Spring means opening the windows to let in
fresh air, embracing new beginnings and balmy, breezy days. For many people, it
also means spring
cleaning
, an annual ritual with the goal of riding homes of toxins, dirt
and allergens that have built up over winter. Spring cleaning is all about
making your home cleaner, healthier and safer for the new season, so don’t ruin
all your hard work by loading your house up with commercial cleaning products.

Conventional cleaning products certainly
make life easier, but many are made with known carcinogens, toxic substances
and hormone disruptors that can do more harm than good. The most popular
conventional cleaners contain ingredients that are known to contribute to lung
inflammation, asthma and a host of other health issues, and some products that
are still available in the United States have actually been banned in the European
Union due to growing health concerns.

Luckily, there is a way to get
your home squeaky clean without harsh chemicals
. This season, spring clean
the natural way by following these tips to make your home cleaner, safer and
healthier.

White Vinegar: A Natural Cleanser

This common pantry item is a wonder
cleanser! Add a cup of it to your toilet bowl before you go to sleep, then just
brush and flush when you wake in the morning for easy cleaning. Add one cup of
white vinegar to a gallon of warm water, then mop your tile and linoleum floors
with it to make them shine. You can even fill a spray bottle with equal parts
water and vinegar for use on sink fixtures and countertops.

Clean with Condiments

Ketchup may seem like more of a
stain-causer than a cleaner, but it can help make brass fixtures and copper
pots shine. Simply coat the fixture or pot with a layer of the condiment, let
it sit for up to 20 minutes, then gently wipe it away using a paper towel and a
circular motion.

Use Non-Disposable Items

You can easily “green” your spring cleaning
efforts by making a few swaps – trade your paper towels for a sponge or
microfiber cloth, use a broom instead of a Swiffer that needs constant refills,
and reach for a ratty old t-shirt instead of a wet wipe.

Tackle Stains with Lemon

Tough stains in the bathtub, microwave or
on other hard surfaces are no match for a little lemon juice and salt. Best of
all, this all-natural cleaner leaves a lovely citrus scent in the air.