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Around 22 million tons of waste is thrown away from households throughout Britain annually.
Every time we use conventional products to clean the house we pollute unnecessarily. We feel good after a deep cleanse of our homes, but what about the environment?
The traditional cleaning methods rely on the usage of toxic chemicals, plastic bags and bottles, sponges, etc. which are a main cause of pollution. If we acknowledge the severity of the problem we can begin to walk the path of change!
The zero-waste cleaning routine brings into play non-toxic supplies and durable tools which can be washed and reused. It includes the implementation of organic recipes and easy to obtain products, most of which you probably already have in your home.
We at Smart Vacuums have prepared the following guide to help you adopt a waste-free cleaning routine.
Zero-Waste Cleaning Supplies
You only need the following items to start with your newfound cleaning routine:
- Castile soap
- Sodium bicarbonate
- White vinegar
- Essential Oils
- Hydrogen peroxide
To be truthful to the idea of nature-friendly cleaning you should avoid plastic products. Antonia, a zero-waste living expert recommends storing the ingredients and mixtures in glass jars or spray bottles.
Try these zero-waste cleaning recipes:
Mix white vinegar with baking soda and spray it over your oven. Let is sit overnight and scrub it with a spatula. Afterwards, wipe it clean with a cloth or an old towel.
To clean your toilet use a mixture of vinegar and citrus peels. The vinegar is a strong disinfectant so you don’t need to worry about bacterial infections. If there are hard spots, add baking soda and leave it for a while. If you want to freshen things up, simply add several drops of your favourite essential oil.
Do you want to simplify your cleaning routine? Read these 13 Money & Time-Saving Cleaning Hacks.
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner
- Put together the following zero-waste ingredients to create an effective cleaning solution.
2-3 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap or 1-2 tsp. grated in flakes
- 400 ml of warm water
- 20-25 drops of essential oil of your choice
Organic Laundry Detergent
Most traditional laundry detergents come in plastic packaging and contain numerous toxic, waste-producing ingredients.
Use the following supplies to create your own laundry detergent:
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 bar Castile soap scented or not, you decide!)
- 1 cup borax
- Grate your Castile soap into flakes with a grater and transfer them into a coffee grinder to make them smaller. If you don’t have a grinder, don’t worry! The flakes alone should do the job.
- Mix together the listed ingredients and put them in a glass jar or spray bottle.
- Use 1 tablespoon for small loads of laundry and increase the dosage up to 2 tablespoons if you have a lot of washing to do.
Unlike popular belief, you don’t need heavy, toxic products to clean the drain. Adopting a zero-waste cleaning routine gives you a chance to be eco-friendly.
A simple way to unclog and clean your drains is to mix 1 cup white vinegar or 1 1/2 tsp citric acid in 1 cup of water and leave the mixture aside. Then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of baking soda down the drain and pour about 2 litres of hot water afterwards. Add your previously made solution.
Don’t be alarmed if you see bubbles form as it is part of the process. Simply cover the drain and leave it for 10-15 minutes. This cleaning method will provide an eco-friendly removal of grease and other build-ups in your drain.
Glass and Mirror Cleaner
Clean your glass or mirrors with the help of organic, zero-waste recipes. Mix white vinegar or rubbing alcohol with Castile soap and essential oils and spray over smudged surfaces. Leave it for a while. Use an old towel or T-shirt which can be washed and reused. For a radiant effect, buff them up with an old newspaper afterwards.
Explore more of our homemade cleaners recipes:
Zero-Waste Cleaning Tools
Include old towels, bedsheets, and T-shirts in your zero-waste cleaning routine. After you finish cleaning, simply throw them in the washing machine so they can be ready for next time. As an added bonus you will save money.
Here are some tips on how to put into good use tools you probably already have laying around the house:
- Clean with repurposed items. Use your old toothbrush to clean the grout between the tiles or hard-to-reach corners. Another tool you could use is old kitchen sponges. They are helpful for bathroom cleaning. Cut the edges so you don’t mistake them for the sponges you currently use for the dishes. They are good for cleaning bathrooms. To be truly eco-friendly get a recyclable bamboo brush with natural bristles to sweep your floors.
- Use cotton flour sack towels as cleaning cloths. Cotton is an organic fibre that prevents tons of paper waste annually. The flour sacks are biodegradable and can be used multiple times.
- Get microfibre cloths. Great zero-waste cleaning supplies are microfibre cloths. They pick up dust and grease, they are reusable and scratch-free. Clean without toxic chemicals.
- Use galvanized mop buckets. They are a bit old school, so you may find them in your grandmas’ backyard. The buckets can be used for years as long as you maintain them properly. Simply avoid using abrasive sponges when you wash them, as there is a chance to scratch their surface and allow future rust build-up.
- Invest in a wooden-handled mop with a removable head. When you have finished cleaning throw away the head in the washing machine. Another tip is to use an old rag attached to the mop. With the given zero-waste recipes and this biodegradable tool, you will have a clean conscience and a spotless home.
- Get a glass jar or a spray bottle with a metal lid. These tools are perfect to store your organic cleaning supplies.
- Sweep with eco-friendly dusters and brooms: Get rid of the plastic broom and switch to one made from wood or bamboo.
- Invest in a vacuum without a bag. If you are up to it, get one from a second-hand store. Bagless vacuums are easier to use than the regular ones, they are simple to maintain and will decrease waste production as you don’t need to constantly buy synthetic bags.
Check out our guide for Best Bagless Vacuum Cleaners.
Adopt this zero-waste cleaning routine and minimize environmental pollution.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.