10 New Ways to Green Your Spring-cleaning

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Story Updated: Mar 14, 2012

Green Goes Simple: Family Footprints

By Marisa Belger for Green Goes Simple

Even though there’s still a chill in the air, that shouldn’t keep you from getting a jump start on your spring-cleaning. Start today and you’ll have most of your household chores behind you before the warm weather officially arrives, which means you can get outside and enjoy it!

Emily Anderson, eco-style expert and author of Eco-Chic Home, has developed a 10-step plan to get your home in tip-top, eco-friendly shape this season:

1. Flip the Mattress
“Turning your mattress four times a year will help air it out, release toxic buildup and reduce mold,” says Anderson. “You’ll sleep easier knowing that you’re resting in a toxin-free environment.”

2. Open Windows Wide
Once it’s time turn the heat off, make a habit of opening your windows wide every day for at least an hour, recommends Anderson. The fresh spring breezes will clear out stale air and dust.

3. Replenish Your Cleaning Supplies
“Nothing is more frustrating than preparing to clean something only to realize that you don’t have the necessary supplies,” says Anderson. “Make sure you have plenty of what you need to make things go more smoothly.”

4. Try a Homemade Cleaner
Out of your favorite cleaner and in a pinch? Anderson recommends a simple solution of vinegar and water. “You can wipe down any part of your home with this solution for a quick spring freshen-up.”

5. Clean the Curtains
Pick a day when you can take the time to pull down all of the curtains and give them a good washing in cold water. “For extra freshness, add some lemon and vinegar to the wash,” says Anderson.

6. Brighten Your Bed and Bath
Gather all of your sheets and bath towels and give them a thorough washing in cold water, adding vinegar and lemon to the water. For whites, try line-drying outside: The lemon will act as a natural whitener in the bright spring sun.

7. Get Some New Recruits
“Create a family cleaning chart and give your little ones a chance to lend a hand,” suggests Anderson. “Emptying waste baskets, gathering the laundry and even sweeping are all things your kids can do. Make it fun: Ten minutes of jumping on the sofa cushions (on the floor) is a great way to air the pillows out.”

8. Roll up the Rugs
Area rugs are traps for dust and other icky things. To prepare for spring, Anderson recommends taking the rugs out to the yard and giving them a good beating. Use a vinegar-and-water solution in a spray bottle for extra freshness. This is also the perfect time for you to give the bare floors a good cleaning.

9. Have a Clothing Swap
This spring, clean out your closets and commit to getting rid of things you’ll never use again. Pick up some clothing racks and invite a few friends over for a night of exchanging clothes. The leftovers can be donated to your local Goodwill store.

10. Store Away the Winter
“Properly storing those warm winter woolens is essential if you want to avoid moth-eaten holes come fall,” says Anderson. “But before you close the lid on those boxes, skip the toxic mothballs. Instead, use cedar blocks -- balls or chips -- or lavender sachets.”

Marisa Belger’s work has appeared in Travel + Leisure Family, Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, where she wrote a column about eco-friendly living. She was an editor at Lime.com and collaborated with author Josh Dorfman on his bestselling books, The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget. She is the managing editor of and frequent contributor to Green Goes Simple.

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