It’s spring and the urge to do some deep cleaning kicks in. Unfortunately, spring cleaning can lead to a lot of waste. In this post, we’ve created a checklist for spring cleaning in a more eco-friendly way including ways to reduce waste and cleaning product swaps!
Spring is in the air and so is my need to purge and clean. Like most people, we go through cleaning sprees at home, but the start of spring always seems to bring on a new level of cleaning. Spring cleaning is a time to thoroughly clean your house, and get rid of all the dirt and grime from the winter months.
However, as you work to clean up and refresh your home, keep in mind how you’re impacting the environment. We’ve put together an eco-friendly checklist for spring cleaning to help you keep the environment in mind too!
Eco-friendly Checklist for Spring Cleaning
Make a List & Do it as a Team
The best thing to do is make a list of spring cleaning items that you need to do. I tend to make a prioritized list or you can make a room by room list to help stay organized.
Spring cleaning is not usually a one person task and it shouldn’t be if there’s more than just you at home. So get everyone involved with helping out, even the kids!
Assign age-appropriate chores to your kids to include them. Kids can do a lot and help get stuff done as well! I find my toddler likes to help with everything, so I let him assist the best way he can. Throw on some music too to get everyone in an upbeat mood and to have some fun! Or make it a competition if you have those types of personalities!
Checklist of Spring Cleaning Items
Air Filter Swap
Everyone will likely mention swapping your air filter as part of the a spring cleaning checklist. However, instead of just replacing the air filter with a disposable one, try a reusable air filter!
You can buy it once, clean it when needed, and put it back. Eventually, the reusable filter will no longer be viable, but you’ll have kept a fair amount of disposable filters out of the landfill and reduced your waste.
Downcycle Old Clothes
A lot of us do some closet cleanup in the spring time, which leaves us with textiles and clothing we don’t want to wear anymore. Firstly, if the clothes are in decent condition and still usable, then please donate them somewhere that will either use them or recycle them properly.
If not, consider recycling them appropriately yourself. There are typically bins around town specific for clothing and textile recycling.
Or try the For Days Take Back Bag program, where you buy a bag and they recycle/repurpose the clothes. Then they give you store credit for the recycled clothes! It’s a circular economy and helps to fix the fast fashion problem.
But even better, you can downcycle/upcycle your old clothes and help reduce waste. Here’s a few ideas:
- Make them into rags to replace paper towels (perfect for all your cleaning needs!)
- Cut them up to make reusable makeup remover pads
- Cut and braid them into a headband
- Make reusable tissues/handkerchiefs
- Cut them up for staining rags for your DIY projects
Choose Eco-friendly or DIY Cleaning Products
Firstly, using up what you already have is the most environmentally friendly way to be sustainable. But after you use up the old products, then choose a better eco-friendly cleaning product.
Here’s a few of our favorite eco-friendly cleaning products:
- Cleaning Concentrates – Just add to water!
- Glass Refillable Spray Bottles – Grove Co. or Target
- Used Bamboo Toothbrushes
- Perfect for scrubbing grout lines or cracks after they aren’t good for teeth anymore.
- Swedish Dish Cloth
- Can be used like paper towels, but it is reusable and compostable!
- Steam mop and reusable mop pads
- Two dogs equals a lot of muddy/dirty floors. Steam mops just require water and then you throw the reusable pads in the washing machine when done.
- Reusable Duster
- You don’t need to use paper towels or disposable dusters and waste money. A reusable one picks up all the dust and can be tossed in the washer to get clean.
You don’t really need a myriad of cleaning products and it actually just adds unnecessary clutter. A good all-purpose cleaner and cleaning cloths will truly clean a large chunk of your home!
You can also DIY a lot of homemade cleaners if you’re up for it. A lot of recipes can be made with simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. Save the environment and some money!
Repurpose Your Paper
Paper can be a huge waste stream and according to The World Counts, makes up 26% of total landfill waste. So add repurposing or properly recycling your paper to your checklist for spring cleaning.
There are lots of ways to repurpose your paper or paperboard! Here’s a few quick ideas that I love:
- Make your own new paper – repurpose your waste paper for crafts, cards, or gift tags!
- Use paperboard for crafts – Add glue to thin paper to make it sturdier like cardstock for kids crafts, cut out whatever you want, paint it, etc.
- Shred and add Non-waxed paper to compost – it is considered “brown” material and helps to balance out the compost mixture. (Don’t do this with colored or glossy paper!)
If you don’t repurpose the paper make sure to recycle it properly so it doesn’t end up in the landfill.
Actually Recycle Larger Items
Sometimes spring cleaning leads to cleaning out old appliances (fridges, microwaves, etc) and larger items (furniture). When just thrown away, it can be detrimental to the environment and fill up the landfills.
If you’re swapping for something new, but the old larger item is still in good condition, consider donating it, putting up on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, or even out on the street corner saying “free”.
If it is no longer working or damaged, then recycle it properly. A lot of appliances have valuable and recyclable metal. Additionally, some have chemicals that need to be disposed of properly and not contaminate the environment.
Earth 911 has a resource to find appropriate recycling centers for most items within the United States. If you’re in the Greater Kansas City Metro, like us, check out Bridging the Gap’s Recycle Spot that helps locate various types of recycling drops for odd items.
Clean Out + Prep the Garden
Spring is also a great time to start growing produce or herbs. If you haven’t already, start cleaning out your pots, planter boxes, or garden beds and preparing them for plants. Having a good soil mixture and drainage is key to helping your gardening be successful (even if it’s just herbs!). So spend a little time prepping for all the wonderful things to grow!
Other Everyday Eco-friendly Cleaning Swaps
Cleaning doesn’t just happen in the spring. Some cleaning happens weekly or even daily. Here’s a couple of our favorite everyday eco-friendly cleaning swaps:
- Laundry Detergent Sheets + Wool Dryer Balls
- We are loving Earth Breeze’s detergent sheets! No plastic detergent jugs or disposable dryer sheets anymore!
- Dropps Dishwashing Pods
- These clean your dishes amazingly, are plastic-free, and are non-toxic/safe for the ocean.
- Solid Dish Soap + Bamboo Brushes
- Eliminate liquid dish soap in plastic bottles and use bamboo brushes instead of plastic dish brushes. This will mean less plastic that can’t be recycled ending up in the landfills.
Overall, make a list of spring cleaning tasks and how you can opt for more environmentally-friendly options. Don’t stress if everything you do isn’t eco-friendly as it’s all about making progress and making eco-conscious decisions that are sustainable for yourself and/or family. I hope this eco-friendly checklist for spring cleaning helps you accomplish your goals and keeps you moving forward on your sustainable living journey!
Hope this list helps you make some eco-friendly spring cleaning decisions! Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.