Spring Into Sustainable Cleaning

Spring Into Sustainable Cleaning

Spring is right around the corner, and you know what that means: spring cleaning! It’s what everyone looks forward to all winter, right? Maybe the only time of year that collectively as a society we want to deep clean and clear out our spaces. You look around and think how did I even get this much stuff? Or, when was the last time I dusted my blinds? Yeah… same. There’s nothing like a good refresh and we have all the tips for the best cleaners, diy recipes, and hacks to make your spring reset sustainable.

All About All-Purpose Cleaners 

Springing forward and jumping right in: What IS all-purpose cleaner? Does it really clean every surface in your home the same way? This is the ideal of course. 

The purpose of all-purpose is to gently clean multiple surfaces in your home, including countertops, floors, glass, windows, and appliances all in one product. Usually this is a formula that is made of a mild solution that won’t corrode or degrade a surface. When we think about cleaning products for our home, and about doing so sustainability, all-purpose and multipurpose are the best things aren’t they? Keep it simple, stupid! 

We offer a refillable All Purpose Spray option in our shop by a Philadelphia local cleaning company, Volta Supply Co. This rosemary and orange all purpose spray is made with mild ingredients like washing soda, castile soap, and essential oils, and works great for spraying down counter tops, cabinets, baseboards, and more. While it’s great for general cleaning, because of its soap base it may leave light streaks on mirrored or glass surfaces. 

Also new to the shop’s lineup are MYNI cleaner tabs: non toxic, and dissolvable solid cleaning tablets that come in compostable packaging. These tiny tablets also come in a variety of formulations including an all-purpose, glass cleaner, degreaser, bathroom cleaner, stone and stainless steel cleaners, and foaming hand cleanser. If you’re looking for something tailor fit to the surfaces you want to clean, these are a great option.

When it comes to sustainable cleaners, there’s nothing better than a product that can be used for a variety of tasks. Keeping it simple can save the planet, our wallets, and our minds. One product we love that is multi-use is NoToxLife’s solid dish blocks. Not only do these cut down grease to wash your dishes, they can be used to scrub down countertops for that whole kitchen clean, or even as a stain stick on your clothes! Grab their traditional unscented dish block in BIG or little, or go for that quintessential spring scent with citrus lemongrass

Try a DIY! 

When it comes to DIY and natural cleaning there are three key players, you may have heard of them:

  1. Vinegar
  2. Baking soda
  3. Castile soap

With these three in your arsenal you can mix up a variety of cleaners, but it’s important to take what you are cleaning into account before going all in with your creation. Some materials and surfaces can be damaged by acidity (vinegar), or abrasion (baking soda). Here’s a breakdown of some dos and don’ts. 


Vinegar is often a celebrity when it comes to household cleaners in the sustainable world, but can be degrading to certain surfaces. Hardwood, for example, should be avoided when cleaning with vinegar. Because of the acidic properties, it can break down finishes and damage your floor or furniture. Just as vinegar can damage wood, it can also etch natural stone, such as porous surfaces like marble and granite. A good alternative is to make a solution of castile soap mixed with water and some essential oil as a natural cleaner that is great for countertops and mopping sealed hardwood.

I won’t knock vinegar down too many pegs though, it’s still great for many things. Vinegar diluted with water in a spray bottle is great for removing hard water stains from shower curtain liners, cleaning glass, with laundry as a fabric softener, and we all know the age old trick of vinegar and baking soda to clear out a sink drain. 

The vinegar that we have available for refill is much more concentrated than what you would normally buy in the store (ours is 20% acetic acid, normally in a super market you find 5% acetic acid). Used full strength this is great for fighting mildew, killing weeds, and cleaning/deodorizing drains. Most tasks, like cleaning your dishwasher or washing machine, using as fabric softener, or general cleaning don't need to pack so much of a punch. To dilute down to 5% vinegar combine with water at a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. 

Castile soap

Castile soap, an easily refillable item, is one of the most multi-use items you can find. A little goes a long way, and is a gentle cleaner that can tackle almost anything. We use castile soap undiluted for heavy duty tasks like cleaning the toilet bowl (sometimes paired with our toilet tabs for an extra deep clean!), scrubbing the tub, and scrubbing through greasy messes. When it comes to diluting to clean surfaces, as little as ¼ cup of castile to 4 cups of water is enough to do the trick and for mopping and floors all you need is ¼ - ½ a cup in a mop bucket.

→ Susty Bonus Tip: while you have your mop out, ditch those single use mop pads for reusable ones! If you already have a Swiffer style mop that requires attachable mop pads, they make reusable mop pads that can be washed and reused, or you can just use rags that you already have on hand, like our reusable paperless towels. If you’re in the market for a new mop, look for one that doesn’t require the type of one and done mop pad attachments and opt for something that can be used again and again. 

We stock refillable castile soap by Mama Suds so that you can fill up in your own container to get the perfect amount every time. Essential oils can be added to any of your diy solutions to achieve that clean and fresh smell in every room you’ve tackled! 

→ Hot take: you might be tempted to mix vinegar and castile for some extra cleaning power. Don’t do it! Castile soap has a basic PH, and vinegar has an acidic PH. They’ll neutralize each other and you’ll lose the benefits of both! If you want to use both to tackle a mess, use them one after another, not at the same time. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great choice not only for its ability to add a little extra scrubbiness to your cleaning, but also for its deodorizing capabilities. 

Baking soda mixed with just a few drops of essential oils can be used on its own for a variety of things, one of my favorite being a carpet deodorizer! Just combine ½ cup - 1 cup baking soda with a few drops of essential oils, sprinkle over your carpet and let rest for 30 minutes, then vacuum and you’re done! 

If you’re looking to give your bath a good scrub this spring, try this recipe for a sparkling clean:  This is an easy do it yourself with just 2-3 ingredients, that is both non toxic and earth friendly. 

Shower soft scrub: 

Mix 1 part castile soap with 2 parts baking soda. Add essential oils for an optional scent boost. Mix to form a paste and scrub onto your bath or shower with a brush. Let sit for at least 30 mins then rinse with warm to hot water. 

→ Hot take: remember how we said that castile and vinegar neutralize each other? Guess what: baking soda is also basic. You can mix baking soda and castile and store it, but if you try to mix an all purpose cleaner of water, baking soda, and vinegar like some blogs recommend you will end up with neutralized vinegar!




Co-authored by Ray Daly and Emma Gardener

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