Some people are more excited than others when it comes to spring cleaning, and if you’re not, then maybe you’ll be excited about these green tips to keep your habits eco-friendly when cleaning your home! With many mixtures of harsh chemicals covering the shelves in our stores, it’s difficult to be completely sure about the safety and environmentally friendly aspects of the products we are offered.

Here are some great tips on keeping your home and neighbourhood clean – and green!

sustainable spring cleaning

Try these environmentally-friendly cleaning products

Baking soda with apple cider vinegar is a helpful hack! Buying a cardboard box of baking soda and using it to clean commonly touched surfaces is a great way to replace plastic packaging and hazardous chemicals, and is a great way to make sure your areas are sensory friendly.

Turning old clothing (cut up cotton shirts) into cleaning cloths is a good way to upcycle unused items around your house.  You could also source some fun and easy DIY projects to turn old clothing into more useful household items like napkins, pillowcases, plant hangers, scarves, coasters, or reusable bags!

Donate and recycle things properly

That means taking electronics in to proper establishments to recycle or donate them, batteries, clothing and other products usually end up in landfills and can take hundreds of years to decompose.  Most clothing is made of plastic (acrylic, polyester) and these materials are designed not to break down or decompose.  Give them a longer lifespan by donating them to stores and try to opt for more naturally made clothing, or second hand.

Textile recycling is also handy, and this process helps properly recycle materials like clothing.  This process ensures that clothing isn’t sitting in a landfill, and that they’re being repurposed to expand their lifespan.

Do you really know what’s in your detergent?

Most store-bought laundry soaps are effective but hazardous, and always come wrapped in thick plastic containers.  Try switching to reusable glass containers and making your own laundry detergent, or using a fill-up service that offers cheaper fills for reusable containers.  Find some around your area, or use a quick guide to have a fun day creating your own laundry soap.  This assures you know what’s being used, and cutting down on unnecessary materials.

How to reduce waste during your spring cleaning

While we’re on the topic of binge cleaning, think about investing in some biodegradable garbage bags! Even though these things are headed to a landfill, it doesn’t mean you can’t give them a head start on degrading.  Biodegradable garbage bags are a great way to start to minimize your waste after it leaves your home.  Make sure you see your municipal composting requirements to keep up to date if using a compost pickup system – these will ONLY take compostable biodegradable bags in your green bin. Using a plastic bag will send your compost straight to a landfill.

Don’t forget the outdoors – sustainable landscaping

sustainable landscaping

Incorporate native plants and shrubs into your gardens to ensure you don’t start the spread of an invasive species, while also supporting local pollinator populations.  Try to redirect rainwater into catch basins to be reused during drier days.

Keeping a healthy garden or lawn can be important, but some fertilizers contain heavy chemicals and seep into our sewer systems and neighbouring bodies of water.  Leeched fertilizers have tendencies to completely change the health of an ecosystem, and not in a good way.  Here are some substitutes that can be just as efficient for growth as they are environmentally friendly:

  • Compost! A great way to keep healthy veggies or grasses is to save your own compost, and learn how to properly incorporate it with oxidized soil to create a healthy nutrient rich fertilizer. Use sparingly, as a lot of buildup can do more harm than good.
  • What’s better at growing plants than…. Plants?! Organic matter, which includes any plant or animal matter like household compost, is a great start to giving your garden a boost. Mixing a healthy mulch out of organic matter is a sustainable option when wanting to stay away from store-bought sprays. These nutrient givers also don’t leak and seep directly into the surrounding aquifers so it’s easy to maintain them in a private lawn or garden.
  • Fallen or dried plants, although they can be an eyesore, are great organic matter that helps link the nutrient cycle in your yard. Allowing an appropriate amount of fallen leaves to naturally decompose is probably the healthiest way to keep a lawn fresh and green.

How do you ensure a green spring cleaning? We’d love to hear!

AuthorOlivia

Olivia is an Educator at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada! You may see her if you visit the Aquarium with your class, or attend a daily dive show. Her favourite part about working at the Aquarium is the ability to make long-lasting impressions on all our guests about aquatic environments and conservation – especially with youth!

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