May 21, 2015

Do Your Spring Cleaning the Bay-Friendly Way

There’s a month left of spring, which means you still have time to do some serious spring cleaning. While you’re gutting your garage, polishing your furniture, and making sure your kitchen and bathroom are sparkling, please keep the estuary in mind.

Photo by Susy Morris


The cleaners you use and the ways you discard old chemicals, paints, and other household items play a big role in the health of the bay. Use the bay-friendly cleaning tips below to make sure the estuary keeps sparkling, too.



Photo by Nathalie Babineau-Griffiths
Photo by Nathalie Babineau-Griffiths



When the kitchen mess gets overwhelming, you need a good all-purpose cleaner. To make one at home, add a cup of white vinegar to a pail of water and stir. Then, add equal parts baking soda and liquid castile soap, using more or less soda and soap depending on how dirty the job is.

To disinfect countertops, dissolve a cup of borax or baking soda in a gallon of hot water. Dip a clean rag in the mixture and scrub the entire surface.

If your linoleum or vinyl floor has seen better days, rub a dab of toothpaste onto scuff marks to remove them. Then, mop with a mixture of two gallons water and one cup white vinegar to bring back the floor’s shine.



Photo by LWYang
Photo by LWYang

Clean and deodorize your toilet with baking soda, or a mixture of castile soap and borax. Let these cleaners sit for thirty minutes (or more for tougher jobs), and then scrub with a toilet bowl brush.

To remove mildew from your tub, shower, tiles, walls—or anywhere else it tries to hide—combine either lemon juice or white vinegar with salt to make a paste. Apply this mixture to the mildew and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Then, use a rag, sponge, or toothbrush to scrub it off. Repeat as necessary.

To unclog drains, mix one cup each of baking soda, salt, and white vinegar. (That may sound like a lot of ingredients, but that list is likely to be cheaper than a cleaner you’d buy at the store, and it’s a whole lot better for the bay!) Pour this mixture down the drain and wait fifteen minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.



Photo by Susy Morris
Photo by Susy Morris

To keep out ants and roaches, apply borax to cracks and entry points. (Do not use this method in open areas, or near children and pets, since borax can cause health problems if it’s ingested.)

When you’re cleaning off your shelves, remember to bring old household chemicals, paint, lightbulbs, electronics, oil, and anything else potentially hazardous to the nearest Hazardous Waste Facility.


Learn More

To learn more about bay-friendly cleaning, check out our Bayside Living Guide in our online library, or stop by the office at 601 Embarcadero in Morro Bay to pick up a copy. If you have more bay-friendly cleaning tips to share, post them on our Facebook page or tweet them to us @MorroBayNEP. We’d love to hear from you!