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How to Make Your Spring Cleaning More Sustainable

Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock.com

Spring is officially here, and for many, that means spring cleaning. There’s just something about warmer weather that triggers the need to start decluttering and scrubbing. Before you head out for cleaning supplies, though, here are a few ways you can make the process far more sustainable—and far less expensive.

We asked Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority, and Morgan Eberhard, home care senior scientist at Proctor and Gamble, for some tips on how to clean more sustainably. Their suggestions will not only make your process more environmentally friendly, but they can also save you some cash.

Use Products That Require Less Water

A person sprays dish spray onto dishes, and another person mops a floor.
Dawn/Swiffer

It’s no secret that cleaning takes a lot of water. From filling up mop buckets to washing dishes, a lot of H2O gets wasted. That’s not only bad for the environment, it’s also bad for your water bill. That’s exactly why Eberhard recommends using products that require very little (or zero) water when you’re cleaning.

Okay, so you probably won’t be able to get away with using no water at all while cleaning. Still, you can cut back by looking for products that prevent you from having to soak items, as well as options that eliminate the need for constant refilling.

Eberhard recommended Dawn’s Powerwash Dish Spray, which is designed to be used without water until the final rinse. You simply spray your dishes with it, wipe them down, and then rinse. This switch alone could save you twice the amount of water you typically use.

Dawn Powerwash Spray Starter Kit

Reduce water waste when doing your dishes.

When it comes to appliances, Eberhard actually busted a common myth: running the dishwasher doesn’t use more water than hand-washing.

“A running sink can use up to four gallons of water every two minutes,” Eberhard said, “while an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher uses less than four gallons of water per cycle. Using your dishwasher daily can save up to 100 gallons of water a week.”

Of course, we can’t all run out and purchase a brand-new energy-efficient appliance. Still if you already have one, don’t feel guilty about using it!

Switching up your mopping routine is another great way to save water. Eberhard likes the Swiffer WetJet because you don’t have to constantly change out the water like you do with a regular mop. According to our expert, this switch can save you up to 70 gallons of water per year.

Use DIY Cleaners

A person sprays cleaner onto a window.
Vladimir Miloserdov/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to creating less waste and reducing plastic, Stapf recommends using DIY cleaners. Not only are they all-natural, but they’re also usually far more effective. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll save lots of money because you probably already have many of the necessary ingredients.

“DIY cleaning solutions are great because you can utilize some of the same products for multiple purposes,” Stapf said. “Vinegar is a great example of a staple item that can be used for various cleaning purposes.”

Stapf also shared another surprising use for vinegar. Did you know it will remove stains from your mattress? Just put some vinegar in a spray bottle, and then lightly spray it on the stain. Sprinkle some baking soda on top, and then cover it with a towel. Let it sit for one to two hours, and then vacuum it clean.

Use Efficient Products

Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

DIY cleaners aren’t the only way to make your spring cleaning more sustainable. If you prefer using more traditional cleaners, you can still help out the environment by choosing products that get the job done.

“Choosing efficient products that work well and work right the first time can boost the sustainability of your daily cleaning routine,” Eberhard said, “and help you conserve water every day.”

She also recommended Dawn Ultra for washing dishes because it can clean them with 50% less scrubbing. This means you can use less detergent on more dishes.

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid

Concentrated formula means you can get through more dishes.

Use What You’ve Got

Several glass dishes are filled with food, and multiple scrubbing brushes sit on an island.
Pyrex/Holikme

Finally, use what you already have around the house when it comes to spring cleaning. This includes everything from storage containers to the DIY cleaners we covered previously.

“If you need a cardboard box or plastic bag to store items,” Stapf said, “a great eco-friendly alternative is plastic bins or crates. For storing food items, make sure to avoid Tupperware if you’re looking for a more sustainable option. Glass storage containers last much longer, are safer, and more eco-friendly.”

Pyrex Simply Store 18 Piece Meal Prep Storage Containers Set

Glass is far more sustainable than plastic.

Additionally, if you take care of your cleaning supplies, you can extend their life by reducing your level of waste. Just small maintenance steps, like cleaning your scrubbing brushes after you use them, will not only prevent the spread of bacteria, but also help them last much longer.

Holikme 5 Pack Kitchen Cleaning Brush Set

This could be the only set you ever need if you take care of them.


If you’re outlining your spring cleaning attack, just making a few small, more eco-friendly changes can also save you cash—it’s a win-win!

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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