Organize & Clean

Eco-Friendly Cleaning: Purify & Invigorate Your Home Using Only the Earth’s Elements

published Apr 1, 2016
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(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Rumor has it that Benjamin Franklin, the inventor of the lightning rod, bifocal glasses and (lots) more, was a fan of taking air baths. If relying on the earth’s natural elements is good enough for one of this country’s Founding Fathers, surely these elements can also be used to invigorate and purify one’s home.

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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


Some say Benjamin Franklin took air baths (which involved opening his windows and sitting in front of them in the nude) because he believed that people got sick by being in stuffy, small spaces with ill people.

Consider completely opening up your home to the outside to “air” it out once a month (nudity optional). One open window or door just won’t do, though. Open all of them. Open every single opening in your home that you possibly can. Those with DIY skills and tools might consider going a step more and removing window screens and perhaps even window panes to allow a stronger air flow.

I suggest leaving your home open to the air elements for at least 12 to 14 hours straight to maximize air flow. The breezes that flow through your rooms will clear out (mental) clutter, move around dust and rid your home of that “stuffy” feeling. Who knows…it might even help keep you from getting sick. (Editor’s note: Do not try this during a rain or snow storm.)

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


I certainly don’t suggest that you set your home on fire, but you can use the warming energy of a certain hot ball of fire (gas) that we all have access to from time to time: the sun.

Once every two weeks, consider pulling out every item you own, laying it out (spaced evenly apart) on your lawn or your apartment complex’s parking lot, and letting the sun’s sweet rays zap any germs, bugs or bad vibes that your objects might have. (It might not actually kill bugs and germs, but the rays could be temporarily unpleasant for them. And at the very least, it’ll dry any wet textiles you hang outside.)

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


Water is a powerful force on the planet. It has carved out canyons from stone. It has carried ships from shore to far shore for hundreds of years. And you’ve honestly probably already used water plenty of times to clean your home, so keep it up! And if you want to do clean in an eco-minded way, try these DIY home cleaner recipes → 25 DIY Green Cleaning Recipes For the Whole House!

(Image credit: Jayme Henderson)


Trees love their “feet” being buried in the earth and stretching their long roots through dirt. Trees don’t just get certain nutrients from the earth, they get inspiration, motivation and validation from rich soil. The wooden furniture in your home might not look like a tree anymore, but your pieces made of wood may remember the sun kissing the leaves…the wind shuffling branches. And yes, roots burrowing into the cool earth. Once a week, use dirt (I suggest harvesting it from an outside patch of earth you’ve had good memories on) to polish the wood furniture pieces in your home.

It might not make your wooden surfaces shinier, and “cleaner” isn’t quite the right word to apply to the result either, but digging into the moist earth with your hands and then rubbing it across your furniture’s processed edges will bring you closer to bonding with your tables, chairs and crendenzas, which may in turn make your furniture (metaphorically) shine.