Cleaning, it’s annoying, but we all have to do it. Not only is it a chore that can cost a lot of time and effort, it is a chore that can cost the earth if you are not careful. Indeed, most conventional cleaning products are full of strong chemicals and fragrances but also come in heaps of plastic packaging. Products like bleach can have negative effects on water supply, on your health and on the environment in general. Luckily, there are many alternatives available to help you keep your home spotless without having a negative impact on your family and the planet.
1- DIY alternatives
You might be happy to know that you can DIY cleaning product that actually work and can be used safely throughout your home.
The star of eco-friendly cleaning is unquestionably white vinegar (also called cleaning vinegar). It is super cheap, non-toxic, can be bought in bulk and can be used safely almost everywhere in the house. It should simply not be used on waxed wood, electronic screens, natural stone, cast iron and aluminium. But how do you actually use white vinegar?
Microwave: Fill a bowl or mug with a mix of water and white vinegar, microwave this mixture for 2 minutes. The mix of water and vinegar steam created will cut through any grease and soften food debris, so you will only have to wipe your microwave. Quick, easy and low effort.
Kettle: Boil a 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar in your kettle, empty and rinse with clean water. The vinegar will completely get rid of any limescale or impurities. After doing this, your kettle will look brand new! Trust me, you will be able to look at your reflexion on your newly cleaned kettle.
Kitchen sink and showers: For everyday use, mix 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray over your sink to clean and remove grease. For a deeper clean, mix bicarbonate of soda with dish soap until it turn into a paste, scrub your sink thoroughly with said paste then pour a boiled 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar over the sink and finally rinse with water. This will create a reaction with the bicarbonate but do not worry, it is completely safe and will leave your sink spotless and completely disinfected.
Castile soap is a very safe and versatile products that has many uses. It is biodegradable, fragrance-free, vegan and cruelty-free. It can be used as hand & body wash, fruit & Veggies wash, to mop the floor, wash the dog, wash the car and to clean makeup brushes.
Marseille soap can also be used the same way as Castile soap (except for body wash).
Bicarbonate of Soda
Bicarbonate has many qualities, it is eco-friendly, is a great mechanic scrubbing agent and has a basic pH which can help during the cleaning process. But that is not all! Here are a few ways you could include bicarbonate of soda in your cleaning routine:
Multi-purpose deodoriser: Fill a small bowl with bicarbonate and leave it in your fridge or microwave for a few days. It will absorb any unpleasant odours. You can also pour a few teaspoons of bicarbonate into smelly shoes for the same effect.
Scrub: Mix bicarbonate with dish soap to create a scrubbing paste that will get rid of hardened food in your sink or baked-on grease on pans and grills.
Clogged drain: Pour a few tablespoons of bicarbonate down your blocked drain and pour a boiled 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar. It will create a reaction, so be careful. Leave for a minute or so and rinse with hot water.
2-Eco-friendly cleaning products
If you do not have the time or the will to make your own cleaning products, you can still build an eco-friendly cleaning routine for yourself. There are now many brands who offer eco-friendly alternatives to all the cleaning products you might need.
To avoid spray cleaners, you can find tablets that when dissolved in water turn into all-purpose cleaner or window cleaner – and more. Check these websites for more info
To replace big laundry liquid bottles, you can either get refills in a bulk store or get laundry pods delivered. Check this link for more info.
Annoyingly enough, you also need lots of tools to clean your house properly. In your effort to make cleaning more eco-friendly, your best bet always is to use what you already own. But if you need to get a new item anyways, here are some alternative:
Rags: You can use old clothes and bedsheets in lieu of disposable dusters to wipe up dust, or other messes. You also choose microfibre cloths or cotton towels.
Sponge: You can replace your plastic sponge with a wooden dish brush or a coconut fibre scrubby. If you really like sponges, you can now find plastic-free sponges as well.
Dust pan & Brush: If you want to sweep up some small accidents without breaking out the vacuum, you can use a metal pan and wood brush instead of the typical plastic one.
Vacuum cleaner: It is impossible to find a plastic free vacuum cleaner, so if you need to buy a new vacuum, your best bet to stay sustainable is to buy a good quality vacuum that will last you a long time. It might be difficult to spend a big chunk of cash on a vacuum cleaner, but you will be much more satisfied in the long run with a machine that works well and doesn’t break every few months. If you have carpets in your house and/or pets, the Dyson V7 animal vacuum cleaner is a safe investment.
Hopefully these tips will have been insightful and will help you on your quest for a more sustainable life. And don’t forget to take your time and not blame yourself if you make mistakes. At the end of the day, what counts is that you keep trying to make this world a better place!