Get your home squeaky clean the eco-friendly way.
There’s no end of cleaning products on the market, all professing to do away with grease and grime with minimal effort. The problem is, a lot of them are packed full of chemical nasties which have a big impact on the planet and climate change, not to mention come with dubious health implications.
But there are eco-friendly alternatives – effective alternatives at that. We’re not suggesting you spend an entire day scrubbing your grubby oven with warm water alone! Most of these tips require products you’ll already have around the home, or that will be fairly inexpensive to buy, so you’ll be saving money as well as the planet the next time you have a spring clean.
- Clean your microwave with a lemon
This easy hack will loosen crusted-on food and grime in minutes. Simple squeeze the juice of one lemon into a microwaveable bowl and microwave for three minutes on a high setting. Leave to stand for a further five minutes (keep the door closed) and voila! All the splatter will then easily wipe away with a clean, dry cloth. Lemon can also be used to remove stains from plastic containers, shine up copper pans and remove rust stains.
- Get rid of limescale with white vinegar
This traditional cleaning remedy has been around for decades. Forget harsh and abrasive limescale cleaners and reach for the distilled white vinegar instead. Soak paper towels or cloth in vinegar and leave them to sit on the affected surfaces – after 10 minutes, simply wipe away. You can also descale your kettle by boiling up a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. It’s also great for cleaning windows and getting rid of cloudy deposits on glasses, but avoid using it on gold-plated or marble surfaces, as the acids could cause damage.
- Bicarbonate of soda will tackle a multitude of sins
Bicarbonate of soda isn’t just for the baking cupboard. This cheap, non-toxic and versatile powder is a powerful natural deodoriser, so it’s great for removing smells from fridges, carpets and upholstery. Place a shallow bowl of powder on a fridge shelf, or for furnishings, sprinkle onto the affected area then hoover it up after a few hours. A paste of 50% water, 50% bicarb also makes a great stain remover for worktops, sinks, cookers and pans.
- Avoid clogged drains from the get-go
It’s tempting to reach for a bottle of mega-strength drain unblocker when your pipes get gunged up with hair and food, but avoiding blockages in the first place means you’ll never have this dilemma at all. A strainer or ‘tub shroom’ will catch all the gunk before it has a chance to cause a blockage – just empty it regularly. If it’s too late for one of those, though, and you’re already dealing with a blockage, a drain snake (sometimes called a plumber’s snake) will help remove the build-up without the need for harsh chemicals.
- Freshen the air naturally
Skip store-bought air fresheners – these usually come in aerosol form or require energy to power. Instead, try boiling your favourite herbs to create a pleasant, natural aroma. Or get busy baking some fresh bread or cookies. Meanwhile, plants won’t necessarily make your home smell any differently, but they are good for improving the quality of interior air. Spider plants and peace lilies do a great job.
- Choose eco-friendly brands
If you’re not completely sold on the cleaning prowess of the likes of lemon and vinegar, at least opt for environmentally-friendly cleaning brands instead of the usual chemical-laden offerings. Companies such as Ecover, Koh and even Wilko offer a superb range of eco products that are non-toxic, biodegradable and made from renewable sources.
The bottom line
Traditional cleaning products are full of harsh chemicals that are damaging to our health and to the environment. Making a few simple changes to your household cleaning routine can make a significant difference to the climate, with no adverse effect on sparkling results!
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