Skip to Content

Green spring-cleaning tips (for you early birds)

Actu - Green spring-cleaning tips for March

Warning: Reading these environmentally friendly tips and “life hacks” may inspire you to get started on your spring cleaning early this year.

So don’t read this unless you are willing to spend your next day off with gloves on and a mop in hand.

Still there? Then let's get started, somewhere you might not generally like to look, deep inside your bedroom closet.

Cleaning your bedroom

Before you empty out your bedroom closet, cover your bed with an old sheet to make a sorting station.

Already groaning? Not your favourite task? Take heart.

There are steps that you can take now to lessen the amount of work that you will have to do at this time next year.

One clever spring-cleaning “life hack” that has been circulating online is to reverse the way your hangers are hung as you put clothes back in the closet. As you use each item, change the hanger back to the normal direction. Next year, during spring cleaning, you will know that anything still on a backwards-facing hanger hasn’t been used in more than a year, and should probably go straight into your donate box or reuse box.

Some people prefer to thin out their closet as they go, by keeping a tote bag tucked in the back. When an item is ready to be donated or repurposed, into the tote bag it goes.

As you go through your linens, keep in mind that old pillowcases can be transformed into environmentally friendly garment bags. Old pillowcases can also be used to clean dust off your ceiling fans. Slip an old pillowcase onto each blade, and slide it off. That pesky dust will slide off with it!

Getting rid of some woolens? If the items in question are too worn out for the donate box, consider repurposing them as dusters. The same is true for socks. Finally, a use for all those strays! (Some environmental groups like Sierra Club recommend growing your own luffa or “luffah” sponges in your garden, but a quick look into the issue suggests growing your own luffah may not be an option for the Quebec climate. Can you prove us wrong? Have any Quebecers had any success with growing their own cleaning sponges in the garden? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.)

One last eco-tip for spring cleaning the bedroom...

Tackling a jumble of jewellery on top of your dresser? Check out this cute life hack for earrings involving old buttons. Stick earring pairs into different holes of large buttons, and you will always be able to find them. Sweet relief.

Cleaning your windows

It sounds counterintuitive, but...

Avoid cleaning your windows in bright sunlight. The sun can dry the cleaning solution too quickly, causing streaks.

Deep cleaning your kitchen

Finally taking the time to tackle all those months of accumulated grease on your oven hood? You will love this non-toxic, environmentally friendly life hack: use vegetable oil. Apparently, it’s quite effective!

Could your fridge use some freshening up? Put your coffee grounds to good use after your morning coffee. Leave them out to dry while you are at work or school, and then, in the evening, pop them into a small bowl at the back of your fridge. This homemade deodorizer is said to fight food odor. Also recommended for the kitchen: place a halved lime, cut side up, in a bowl of baking soda, on your kitchen cupboard.

Your fridge could use some more love? Do yourself a big favour and dust off your fridge coils. This can make it run more efficiently. (Yes, this means sliding the fridge out of its spot, so that you can access it from the back. Ideally, a two-person job.)

Your kettle wants in on the action? To remove yucky limescale buildup from the outside of your kettle, scrub with with this paste:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

To clean the inside of your kettle, fill with vinegar and let sit overnight.

Disinfect your cutting board with a halved lemon and some salt. In fact, the lemon can already have been squeezed for juice. Talk about multi-purposing! Lemons can also be used to remove water stains from your faucets.

Our favourite “life hack” idea is to use a binder clip to hold up your kitchen sponge. This helps it dry faster and, therefore, last longer.

Cleaning your floors in style

Do you sew? Make your own reuseable mop covers

Polishing your wood furniture

There is no need to buy furniture polish. You can make your own from ingredients you probably already have in your pantry:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

Add ingredients to a repurposed jam jar. Put on lid. Shake. Use those stray socks to polish your favourite wood pieces!

Find out what ingredients to avoid

Environmental Defence recommends learning what ingredients you should be avoiding in your cleaning products, notably, tricolsan, formaldehyde and parabens. Good advice!

Planning your garden

You may not be able to get out there in the yard just yet, but you can start planning.

  • Consider allocating less space to lawn this year.
  • Plan to use plants that are native to your area. In addition to requiring less watering, native plants may be more resistant to local pests.
  • If you haven’t already set up a composter, use March to choose a unit that suits your yard. While you are at the store picking up your composter, check out the push mowers. If you do buy one, consider sharing it with your neighbours. “An inefficient two-stroke gas powered lawnmover can emit as much pollution in one hour as driving a car more than 320 kilometres – almost the distance from Ottawa to Toronto.” 
  • Note in your calendar if your municipality is handing our free compost, as the city of Montreal sometimes does in May.

Prepare for summer heat

Start thinking about how to best keep your house cool before that first summer heat wave. Do your own home energy audit (sealing cracks, installing insulating window coverings) or arrange to have a professional assess your home. 

Not sure that you want to put this advice into practice? Contract out! Hire a green cleaner or home organizer to get you started.