CLEAN CLEANING IDEAS
Not the most glamorous subject, and it hardly makes for riveting reading, so I’ll get to the point. Two important considerations here. Firstly, what’s in the products and the potential effects the ingredients have on human health and aquatic life. Secondly, the packaging. Thankfully it’s pretty easy to tick both boxes without too much faff.
I’ve written about Splosh in the laundry section, so you might already know I’m a fan.
The premise is simple. You buy the spray bottle once, then buy refills. These are sent in letterbox friendly pouches. My only concern was that the pouches themselves are not recyclable. But they can be returned to Splosh’s closed loop-recycling.
The refill products are super concentrated, and safe for humans and fish. It varies by product, but when mixed with water, one pouch will refill the bottle three-four times. Concentrated liquids = less weight = less carbon emissions.
What I like is that you can sort all your kitchen, bathroom, dishwashing and laundry needs in minutes online. This is a really good option if you don’t have somewhere close that does refills. Or, if you just want to make life a bit easier. Try it.
Because bigger sizes = far less plastic, we’ve been gradually investing in five litre bulk-sizes of cleaning and bathroom products - including this washing up liquid. I’m a big fan of Bio D, who tick all my eco boxes, but there are plenty to choose from.
Pay-as-you go top-ups are also easy to find in many health-food stores, eco-shops & zero-waste-bulk stores. There is a handy refill locator tool on the Ecover website, but given Ecover is now owned by SG Johnson, this might not be your thing.
Finally, a special small-brand shout out to Roots and Cycles. If you’re in SE London, grab your empties and make a bee-line to Crystal Palace. You’ll find the most sustainably sourced line-up of refillable household products I’ve seen anywhere.
Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that are the biggest revelations.
This homemade cleaner seems to deal with all kinds of grubby jobs and it’s just it’s basically just a mix of 50/50 water and white vinegar (white vinegar that’s had citrus peel steeping in it for a couple of weeks is best, or add a few drops of essential oil to take away the vinegar smell). You can also add a squirt of castile soap if you like, but don’t do this for glass.
One caution, we have a lot of concrete in our house - don’t use this on that! Vinegar and citrus are the number one enemy to porous stone surfaces. Everywhere else, spray at will.
brushes & cloths
Dish brushes with replaceable heads are a win. The bristles of this Eco Living one are made of biodegradable plant fibres, so you can chuck the whole head in the compost when it’s knackered, and pop a new one on.
We’ve had a bunch of e-clothes for over five years that finally needed to be replaced. They have been brilliant, but, because they are made with a synthetic material, they shed plastic micro-fibres every time they are used I didn’t want to buy them again. I’ve found these from Eco Egg instead. Same deal - long-lasting, and designed to kill germs with just water. But, made from wood fibres. It’s the small things, right.
Oh hey, here’s my toilet brush. Nothing weird about that, right?
Toilet cleaner is another product that we now buy in five-litre ‘bulks’, and top up. I’m a big fan of Bio D. The packaging is 100% recycled plastic and the products themselves contain no ingredients that are going to cause problems for aquatic life.
And the loo brush - its wooden with plant-based bristles, making it 100% compostable. Seen here with a random plant pot, but I think the terracotta pots with a draining hole and saucer would probably be better).
Is it just me, or do you curse those individual wrappers on dishwasher tablets? Even the most eco-brands do this. It’s just dumb.
I’ve tried a few things with dishwashing - I even attempted making my own dishwashing tabs (not recommended).
Happily I’ve found these little wonders from Ecoleaf. Ecoleaf is a Suma owned brand, which means they are made by one of the most ethical brands out there. And, OMG, they actually really work. Don’t be put off by the shiny wrappers in the pic - this is a totally biodegradable, ocean-safe film that dissolves in the dishwasher. Genuinely better than any other brand I’ve ever used. Fact.
There are two things we do differently now.
Firstly, we’ve got a roll of re-usable bamboo cloths. Sized the same as kitchen paper, each sheet can be washed 80 times and then composted. I use this for all sorts of things - DIY cleansing face-wipes, baby-wipes (for my nine year old ‘babies) as well as all the usual kitchen and bathroom jobs. I wash it and store it in a cotton mesh produce bag, and stuff the dirties in a jam jar under the sink.
We also keep a few rolls of back-up regular kitchen paper. It’s better than normal kitchen paper because it’s made from recycled paper, or super-sustainable bamboo, and packaged either in paper or compostable wrap. I’m a fan of Who Gives a Crap and Ecoleaf.
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