Spring Cleaning Hacks for a Low Waste Home

If anything positive has come out of this Pandemic for me personally, it's the spare time I have for household projects. Well, that and some amazing quality time with my family. Super important!

Spring cleaning might be the time to bring out the big guns (bleach and other harsh chemicals) for some households, but I've picked up plenty of low waste tricks over the years to avoid them. Most of the cleaning supplies I use for a deep clean are the same I use on a daily basis, reducing the number of cleaning products I have to purchase and toss. This is especially handy while I would like to minimize trips to the store and online orders as much as possible.

If you have baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, dish soap, and lemon juice lying around you'll be able to complete all of the projects below!

Disclaimer: Nothing described here is meant to disinfect or kill coronavirus. Please refer to the CDC website for their recommendations on doing so.


Grout

You can easily clean grout with just some baking soda and water mixed into a paste. If you have a light-colored grout that needs some bleaching, add hydrogen peroxide which acts as a safe bleach alternative. Lemon juice is optional but it can help to break down some of the dirt.

Cleaning mixture:

  • 1/2 c baking soda
  • 1/4 c hydrogen peroxide
  • Tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Process:

  • Using an old toothbrush dipped in the paste, scrub grout well and let sit for a few minutes
  • Wipe clean with a wet rag

Safety tip: Wear gloves and never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar as it can create a harmful or corrosive acid.

Hard Water Buildup

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is your secret weapon here! Simply spray some ACV on any surface with hard water buildup, let sit, then wipe clean with a rag. Be careful with marble and granite countertops as vinegar can cause etching. 

Carpet/Rug Deodorizing

Since all of my rugs are natural jute rugs, I'm unable to steam clean them. However, I can deodorize. All it takes is a simple sprinkle of baking soda and a vacuum. Baking soda eliminates odors and is safe on most carpets or rugs. To freshen up the carpet even more, I'll add about 5 drops of lavender or citrus essential oil to every cup of baking soda.

Process: 
  • Lightly sprinkle baking soda and optional essential oils over your rug or carpet after spot-checking on a non-visible section of the carpet first
  • Let sit for 30 minutes then vacuum away
Safety tip: Keep pets and children out of the area until vacuumed. 

Windows (inside and out)

All you need to clean your windows is some distilled white vinegar, water, newspaper or junk mail (non-shiny kind) and a spray bottle.

Cleaning mixture:
  • 1 c distilled white vinegar
  • 1 c water
Process: 
  • Crinkle up some newspaper until slightly soft
  • Spray a small amount of mixture on the window
  • Wipe with the newspaper in a circular motion until completely dry

Stainless Steel Appliances

I don't know about you, but I can't stand fingerprints, smudges, or streaks on my stainless steel appliances. To clean and polish those away, you just need a microfiber cloth and a dab of vegetable oil (I use canola oil). 

I put a small amount of oil on the corner of the cloth and wipe in circular motions on the appliance until it's all rubbed in. 

Baseboards

Dryer sheets used to be my secret to cleaning baseboards but now that I don't buy or use them, I've had to find an equally effective way without harsh chemicals and fragrances. 

You'll need a microfiber cloth, some old rags, and a bowl of hot water mixed with dish soap (I use Dr. Bronner's liquid Castille soap).

Process: 

  • Wipe down baseboards with a dry microfiber cloth. This is a great way to get all of the dust and hair off before cleaning. If you wet the microfiber cloth to do this, it will not pick up the dust and hair.
  • Wet a rag in your water and soap mixture and wipe baseboard clean




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