Safe, low-cost ingredients you already have at home like baking soda and vinegar help get the spring cleaning job done sustainably. (WM)

Safe, low-cost ingredients you already have at home like baking soda and vinegar help get the spring cleaning job done sustainably. (WM)

Spring cleaning shouldn’t hurt our planet. Here’s how you can clean green

From baking soda and dryer balls to recycling and composting, it’s easy to get the job done without creating waste.

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024 1:30am
  • Life

By Karissa Miller / WM

You’ve made up your mind: Today is the day. With sleeves rolled up, you’re ready to tackle those spring cleaning projects. Good for you!

Before you dive in, how about taking a moment to green up your spring cleaning routine to protect the planet while you’re at it? Green spring cleaning can be easier than you think.

Let’s start with cleaning supplies. Before reaching for cleaning chemicals at the grocery store that will ultimately require special disposal as hazardous waste, do a quick online search for DIY green cleaner recipes. Often times, safe and low cost ingredients you already have at home such as baking soda and vinegar will get the job done just as well.

When it’s time to get scrubbing, rather than reaching for paper towels, opt for an old rag or towel. These are sturdier than disposable options, with the added bonus of saving trees and cutting down on waste.

Finally, have you cleaned the clutter out of the garage or hall closet? Remember, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Donate reusable items that are still in good shape to a thrift store rather than throwing them away. Not only does this keep material out of a landfill, allowing others to reuse your old stuff saves natural resources by reducing the amount of new products that need to be manufactured.

Believe it or not, the simple task of doing laundry is even filled with opportunities to be more sustainable. Have you ever read the instructions label on your laundry detergent? It turns out, many detergents require only a couple tablespoons to get the job done, not a capful. Cutting back on your detergent use to only what is needed is an easy way to save resources.

Do away with single-use dryer sheets and fabric softener by opting for reusable dryer balls. These help to keep clothes soft and save energy by reducing drying time.

Next stop, the medicine cabinet. Keep your home safe by properly disposing of medication that you no longer need. Visit medtakebackwashington.org to find a convenient take-back location near you.

Ready to do something about that junk drawer full of old cell phones? Take special care when tossing your electronics. These items should not be placed in your curbside recycling carts. Instead, find a recycling location near you at ecyclewashington.org for electronics including phones, computers, televisions and tablets.

Finally, don’t forget the yard! Grass trimmings, leaves and branches can all go into your curbside compost cart.

What else can go in your compost cart? Food waste. Keeping food out of the garbage is an important way to reduce waste and live more sustainably. When it’s time to clean out the freezer, be sure to put expired and freezer-burnt foods into the compost to give them a second life as a valuable soil amendment.

There you have it: some simple updates to make your spring cleaning routine the greenest it can be. Just add elbow grease!

Karissa Miller is WM’s education and outreach manager. Find more waste reduction tips at the WM website: wmnorthwest.com.

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