1. Keep Your Drains Clear
Make sure to maintain your drains on the inside of your house before a blockage occurs on the outside. A simple and easy way to do so is to pour a kettle full of boiling water down your inside drains once a week. This stops fat, oil and grease from building up and blocking the drain.
Three to four times a year, pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar into your drains, followed by a hot water chaser. This causes a small chemical reaction, which helps to remove stubborn dirt and oil.
Make sure to be careful what you put down your drains. Though they can handle waste, toilet paper and a certain amount of food, they don’t handle oil, dental floss, sanitary products or cleansing wipes well. If unsure about whether an object is suitable to go down the drain, throw it in the trash instead.
Head outside to check your drains are free of debris. Clear out leaves and twigs to make sure that your drain water has a clear path into the ground.
2. Clean Your Flagstone Paths
Unlike the indoor flagstone used in hallways and entrance areas, outdoor flagstone is not sealed or waxed, leaving it vulnerable to the elements, dirt and erosion.
From time to time, use a pressure hose to spray down your flagstone. Make sure to use a low setting to preserve the integrity of the stone and avoid further erosion. Stains that are a little more difficult to remove can be addressed with a little scrubbing and an eco-friendly recipe. Mix rubbing alcohol, baking soda and a few drop of essential oil into a paste and spread over the stone. Rub it with a soft toothbrush or a washcloth, then rinse off with the pressure hose. Check a small corner of the flagstone before using it across the whole surface, to ensure it doesn’t have any discoloring effects.
3. Get Sparkling Windows Without Chemicals
The exterior side of our windows can get pretty dirty, pretty fast, being exposed to the elements. You might be surprised to find that a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth can be an extremely effective alternative to expensive and toxic window cleaning products. Just spray on and wipe off for clean, streak-free windows in minutes.
Checkout this video for how to make this green cleaning mix:
4. Become Mildew-Free
Mildew can attack outdoor furniture and fencing, whether plastic, metal, wood or wicker. Straight vinegar is said to kill up to 90% of mildew. Sprayed directly onto mildew-affected areas and left to sit for a few minutes, it should then by rinsed with water and dried. Another natural alternative is tea tree oil. When two teaspoons are mixed with two cups of water and poured in a spray bottle, they can be sprayed on mildew-affected areas and left to dry without further attention.
5. Clear Your Guttering
Cleaning guttering requires no chemicals, only a ladder and hard work. Scrape any leaves out using a piece of wood or garden trowel to keep your gutters debris free.
If you are looking for an in depth guide on cleaning gutters, have a read of this one.
6. Put Your Autumn Leaves To Good Use
When autumn times comes around and leaves fall off the trees, the chore of sweeping them up can seem thankless. Why not try using your leaves to benefit your garden? Instead of tying them up in black bags and sending them away with the garbage truck, compost them and use them to add nutrients to your soil. After all, the leaves of most trees contain more than twice the amount of minerals as manure, pound for pound.
For composting success, grind or shred your leaves, then build your compost pile with 8 inches of leaves, followed by 2 inches of manure. Turn the heap every two to three days, keep it moist and cover with a plastic sheet when not turning.
7. Clean Your Pool Without Chemicals
First, use a long handled net to skim the pool for leaves and other debris. Next, use a long handled scrubbing brush to clean the bottom and sides of your pool and prevent algae and dirt build up.
There are special vacuums for use in swimming pools. Using one of these every week will suck up debris and dirt from your pool and keep it clear and ready to swim in. Be sure to empty all strainers and filters regularly to prevent build ups and keep your pool in optimum condition.
Consider switching from chlorine to salt water. Far more gentle on the skin, eyes and environment, salt helps to keep the pool clean and free of algae at a much better price. A solar heater is an environmentally and economically sound choice, costing around a year’s worth of heating for decades of maintenance-free use, and cutting down tons of carbon dioxide emissions from conventional heating methods.
Have a read of 8 tips on green cleaning your pool from Earth911.
8. Clean Out The Dog House, The Natural Way
Clean the doghouse once a month, first removing all feces from around and inside the dog house using rubber gloves. Soak the dog’s toys and bedding in a container of warm water, borax and grated natural bar soap while you clean.
Sweep, then spray the inside of the dog house with a warm vinegar-water solution and allow it to rest for a while. Then, get a bucket full of the same mixture used to soak the toys and the bedding, and use a stiff brush to clean the doghouse with this solution, paying particular attention to the corners. Then rinse the house using a hose and let it dry.
After a few hours, remove the toys and bedding from its soak and machine-wash what you can. Leave to dry in the sun before you replace in the dog house.
9. Take Care Of Your Canvas Awnings
Canvas awnings attract grime and pollution and need to be cleaned at least once a year. After sweeping and dusting with a long-handled broom, use an abrasive pad to apply a baking soda and water mixture to scrub out any stubborn dirt. Work in small areas from the top to bottom, rinsing an area with clean water as soon as it is clean. Continue to apply baking soda and scrub until clean, which may take a few applications.
10. Clean Your Barbecue
A stiff wire brush is enough to scrub your grill to get rid of stubborn food particles. Charcoal grills will need the collector pan emptying periodically and the whole barbecue cleaning once a year with soapy water. A gas grill needs the burners above the barriers cleaned regularly. Ensure to use natural cleaners and rinse sufficiently with clean water.
11. Clean Fences The Natural Way
Using just a pressure washer and white vinegar can restore your wooden fence to its former glory. Set on a ratio to one part vinegar to 16 parts water and a low pressure setting and work from the bottom to the top, using a stiff brush to get rid of stubborn stains. Let sit for 15 minutes, then use water from the top to the bottom to rinse.