Cutting down on the chemicals you use to clean your household appliances, be it a brand-new oven or a second-hand fridge you’re wanting to spruce up, is a great way to do your part in becoming a part of the greener ones, a collective of people who want to reduce and rethink their impact on the environment.
However, when it comes to making small changes with big impact, sometimes it’s easier to have good intentions than it is to put into action. This is because the sheer bulk of information out there can be daunting. Where to start? What does it all mean?
To help you on your way, we’ve kept it simple with these tips, tricks and teachings that you can factor into your everyday routine.
How to be greener with your household cleaning
Some of the best things to do to keep how you clean green include:
- Researching products and opting for less or non-toxic cleaners
- Choosing water safe products
- Switching to microfiber cloths
- Upcycling old newspapers and magazines
- Repurposing products you already have lying around
Let’s look at these with more detail.
Shop around for non-toxic cleaners
A clean house shouldn’t leave a dirty footprint on the world. Luckily, in 2021, the availability of household products that swap out toxic chemicals like ammonia has boomed.
Some of our top picks for less toxic cleaners include:
You can also find own brand eco versions in many major supermarkets.
Most of the time, eco products are considered more water safe too — which means they don’t let out toxic products into the water that have to be filtered out or diluted down with chemicals.
Swap out the sponge
Many of us use disposable sponges and scrubbing brushes to tackle different stains and spills, but these could end up leaving a longer-lasting mark on the planet. Disposable sponges and brushes can often end up adding to landfill waste, where the materials will not break down for many, many years. Microfibre clothes, on the other hand, can be washed and reused.
And you don’t have to compromise on a good scrub, either.
Microfibre cloths have a positive charge that naturally attracts dirt, grease and oil, making it easier to remove stains without any cleaning product. Because they’re double-sided, you can scrub away stains and then wipe surfaces clean with the same cloth.
Use household items that you’ve already got
One of the best things you can do — for both the environment and your own bank balance — is to make the most out of essentials you already have lying around.
Clean with white vinegar
White distilled vinegar is a smart choice to use for cleaning because it doesn't contain any colouring agents, meaning it won't stain surfaces.
The other benefit of using this type of vinegar is its high acidity percentage. You’d likely find most distilled, white vinegars to have about 5 percent acidity, which is similar to the acidity level in many everyday multipurpose cleaners. So you’re getting the same job done without a lot of the added chemicals.
You can use vinegar to safely clean many appliances and areas around your house, including:
- Fridge shelves
- Fridge surfaces
- Tile surfaces
- Shower heads
Clean with lemon juice
When life gives you lemons… make everything sparkle with them. Lemon, like vinegar, is a terrific cleaning agent because of its acidity. As well as being tough enough to tackle caked on dirt, the acid in lemons is antibacterial and antiseptic, acts as a natural bleach and has a natural, refreshing scent.
So, wondering just what you can do with a lemon? Try out any or all of the following!
- Remove any fridge odours — cut a lemon in half and place it inside the refrigerator. Leave it in there for about 30 minutes and it should neutralise any bad smells.
- Polish your furniture — make your own natural furniture polish by combining two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice. Apply with a microfibre cloth to wood tables and chairs.
- Get sparkling dishes — fill a dishwasher-safe container with a cup of lemon juice (or a few lemon wedges), set on the top rack, and run the load as normal for added shine and cleanliness to your load.
- Buff out your pots and pans — sprinkle some coarse salt on the cut side of a lemon and rub all over any copper, aluminium or brass kitchenware. After rinsing, tough spots will be cleaned away.
- Clean out your oven — fill an oven-safe baking dish with water and lemon juice, then bake for 30 minutes at 250. After the oven has cooled, remove the dish and use a cloth to wipe away any remaining grime.
Unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar
Blocked drains can put a dampener on your day. From ruining your morning shower to making your kitchen smell a bit foul, there are ways you can break up clogs and blockages using two simple household ingredients.
You can clear away clogs and make your drain smell super fresh with baking soda and lemon juice.
Pour about a quarter of a cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour a roughly half a cup of lemon juice on top. Let this mixture sit for about an hour.
The foaming reaction of the mixture should help break down and remove any leftover residue of the clog and leave your drains clear and fresh.