Green Cleaning Tips

With spring in full swing, it’s time for a bit of cleaning. To save money and prevent exposure to harsh chemicals, here are a few green cleaning tips.

I’ve often heard that, in times of stress, cleaning is an easy way to escape from everything swirling around you. While it does take me (personally) a great deal of effort to get my eyes away from the TV and finally start cleaning, I find it very therapeutic as time goes on. Because of this, and because I’m on the go most of the time, I do all I can to find any cleaning tips (especially green cleaning) that will help me get everything done more efficiently.

With that in mind, and in the spirit of the spring cleaning season, I’ve put together a short list of cleaning tips that anyone can benefit from, whether it be in the office or at home.

There are many companies who try to take a problem (e.g., “how do I keep my microwave from accumulating weird smells?”) and try to sell you on some magic potion that will take all of your troubles away. To combat this, the below tips include an element of green cleaning, so that you can clean without filling your office or home with a ton of chemicals.

Specifically, here are a number of green cleaning tips from CleanTelligent Software graphic designer Martin Carney, outlining a few simple solutions to some all-too-common, hard-to-fix problems, such as removing stray permanent marker streaks on walls or boards.

Furniture moving trick

To avoid scuffed floors when rearranging heavy pieces of furniture, fold two clean towels (dirty ones can scratch floors), place one under each end, and slide the piece across the floor.

Preventing mildew

When it comes to mildew, prevention gives you the upper hand. So be sure to keep surfaces clean, improve air circulation, and reduce dampness. In poorly ventilated basements and musty closets, it may be wise to invest in some desiccants (such as silica gel) to hang up or place in strategic locations. When drying cloths and other things, remember as a general rule that the more surface area is exposed, the faster things will dry.

Cleaning lampshades

Fabric lampshades are a nightmare because they hold onto dust. Here’s a bright idea: easily remove dust from fabric lampshades with an adhesive lint roller. Hold the shade steady, and pass the roller over the exterior.

Cleaning powder trick

Next time you peel the seal from a canister of cleaning powder, take it off only halfway. Keeping some of the holes covered gives you better control of the flow, so it won’t come pouring out.

Pour Coke into a dirty toilet

Out of Soft Scrub or other toilet-scaling potions? Try pouring a can of Coke into the bowl, letting it sit in the bowl for an hour or more, and then scrubbing the bowl clean. It doesn’t save the manual effort, but the bowl will get surprisingly clean. The cola color should flush away, but if soda water is on hand, that might do the trick just as well.

Get marker off any surface

To get accidental permanent marker off a dry-erase board, write over it with a dry-erase marker, then wipe away both layers. If someone has run a Sharpie on something else, try cleaning with baking soda toothpaste. Baking soda toothpaste is able to remove plaque and grime from teeth AND sharpie ink from a variety of surfaces.

Deodorizing the microwave

To give your microwave a fresh, clean smell, place a bowl of water in it and add two tablespoons of lemon juice or three or four slices of fresh lemon. Microwave on high for 30–60 seconds. For really strong microwave odors, place some vanilla extract in a bowl and microwave it for at least 30 seconds. Leave the door closed for 12 hours. Afterward, remove the vanilla and wipe down the inside of the microwave.

Trash time-saver

Keep a few trash can liners in the bottom of the trash can. When it’s time to take out the trash, you don’t have to go find a replacement liner. This is especially helpful for odd-sized and small trash cans, since many cleaners carry a roll of standard liners with them.

Test out new chemicals

Always test out new cleaning chemicals on a small, out-of the way patch before using it over a large area. Sometimes cleaning chemicals will damage unexpected surfaces, or simply won’t work. It’s better to avoid a large patch of discolored wall or a ruined chair.


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