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Spring Greening

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Tips for eco-friendly spring cleaning

Time to shape up and sweep up - spring cleaning is right around the corner. With all the chemicals in many cleaning products currently on the market, however, household cleaning can turn into a toxic disaster that's not only bad for the environment, but for your health as well. Fortunately, by using these eco-friendly tips and tricks, you'll be helping the world and your home.

If you want the ease of pre-made household cleaners, seek out brands like Seventh Generation, Method and Biokleen. These cleaners may be safe for the environment, but they'll do serious damage to the dirt and dust that built up during the winter months. If you're looking to get a little crafty while you clean, there are several items in your cabinets that, when mixed properly, make excellent, eco-friendly cleaning agents. Toss that toxic window spray and instead opt for a mixture of one quarter cup vinegar and one quart water. You can also mix in some baking soda if you want to tackle countertops and bathroom tile. Floors can be cleaned using a simple solution of vinegar and water while toilets can be scrubbed using straight baking powder. To avoid that lingering smell of vinegar, mix a bit of essential oil into any of these concoctions.

Another excellent tip for green cleaning is to ditch the paper towels. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper products make up more than one-third all municipal waste products. Washable cleaning cloths are eco-friendly and offer a great way to repurpose that old T-shirt that no longer fits.

Last but not least, open your windows. All winter long, people use artificial air fresheners to mask odors and replace the fresh air they lack due to cold weather. In fact, about 75 percent of all U.S. homes use these chemically based air fresheners, many of which contain ingredients that have been linked to adverse developmental and/or hormonal impacts. Not only that, indoor air in homes tightly-sealed against winter's cold air can become pretty fouled with cooking fumes, off-gases from furniture and carpeting, dust, etc. Now that the days are getting a bit longer, open those windows and bring some fresh air inside.

They say a clean home is a happy home, but also remember that an eco-friendly home makes for a happy planet. Use these simple tips and you'll be able to keep your house, and your planet clean this spring.

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