Spring Cleaning with Eco-Friendly Cleaners

| 3/14/2013 9:10:00 AM

While we endure the last of the cold, blustery weather, it’s easy to forget that spring is less than a month away. Once the days get warmer, many homeowners will be glad to finally get a jumpstart on those household projects that have been haunting them all winter long. And for many, spring cleaning will be at the top of their list: decluttering the garage and attic, reorganizing cabinets and drawers, eliminating the grime and dust that have been collecting in the far nooks and crannies of the home all winter long.

natural cleaning supplies
Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

Regardless of the tasks involved, a thorough spring cleaning usually means using a variety of household cleaners, many of which contain a host of harmful chemicals that can waft their way through the home, creating an unhealthy living environment.

Health problems linked to exposure to ammonia, chloride, petroleum and other chemicals found in typical household cleaners range from minor skin burns and irritations to damage of the kidneys, liver, circulatory system and respiratory tract, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If you are planning to take on the arduous task of spring cleaning in the weeks to come and are concerned about the safety of the cleaners in your closet, now may be the ideal time to consider swapping them out for some eco-friendly alternatives. Thanks to growing public interest in green living, eco-friendly cleaning products are more available in stores than ever before. And they are fairly easy to make at home, according to Janeen Solberg—a champion of recycling in Boonesboro, Maryland, and founder of the Boonsboro Greenfest—who has been making her own cleaners for more then 10 years.

She typically incorporates varying amounts of vinegar and baking soda into her recipes and adds other organic ingredients, such as washing soda and borax, both  powdery substances that are used as “laundry boosters” and  can be found in the most big-box stores. (For a list of Solberg's favorite cleaners, see 6 Homemade Cleaning Recipes.)