For many people, spring brings to mind warmer temperatures, blue skies, and spring flowers. While I love all these features of springtime, what I think of first is spring cleaning. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not Suzy Homemaker. Spring cleaning isn’t something I’ve fallen in love with, but it is something I look forward to completing¬†each year. If you aren’t careful, spring cleaning can result in a lot of waste and damage to our environment. Here are a few tips for eco-friendly spring cleaning.

Donate Don’t Toss

If part of your spring cleaning ritual includes decluttering, be sure that you donate or recycle items instead of throwing them in the trash. While many of your belongings may be too raggedy or damaged to be used again, many will find a second life in a new home. Animal shelters often need old towels, for example, and books your kids have outgrown will be welcome at schools and family shelters. Check with local thrift stores, women’s shelters, schools, and your Humane Society to see what donations they need.

Safe Cleaners

We all want to kill germs, but that doesn’t mean you have to use toxic cleaning products. Instead, opt for a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to wash windows, counters, and the bathroom. Add a few drops of lemon or citrus essential oil to hide the vinegar smell and leave your rooms smelling fresh and clean. I use this homemade vinegar citrus spray when I clean.

Re-Use Don’t Toss

For all but the worst messes, choose cloth rags or sponges instead of paper towels or single-use wipes. You can make your own floor cleaning pads instead of purchasing the tossable ones. After spring cleaning is finished, just launder your rags and they’ll be fresh and clean for next time.

Hang to Dry

If you’re washing comforters, blankets, sheets, or throw rugs, instead of tossing them in the dryer after washing, hang them out to dry. You’ll save¬†money on your electric bill and your laundry will smell fresh and clean instead of like commercial laundry scents. Always check your laundry care tags before washing or drying any fabric.

Add Live Plants

Help keep your air fresh and clean by buying a few live plants for your home. Plants help keep air clean naturally without artificial fragrances. For really stubborn odors, open the windows and let the fresh air in. Or simmer orange peels on the stove in a little water for a natural citrus scent.