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Vermont's autumnal glories are in full swing and that tells me that it's time for a round of fall green cleaning.

As we head into leaf season, green cleaning -- the art of using natural, renewable, safer cleaners and techniques -- is important as we begin to button up our homes for cold weather. Making things around the house as airtight as possible is great for energy conservation, but it means much less fresh air will be circulating. Lack of air exchange means that what we put into the air inside our homes stays there longer, including micro-droplets and vapors from household cleaners. So fall green cleaning is a necessity.

Green cleaning has other advantages, too. It doesn't leave residue behind, and it contributes to a more sustainable environment. When we practice green cleaning, we're not adding air pollutants to the atmosphere nor are we rinsing non-biodegradable formulas down our drains and into water supplies.

Autumn is prime green cleaning season. Do it now before you get too busy with planning for the holidays. Here are some green cleaning tips for fall:

  • I start my fall green cleaning with the windows. Remove summer's dirt for a sparkling view of autumn. Do your green window cleaning on a sunny day to more easily see streaks and missed spots.
  • Wash your exterior doors to make them brighter and more inviting.
  • Open the windows and do a thorough dusting, letting fresh breezes carry outside whatever you stir up.
  • Wash ceiling fans. If you have forced air heat, give your grates some green cleaning TLC, too.
  • Launder your curtains to get rid of summer's trapped pollens. If you can't do this at home, look for a green dry cleaner who doesn't use toxic chemical solvents.
  • For serious kitchen green cleaning, move your appliances and scrub underneath where grime builds up.
  • Empty kitchen cupboards and perform some green cleaning on the shelves.
  • Steam the carpets to give them a fresh start.
  • Green cleaning also means prevention: Consider a remove-your-shoes rule to prevent dirt being tracked in.

A green cleaning checklist like this one will go a long way toward a great autumn. What green cleaning tips for fall can you share?

photo: marc falardeau

Geoff the Inkslinger and his Dog

The Inkslinger has written about environmental issues for over 20 years and is a freelance writer for some of America's most iconoclastic companies and non-profits. His true loves include nature, music of the Americana/rock and roll variety, interior design, books, old things, good stories, pagan rituals, and his wife of 24 years, with whom he lives in an undisclosed chemical-free rural Vermont location along with his teenage daughter and two infinitely hilarious Australian shepherds!