The Green Spring Cleaning Shopping List
Spring cleaning can get expensive. Commercial cleaners are often some of the most expensive items on your list, and the chemicals they’re made up of can cost you in health terms down the line. Fortunately, less expensive, common kitchen items or recycled materials can save your bank account and body a little suffering. Best of all, you might have the majority of these items on hand already.
This vitamin C rich fruit is great in desserts and lemonade, but it’s also a great cleaner. The natural acidity and antibiotic properties work to keep bacterial levels down in both the kitchen and bathroom, while adding the citrus scent so prized in many commercial cleaners.
Use it in the bathroom to removes hard water and lime scale from faucets. To do this, all you’d need to do is cut a lemon in half and scrub the faucets with the end without the peel. The metal ends up shiny and clean. I’ve even broken up hard water blockages from our shower head with this method.
If you mix lemon juice with enough salt to form a paste, it makes for an effective, though very gentle, porcelain cleaner. Dip your sponge in the mixture, scrub as usual and rinse. This is great for sinks, toilets, tile and bath tubs. This trick is also handy for chrome, copper and brass, as well.
You can also use lemon in the laundry, to clean microwaves, to get rid of stains on kitchen counters and deodorize sinks.
Lemons are generally less expensive than many commercial cleansers, plus you’ll also know exactly what you’ll be exposing yourself to when you use them. Because they’re fully biodegradable, you won’t be sending harmful chemicals into the environment, either.
Reuse Plastic (or Glass) Spray Bottles
These should be in every house along with the usual sponges, brooms and vacuum cleaners.
Spray bottles are usually made out of plastic, though I’m sure you can find them in glass, as plastic can break down over time. These handy bottles can hold your homemade cleansers, water for misting house plants or ironing clothing, shower fresheners, and all sorts of other liquids.
You can find them at most department stores, and they can be easily labeled with masking tape or store bought labels. Some even come with a designated spot to jot down what’s in them.
They also come in all sizes, so bigger bottles can be kept out of sight, while smaller bottles, like the ones used to spray down your shower after bathing, can be tucked into a corner with ease. If you’d like them to go with your décor, you can probably find them in just the right colors, as well.
Clearing a Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you need a deodorizer or cleaner base, vinegar is the way to go. This liquid has been used as a cleaner long before most commercial cleansers even existed. In fact, one of the many residues found in ancient Egyptian crypts has been that of vinegar. This substance forms when alcohol is exposed to air, which is probably part of why it’s been such a popular household agent throughout the ages.
In addition to its other uses, but it’s also a great glass cleaner.
All you’d need clean your windows and mirrors is a spray bottle full of vinegar and some old newspaper. Spray the surface with vinegar, and then wipe the glass clean, and wipe the streaks away with the newspaper.
I’ve used apple cider vinegar many times to combat sickness, but I’ve also had some luck in using it to get rid of fruit flies. All you need to do that is let a glass or bowl partially filled with apple cider vinegar out near where you think they’re coming from for a few days to a week. The flies will be attracted to the sweet aroma of apple, and drown when they can’t get out.
The problem many people have with vinegar is its smell. This can be remedied by adding lemon juice. This solution is a good one for regular kitchen cleaning, as you can keep it in one of those handy spray bottles and stowing it by the sink.
Vinegar is widely available in grocery stores. Usually it’s available as white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. The primary differences between the two are that apple cider vinegar is commonly used in some drinks and it has a sweeter smell than white vinegar.
Essential Oil Storage
Clean with Essential Oils
Although these oils may not be a regular part of many households, many of them are very handy as cleaners. My three favorites are tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender.
Eucalyptus in particular is great for breaking up residue from tape or stickers, while disinfecting the surface at the same time.
All three oils also work as deodorizers, because of their antibiotic properties. They’re especially handy in spring and summer months as natural insect repellants.
Although they’re wonderful germ killers, I prefer using them because their aromas are so lovely. Tea tree in particular has a very “clean” scent to it, as does eucalyptus. Lavender is very soothing, and always reminds me of a cozy vacation home.
While these oils can be a little on the expensive side, they will keep for a long time when you store them in a cool, dark place. You only need to add a few drops to your cleaning solutions to get their full benefits.
Do you have ratty old t-shirts, frayed towels or bed sheets you don’t use anymore? Instead of tossing them, why not cut them up and use them as rags?
By recycling textiles you no longer use, you’ll be saving quite a bit of money on things like paper towels.
Regardless of what the rags were when you first got them, you can use them for a wide variety of cleaning projects. When you’re done with them, you can just toss them in with the laundry and stow them in your linen closet, along with the towels and bedding you still use.
I’ve also heard of using old t-shirts and the like in place of toilet paper. I haven’t tried it, but I can see how you can save quite a bit of money by switching over to it. If you do decide to give this idea a try, make sure everyone knows not to drop the fabric into the toilet. Instead, designate a small trash can for them to toss it and wash regularly.
Laundry Drying Rack - Open and Folded
Line Dry Laundry
When I put up and take down the plastic over our old windows, I always wash our window coverings. Instead drying the ones I can completely in the dryer, I lay them out on my little fold away drying rack.
If you have enough room for it, a laundry line is even better, as you can let more fabric dry in the wind at the same time. For smaller spaces, though, fold up drying racks are smart investments. When you’re not using them, you can just fold them flat and either hang them on a wall or tuck them in an out of the way spot.
Even partially air drying your laundry on a regular basis can lower your power bills. If you don’t own a dryer, and have the time to do it, drying your laundry completely by air will cut your laundry expenses by quite a bit over time.
These are only some ideas about how to save money by making your own cleaning materials and investing cleaning aids you can use again and again. Do you have any favorite money saving or natural cleaning tips to share? If so, feel free to leave then in a comment below!
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