Spring Clean Your Home Naturally

      Spring cleaning's in the air, but that's not all. Many common home-cleaning products emit toxic chemicals into the air too. But a few simple steps can help you keep your family safe while tackling spring cleaning projects around the home. Metro natural gardening and toxics reduction specialist Carl Grimm had pointers.

      Make a clean sweep
      Swap out your home cleaners for a few tried and true basics for better indoor air quality and fewer risks to skin, eyes and lungs while still keeping your space spic 'n' span. Another bonus: save $s on cleaning products.
      Convert your cleaning cupboard from an array of single-use products into a frugal, effective toolkit using basic ingredients like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
      Use microfiber cloth and good old-fashioned scrubbers to get the work done right.

      Make your own cleaners
      All-purpose cleaner. Mix 3 cups warm water with a 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap and 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar or 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or both).
      Tub and tile soft scrub. Combine 1/2 cup baking soda with enough vegetable oil-based liquid soap to make a frosting-like mixture. Add 15 drops of tea tree oil (optional). Scoop the mixture onto a sponge and scrub the bathtub, sink, Formica countertops or shower stall. Rinse.
      Alternative drain cleaner. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes and follow with a kettle of boiling water (about 2 quarts).
      Find dozens of recipes to handle everything from basic kitchen and bathroom cleaning to tough stains on carpet or clothes at

      Prevent dirt before it happens
      The ultimate green cleaner is not needing any. One way to do this it with one doormat outside and one inside, and wearing slippers in your home. This also improves indoor air quality and reduces exposure to pollutant-laden dust from outside - particularly important if you have young children.

      Get rid of the hazardous stuff safely
      Metro's hazardous waste drop-off is free to region residents with a disposal fee waiver coupon if your load contains any garden chemical and is less than 35 gallons total.

      Ask Metro
      For home-cleaning recipes, disposal information and how-to info on all these topics and more, ask Metro at 503-234-3000 or To stay updated, follow Metro on Facebook and Twitter, too.