The birds are chirping. The days are getting longer. The air feels fresher. Spring is returning to Chicagoland — and the annual tradition of spring cleaning is beginning all over again!
Spring is a time for rejuvenation and renewal, and many people take time out during this season to focus on their homes. In fact, according to recent data collected by the American Cleaning Institute, 78% of all Americans will be tackling some spring cleaning this year — with their main focus being bedrooms, closets, kitchens, and family rooms.
That’s a lot of people tackling messes at the same time. And if you know me, you know that that makes me just a little bit nervous.
How many of these people will be flocking to the store to stock up on single-use products and harmful plastics? How much toxic and non-biodegradable waste will end up in landfills, or even worse, in our precious waterways? How many people will waste their hard-earned money on non-environmentally friendly products that are on sale, rather than investing in the useful and eco-friendly products that will actually get the job done?
I’m here to say that spring cleaning doesn’t have to be wasteful. At Sweeping Dimensions, we’re all about connecting people with sustainable and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and products that really make a difference. We’re committed to walking the walk and talking the talk — in our office, in our own homes, and whenever we’re working with clients.
Interested in making your spring cleaning more sustainable this year? Here are a few basic ideas to put into practice for a more environmentally conscious deep cleaning:
Avoid Single-Use Paper and Plastic Products
Cutting down on single-use disposable products is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make sure your cleaning regimen makes a difference for the planet. How much of a difference? Well, consider this:
- It is estimated that 50% of plastic is used just once and then thrown away
- More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year
- In 2017, the EPA estimated that 28.6 million tons of plastic ended up in landfills — compared to just 2.9 million tons in recycling
- Paper towels generate 3000 tons of waste every single day; if every household in the US used just three fewer rolls of paper towels per year, we could prevent more than 120,000 tons of waste from entering landfills
Fortunately, there are all sorts of swaps you can make this season! For instance, instead of wasteful paper towels, consider investing in a reusable alternative, such as bamboo towels. You could also upcycle old clothes or towels into handy rags. Likewise, try to use reusable cloths instead of single-use dusting wipes or pads. Instead of cheap and flimsy plastic sponges, try a hearty scrubber made from plant-based materials. Swap out conventional trash bags for fully compostable trash liners. Use tote bags instead of grocery bags to carry supplies to and from the store. Once you start making swaps, you’ll find all sorts of fun and easy switches you can make!
Stock Up On Environmentally Friendly Green Cleaning Staples
As anyone who’s been a long-time reader of this blog knows, I’m a big advocate for a philosophy that I like to think of as “cleaning minimalism.” Basically, this boils down to three main points:
- Don’t buy more than you need
- Focus on what works – and what you’ll actually use
- Create and organize a space for your cleaning products
A simple way to live up to all three elements of this ethos at once is to invest in handy, effective, and all-natural pantry staples that you can use throughout your entire home, all year long. Here are some of the powerful and all-natural products to bring to this year’s spring cleaning party:
- Lemon. A fresh-smelling natural disinfectant, you can put lemon juice to work on all kinds of surfaces around your home. An essential element in many DIY cleaning solutions!
- White Vinegar. Vinegar is one of the most powerful — and environmentally friendly — tools in your cleaning arsenal, useful on everything from wood floors to clogged drains.
- Water. You can get it straight from the tap and use it to create all kinds of potent cleansers and disinfectants – what’s not to love?
- Baking Soda. A potent scrubbing agent, baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help strip grime away from ovens, bathroom fixtures, and more.
Cut Down on Packaging and Waste
Did you know that Chicago homes generate more than 900,000 tons of garbage every single year? And much of this waste could have been averted with a little strategic thinking and mindful purchasing.
For a more sustainable spring cleaning, we strongly encourage taking simple steps to cut down on the amount of packaging and waste you produce:
- Opt for concentrated cleaning products. With concentrated products, you can get just as much cleaning power, while using a lot less of the product every time. Plus, instead of spending more for one-time-use aerosols or bottles, you can use your concentrated solution with reusable spray bottles or cloths. All of this means less waste, fewer trips to the store, and more money in your pocket.
- Go DIY when you can. In addition to the pantry staples we listed above, check out our guide to whipping up DIY cleansers that get the job done. Store your homemade solutions in reusable glass or amber containers that can be repurposed again and again.
- Look for sustainable commercial products. Many brands are finally catching on. I’d love to help you navigate the cleaning aisle to find the best eco-friendly products on the shelf, so give me a call to talk shop! In general, don’t be afraid to research different brands before you buy, to make sure that they really do live up to the promise of being environmentally friendly or nontoxic. Look for brands that use less packaging or more eco-friendly packaging, whenever possible.
- Go multi-use, whenever possible. A simple way to cut down on waste is to invest in cleaning products that give you more bang for your buck. A go-to example here is dish soap. Far beyond just sudsing up dishes, you can use this cleanser to cut through grease and grime just about everywhere and anywhere, from light switches, to baseboards, to cabinet doors, to fabrics, to kids’ toy chests.
- Opt for green alternatives to single-use products. Small changes can save a lot of waste. For instance, consider using reusable dryer balls instead of disposable dryer sheets when doing your laundry.
Freshen the Air the Natural Way
One of the best things about spring is the fresh air. After sprawling out in the grass or soaking up the sunset from a balcony, letting the fresh air into your home is the next best thing!
Many studies have shown that indoor air is actually more polluted than outdoor air. This spring, let the fresh air in whenever and wherever you can. The easiest (and greenest) way to do this, of course, is to simply open up those windows. Not only does this let in clean air, but it can help you stay cool without having to touch the thermostat.
You can also invest in houseplants that help you breathe a bit easier. Regularly clean out your vents and change your home’s air filters to get rid of dust and other allergens. For a sweet-smelling space, use natural deodorizers like essential oils, baking soda, or fresh herbs and flowers instead of wasteful (and chemical-heavy) store-bought sprays and mists,
Get Rid of Waste Responsibly
Making the leap to a zero-waste lifestyle takes a lot of time and conscious planning. In the meantime, you can help minimize waste by making it a point to reuse and repurpose whatever you can. Get the newspaper delivered? Use it to wipe down glass surfaces! Have an old blanket around? Transform it into rags and cleaning clothes! To cut down on waste, try to upcycle and reuse the things around your home whenever you can.
At the same time, be mindful of recycling as much as you can — and following all the proper steps, to make sure your recycling actually goes where you want it to end up. Check out our guide to recycling in Chicago to get started.
Finally, we’re huge, huge advocates for composting here at Sweeping Dimensions! In a nutshell, composting involves collecting organic material that would otherwise be disposed of – such as yard waste and kitchen scraps – and breaking them down into a nutrient-dense material that can be added to soil to help your favorite plants grow bigger and stronger.
Once you start composting, you’ll be surprised by just how many items around your home you can compost. From banana peels, to carrot tops, to potato skins, to egg shells, to old houseplants, to pet hair, so much “trash” that we would normally throw away can easily become a source of nutrients for the plants and food we grow.
In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), compostable materials currently make up more than 28 percent of what we all throw away each day!
Ready to Call In the Green Cleaning Reinforcements? We’re Here to Help
When it comes to spring cleaning, it’s important to be realistic about what you can tackle on your own, and what you should turn over to an experienced professional cleaning service. Consulting a cleaning professional can help you save time, and do the most possible good for your space. A little help could go a long way, leaving you with a refreshed and clean home – without you having to lift a finger!
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who dread spring cleaning, Sweeping Dimensions would love to help make things quicker, easier, and more sustainable.
Our professional home services take away all the stress that may arise from dealing with spring cleaning and leave you to enjoy all spring has to offer. With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products. Whether you need a regular routine house cleaning or prefer a deep, thorough clean, Sweeping Dimensions is here for you – winter, spring, summer, or fall.
Ready to get your spring cleaning done in the blink of an eye? Contact us today for your FREE service estimate!
And if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, or making a green switch in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch – I am always happy to chat! At SDCS, we are sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going. Looking to exchange eco-friendly cleaning ideas, or share how you’re going to focus on sustainability this spring? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch via email or on social media to let us know your thoughts.