Posts tagged ‘Spring Cleaning’

Clean Sweep


Not sure what to do with your old electronics and batteries? Are you uncertain of where to dispose of unused pesticides and poisons? Well, look no further! Dane County Clean Sweep is here to help. For a nominal fee, residents of Dane County have the opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted chemicals, paint, and other hazardous materials and eliminate the environmental risks that are associated with their improper disposal.

Located at 7102 US Hwy 12/18 across from the Yahara Hills Golf Course, residents and businesses alike can bring a wide range of materials to the facility to be properly disposed of. For a full list of accepted items, visit

To prepare for your visit, waste materials should be packaged in boxes or rigid totes to keep products upright and prevent spillage during transportation to the facility. Make sure to keep all materials in their original packaging and do not co-mingle products together in plastic bags.

While the program does accept items from both residents and businesses, the associated fees vary. Dane County households and farms will be charged $10.00 per trip for hazardous wastes and electronics (The first CRT TV or CRT computer monitor is free with paid trip fee!) For businesses, fees are based on weight and the type of waste being disposed of. Electronics are not accepted from businesses. Businesses must also qualify as Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQG’s) as well as schedule an appointment prior to bringing wastes to the collection facility. Out-of-county businesses are welcome. Out-of-county households and farms will be charged $75.00 per trip and are unable to bring latex paints and electronics.

The facility also offers a product exchange program which features a large area devoted to product reuse. If items are received in good condition, they are stocked on the shelves of the product exchange room for redistribution to the public. The program is free and Dane County residents are allowed a single entry to the room per week. For more details on the product exchange program, visit

Once you arrive at the Clean Sweep facility, you will have to provide proof of residency and pay accordingly in the form of cash or credit card (MasterCard or Visa only).

If you didn’t have a chance to finish up your spring cleaning, now is the time to round up all of those last lingering items and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way!



May 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

April Showers Bring… Spring Cleaning!










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It’s that time of year again; time to get started on your annual spring cleaning.  No matter what your spring cleaning project may be, here are some tips to get you started on not simply spring cleaning, but green, spring cleaning that is good for you, your home, and the planet.

Most importantly, when cleaning-up or cleaning-out, we should keep in mind the after effects of our actions.  For example, scrubbing the counters with harsh chemicals and massive amounts of paper towels will leave our kitchen full of toxic chemical fumes and a ton of waste.  Instead consider wiping down the counters with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda using a reusable cloth.  Similarly, if cleaning-out and getting rid of things is your priority this spring, don’t just throw items in the trash.  Instead consider making something out of that “junk” or putting those old clothes and toys together as a donation to your local Resale Shop or host a garage sale to find your used items a new home.  One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure.

Ultimately, neither spring cleaning-out nor spring cleaning-up need adversely affect the environment or your family by adding waste to landfills or toxins to the air.  Instead, consider how the spring cleaning choices you make in your own home actually have the potential to be Earth-friendly.


Check out these sites for more information:

May 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

Spring Cleaning Part 2

It’s finally starting to look and feel like spring.  Hopefully the trees can start budding in the next couple of days/weeks.  To go with the theme of spring cleaning that we started with the last post, in this week’s blog, we’re going to focus on green cleaning supplies.  You have to be able to do more than just remove junk from your house, and green cleaning suppies can clean your house while maintaining an air of sustainability.

Some people will say, “What’s wrong with the conventional cleaning supplies that I’m already using?”  These days, the stores have aisles full of cleaning supplies and many of them are full of things that no one would want in their home.  We listed some examples of the toxins that are regularly found in conventional supermarket cleaners.

  • Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Diethylene glycol found in window cleaners, depresses the nervous system.
  • Phenols found in disinfectants, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe; it has been shown to biodegrade slowly into even more toxic compounds.
  • Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners, damage mucous membranes.
  • Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.
  • Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver.

The list could fill a book. And it’s a book that would include thousands of other chemicals — some so dangerous that they’re found on lists of chemicals associated with Superfund toxic waste sites and in the toxins section of the U.S. Clean Air and Water Acts.

Reducing the amount of non-natural cleaner used in your home will reduce the amount of potentially hazardous chemicals while at the same time improving your local environment by preventing contamination to the outdoors.

So now you’re wondering, “well if I can’t use those cleaners, what do I use?”  There are still natural products on the market that you can buy in stores.  Consumers must be wary though because not everything marked with words like “natural” or “green” actually follows their namesake.  To help buyers out, websites like were started.

The goal of Good Guide is to help consumers find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products based on scientific ratings; to get these ratings, the website uses chemists, toxicologists, nutritionists, sociologists, and lifecycle analysis experts.  Each of these groups rate products and companies on the different aspects listed above

Likewise, there is also the Green Seal Label that people can look for while at the store.  Green Seal creates sustainability standards for products and offers certification for companies or products that meet the standards.  You can trust that products marked with the Green Seal label are helping to create a greener marketplace.

There will be some of you who want to take another step toward ‘green’ cleaning and try to make your own cleaning supplies.  This is a fantastic idea because not only are these products simple to make, but they are also very effective and safe.  If you think about it, they also cut down on the purchase miles by starting their shelf life in your home as opposed to in a factory.  We listed 3 easy cleaners below, if you search online, you can find a ton more:

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner:  Combine ½ teaspoon washing soda, a dab of liquid soap and 2 cups hot tap water in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Tea Tree Mold Killer: Nothing works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note the smell of tea tree oil is strong, but it will dissipate in a few days. Combine 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups water in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.

Window Cleaner:  Put ¼ – ½ teaspoon liquid detergent, 3 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 cups water. Shake it up and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe cuts the wax residue that many commercial brands leave behind.

If you’re having difficulty finding recipdes for cleaning supplies, try looking on in the “Healthy Living” section.


I hope your Spring Cleaning goes phenomenal and your house feels a little fresher when it’s less cluttered and all scrubbed down


EnAct Intern Adam


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April 16, 2013 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

Some Help with Spring Cleaning

There may still be ice on the lakes and the last bits of snow melting, but Spring is fast approaching.  Spring means a lot of things to people: more time outside, the start of longer days, summer vacation is coming, and also taking time to clean out your house.

De-Clutter your wardrobe:

With winter ending, many of the clothes you purchased  for the cold weather or had lying in your closet will not see use for another 9 months or so.  This is the perfect excuse to go through your closet and get rid of things you didn’t wear this last season, or you know you won’t be wearing again.

Tip: Take all of the clothes hanging in your closet and turn the hangers around so they are hanging facing the opposite direction than usual.  When you wear an item of clothing, turn the hanger around when you put it back.  That way, at the start of your next cleaning, any clothes that are still hanging the wrong direction can be recycled or donated because you know they weren’t used.

4 Container Cleaning Method

One other tip to think about when cleaning is 4 container cleaning.  You can use this to help declutter your house and make cleaning areas out much less stressful.  The system works by setting up 4 distinct areas or containers for your things; each container has a distinct purpose:

1. Keep

2. Give Away/Sell

3. Storage

4. Toss

This can help you make tough decisions about clothes or items and move on.  Ideally, you don’t want to keep everything, but don’t give away objects that you will need to repurchase later.  Hopefully you can put this to use and lose any unnecessary chaos in your home.

Where to donate

Ofcourse, once you fill those boxes, you need to know where to go with them.  We started a list that by all means isn’t fully complete, but if you are frantically searching for places to go, try any of these stores:

GoodwillHabitat for Humanity ReStore, and St Vincent de Paul all offer both drop off locations as well as free donation pick-ups.  To learn more about what you can donate or scheduling a pick-up with them, check out their websites.

Freecycle is another place that you can look to donate materials.  This website is like craigslist, except everything is given away.  All you have to do is make an account, post what you’re donating, and wait for requests to pick up.


Everything that isn’t good enough to be kept or given has to go somewhere.  Madison Streets and Recycling has a fantastic resource for curbside deposits that can come in handy when cleaning out your house.  If you are unsure what to do with different materials you find, check out Recyclopedia; it’s pretty much all inclusive and has an index in the back to help you out.

Clean Sweep

Clean sweep is a Madison City program that aims to help residents dispose of any hazardous materials they encounter in their home.  The hope is that by providing people with a free site to drop off hazardous waste, those chemicals can be treated correctly and the environmental risks associated with them is drastically lowered.  Clean Sweep will be opening their new, year round facility on May 1st, if you experience any hazardous materials (Oil-Based Paints and Paint-Related Products, Pesticides & Poisons, Household Products Containing Organic Solvents, Ignitables, and Aerosols, and Rechargeable Batteries) while cleaning, make sure you handle and get rid of them correctly.


This is a somewhat diverse compilation of resources for your Spring Cleaning, but I’m under the impression, if you are ready to undertake the challenge of cleaning out your house, you don’t necessarily need a checklist of rooms to clean, but would rather have a few interesting and helpful tips along with some great programs that benefit your community.

Hopefully your cleaner house puts a new Spring (pun intended) in your step.


EnAct Intern Adam


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April 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

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