They don’t call it “springtime fresh” for nothing. All winter long, dust, pet hair, and clutter have been accumulating in your quarters, while you huddled inside under the warmth of your HVAC unit. So it’s no wonder you feel the urge to crack open the windows and dust out the cobwebs with the first warm breath of air.
Unfortunately, though, when you’re looking to refresh your home, commercial cleaners can seriously cramp your style. Although we usually think of air pollution as an outdoors-only problem, studies show that indoor air quality may be much more harmful. Mold spores, off-gassing from paints and finishes, and chemicals from cleaners all contribute to a pretty toxic brew in the home—especially when you consider that the average person spends more than 90 percent of their time inside.
However, altering your spring cleaning marathon may be one way to clear out some of these problem substances. A thorough once-over cuts down on two of the most common air hazards: dust and mold. And greening your spring cleaning routine will also limit the presence of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. The jury’s still out on just how harmful these compounds are, but most experts agree that too much can contribute to or aggravate serious health conditions, such as asthma or even certain cancers.
Meanwhile, between paper towels, cleaning pads, trash bags, and other disposables, cleaning can take a pretty hefty toll on your local landfill, too. Estimates peg annual paper towel use at about 13 billion pounds a year, which adds up to a lot of trees, to say the least. Okay, I hear you saying, I’m convinced—but what can I do about it? Read on to find out!