Spring has sprung in the southern hemisphere, bringing the perfect opportunity to give your home a green spring clean. When spring rolls around we brush off the dust gathering over winter and start to get rid of everything that we have grown out of over the colder months. It’s also easier to open the windows and get the air moving again. Increasing ventilation will help reduce indoor toxins such as VOCs, mold, heavy metals, phthalates and PVC. Bringing greenery with air-purifying qualities into your home is also a good way to clean the air, plus they’re lovely to look at! Thanks to Plantify you can create an instant jungle look with the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and the Peace Lily houseplant and let them do the job.
Photo by Alistair MacRobert
The next step to make your home feel like spring, is to make it smell like spring. Using essential oils is a wonderful, natural way of making your home burst with the delicate scents of nature. By using a diffuser with some of your favourite fresh scents such as SOiL’s lavender oil, you can emit a lovely mist of wonderful smelling goodness that also eases stress and helps stimulate a more restful sleep. Vaporize peppermint oil for a refreshing and stimulating smell through your home or use lemongrass oil as an insect repellant.
Essential oils are also great to have in your starter pack for making DIY natural cleaning mixtures, and many of the other ingredients (such as lemon, salt and vinegar) may well already be in your pantry. Trying DIY home cleaning recipes will save you money and protect the environment. Using non-toxic cleaning products is also much better for your health.
How to replace chemical-laden cleaning products with non-toxic household ingredients
- Clean your windows with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water. Use old newspaper for great smudge-free results.
- Clean your oven with baking soda. Mix baking soda and water until it makes a spreadable paste.
- Unclog your drain with baking soda and salt. Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup salt, pour down the drain and leave it to work for at least three hours. Rinse the drain with boiling water.
- Remove mildew with white vinegar and make a baking soda paste to clean grout between tiles.
- Clean wood furniture with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Use olive oil for polishing wood furniture.
- Remove bacteria from counters, your microwave and stovetop by making your own solution of one cup of water with one cup of apple cider vinegar. (Vinegar and marble is a deadly combination though, as it will eat into a marble countertop’s surface and dull the stone, so never use vinegar to clean marble or granite counter tops!)
- Replace fabric softener with white vinegar. Add to the rinse cycle to naturally soften your laundry. Citric acid also makes an excellent fabric softener.
- Learn more about cleaning your shower, dishwasher, espresso machine and kettle with citric acid here.
Photo by Amélie Villa
Make an easy zero waste citrus peel all-purpose cleaner
A great way to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill is by composting kitchen scraps. Organic waste in landfills create methane, so by composting you can help decrease greenhouse gas emissions. A bokashi food waste bin makes it easy, even for those living in apartments. Start composting today!
But before you compost your lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit peels, store them to make your own citrus-infused vinegar cleaning spray. You really get such a huge sense of accomplishment reusing kitchen scraps to create a low cost, non-toxic cleaner for your home!
- After you collected a good amount of citrus peels, add them to a glass jar so it’s at least half full. (Any jar will do, but if you’d like your own iconic Le Parfait jar as pictured above, get it here.)
- Cover the peels with white vinegar and infuse for at least 2 weeks. Please note the vinegar will eventually corrode your jar’s metal lid.
- Strain the vinegar and compost the peels. Voila! Enjoy using an all-natural cleaner made from some of your trash.
Another lovely all-purpose cleaner to try, uses 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 and 3/4 cups water. Add 30 drops of essential oils to the vinegar and water. 15 drops of lavender and 15 drops of lemon is a great combination to try. Or play around with a blend of eucalyptus, peppermint and orange. There are so many different blends that you can try. Personalise them to your family for whatever suits your senses best, but avoid cleaning marble/granite counter tops, wood furniture or hardwood floors with vinegar.
The fun part about using your own homemade cleaning mixtures, instead of store bought cleaning products, is that you get to blend your own custom scents that you enjoy. Creating a signature scent for your home, is a wonderful way to make your home feel fresh, clean and inviting, but without using air fresheners and cleaners made from harsh chemicals.
If making your own products is not for you, Shop Zero™ has a section dedicated to amazing zero waste cleaning supplies that are a must have in your zero waste home. Try out the trusted Better Earth Dishwashing Liquid and GWIZZ Multi-Use Cleaner. There is a swap for almost everything! Lay your hands on a vegan loofah sponge which can be used as a body exfoliation or a dishwashing sponge. And if you really want to get your thumbs green, then try out the loofah seeds activity pack by My Eco Sprout where you can grow your own loofah sponge with your child.
At Shop Zero™, there is something for everyone and we want your zero waste journey to be made manageable and seamless. There is so much to worry about in this world; at least how the hidden toxins in your cleaning supplies are affecting your health (and the earth) is no longer one of them.