Spring cleaning tips from our past can help us be a bit more eco-friendly and clean our homes more efficiently. That’s why before starting your spring cleaning you need to read these vintage cleaning tips.
iHerb is committed to helping us get the best natural products for our home and has been kind enough to sponsor this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading vintage magazines and vintage homemaking books. While many spring cleaning tips and tricks you find will make you cringe, like when they are cleaning with chemicals that are now banned or at least we know not to use them in our homes.
They do still have a lot of spring cleaning tips that are useful and safe to use today. And since single-use and disposable items weren’t as common many of the tips are very eco-friendly.
Going back to before there were disposable cleaning wipes, single-use dusters, and all of the other wasteful products that have gained popularity over the years can help us reduce waste and our environmental impact.
Retro housewives may not have known what being eco-friendly was or why it would be important but yet they still can teach us about it.
Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning Tips
Gathering Your Supplies
Before you do anything it’s important to gather your supplies. Having your supplies gathered into one place, a caddy or basket you can carry around is ideal, makes spring cleaning a lot easier. This is a tip retro housewives often used as well. They may have done a lot of cleaning but they were smart about how they did it.
A spring cleaning tip suggested by many retro housewives is to take stock of your supplies before starting your spring cleaning. You don’t want to get in the middle of a job and find that you are missing the items you need for that task.
That’s why before starting my spring cleaning I placed an order with one of my favorite stores, iHerb. They carry over 30,000 natural products and ship to over 180 countries.
They are one place I’ve been able to find a lot of the natural food and household products we love when over the last year other shops have been out of stock of a lot of items.
They make stocking up for spring cleaning extra easy. And you can feel safe doing so, even during hot summer months because their orders are all shipped from climate-controlled distribution centers to ensure product quality. And they have customer service 7 days a week in 10 different languages.
Using the Right Products
In the 1950s consumerism really took off. The post-war and post-depression world was changing a lot and people suddenly had more money to spend.
When looking at advertisements during that era you can see them shift more to encouraging people to buy more for pleasure and convenience. Housewives had more money to be picky about the brands and products they used.
It’s still nice to be able to be picky about our cleaning products. Our standards may be different now though. We know about plastic pollution and we know more about the harm some harsh chemicals can cause on our bodies and the planet.
If you aren’t sure what products you want to use while cleaning this is the list of items I stocked up on from iHerb. And why I decided to buy these products.
- Madre Labs Dish Soap- This is a 3x concentrated product. You buy the bottle once and then just purchase refills that you dilute yourself preventing a lot of plastic waste.
- Madre Labs Laundry Detergent- This is also a concentrated product, like the dish soap, and we all know laundry detergent means a lot of plastic so a low-plastic option like this is really great.
- Madre Labs Hand Soap- You are going to need to wash your hands often while spring cleaning so making sure you have more on hand is important. This is another concentrated product with minimal plastic.
- Mild by Natural Dish Pods- Dish detergent often contains very harsh ingredients, but these dish tabs are safe, and being in tab form makes them easy to use and mess-free.
- Mild by Nature Essential Oil Blend- While not very vintage, essential oils can be used when making some of your own cleaning products or to diffuse while you are cleaning to make everything smell nice and even give a bit of a mood boost.
- Full Circle Dish Cloths- Having a good supply of rags and cleaning cloths is important to help cut down on paper towel use while cleaning. These are some of my favorite dishcloths so I like to stock up from time to time.
- Full Circle Walnut Scrubbers- These also help reduce paper towel use and are my favorite sponges. They have a side that is made from walnuts and is great for jobs that require a lot of scrubbing.
- Full Circle Cleaning Gloves- A good retro housewife will also want to protect their hands while cleaning and these cleaning gloves are high quality and last a long time.
You may find you need a few more items after looking at your supplies but iHerb has you covered. They also carry many other brands I love like Mrs. Meyers and Now.
Air Out Your Home
Something retro housewives did during their spring cleaning and cleaning in general that I don’t think we do enough anymore is air out their homes.
This is actually more important now as our homes are better sealed. With the same air recirculating all of the time, the air quality can get pretty poor. It also can start to get odors.
Opening up windows and letting fresh air in can really help make our homes smell fresh and improve air quality. If you have allergies you’ll want to try to find a lower pollen day to air out your home or at least avoid windy days.
While airing out your home throw back the covers on beds and let them air out as well. It can help with dust mites and can also help with odors beds can start to have.
Work from Top to Bottom
When cleaning your home working from the top to the bottom is not only more efficient because you won’t get things you just cleaned dirty again but it’s also eco-friendly.
If you have to reclean things you will not just be using more time you will likely be using more product. The most eco-friendly thing you can do is reduce your use of products.
So when making your to-do list put tasks in order considering this cleaning method. Don’t clean your floors before dusting or cleaning the walls, you’ll just have to clean the floors again.
And a little tip for cleaning baseboards, use a little bit of mild, natural dish soap like the one from Madre Labs in warm water with a soft rag to wipe them down and remove dirt and grim. As with all cleaning, test in a small spot before doing the whole thing but this works on most baseboards.
Use a Clothesline
While doing your spring cleaning you will likely have some extra laundry to do, which is one of the reasons I love a concentrated laundry detergent. I also love using a clothesline for at least some of those items because it can help reduce your energy use by a lot!
Things like blankets and rugs can take a long time to dry in a dryer so they can require even more energy than usual laundry. Line drying them can also make them smell extra fresh. Many items you will be washing are likely delicate as well and line drying those items can help make them last longer.
On a warm sunny day, it shouldn’t take items long to dry and you’ll get a bit of vitamin d while you do your laundry. It’s also pretty good exercise.
Repair Items When Possible
One thing that stands out as being different when reading vintage spring cleaning tips versus modern spring cleaning tips is the lack of talk about repairing things in the modern tips.
We tend to just throw things out if they are broken and in need of repair. However, when reading vintage cleaning tips you see a lot of talk about mending clothes and linens, repairing broken things, or even taking items to experts to be repaired.
Taking care of our items and making them last is a great way to reduce our environmental impact. It also usually saves us money.
Use Thrift Stores
Thrift stores have been around for a long time and by the 1920s they were organized like department stores. Demand was very high for thrift stores during the Great Depression and World War II.
“Consignment shops catering to a high-end clientele started to emerge in the 1950s, and wealthier consumers started coveting “vintage” clothes. The thrill of finding couture at a more affordable price has never waned. Garage sales as a kind of charity fundraiser became popular during that period too, and the environmental movement later promoted them as a form of recycling.” – The History of Thrift Stores
It’s still a great way to give the things we are no longer using second life. It’s also a good place to look for organizational items you find yourself wanting while doing spring cleaning. Just don’t be tempted to bring more stuff into your house that will just turn into clutter.
In conclusion, keep your supplies well stocked using iHerb and their great natural products, keep those products well organized, air out your home, work from top to bottom, use a clothesline, repair items instead of trashing them, and shop at and donate to thrift stores.
Using these simple spring cleaning tips will make spring cleaning easier and you’ll be helping the environment while you are cleaning.
Don’t forget to give iHerb a try! It’s an easy way to stock up on natural cleaning products that will make your spring cleaning easier and more eco-friendly. New and returning customers will get a 5% discount on their iHerb order with no minimum purchase with this link.