Are you looking to reduce the chemicals and unsustainable materials in your home cleaning regime, whilst still maintaining your required level of cleanliness? Here we give you a quick guide to setting up an eco-friendly cleaning kit at home.
The first rule in living a life with less waste is of course to use up what you have. So don't go throwing out all of your plastic products: instead, gradually use up what you have and then think about more eco-friendly alternatives when you go to replace. This approach also saves you money.
Here are a few tips to help you along:
Tip 1: Have I got something else I can use instead?
Often, we have items lying around the house that are just begging to be repurposed. Instead of buying new cleaning cloths, you might want to cut up old towels, t-shirts or even underwear and use them as your cleaning cloths around the home! These are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative to paper towels. Just pop them in the washing machine when used and they'll last you a long time. If you want to avoid microplastics in the washing supply, then natural fibres will be best.
If and when you're ready to replace your cloths or brushes, you'll find a multitude of natural and plastic-free options available, from coconut fibre dish brushes, to compostable cleaning cloths and loofah cleaning pads.
Tip 2: Can I make my own natural cleaning products?
White vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and citric acid all go a long way to creating natural home cleaning products. You'll find lots of helpful guides online or in green cleaning books to inspire your creative genes.
There is now no need to keep buying plastic spray bottles, which are discarded after use and, despite best intentions, often don't make it to recycling. The environmental cost of transporting water all round the world is huge too! There are now several natural options for cleaning surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms on the market:
- Reuse your own spray bottle and fill it with The Green Peak's natural cleaning refills in aluminium bottles - simply add water and off you go.
- Ocean Saver's cleaning drops also naturally dissolve in water to produce a full sized cleaning spray. Surface and floor cleaners are both available, including one suitable for wooden floors.
- Planet Detox make a fab natural eco-friendly toilet cleaner, which is plastic-free, and gentle but powerful. It gives a satisfying fizz when you use it! They also have kitchen or bathroom cleaning soap bars.
Tip 3: Can I think about things a little bit differently?
There is so much innovation in sustainable living nowadays. Often, thinking just a little bit differently can open up a huge range of possibilities!
- Do you ever think about whether you clean things too often? Laundry, for example, is one area where we are often guilty of freshening clothes up in the washing machine when they actually don't need cleaned. Perhaps airing them will do the job just as well? Obviously, ignore this advice for underwear or sports wear! You could also save money here on electricity and laundry products.
- Our local zero waste refill shop is one of our favourite places. Excessive packaging is stripped away and taking your own jars, tubs and tins to fill is quite satisfying. We have a range of tubs that we have used for years, or accumulated from various sources. Glass jars or bottles are perfect for filling up, and can even be used to freeze food (just be careful to leave a gap for expansion at the top of the jar).
- Replace cling film with a whole range of eco-friendly food wrapping alternatives, from wax wraps to silicone food lids or reusable silicone bags! Or, when keeping food in the fridge, simply top the dish with a plate rather than wrapping in cling film!
- We often fill up with washing up liquid at the refill shop, but have recently discovered the joys of a dish washing soap bar. This is a concentrated bar so lasts for ages. Simply wet your brush or cloth and rub on the soap bar until soapy, then wash dishes as normal.
- Alternatively, discover what the French have kept secret for years in the multi-purpose Marseille soap bar. This chunky bar can be used for laundry, dishes, body wash, shaving soap, insecticide, stain remover and general household cleaning. Phew!
- Finally, how about a dish scraper made from the husk of a coconut shell?
A healthier home
Studies have shown the chemicals in standard household cleaning products can be bad for your health. Small children and animals can be especially vulnerable. Natural cleaning products can reduce the chances of developing asthma, for example and you may find other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, skin rashes and headaches reduce when you move away from more toxic products. They can also help reduce pollution and waste. And of course, you'll know exactly what's in the product you're using.
In it for the long-term
Once you have created your eco-friendly cleaning kit, make sure you give it plenty of use before allowing it to naturally biodegrade or compost as appropriate.
Unfortunately, we can't make cleaning fun, but hopefully we can ease your conscience when you have to do it! And leave you free to enjoy other things!
Check out the full range cleaning range at The Green Turtle.