Spring Cleaning Tip #1: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It's the first week of May, which means we have a full month of Spring Green Cleaning goodness! (Yes, I said goodness.) For the rest of the month we'll be providing you with 10 Spring Cleaning Tips to help you clean your home efficiently and thoroughly. We begin with an overarching "green clean" theme to keep in mind for the next month: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

You've all heard this one before, but it's good to be reminded of what those words actually mean, and how pertinent they are to your cleaning habits:

Reduce:
• Don't use 10 paper towels to clean your mirror if you could use one. (Better yet, don't use any and switch to cloth.)
• Be conservative with your cleaning supplies. You probably don't need as much to do the job as you're currently squirting out. Start with half as much and see how far it gets you.
• When running the vacuum, try to compensate for the extra energy use by turning off some of your lights.
• Don't spray your shower every day. It's probably not going to help all that much, and you're more likely just wasting money. Better to just do a good cleaning once a week.

Reuse:
• Reusable cleaning cloths! Try and break the disposable habit. (This includes Swiffers, paper towels, Clorox wipes, etc...)
• Have clothing and household goods you want to get rid of? Have a garage sale. Donate them to a thrift store. Sell them through eBay or Craigslist. Do a free exchange/gift through Freecycle. List items online you'd like to give to charities or a non-profit at Throwplace.
• Instead of buying brand new cleaning supplies, use ingredients you already have — like vinegar, baking soda, and vodka — to make your own non-toxic cleaners.
• Got newspaper? Use it to clean your mirror and windows, and also do 80 other things.

Recycle
• You already know about paper and plastic, but for other items check out The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide as well as this comprehensive list of Recycling Resources.
• Don't throw out your dryer lint. Recycle it.

What other 3R cleaning tips do you have?

Further Reading:
Resources: The Greenest Dollar
Environmental Tips for Individuals

(Image: AT:NY)

Originally published 2009-05-11 - CB

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