Using toxic chemicals is so last century. If you’re still doing your spring cleaning the same way you always have, this is the year to change it up — and save money in the process. Make these five updates and clean the house top to bottom without taking a toll on your health or your wallet.
1. Sterilize using UV rays
Ultraviolet light kills 99.9 percent of viruses (including H1N1), bacteria (including MRSA), dust mites and bed bugs with a magical wave of a UV Sterilizing Wand. The one pictured here is cordless and works on virtually every surface in your home, from kitchen and bathroom surfaces to your kids’ toys.
2. Redecorate your mop closet in green
Cleaning solutions running low after a long winter’s nap? Replace them with nontoxic, eco-friendly cleaners, such as those by Seventh Generation. One way to know how safe a household cleaner is? Look for “signal words” or “warning words” on the label. They’re placed there by order of the federal government, primarily for helping you protect your family’s health. Examples of signal words include:
POISON/DANGER: very toxic; just a few drops could kill you.
WARNING: moderately toxic; as little as a teaspoonful is lethal.
CAUTION: less toxic; two tablespoons to a cup could do you in.
3. Get a good doormat
The easiest way to clean your floors? Keep them from getting dirty in the first place! A doormat is the first line of defense to keep dirt out of your home, saving you time and money. You’ll be amazed at how much less dirt is tracked into the house. Plus, shoes are repositories for pesticides and heavy metals such as lead — so a good brushing of the soles at the door will help reduce exposure. And it’s easy to find eco-friendly varieties: the one pictured at right is made from recycled flip-flops, or try one made from re-purposed marine rope.
4. Try microfiber cleaning cloths
Microfiber cleaning cloths are eco-friendly because you can clean using just a small amount of water — no chemicals, no paper towels or other disposables. Microfiber cloths thoroughly remove dust, allergens and bacteria. Want to tackle your floors? Try microfiber floor mops.
5. Trade chemicals for steam
Steam cleaning is a very effective way to clean to clean tile, grout, shower doors and appliances using zero chemicals — only water. These all-purpose appliances use steam at temperatures of 240° and are designed to kill germs, viruses, bed bugs and more.