By most standards, there are two distinct, designated household “cleaning seasons." There's spring, a time to throw open the windows, let the fresh air in, and spruce up the home for the warmer months. And then there's fall, a time to batten down the hatches and make sure that everything is neat and tidy before an extended period of house-bound hibernation sets in.

But wait ... there's a third — and perhaps the most active — season of sweeping, scouring, scrubbing and shining: the holiday cleaning season, a time for tidying up for houseguests, cleaning up colossal kitchen mishaps, polishing silver, prepping for parties, remedying linen stains (hello, red wine and candle wax) and generally running around like a lunatic with a broom in one hand a bottle of spray cleaner in the other.

To help out — given that there probably a million other things you’d rather be during the holidays than cleaning house — why not enlist a few good holiday cleaning tools? Below you'll find 10 must-haves worth investing in (and stuffing stockings with). Some I’ve featured in previous fall and spring cleaning tool roundups while some are making their first appearance now. All are environmentally friendly and get the job done.

And be sure to check out my 'Back to basics' series of posts where I highlight a handful of natural products that are often the key ingredients in homemade cleaning and laundering solutions. Do you have any holiday cleaning tips? Tell me about them in the comments sections.

Here’s to happy and healthy holiday cleaning season …

Eco Clean Kitchen Counter Top Cleaner (Orange and Rosemary) @ ($3.99)

Goodbye Detergent! Original Spaghetti Scrub (Gentle) @ ($8.99/2 pack)

Bar Keepers Friend @ Sur La Table ($2.95)

Further Hand Soap @ Green Depot ($14.95)

Super Pine Cleaner @ Gaiam ($14/2 bottles)

eclipse Cleaning System Bucket by Casabella @ The Container Store ($12.95)

Full Circle Suds Up Dish Brush and Sponge @ ($8.95)

Quickie Microfiber Non-Stick Sponges @ Lowe's ($5.47/2 pack)

Method Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner @ Method ($3.99)

Ole Jenson Dustpan and Broom @ Green Depot ($24.95)

See also:

Green cleaning tips

Environmentally safe cleaning products

Earth-friendly cleaning

Green residential cleaning

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Holiday helpers: 10 green cleaning tools
Tis the season for large, disorderly dinners, red wine-stained parties and impossibly messy craft projects. Make sure you're prepared with these 10 eco-friendly