Like many people you may have been thinking about how to reduce the impact you have on the environment.
You’re probably recycling regularly and you’ve hopefully switched to reusable cups and bottles, but have you thought about how everyday tasks in the home can affect the environment around you? Things like the products and consumables you use, and the amount of water, are important considerations.
In this article, you’ll find six ideas to help you lessen your environmental impact, all while keeping your home clean and tidy.
1. Choose ‘green’ products
Nowadays there’s a huge range of green cleaning products on the market so you’re spoilt for choice, and a lot of these products will equal or even outperform your traditional cleaning chemicals. What classifies a product as eco-friendly can be their use of natural ingredients, recycled and/or recyclable containers or the impact their production has on the environment, so it’s worth looking at labels to understand what their ‘green’ credentials are. Next time you’re shopping for cleaning products take some time to do a little research on green brands and figure out which products will suit your needs.
2. Choose concentrated
Many manufacturers now sell concentrated versions of their ready-to-use cleaning products – simply dilute to the manufacturer’s guidelines at the point of use and fill a reusable spray bottle with the mixture. Some manufacturers like Evans create powerful cleaning products in a concentrated format that will keep going for up to 500 refills! They’re usually intended for commercial use but there’s no reason they couldn’t be used in a domestic home. This approach to buying cleaning products reduces plastic waste and water waste associated with the production and lessens the environmental impact of transport and shipping. You’ll also save money at the same time!
3. Save water
An unavoidable outcome of cleaning is that you’ll use water. However, you can still take action to reduce the amount of water that’s wasted. For example, running the tap while cleaning means you’ll use a huge amount of water without realising. Instead, grab a bowl and fill it up with water and you’ll only use what you need.
To really save on water consumption, start with the items that are the least dirty first so that your cleaning water is usable for as long as possible. If you go straight to cleaning appliances like the oven, your bowl of cleaning water will need refilling straight away.
4. Reduce your need to clean
An easy way to be greener in your cleaning efforts is to not clean as often. This may sound as though we’re suggesting you should neglect the cleanliness of your home – but it’s quite the opposite!
Have a think about ways you could reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do. Start with things like wiping your feet before entering the house and removing shoes at the door, therefore bringing in less dirt and debris from outside.
Whilst cooking, are you one of those people who use every utensil in the kitchen? Can you be smarter about how many pots and pans you use?
After showering, use a squeegee to remove excess water from the tiles and shower screen. This will slow down the build-up of watermarks, limescale and soap scum and reduce how often your shower needs a deep clean. Start thinking about your daily habits in this way and you’ll surprise yourself with how many more efficiencies you spot for yourself. Even opening the windows more often can reduce the need for air fresheners as you have fresher air circulating around the house, stopping odours from lingering.
5. Reuse bottles and jars and make your own products
When you finish a bottle of cleaning spray don’t throw it away before having a think about how it could be reused. Consider filling it with water to spritz your house plants, adding essential oils or lemon to create a room fragrance spray or even experimenting with making your own cleaning products (we’ve got some ideas below!)
6. Find uses for nature’s cleaning products
There are many natural cleaners that you probably already have in your kitchen. For some tasks, you’ll always need shop-bought cleaners, but you’ll be surprised what you’re able to get sparkling clean with the following items:
Got a pan or baking tray that’s thick with oil? Sprinkle some baking soda and scrub lightly – the baking soda will soak up the oil and form clumps, which you can then scrape into the bin before giving the pan or tray a thorough clean. This means you avoid using harsh chemicals and you’ll also reduce the amount of oil going down the drain.
Baking soda can also be powerful at removing stains from clothing. Mix some into a paste with a tablespoon of water and rub into the stain. Leave for 15-20 minutes and then pop the garment in the wash. You can also scrub your white trainers with baking soda paste to get the grime and dirt out and have them looking like new.
Vinegar is great at cutting through grease and limescale as it leaves shiny surfaces sparkling clean, with a smear-free finish. It’s perfect for shining windows and buffing onto mirrors or removing watermarks from taps and appliances. Mix with water to make a solution you can use for everyday cleaning.
You can use vinegar in the washing machine as a natural fabric softener. Don’t worry, it doesn’t leave your clothes smelling vinegary! It can also act as a pre-wash stain remover and combining it with baking soda will help you tackle the most stubborn of stains.
The uses for lemon when cleaning your home are almost endless. Lemons are great for cutting through grease and fats. Use half a lemon to clean your cheese grater – simply ‘grate’ the lemon flesh and it will cut right through dried-on cheese, and can then be rinsed clean.
They’re also handy at deodorising. Put a cup of water and lemon in the microwave, heat for 1 minute and then wipe down the inside of the microwave – clean and fresh! You can also use lemon to deodorise smelly kitchen items like plastic containers, fridge shelves or even your bin.
So, there you have it. Six easy tips to have a greener, cleaner home that you can start implementing straight away. You’ll find that adopting greener cleaning will help the environment, your budget and also your conscience!
Jess Bray is a Marketing Assistant at The Cleaning Collective and has 10 years’ experience in digital marketing. She loves applying her knowledge of design and marketing to the world of cleaning, helping her to share tips, tricks and hacks with keen members of ‘The Cleaning Collective’.