When I first started cutting back on unnecessary plastic I remember talking to friends about how it was going ALL THE TIME (apologies, I got a bit dull there).One day, after about a month, I said to one of my closest and most intelligent friends that I’d not even started getting rid of all the plastic cleaning products to which she replied “Oh, I’m not giving up cleaning” !!
I didn’t know what to say, I was quite shocked that someone that bright would think that I had to give up cleaning to give up plastic packaged cleaning bottles but as I’ve learnt since, it’s a commonly held view. Mainly because the marketing budgets of massive companies are all directed at making you think you MUST have all of their products or YOU WILL ALL DIE of some horrible unnamed poison and that you need a different product for every room. I’m pretty sure the dirt doesn’t know or care which room it’s in so it certainly wont care if you have a bathroom or kitchen bottle in your hand when you get rid of it.
Anyway, we’ve been going over 18 months now so I thought I’d share some of my plastic free cleaning tips. Firstly, I’d like to state that I am very lazy. Really very lazy. (Which thinking on it might explain my friend’s comment on me giving up cleaning, hmm….). Anyway, I do not spend hours on scrubbing and am at my happiest when I know that the bathroom, kitchen sink or toilet are all merrily cleaning themselves whilst I have glass of wine or a nap.
The first thing to do is order in a few basic things which will meet almost all your cleaning needs. These are:
- Citric Acid
- This is great at removing limescale. It’s probably the base ingredient of any of the limescale sprays you buy anyway but this is in it’s pure form. As you can guess by the name it’s a natural product that comes from citrus fruit and you buy it in crystal form. You can get it easily in cardboard boxes; I always buy these CITRIC ACID and it lasts me ages. To use it, you dissolve a little in hot water. My main use for this is for cleaning the toilet but I also use in spray bottles on bathroom mirrors and shower screens.
- Bicarbonate of Soda
- Yep, this is the same stuff you use in baking – how reassuring non toxic is that? The stuff you buy for cleaning with comes in bigger, cardboard boxes and this is my favourite. It’s an abrasive so it basically scrubs the dirt away with very little effort from you. The best part of bicarbonate soda though is that when you add it to citric acid, it fizzes up which literally means the fiz does the scrubbing and you can just wipe clean.
- Soda Crystals
- This is great as a laundry aid to boost your washing powder or (and this is how I use it) as a de-greaser. You can make it yourself but as mentioned earlier, I’m very lazy so I buy it here. And yes, that’s a plastic bag it’s in; I can’t find this without. As it comes in crystal form though that you then dilute yourself, it’s so much less plastic than the bottles the nasty chemicals come in that it’s got to be an improvement.
- Spray Bottles
- You already know what a spray bottle is right so I’m not going to explain that but before you go out and buy spray bottles look around the house first. You probably have loads with your existing cleaning products in. As long as the top screws off, then keep using them until they’re empty and just stick a new label on the front when you refill. If you don’t have any, you can grab them here.
The top two I would say do 80% of the work so if you want to start out slow then go with just those two. Soda Crystals is a derivative of bicarbonate of soda anyway but is better at removing grease so I like to use it – lazy lazy lazy.
Here are some quick “How To” guides
- The lazy person’s guide to household cleaning prep.
- The lazy person’s guide to environmentally friendly, sparkling toilets.
- The lazy person’s guide to environmentally friendly, sparkling taps.
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