What better time for a Spring Clean than now? Holly White has shared with us how she cleans her home. Find more from Holly on her website holly.ie
I know that cleaning your house is having a moment of celebrity online and I find a lot of the posts really inspiring. There’s a huge feeling of satisfaction from tackling a messy space, cleaning out stains and freshening up your home environment.
After researching how damaging chemicals in cleaning products can be I have switched mine to natural alternatives.
When you use these chemicals in your toilets, sinks, dishwashers, or other appliances, the chemicals are eventually rinsed down the drain. The water then heads to waste water treatment facilities, where the majority of contaminants are removed before the water makes its way back to rivers and lakes. However, not all the contaminants from these chemical products are removed, and over time, they can build up to have a substantial and negative effect on the wildlife. Some compounds actually accelerate plant growth, which can lead to dense vegetation that interferes with animal life and eventually decays in equally massive quantities.(Source)
There has been some trial and error along the way but I am really happy with the results achieved using the products listed below:
Glass, Floors & Kitchen Surfaces
One of the best things for cleaning really stubborns stains or lifting is a combination of baking powder and Vinegar. It works so well but is a little messy to put together.
Step 1- Place ¼ cup of baking soda in a container. Add 1 tbsp. of a mild dishwashing liquid.
Step 2- Pour vinegar into the container to create a thick, creamy mixture.
Step 3- Use the mixture on a sponge to clean bathtubs, tiles, sinks and countertops. Otherwise a good brand is Sodasan. Their surface cleaner is lovely and the smell is lovely and fresh. This is amazing for cleaning cookertops, the catflap and really stubborn areas.
For windows I use Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in water at a 1:4 ratio.
Washing Up Brushes & Utensils
I try not to buy plastic washing up brushes as they don’t degrade. I found these wooden ones and they work perfectly and have lasted a really long time. The bottle cleaner in particular is really useful for cleaning out flasks and the inside of my blender.
I use metal straws and a little brush cleaner is essential for these especially if you drink thick smoothies with them.
I have a bio degradable scrub pad that is so effective for cleaning pots and pans and also composts when I’m done with it.
One step I took was to go for a lover temperature when washing. It’s kinder to your clothes, and also the environment as well as your electricity bill. To ensure everything is clean I spend some time adding a little liquid soap to any stains or areas that need extra attention. So far, having tried about 4 other products, I find Ecover to be the best. If I want to add a little scent to my wash I add a few drops of Lavender or Tea Tree oil to the fabric softener compartment.
When shopping now I look for natural fibres and favour organic cotton. Polyester is the most popular fibre used for fashion. But when polyester garments are washed in domestic washing machines they shed microfibers that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans. These microfibers are minute and can easily pass through sewage and wastewater treatment plants into our waterways, but because they do not biodegrade, they represent a serious threat to aquatic life. Small creatures such as plankton eat the microfibres, which then make their way up the food chain to fish and shellfish eaten by humans. (Source)
Avoid Rubber Gloves and Use Compostable Ones Instead
I like Vegware Food Prep gloves which naturally compost. I wish more people were aware of how good, and safe to use they are. It’s also much more hygienic to dispose of them after use rather than have a pair of rubber gloves sitting on the side of the sink for months. Vegware have a really comprehensive range of catering equipment so if you’re looking for disposable lunch bag, bin bags or containers that compost definitely check them out >Here<
I also avoid micro-fibre cloths and use old tea towels, an old T-shirt or sheet or a rag to wipe surfaces which I pop in the washing machine weekly. Most microfiber cloths are made of polyester, polyamide or other polymers such as nylon. These compounds are derived mainly from crude oil or coal. Aside from the environmental issues associated with creating these plastics, burning of materials such as nylon can produce toxic smoke. Additionally, these materials aren’t readily degradable and will be with us for some time to come.
Lastly – it’s not strictly a cleaning tip but since I have started composting it’s reduced my household waste significantly. Every single vegetable and fruit peeling goes straight in. I also add in cardboard and as a result the household bin is dramatically reduced and it’s mainly dry so there’s never a spill in the bin to clean up and no smell.
Anyway I hope those tips are helpful. Happy Cleaning!