7 easy and clever ways to make spring cleaning greener

Good for your abode *and* the planet

cleaning supplies on pastel-colored backgrounds
(Image credit: the_burtons / Twomeows_IS / Getty Images)

'Tis the season to tidy up, and if you make your spring cleaning greener, you're not only doing good for your space but Mother Nature, too. What's more rewarding than that?

Now that you've narrowed down what cleaning hacks to make the most of and you're armed with a well-stocked cleaning caddy, here's how to make your sprucing system more environmentally safe. Yes, it's with the use of eco-friendly cleaning supplies but also much more than that.


♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

How to make spring cleaning greener

From products to practices, allow the pros to guide you through their favorite sustainable habits. Kick off your spring cleaning plans or your 30-day decluttering challenge with these fabulous tips.

A red brush sweeping up colorful confetti on a pink background

(Image credit: Getty)

1. Reduce single-use items

As tempting as it might be to unravel a big roll of Brawny — I myself am guilty of overdoing it in the paper towel department — fight the urge and opt for something sustainable that doesn't need to be tossed immediately. 

"Cleaning cloths and pads can be washed and used again and again, making the need to use paper towels obsolete," says Mardi Ditze, the country sustainability manager at IKEA US

According to a deep dive from The Atlantic, the United States spends nearly as much on paper towels as every other country in the world combined, so damage control is certainly needed. Here are a few ecological items that belong with the rest of your cleaning supplies.

2. Shop eco-friendly products

Don't let the sparkle fool you; not all cleaners are created equal. Phosphates, phthalates, and ammonia are but a few chemicals in traditional products that figuratively dull the shine and potentially cause harm. Opt for green, eco-friendly items instead. 

"They make a world of difference to the planet and your home, as some ingredients found in traditional cleaning products can have a negative impact on the environment," says Heather Nixon, NPD, regulatory and sustainability manager, at Bio-D.

While tackling your apartment cleaning checklist, here are a few buys to consider:

3. Go au naturale 

You might not even need a trip to the store — everything for a thorough cleaning is right in your pantry. Believe it, folks!

"There are a number of natural remedies for banishing blots and blemishes, such as using lemon, white vinegar, or bicarbonate of soda that are brilliantly effective at cleaning microwaves, ovens, and much more," says Paveen Chandi, senior digital manager at The Original Factory Shop. "Vinegar is great at cutting through tough grease, whereas lemons leave a long-lasting freshness, and bicarbonate of soda can be used to clear clogged drains!"

Unconvinced? Sunni Shannon, the partnerships manager at Duuo, offers a few tips and suggestions: 

  • Mix warm water and eco-friendly dish soap (Method is our fave and you can buy refills from Amazon) in a spray bottle to clean windows.
  • Put a chopped-up lemon in a (microwaveable) bowl with water, and put it on full power in the micro for five minutes to cut through grease and dirt.
  • Pour a cup of white vinegar (we always recommend Heinz's cleaning vinegar which you can bulk by from Amazon) into the toilet bowl and let it sit for at least one hour, then scrub and flush. Voila — stains are a thing of the past!

4. Keep up regularly

While spring is the famous time to get organized, you'll want to keep on top of your cleaning more frequently.

According to Justin Shaw, consumable category manager at Care+Protect, monthly descaler treatments and filter cleanings are great ways to keep washing machines and dishwashers doing the dirty work properly. Plus, they'll give you a whopping 15% extra energy boost throughout the year.

5. Find alternatives if possible

Save the Bissell for the big stuff. “Not reaching for the vacuum could also be an effective more sustainable cleaning practice, as using a broom can often do just as good a job," Chandi recommends. 

But let's say you don't want either — you're ready to fill up a bucket and get mopping, which could waste water. Yes, there is a plan B, even if you didn't think so. 

"Install dirt-trapping mats outside your front door to keep the muck from entering your house or use pollutant-free spray cleaners which don’t need diluting to give you a spotless floor," Chandi adds. 

6. Get some fresh air

Pop an Allegra (should you need) and open the doors and windows of your space. Experts say just 15–20 minutes of fresh air can make all the difference. This clears the air and freshens up the atmosphere in your space.

7. Donate unwanted items

From clothes to nonperishable food items, send goods to someone in need rather than bag 'em for garbage collection. Check out a Goodwill donation center near you. 

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.