While spring is in the air and warmer weather we’ve longed for has finally started to roll through the region, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 has required us to practice social distancing and spend some quality time indoors. Despite these current challenges, it’s good to remember that, when it comes to air quality, we can always continue to do our share for cleaner air.
With all this extra down time, there’s no better time than now to break out the mops and brooms, shoo away the cobwebs and tackle annual spring cleaning. By making environmentally conscious choices in the way you clean, you’ll also help make your home (and the planet) a healthier place to live and breathe for all. Here are some helpful tips to consider for greening your spring cleaning with the region’s air quality in mind:
- Clear out the clutter – Spring cleaning is the perfect time to go through closets and get rid of the things you no longer need or use. Rather than dumping everything into plastic trash bags, take a few extra minutes to dispose of them responsibly and sustainably. Keep items out of overcrowded landfills by asking family and friends if they have use for any of your unwanted items or donate them to charity once the stay-at-home orders have been lifted.
- Ditch the paper towels – Because they cannot be recycled, an estimated 6 million pounds of paper towels wind up in landfills every year. Consider substituting specially-made, washable cleaning and dusting cloths that are available in all types of fabrics, from cotton to microfiber. Better yet, you can take green cleaning one step further by opting for rags from cut up old clothes, towels or sheets that can be washed and reused any time instead of paper towels to reduce waste and save money on paper products.
- Make your own all-purpose cleaners – Cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces in our households are a top priority right now, and while you may be using stronger disinfectants on those surfaces, you still have plenty of options to make your own homemade cleaning solutions for areas of lesser concern. Consider creating your own products by mixing a little warm water with either baking soda or white vinegar for the perfect all-purpose cleaner. When replacing cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either.
- Reuse and repurpose items around the house – If you’re willing to get creative, the possibilities are endless! For example, an old toothbrush can be used to clean small corners, old socks can be used for dusting, and old towels can even be sewn into a make-shift Swiffer mop cover. You can also reuse newspapers by balling them up and scrubbing the windows with them and sanitize dirty sponges by popping them into the dishwasher – all are steps in the right direction for cleaner air.
It only takes a few small changes to incorporate more sustainable and eco-friendly choices into our spring cleaning routines to help reduce harmful emissions and keep the air we breathe in healthier ranges. For more great tips on how to achieve cleaner air year-round, visit http://cleanair-stlouis.com/air-quality-tips/.