So the world has gone cleaning mad, it seems. Wherever you turn there seems to be someone promoting a loo cleaner or doling out tips on sofa stain removal. Over on Instagram there has been quite the backlash against cleaning accounts like the rising star Mrs. Hinch. Rightly so, if you ask me.
Now I have nothing against someone trying to carve out a niche for themselves or sharing tips out of the goodness of their heart. Or even to make a buck, as long as they disclose that. What I do have an issue with is pollution and waste. Elbow Grease sold out. The Pink Stuff sold out. Just thinking about that gives me the shivers. Hard core chemicals being bought in bulk and sprayed and smeared around every household in the British Isles…c`mon, if you have any conscience at all you will know that that cannot be good.
I have to say, it horrifies me.
For a start there is the pollution of our water. All those chemicals get washed down our drains and enter the common water supply. I’m not going to go into detail here because that is not the main point in this post, but if you use loo cleaner once a day, you are putting seven times more chemicals into the system than someone who uses a toilet cleaner once a week.
As well as that, there are all the plastic containers from these products to be dealt with. Sure, a certain amount can be recycled but some cannot. Reducing the use of disposable plastic is something every single man, woman and child of us should be concerned with. Sadly it seems there is a hell of a lot of people out there who don’t think very far.
And of course there is the production process. The more cleaning products we buy, the more the few companies who rule the cleaning products market will manufacture and market. Again, I am not going to go into detail here but lets just say that manufacturing isn’t the most eco-friendly business.
I’m sure you get the point.
Part of the reason this whole subject horrifies me is that I buy and use very little cleaning products. I honestly did not realise how often some people clean and how much product they use each time until this whole cleaning mania began. To give you an idea of my usage of cleaning products, so far this year I have bought one bottle of Jif-type cream cleaner, two bottles of bathroom cleaning spray (one for each bathroom), two bottles of under-the-rim toilet cleaner (also one for each bathroom) and a laundry stain removal spray. None of those bottles are empty yet. In addition to that I regularly buy washing up liquid, dishwasher tabs and laundry detergent. Very occasionally I will buy fabric softener.
If you are still reading, well done for not being turned off by my lack of cleaning products. Believe it or not, it is easy to keep a reasonably clean home while also being less wasteful, more eco-friendly and kind to your wallet. Read on for my tips on cheaper, greener cleaning.
If you are a regular reader of this blog or a follower on Instagram,you will probably know that I love my steam cleaner and my steam mop. Each uses very little water (less than 500ml each) and very little electricity. There is no need to add in any cleaning products and the steam lifts grime easily. Obviously the mop is for floors. The hand held steam cleaner I bought has several functions – a window cleaner which also works for tiles, shower doors and mirrors, a scrubbing brush similar to an electric toothbrush, and a jet nozzle for awkward corners such as under the toilet rim or the corners of window frames.
While a steam mop or steam cleaner is more of an investment than a bottle of pine-scented spray, they do not cost the earth. My mop cost around €60 two years ago and the hand held cleaner cost me €30 early this year. I wouldn’t be without either of them, especially for cleaning the bathrooms.
The Quick Wipe
We don’t often get sick with bugs, colds and so on in this house and growing up it was the same in my family. I put that partly down to us living in a clean but not sterile home, then and now. The house rarely gets a deep clean but it does very often get a quick wipe. Not with disposable wipes or kitchen roll, mind you. They cause too much waste. I mean a wipe with a cloth that has been rinsed in hot, slightly soapy water.
The kitchen table, counter tops, hob, splashback and draining board get a good wipe down with a washable flannel dishcloth several times a day. Doorknobs, the banister handrail, the coffee table, the kettle and coffee machine get good wipe as needed, generally every few days. The dishcloth and tea towels go into the wash every day or two, so there is always a clean one on the go.
Room sprays, while they might smell divine, are still chemicals too. I rarely use one. The thought of breathing in artificial scents puts me off. To keep our home smelling fresh, I stick to the basics, airing the rooms daily being the main one. When I get up in the morning, I open the downstairs windows and the front door for a few minutes to get some fresh air into the house. Before leaving for work I air upstairs. Keeping the doors open between the rooms helps the air circulate through the house.
Another of the basics is taking out the bins very often. I prefer to use smaller bins in the house and empty them into the wheelie bin every day or two.
I mentioned above that I wash the tea towels and dishcloths every day or two. The bathroom towels and mats also get changed after a few days to keep the bathrooms fresh-smelling. The same goes for the bedclothes and pyjamas to keep the bedrooms from smelling stale.
Good quality scented candles, a bunch of fragrant flowers or a batch of baking also go a long way towards making a home seem welcoming and smelling great.
I would love to hear your tips on how to be a greener cleaner, so feel free to leave a comment.