Living green has several components: cutting costs, making eco-friendly choices and improving quality of life. You can hit all three with these spring cleaning tips. Freshen your home, save money and possibly save lives with safety check-up/clean-ups.
Chimney flue, fireplace, furnace vents, space heater. Whatever heat sources you use have been working overtime all winter and need cleaning. Remove ash from fireplace grate. Have chimney flue professionally cleaned. Replace or clean furnace filters. Use a bottle brush to remove debris from outdoor furnace vents. Check space heaters for dust buildup. Be sure air is flowing freely. These quick cleanups save money on utilities plus protect against possible fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Clothes dryer. You might remember to clean your dryer lint filter. You may clean outside dryer exhaust vents. But did you know lint backs up in the flexible tube connecting the two? We called a dryer repair person a few years ago. He said there was nothing wrong with the dryer. It just needed the “cat-sized lint ball” (his words) removed. We started doing this ourselves to save repair fees. Insert vacuum hose wand in dryer vent and vacuum. Plug vacuum into outside outlet and do the same at the exhaust end. Remove back plate and clean interior accumulated lint. Dryers work harder in winter and need a spring cleaning too!
Refrigerator and freezer. If your fridge is like mine, it’s a mess of science projects most of the time. Early spring is a great time to clean when it’s still cold enough to keep food fresh. Make a solution of hot water, Dawn dish soap and bleach solution. Turn refrigerator off, remove food place outdoors or on an unheated porch. Scrub walls, shelves, drawers and rubber door insulation (food gets trapped there). Remove bottom vent cover. Vacuum dirt, then wipe out with rag. Vacuum fridge back vent and electrical coils and wipe with dry cloth (don’t use wet cloth). Clean ice maker and wipe out freezer. Replace any damaged or worn parts.
Stove, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster. Anything with a heat element poses safety hazards. Wipe out crumbs that may catch fire. Make a baking soda/ vinegar paste and scrub baked-on food from oven, stove, toaster and microwave. Carefully wipe back elements and vents. Use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to touch up hard-to-clean stains. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in oven (not covering heat vents) to catch spills. Heat a bowl of lemon juice in microwave to kill food odors.
Running a green energy efficient home is more about practicing routine maintenance than having special appliances. Your appliances will thank you for their spring cleaning by running safer, cheaper and better. Here are more green spring cleaning tips and recipes I wrote.