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Undertake an Eco-Friendly clean sweep this spring

Springtime. There’s something about the budding flowers and rebirth of nature that lifts the spirits. That is, until someone mentions those dreaded two little words: spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a loathsome chore. Tidying up, eliminating clutter and giving everything a good scrubbing makes a living space feel lighter. Whether you’re preparing to list your home for sale or just freshening it up for the season, there are ways to make it easier on yourself and the environment. You may already have everything you need to do the job well.

Getting the dirty jobs done doesn’t have to mean working in a cloud of chemicals. A squeeze of dish soap, lemon, baking soda and vinegar can tackle just about any cleaning job that’s been put off for a while. Add a few Magic Erasers and some lint-free cloths and you’re good to go. Cleaning vinegar is even stronger than the regular, white variety, but ordinary vinegar will also do. Mixed with water (the ratio depends on the toughness of the job ahead) vinegar will clean windows, mirrors and countertops. Used full strength, it will make a bathroom sparkle, right down to the toilet bowl.

Some spring cleaners add a few drops of lavender or another essential oil to leave a pleasing scent behind. The grunge that builds up around faucets can’t stand up to a real lemon. It will leave the taps shiny and the kitchen smelling great. It’s also touted as a great substitute for harsh bleach on laundry day. Brighten a stainless-steel sink by scrubbing it with baking soda.

For windows, one tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with one-quarter cup vinegar and two cups of warm water makes an eco-friendly and effective cleaner.

The microwave cleaning trick of zapping a bowl of lemon and water for three minutes apparently does work to loosen stuck-on food. But why not wipe down the inside of the microwave immediately after a pasta explosion?

Oh right – teenagers.
One peek inside an oven in need of attention is enough to make a person consider abandoning the eco-friendly approach in favour of harsh chemicals and nuclear weaponry. But even scrubbing with the arm strength of The Rock still won’t likely return the oven to its previous glory. Plus, it is good time management to get it professionally cleaned. Oven Clean uses non-caustic chemicals to get your stove back to a place before overflowing casseroles and other messy spills got baked on.

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[Using natural products to tackle deep seasonal cleaning makes it better for you and for the environment, but some jobs are better farmed out. Oven Clean uses non-caustic products to take care of one of the most-hated spring cleaning chores to complement your eco-conscious approach.]

Oven Clean’s Tilda King says their environmentally-friendly process returns the appliance to showroom condition. “Oven cleaning is one of the mosthated household chores. We’re done in less than two hours and you can be doing something else. And we do the entire oven, even racks and doors. No fumes. No mess. And you can use the oven again immediately after we’re done.”

While we’re on about appliances, it’s amazing what can accumulate behind them. Drag them away from the wall and evict those dust bunnies and other critters before they reproduce as quickly as real bunnies do.

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A big part of spring cleaning is decluttering and finding more efficient ways of running our lives. We’ve all reached back to the no-man’s land of a deep cupboard and discovered a package whose expiry date was three years past. A well-organized kitchen reduces frustration, according to Dennis Beker of Gliding Shelf Solutions, whose company replaces regular cupboards with pull-out drawers that allow you to see everything, instead of only what’s at the front.

“For me to put the glides in, you have to take everything out. Then you will be more selective about what you’ll put back in there. It cuts down significantly on waste.”

Stiles – those thin, vertical boards between double cabinet doors – are all that stand in the way of you finding what you want quickly in a more organized, useful cabinet.

You will smile as brightly as the morning sun in springtime every time you open a drawer or an appliance and you can go easier on yourself and the environment this season.