollution can be just as damaging, especially if you live close to waterways.
Aquatic ecosystems are fragile and are especially susceptible to toxins such as those found in conventional cleaning products, and these synthetic chemicals can persist in our environment for a long time.
To minimize water pollution, look for natural cleaning products with biodegradable ingredients or products that are “septic safe”. These products will break down in septic tanks without affecting bacteria and will also break down in the environment much faster than synthetics.
You will be doing lots of spraying, wiping and washing during your spring clean and will probably need more product than usual. So in the interest of reducing packaging waste, buy concentrates if you can.
A good quality all-purpose concentrate should make numerous bottles of cleaner that clean all around the home. For example, the AspenClean All-In-One Cleaner Concentrate makes 35 bottles of the All Purpose Cleaner and can be used on all washable surfaces. It also works as is on tough spots; diluted less to make a stronger cleaner for the kitchen; or diluted more for a streak-free glass cleaner. Plus, the bottle (like all AspenClean products) is made out of 100% recycled PCR plastic and is recyclable which limits the use of virgin plastic.
Another easy eco-friendly spring cleaning switch is to clean with hardy reusable tools such as microfiber cloths. You could go through an entire roll of paper towels while cleaning your kitchen, or you could use a few microfiber cloths - wash them - and use them again. We would recommend washing microfiber cloths in a machine with a filter or in a laundry bag to stop fibres from the cloths (or any synthetic clothing) from entering our environment.
Microfiber cloths are a better option for waste reduction, but also make cleaning easier. Microfiber is incredibly absorbent (they can hold up to seven times their weight in water) and microscopic fibres make them much better at picking up dust, dirt and even bacteria rather than spreading it.
Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to declutter your home which is fantastic for feeling fresh but can be bad news for the environment if your clutter ends up in landfill.
It’s also a good idea to make yourself aware of how your municipality collects different types of waste such as recyclables, hazardous waste and electronics. Hazardous waste and electronics that end up in landfill can leak toxic chemicals into the environment. A single item recycled incorrectly can contaminate recyclables which could send them to landfill.
Another eco-friendly tip to keep in mind while you purge is to remember all the junk you ended up with. Seeing the amount of unwanted stuff come out of the dark can leave us bewildered. How and why did we accumulate all this?
Unfortunately, the consumerism trap is an easy one to fall into. To help you stay out of it, take a picture of the waste piles you end up with during your spring clean. This can act as a reminder of how unconscious consumption can lead to unnecessary waste.
Need help spring cleaning consciously? AspenClean offers green cleaning services that accomplish cleanliness with minimal environmental impact.
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