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From our guest writer Lynsey Clayton in the UK
Green cleaning can really contribute to our care for our planet
Going about our daily lives, we use many products to clean our home, yet it’s easy to overlook the impact that many of these products can have on the environment. Some ingredients used in cleaning products can damage the delicate ecosystem and have a devastating affect our water fauna and flora. As a vegan and environmentalist, I do not want to be responsible for destroying the Earth and killing those animals that co-exist with us, and upon which we so intrinsically depend.
By making a few simple changes however and switching to more natural, chemical free products we can not only avoid this downward trend, we can also create a healthier, safer home environment for ourselves and our families to enjoy.
I’m going to pick some of the most common areas in our homes where we use chemicals, and suggest alternatives that are easily obtained. Many of these will also save you money.
Soap Nuts are the absolute greenest, most eco-friendly and chemical free way to wash your clothes. They are also incredibly effective, last for ages and make your clothes smell great. If you like a stronger smell from your washing, it’s easy to add a few drops of your favourite essential oil onto the bag.
If you want to stick to traditional style laundry products – you can buy more natural, eco-friendly products such as those from Bio-D or Ecozone, who offer a wonderful range, free from toxic chemicals and totally vegan/cruelty free. From tablets to laundry liquid, and a gorgeous smelling fabric conditioner, there’s everything you could hope for and it’s safe on your skin and the environment.
Kitchen and cleaning
For cleaning and disinfecting your home (kitchen surfaces, bathroom, floors, and everywhere else), one of the best ways to know exactly what’s in a product and how safe for it is for children and animals alike it is, is to make your own. And it’s easier than it sounds! I have a really simple recipe which I make up myself from very basic ingredients, and it’s so effective!
Multi-purpose cleaning spray recipe
Grab a spray bottle which has been emptied and cleaned out
A few capfuls of white vinegar
Top up to almost the complete bottle with tap water
Add a squirt of an eco-friendly washing up liquid
Add 20 drops of combination of rosemary and lavender essential oils
(I use Neal’s Yard as they are the most ethical and a top quality brand)
Replace disposable with reusable
It’s really easy to think about the sprays and cleaners you are using in your home, and completely forget about the countless sponges, kitchen roll and surface wipes you may be throwing into landfill on a daily basis.
We’re all slaves to those squidgy foam sponges with the thin scourer on the other side, which quickly become germy and stinky and rarely last for more than a few uses. Then they’re off to the landfill and we reach for another. You can now buy alternatives made from remnants of terry cloth and cotton, and I found it so much more effective than a basic throw away. Plus it can be used on tops, sinks, and baths, anywhere really, and it just keeps giving. No need to throw away, just throw it in the machine again.
Another favourite of mine is the really pretty replacement to kitchen roll. Basically just absorbent sheets of fabric, backed with pretty designs. Complete with poppers and all, you can put them onto an existing kitchen roll holder. Great for mopping up spills and cleaning surfaces, without the breakage or the waste.
Take a look at the website, Boobalou for a great range of zero waste items.
Soya candles and aromatherapy diffusers
I love walking into a home which smells of fresh baking, coffee or the natural aromas of herbs and oils. It’s so much more pleasant than walking into artificial scent/air fresheners, which often block the smell receptors in our noses, rather than actually eliminating the odour itself.
To create a lovely scented room, I use an electric aromatherapy diffuser. All you have to do is pop in one of your favourite essential oils into the filled water tank and you’re good to go – no candles required.
If you want to light some scented candles to make a room smell nice, or to create a lovely atmosphere, it’s always best to use plant-based candles – usually made from soya wax. And here are a few reasons why:
- Unlike paraffin soy beans are a renewable resource, and therefore much better for the environment
- The paraffin wax used in most candles releases toxins and carcinogens when burned
- These are circulating in the air, which can affect those with asthma, or trigger allergies
- Soy wax is completely water soluble and any spills/drips are easy to clean up with just water
- Soy wax burns more
- slowly, and therefore lasts up to 50% longer than regular candles.
As you can see here, there are so many things you can do to make your home a cleaner, greener and safer place to live, and it doesn’t end here. You can extend this to all types of cleaning product you use.
While you’re at it, why not think about the products you are using on your own skin too? Do they contain unnecessary chemicals? Could you reduce waste further in your home by using reusable cotton pads or toothbrushes with replaceable heads? If we feel energised to create a better future for every living thing on this planet, let’s do it by beginning in our homes.
This article has been contributed by