Spring Cleaning and Zero Waste


The temperatures are rising and we’re coming out of our physical and mental winter hibernation. 

Time for a bit of cleaning.

The first place to start our way of Sustainable Spring Cleaning Thinking is our household cleaners. We’ve been told that we need them to dust, mop, wipe, scrub, wash, dry and eliminate germs. Marketing has done a fantastic job but our health has paid the price. The amount of toxic chemicals found in our homes is astronomical. You honestly only need a handful of ingredients and a couple of minutes to mix together to have a clean and healthy home. Making the switch will not only benefit your health but your wallet as well.  

The Shopping List:

  • White Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils
  • Witch hazel
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Washing soda
  • Epsom salt
  • Canning jars.
  • 2-5 Glass spray bottles; 16oz and 2oz sizes

You May want to keep a bottle in each bathroom and the kitchen.

Ditch the paper towels, Swiffer wipes, and sponges. Add these items instead.

Terry cloth wipes for wiping down counters, dusting, etc., cloth napkins, microfiber cloth. These work great on the end of a Swiffer and when you are done, just clean and reuse. A cotton dishcloth. I love the ones that are crocheted. They really do a great job washing the dishes. All of these things can be washed and reused, eliminating a lot of waste and saving money too!

Your go-to cleaner that tackles the daily chores is simple: Uses this mixture to clean windows, countertops, appliances, dusting, floors, sinks, and toilets.

  • 16 oz glass spray bottle
  • Fill it a quarter of the way with vinegar and the rest with water
  • Add about 10 to 20 drops of peppermint oil – Not only does it smell good, but it helps deter some insects as well.

For the Tub and Shower:

  • 16oz bottle and add 1 cup of vinegar and ½ cup of water.
  • Add 15-20 drops of tea tree oil.
  • For a tuff clean, sprinkle in some baking soda, spray and scrub with a brush.

It works great on mold, mildew, and soap scum. – Spay down the tub after each use.

For Your Laundry:

  • 1 ½ cups Washing Soda,
  • 1 ½ cups Baking Soda
  • and ½ cup Epsom Salt.
  • If you’d like scented, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

Mix in a large bowl and store in an air-tight jar. Canning jars work great.

Use one to two tablespoons of detergent per load, depending on your laundry load.

***If you have tough stains, pour a generous amount of peroxide onto the stain and allow it to sit for 30 minutes or so then gently rub with a towel. Rinse with warm water. Add to your laundry. ***

In The Dryer:

If you use dryer sheets, here is a toxic-free alternative.

  • 1 Canning Jar
  • Cut old sweatshirts or towels into dryer sheet size
  • Add enough vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oil in your canning jar to dampen, do not drench your fabric.

 When it comes time to dry your clothes, pull one out and toss it in. Promise, your clothes will not smell of vinegar.

Linen Spray:

It will help reduce odor-causing bacteria leaving your sheets smelling wonderful until it’s time to change them.

In a 2oz spray bottle add

  • 1oz witch hazel
  • 1oz water
  • 3 drops each of peppermint
  • tea tree
  • eucalyptus
  • lavender
  • lemon essential oil.

With a minimal amount of effort, time, and money, you can have a home with a little less waste and a lot fewer toxins. Happy cleaning. And remember, it’s not about perfection. Each small thing that we do makes a difference.


Colleen O'Connor