By Rachel Roberts
With the weather finally starting to warm up this spring, it is time to begin to open those windows that have been closed for the last couple months, and begin your annual spring cleaning. The trouble for many environmentalists (like you and me), however, is that cleaning can be dangerous to our health and the environment.
So while doing your cleaning this spring, here are a few things to keep in mind to keep yourself and the environment happy and healthy:
- Reusable cloths—use towels or old t-shirts instead of rolls and rolls of paper towels. When you’re done, simply toss them in the washing machine and they’ll be good as new. You’ll even be able to use them for spring cleanings to come.
- Donate—when cleaning out your closet, garage, or attic, rather than throwing out things you no longer find useful, instead, donate those items to local thrift shops, charities, friends, family, and neighbors. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. By re-using and donating, we can cut down on the amount of waste we send to our landfills.
- Conserve Water—Water is pretty important when it comes to cleaning, but this year, try to be aware of how much water you are using and how much you actually need. Fix leaky faucets and pipes. When watering your lawn, opt for grey water or rainwater. On average, a family uses about 30% of its water on the lawn or garden. By using grey water, not only will you be conserving water but also saving money.
- Laundry—Instead of drying your laundry in the dryer, install a clothesline in your backyard and let the sun and wind do all the hard work. Line drying clothes outside (weather permitting) is a great way to enjoy the sunshine while you reduce energy usage,and your energy bill.
- Environmental Friendly Cleaners— Many household cleaners contain hazardous chemicals linked to neurological, liver, and kidney damage, as well as asthma and cancer. If possible, look for products that are labeled biodegradable or ecofriendly. Try to avoid cleaners containing phosphates, as phosphates contribute to algae blooms if they get into rivers, lakes, or streams. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious this spring, look up DIY-cleaners, which are often safer for human health and the environment.
Happy Cleaning! And remember to strive for not only a clean house, but a clean environment as well.