Green Goolia’s spring cleaning edition


Photo credit: Julia Weis

Photo by Julia Weis

The start of the semester is the perfect time to begin your spring cleaning. If you’re like me, Green Goolia, you might wonder if cleaning has to mean a million different fancy spray bottles with chemicals you can’t pronounce. I’m here to tell you, in part IV of the Green Goolia series, that it doesn’t!

Whether your desire to clean out your shelves and closet comes from the Kondo craze that’s taking the nation, or you just love a good spring cleaning, there are plenty of green cleaning techniques that are both eco-friendly and cheap.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is both a popular and old-fashioned cleaning technique for anyone looking to give their countertops an extra shine. This method is great to clean with because the coarse texture of the baking soda lets you scrub away. I don’t know the science of it, but when you pour the vinegar over the baking soda, it starts to fizz and react, which is super cool to watch. I like to use baking soda and vinegar to clean my bathroom and kitchen counters; however, there are endless possibilities with this combination. I’ve read about bloggers who clean out their fridges and scrub their sinks with it, people who add it to their laundry detergent and even scrub their carpet stains with it. You’ll have to test out the possibilities yourself. You can get baking soda and vinegar at the P.O.D. (at least when I lived on campus), but you can get both for cheaper in bulk at H-E-B.

Citrus and Salt

I read on Apartment Therapy that you can clean your bathtub with a grapefruit and salt. I tested it out, and it actually worked really well. I used baking soda and vinegar for the tough spots, but it was cool how fresh and fruity my bathroom smelled after scrubbing with the grapefruit. I’ve also seen people on Pinterest use lemons and salt to scrub their countertops and sinks. I like these citrus methods because they smell fresh and are cheap (I got my grapefruit for 58 cents). And afterwards, if you have a compost bin, you can just throw the leftovers in there!

Olive Oil for the Sticky Stuff

I learned this helpful trick from my mom. If you have something sticky that you’re trying to get off, like a worn out sticker from a bottle or jar, you can try olive oil! If you have a kitchen or are an avid dorm chef, you probably have some sort of cooking oil. I love using olive oil to get sticky labels off of jars and bottles that I’m reusing or recycling. You can get a small bottle of olive oil at H-E-B for only a few dollars or maybe borrow some from a senior who has some in their apartment.

There are other natural ways to clean out your living space that you might hear about online, like fancy essential oils and natural castile soaps. These can be great too, but might be more on the expensive side and aren’t necessarily better than the items I listened above. If you’re looking to get more into natural cleaning, you can definitely test out some of those and see what you think.

Keep in mind that these recommendations are based on my own experiences. I’m no cleaning expert, just a college kid trying to keep her countertops clean. Obviously, the only way to find out if they work for you is to go out and test the baking soda, citrus and olive oil yourself. I like these methods because I can find them at regular stores for cheap and often without excessive plastic packaging. And most importantly, I don’t have to clean my bathroom with chemicals I can’t pronounce.