Cleaning isn’t exactly a favourite pastime for people, nevertheless, many of us do a big Spring cleaning every year. It allows us to enjoy a clean house again, but unfortunately, many conventional cleaning products are harmful to the environment. Now, with a few small adjustments, we can make your cleaning routine eco-friendly!
When I made the switch to a zero-waste lifestyle, cleaning products were one of the last things I replaced with eco-friendly alternatives. To be honest, I still have an old chemical cleaner in the cupboard that I don't want to use. My principle is to use up everything I have before making the switch to sustainable substitutes. But I find that a lot harder with chemical products because using them is bad for the environment and our health.
Toss the toxins
One of the easiest ways to make your cleaning routine more sustainable is to simply stop using toxic cleaning products. These days, you can find a different cleaning product for every cleaning task, but many of them contain chemicals that are detrimental to your health and the environment. If you clean regularly, vinegar, water and a cloth go a long way. Besides, it actually isn’t necessary to disinfect your home daily unless someone in the house has an infectious disease. Cleaning kills not only harmful bacteria but also useful ones.
Eco-friendly and effective cleaning tips
>Fortunately, there are plenty of sustainable alternatives to clean your home effectively! I would like to take you on a cleaning tour of my home and share some tips on how you can clean in an eco-friendly way with peace of mind.
Doing the dishes
Everyone knows them, these yellow washing-up sponges that can be found in almost every household. These synthetic sponges are made of plastic and their main drawback is that, when washing the dishes, they emit small microplastics that are rinsed down the drain and released into the environment. You can easily avoid this by using sponges or dishwashing brushes made from natural materials. My personal favourites are the loofah sponges made from the loofah plant, and the silicon dishwashing brushes with a replaceable head made from FSC-certified wood with vegetable Tampico fibre bristles.
In addition, traditional detergent is packaged in large plastic bottles, which can easily be replaced by lovely soap blocks that make your dishes just as clean. My personal favourite is the Marseille soap, but the cleaning soap from Werfzeep is also wonderful! Do you prefer liquid dishwashing soap? You can simply create one by grating the soap block and dissolving it in water.
Like sponges, microfibre cloths can be found in almost every household. The synthetic cloth wipes are made of plastic and release microplastics with every cleaning. Moreover, these sponges and cloths are not biodegradable, which creates a lot of extra waste. Fortunately, there are good alternatives available. One of them is EcoLiving's compostable wipes made from vegetable cellulose and cotton, allowing you to clean worry-free. I myself use ImseVimse wipes, made from organic cotton. Both types of cloths are easy to wash and reuse.
Many household products such as all-purpose cleaners and kitchen degreasers contain toxic and corrosive substances. It’s hard to believe that we use them to clean the room where we prepare our food. That is why I prefer to use eco-friendly cleaning products such as the OceanSavers kitchen degreaser or I make soapy water with Marseille soap. Not to forget, cleaning vinegar and baking soda which are unmissable in my kitchen. So, plenty of options to choose from!
Bleach and chlorine are often seen as effective cleaning agents, but in reality, they do not clean at all, they only disinfect and bleach. Your bathroom will be clean enough if you use soapy water. You should also be careful when using chlorine in the toilet; when mixed with urine, it can release harmful gases. It is best to only flush the 3Ps down the toilet: poo, pee and paper. Since chlorine and other chemicals cannot always be filtered out properly, as little of it as possible should end up in the sewer. For effective cleaning and descaling of the toilet, you can choose biodegradable products such as baking soda and cleaning vinegar or the Planet Detox toilet cleaner.
I always clean my bathroom withPlanet Detox's natural bathroom soap and EcoCoconut's plastic-free coconut sponge. These sponges are suitable for cleaning hard surfaces so you can scrub your shower, and I also secretly think it looks very nice in my bathroom. The soap smells deliciously fresh and cleans your bathroom thoroughly.
Like other cleaning products, many floor and carpet care products contain toxic substances. Reduce the health risk by using safe products. I use Savon de Marseille for almost everything - doing the dishes, cleaning surfaces, making liquid hand soap, but also for mopping my wooden floors. I simply make soapy water with this gentle soap so that I can mop my beautiful bamboo floor without concern.
If there is one thing I hate, it’s those big plastic laundry detergent bottles, which are heavy to carry home from the supermarket and take up a lot of space. Heavy packaging causes a lot of fuel consumption during transport. Many detergents also contain bleach and very small pieces of plastic called microbeads. The problem is that, unlike personal care products, detergent manufacturers are not obliged to list all ingredients on the packaging. This makes it a lot harder to choose a detergent free from (micro)plastic.
I made the switch to the Tru Earth eco-strips, small pre-measured strips of detergent that you throw in the washing machine. They make your laundry wonderfully clean and fresh, and take up way less space. For any minimalist, this is a dream come true!
The fact that detergents are toxic is obvious, but be especially careful with cleaning sprays and air fresheners. According to researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway, regular use of spray cleaning products, such as Glassex or kitchen degreasers, is just as harmful to your lungs as smoking a packet of cigarettes a day.
So make sure you only use sprays that contain eco-friendly cleaning agents that are not detrimental to your health or the environment. I personally use Ocean Savers, concentrated cleaning drops that you can add to a bottle of water.
Air fresheners create a nice smell in your home, but the solvents used in the products pollute the air you breathe. In fact, air fresheners are a bit of a cheat as they disguise bad smells but do not remove them. The easiest way to get rid of bad smells is to ventilate your house properly. And if you still want a nice scent to enjoy, choose natural products like the scented sticks or diffuser oils from The Very Good Candle Co.
On to a clean world!
These were my tips that I wanted to share with you! Are you a clean freak and do you have any good eco-friendly cleaning tips? Share them with us by leaving a comment below this post! Together we can make our home and the world a little bit cleaner!