Green cleaning hacks
Waste-saving wallet friendly cleaning ideas
With so many different cleaning products on the market, it can be difficult to make choices that are good for your health, the environment, and your wallet.
We’ve pulled together some waste-saving ideas to help make your home sparkle.
Refill your bottles
Taking your existing containers to a refill station is a great way to reuse some of that packaging. Products like washing up liquid, laundry liquids and hand soap can be found at a growing number of refill stations across Bristol. Not sure where to look? Use the City to Sea Refill app to find your nearest refill station.
Try concentrated cleaners
Most standard cleaners contain a large percentage of water. Concentrated cleaner refills remove the need for all that water to be transported and can be made-up using your existing containers and adding the water yourself. You can find concentrated refills at refill shops, some supermarkets, or some products can be delivered to your door by post.
Many of the #WasteNothing Challenge Partners including Bloop, Nom Wholefoods, Preserve, ScoopAway, Scoop Wholefoods, Smaller Footprints and Zero Green stock a wide range of cleaning product refills and concentrated cleaners.
Make your own
Alternatively, you could try making your own cleaning products. Most homemade cleaning recipes only require a few ingredients, such as white vinegar, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda. These ingredients can be found packaging-free at refill stations or bought in bulk.
Not only are home-made cleaning products non-toxic, but they are also easy and cheap to make. #WasteNothing Challenge Partner Simply Sustainable Living has some great recipe ideas on her blog such as Sparking DIY Cream Cleaner or DIY Toilet Fizzy Refresh Tablets
- To unblock a shower drain put bicarbonate of soda and vinegar down the plug hole, and then flush with hot water from the kettle
- Soak a shower head in white vinegar to remove limescale
Lemons are a great natural cleaner
They can cut through grease and can be used as a powerful descaler. Before you put lemon scraps in the food waste bin, you could try these simple cleaning hacks:
- Kettle – to descale your kettle add used lemon halves to a kettle of water. Boil the kettle and leave it overnight. In the morning rinse out the kettle.
- Microwave – put used lemons in an open microwave-proof container and cover with water. Microwave for 3 minutes to make a lemony steam. Let it sit for a few minutes, then remove the container and wipe the microwave clean with a damp cloth.
- Chopping board – for stains on your chopping board, rub a halved lemon on the surface and leave for half an hour. Scrub with a scrubbing brush and some dish soap and rinse. If there is a lot of dirt you may need to repeat several times, or leave the lemon juice on overnight.
- Dishwasher – put used lemons in the dishwasher along with your dishes and dishwasher soap, and put it on your normal cycle. The lemons will act like a rinse aid, making your glasses shine and your dishwasher smell lemony fresh.
- Shower screen – mix 1 part white vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle and add the juice of a lemon. Spray onto your shower screen and wipe off with a dry cloth.
- Fridge – to refresh your fridge leave used lemon segments loose on a plate or in a bowl. This helps to absorb odours and make your fridge smell of lemons.
Choosing your cleaning tools
Plastic brushes, cloths and sponges can’t be recycled and have to go in your black wheelie bin when unuseable. Plastic cleaning tools can also shed microplastics that get washed down the drain with the water.
However, there are now lots of plastic-free alternatives available:
- Loofahs and coconut scrubbers are both natural materials that are great for cleaning and can be composted at the end of their use
- Metal-based scourers are great for cleaning things like pots and pans and stainless steel draining boards, and can be recycled at the end of their useful life
- Most compostable sponges and cloths are made from wood fibre and can be home composted
- Brushes made from wood and natural fibre bristles are available in all shapes and sizes
- Kitchen roll can be replaced with reuseable cloths.