The Green Spring Clean
Our first tip is to use as little product as possible – most people use too much and even if you are using eco-friendly products, the less you use the better – for the air, the environment and your pocket!
Start by planning your clean - some cleaning products work better if left on for a bit:
Wet cooker top with hot soapy water and leave while you clean the rest of the kitchen, when you return any dried on bits will come off with ease. For toilets, put toilet cleaner under the rim and in the bowl and then leave for a while so its half cleaned itself when you get to it!
Remove limescale from taps and showers, wrap a cloth or piece of kitchen towel soaked in white vinegar around taps and shower parts at the beginning of your clean so they will clean effortlessly later!
If you have mould around the bath or shower or on tiles or around windows, make a paste of Bicarbonate of Soda, White Vinegar and lemon juice and leave on for a couple of hours to make removal easier – this can be tough one!
For limescale in toilets, dissolve some citric acid in a jug of hot water and put in the bowl and leave – over a couple of hours the discoloured limescale will disappear like magic.
If time is of the essence, you can buy fantastic ready made green cleaning products and we love Bio-D, Faith in Nature and Earth Friendly but check out your local health food shop for local brands.
If you want to make your own produycts, it’s cheap, easy and effective – most things you may already have and but for ingredients try Dri-pak from your local hardware store or online, Check out our online recipe book http://www.thegreencleaner.co.uk/recipes-and-information for some tried and tested product recipes.
Don’t waste money on ready made window cleaner – white vinegar is fantastic on mirrors, windows and glass surfaces. Just polish off with a glass e-cloth for super shiny surfaces.
Use a different coloured cloth for each area of the house to stop cross contamination. I use e-cloths as they are colour coded, fantastic at cleaning and when used with water give a 99% antibacterial clean – there’s some clever science there but seems like magic to us!
For dusting surfaces, use an e-cloth microfibre cloth or duster as they trap dirt dust and bacteria. If there is lots of dust use them damp and polish with a second cloth if needed.
For shower screens, add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil in a bottle of white vinegar and spray your shower when you have showered for tiles and screens that stay cleaner longer and keeps and mould at bay.
Make sure you have a good hoover – it does not have to be expensive, just with good suction to remove as much dust as possible and remember to empty the bag or cylinder regularly.
For a deeper carpet clean: to deodorise carpets and lift more dirt dust and bacteria, sprinkle the carpet liberally with bicarbonate of soda, leave on for 15 minutes and then vacuum thoroughly. To clean a muddy spot, sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on the damp area and hoover off when dry.
And finally... most importantly...take some time to stop and admire your work, and then give yourself a treat - personally just sitting in the fruits of my labours makes me feel great - good luck!!!
If you are daunted by your cleaning you can break the job down into manageable tasks to do over the week.
Pick a room and declutter and then clean one at a time.
Get everyone to help a bit – it’s all too easy to become a martyr to the cleaning cause and we tell ourselves its quicker and easier for us to do it ourselves but you can train children (and partners) to help and everyone should pitch in (no exceptions).
If you have young children, use bathtime as cleantime: while your little one plays in the bath you can clean down the tub, sink, polish mirrors and tidy up any clutter. If you have older children, try getting them to help even just for an hour as several cleaner’s cleaning can make a huge difference to the task.
Prepare the way with a good tidy before you clean to give you access to all areas for a quicker, more thorough clean. Arm yourself with different bags for rubbish, recycling, things to pass on to friends or family or to your local charity shop.
Go through all your cupboards and storage places room by room. Be ruthless – anything you haven’t taken out for over a year could be surpless to your requirements! Kitchen’s can become a hoarders paradise – check those use by dates on food products and clear out any appliances, crockery etc that you really don’t use or need. Wardrobes and chests of drawers should be emptied and repacked, picking out any unloved clothes and footwear or things that have been long outgrown or no longer worn.
Open the windows to create a draft while you declutter - It’ll keep you cool and remove any toxins in the air at the same time. US Environmental agency study showed that the air inside our homes is 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside and in extreme cases up to 100 times!
You don’t need a cupboard full of chemicals and products to clean your home – you just need a few e-cloths, some white vinegar, some bicarbonate of soda, a multi-purpose cleaner, toilet cleaner and some citric acid for de-scaling.
Once you have cleared the way and are ready to start cleaning, we’ll talk you through the easiest ways to green clean your home…..
Let’s start with clearing out a bit to clean our minds and make space for a big clean – lets Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - these three words that have become quite powerful and known to most of us and are key to remember when clearing out for a spring clean.
There is something quite exciting about clearing out and creating space in preparation for spring and you can add a lovely warm glow to the excitement if you spend the time to go through everything making sure as little as possible goes to landfill – you can contact your local council for information on disposal of specific items, local recycling points, and you can bag up anything you think could be re-used and give it to the local charity shop. Where I live, if I don’t have time, I don’t even need to drop it off as we have a steady stream of charity bags with doorstep collections. Also have a look at Freegle or Freecycle for offering your unwanted items out for collection for free – your junk may be someone else’s treasure!
Once you have created a lovely space by clearing the clutter, odds on it needs a good clean – make sure you detox, not retox!
With conventional cleaning products having skull and cross bone markings and being kept away from little ones, it’s not hard to see that they aren’t that good for us and wonder if there is a better way. And guess what there is – green cleaning.
It’s now easier than it’s ever been to have a hygienically clean house - in fact if you use e-cloths and mops, you can get an anti-bacterial clean using just water – guess what – we love them! For those of you that like a bit of product though there are lots of fantastic green cleaning products available in good supermarkets and health shops that work just as well as their chemical counterparts. And finally for those of you that want to clean green and save money at the same time, you can make your own cleaning products – check out our recipes online.
So go on – there’s no excuse now – get your products ready and next we’ll give you some cleaning tips to make it all a bit easier – till then x