Last Updated on April 27, 2023 by The Filtery
Warmer weather often brings a desire for fresh and clean spaces. Research shows that common cleaning products can significantly contribute to indoor air pollution, but there’s really no reason to use toxic chemicals to clean your home. There are so many great non-toxic (and effective) cleaning products and natural ingredients you probably already have in your cabinets.
Below we’ve included a lot of environmentally friendly spring cleaning tips so you can give your living space a truly clean, green refresh this season. We’ve made suggestions for some of our favorite safe cleaning products, but we’ve also included simple recipes you can use to create your own cleaning products using what you already have in your home.
You don’t have to use harmful toxins to keep your house clean. Here are some green spring cleaning tips for a fresh and healthy home.
(P.S. Scroll down to the bottom for a full checklist you can save to your phone or other device!)
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. All recommendations are honest, as always.
1. Open the Windows
Considering that indoor air pollution can actually be significantly worse than outdoor air, one (free!) thing you can do when the weather is nice is just increase the ventilation in your home. Open the windows and let the air flow!
If you want to take it a step further, you can use an air purifier to help get rid of toxicants that off-gas from your furniture, cleaning products, etc. (I use an AirDoctor, which you can get in various sizes for different spaces. You can get $300 off one for your home with this link.)
Non-Toxic Window Cleaners
Spring is a great time to clean your windows as well (both inside and outside). Here are a few brands we like for streak-free window sprays:
Natural DIY Streak-Free Window Cleaner
Alternatively, it’s easy to make your own streak-free window and mirror cleaner using what you have at home:
- 2 cups distilled water OR reverse osmosis purified water (with no added minerals)
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 10 drops essential oil of your choice (if you want)
- Mix into a spray bottle, give it a shake, and clean your windows using reusable cloths
2. Wet Dust
One of the main ways that non-VOC toxicants like flame retardants and PFAS make their way into the human body is via household dust. These toxins basically “off-gas” from furniture and other products in our home and land in dust. Then we either breathe in that dust or we ingest it through hand-to-mouth contact. (This is one of the reasons why babies have higher toxicant exposure because they’re crawling around on the floor and putting their hands in their mouth all the time.)
Instead of dry dusting (which makes things worse by whirling that toxic dust up into the air), wet dust your surfaces using a rag and an all-purpose cleaner instead.
If you want to spruce up wood furniture and other surfaces, you can use a non-toxic wood polish like this one from Truly Free or this one from Aunt Fannie’s.
Simple Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
Here are some of the best non-toxic all-purpose cleaning sprays you can purchase, but if you’d rather make your own, here’s an easy recipe:
- One part white vinegar
- One part water
- Lemon juice
- Combine the ingredients in a bottle and shake it up—that’s it! (Leave the lemon out for surfaces like granite and stainless steel. Do a quick Google search and/or spot test on surfaces you’re unsure about.)
3. Vacuum & Mop
Vacuuming is another essential for getting rid of that dust. If possible, you’ll want to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter (or HEPA equivalent) so that it can catch the smallest particles, including things like mycotoxins (mold), viruses, and bacteria.
(That being said, if you don’t have a vacuum with a HEPA filter, don’t sweat it. Getting rid of dust with any kind of vacuum cleaner or broom will still go a long way!)
For mopping, you’ll want to use a natural or non-toxic floor cleaner. Branch Basics can be used on the floor (that’s what I use), or you can try out these brands that offer non-toxic floor cleaners:
- ATTITUDE (for tile & wood)
- Aunt Fannie’s (which has one for wood and one for other types of flooring)
- Truly Free (for various types of hard floors)
Or, for a natural DIY floor cleaner, you can try one of these easy recipes:
- For hardwood floors, mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1 tsp of olive oil and 1 cup of water. You can also add a few drops of essential oil for scent if you’d like. Put it in a spray bottle and shake. Spray it on the floor one section at a time and wipe immediately with a cloth.
- For other types of floors, like laminate or tile, you can use a similar mixture, but without the oil. Just mix equal parts vinegar and water. You can either combine into a bucket and mop normally or you can use a spray bottle and cloth.
(Just make sure you do a spot test before using a products or DIY recipe for the first time, especially if the surface you’re cleaning has any special finishes on it.)
4. Carpets, Rugs, & Upholstery
One of the simplest ways to give carpets, rugs, and upholstery a refresh is to spray it with Force of Nature. Force of Nature is a non-toxic disinfectant spray that doesn’t have to be rinsed off of surfaces, and it can neutralize odors on surfaces and in the air.
But, you also may want to give your floors and furniture a little more TLC! If any of your floor rugs are machine washable, springtime might be a good time to throw them in the washing machine.
You’ll probably want to vacuum your carpets with a HEPA vacuum cleaner if possible as well.
For deep cleaning carpets and rugs, you’ll want to stay away from most commercial cleaners and Scotchgard-type products, as those can contain harmful chemicals.
If you have a steam cleaner, that can be a great way to clean and disinfect large surfaces without any chemicals. Or if you have a carpet shampooer, you can use it with a non-toxic carpet shampoo such as KisClean or even just regular Branch Basics.
For stains and spot treatments, you can try one of the following products:
- TrulyFree Odor & Stain Eliminator and Enzyme Stain Remover (for even tougher stains)
- ATTITUDE Stain & Odor Remover for Pets
- Branch Basics Concentrate combined with Oxygen Boost Powder (Just sprinkle some of the powder on the stain, spray the BB cleaner over it, and let it sit for 20-ish minutes. Agitate the stain with a cloth, toothbrush, or scrub brush, depending on the size and type of fabric. Then wipe or vacuum up. You may also want to try using hot water with the powder if it’s an older stain.)
If you’d rather use what you already have around the house to remove stains from the carpet, here are several great ideas.
Super Easy Natural DIY Carpet Refresher
You can also save money and give your carpets and upholstery a refresh using a simple ingredient you probably already have in your home: baking soda. Here’s what to do:
- Mix together 1 cup of baking soda with 30-40 drops of your favorite essential oil (if you want to; it’s not required).
- Ideally, allow the ingredients to sit overnight so that the essential oils can permeate the baking soda.
- Sprinkle the mixture over the area you want to refresh. You can either do this with a spoon or you can use a cheese shaker jar or old spice jar if you have one. (Or you can even make your own lid by punching holes in a piece of paper and securing it over a mason jar with the outer ring of the metal lid or a rubber band.)
- Allow the powder to sit for about 15 minutes and then vacuum it up. (Make sure to check with your vacuum cleaner’s manufacturer first to ensure baking soda won’t harm the filters.)
5. Tackling the Bathroom
You probably clean the bathroom on a semi-regular basis, but spring cleaning can be a great way to clean those areas that aren’t a part of your regular routine.
You’ll want to stay away from harsh cleaners like chlorine bleach and ammonia. Instead, for the areas that you want to sanitize, try a non-toxic disinfectant like Force of Nature.
Here are some bathroom cleaning checklist items you may want to tackle as you give you bathroom a deep clean:
- Wipe down the shower doors and/or wash shower curtains and liners
- Descale the shower head
- Clean drains using a simple non-toxic method: pour hot water down the drain, add baking soda, and then add vinegar. Cover the drain with a plug for 5-10 minutes. Follow with another pour of hot water. (You can also do this for the kitchen drain.)
- Wash any rugs, mats, and towels
- Scrub around faucets and fixtures
- Scrub the grout, tub, and shower (recipe below!)
- Mop the floors and wipe down the walls and baseboards
- Refill any necessities like toilet paper, hand soap, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, etc.
- And of course, the usual stuff: clean the toilet and countertops, and empty the trash can
- Disinfect your cleaning tools (mainly the toilet bowl brush) using Force of Nature or the DIY disinfectant below
DIY All-Purpose Disinfectant
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 and 1/2 cups water
- 10-20 drops of essential oils of your choice for a pleasant scent
- Mix it all together in a spray bottle. Spray on surfaces and allow to sit for a few minutes before wiping clean.
Natural Kitchen & Bathroom Scrub
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup dish soap or Castile soap
- 1 tablespoon water
- 10 drops essential oil of your choice (like lemon or other citrus)
- Mix baking soda and other ingredients into a bowl or jar. Sprinkle generously over the area you want to clean and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub with a brush and then wipe or rinse away.
6. The Deep Clean
Spring is a great time to clean the places you might forget about or not get to when you’re doing your everyday cleaning.
To give your home a real deep clean, here are some areas you may want to give some attention to. (Scroll down to download a full checklist!)
- Baseboards and door frames
- Window sills and window treatments (like blinds and drapes)
- Windows (inside and out)
- Air vents
- Ceiling fan blades and overhead lights
- Other light fixtures and lamp shades
- Pantry & fridge (checking for expired products, wiping down surfaces)
- Deep clean the oven
- Descale/clean sink faucets, basins, and fixtures. (This is also a good time to check for any moisture or leaks that could result in mold.)
- Pull out the fridge, oven, and any other appliances to sweep and mop underneath and behind them
- If you have a front-loading washing machine, clean the gaskets around the door (these can grow mold and should ideally be wiped down once a week)
- Flip or rotate the mattresses
- Clean out under-the-bed storage
- Wash shower curtains and liners
- Check for expired items like makeup/skincare, sunscreen, medications, fire extinguisher, and paint cans
- Consider whether it’s time to replace things like toothbrushes and dish sponges. (Tip: run your old toothbrushes through the dishwasher and then keep them in your cleaning caddy to use as scrub brushes.)
- Pack up any winter clothes, accessories, decorations, or other cold-weather items to put in storage
- It’s also a good time to check all of your filters to see if they need replaced. This might include filters in your HVAC, vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, water filter(s), air purifier, or fridge.
- Likewise, if you have battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, it’s a good time to change the batteries in those.
- Consider whether you should also test for radon. (The EPA says homes should be tested about every two years.)
7. Minimize & Organize
Spring is a good time to “Marie Kondo” your belongings. You may want to go through your closets, cabinets, and drawers and consider what items you may want to get rid of.
For the old clothes and other items you haven’t used and don’t want anymore, consider:
- Using it for another purpose. (For example, can you turn that old t-shirt into a few rags to use for cleaning?)
- Giving it away to a friend or family member who may actually get some use out of it
- Donating it to a local non-profit organization
If you’re in need of some new plastic-free storage containers to help you get organized, Made Trade has a great collection of eco-friendly storage containers that are not only made out ethically of natural materials, but will also look nice in your space!
8. Pest Control
As the weather warms up, various kinds of critters tend to come looking for food. But many synthetic pesticides can be toxic to humans and pets. So here are a few non-toxic pest control pointers:
- Take preventative measures like not leaving out food or drinks that may attract pests.
- Use diatomaceous earth or other natural pest control remedies.
- Check out Aunt Fannies, which sells pre-made non-toxic pest control products for fruit flys, ants, mosquitos, and other insects.
- For outside the home, consider using a non-toxic pest control solution such as Wondercide.
- Use Beyond Pesticides’ ManageSafe database to identify the least toxic way to get rid of the specific pest you’re dealing with.
For a more thorough guide to safer pest control, check out this article.
Where to Find Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
We’ve listed a lot of non-toxic cleaning products throughout this article, but if you’re looking for even more options, here are some related guides:
- The best eco-friendly dish soap and detergent brands
- These are the best laundry detergent brands for each category
- Where to find the best all-purpose cleaning sprays
- The best brands for non-toxic cleaning products for whole house cleaning
- Here’s where to find plug-in and spray air fresheners
- Here are the brands that make unbleached and/or reusable paper towels
DOWNLOAD: Room-By-Room Green Spring Cleaning Checklist
You can download the checklist below to your device, or you can get a PDF version here.
So there you have it—your complete guide to naturally refreshing your home this spring. To get more non-toxic tips and more delivered to your inbox once a week, sign up for Filtered Fridays.