As every teenager knows, cleaning is an inherently wasteful exercise. You clean something, it gets dirty, and you have to clean it again.
Most cleaning products are also pretty unsustainable. They’re usually packaged in single-use plastic and made from toxic chemicals or harmful organic compounds. Blergh.
But there are plenty of little hacks you can use to slash your carbon footprint and, ahem, clean up your act. Here are a few of Dodo’s favourites.
1. Ditch the plastic
This is the most obvious one. You shouldn’t throw out your existing cleaning supplies just to buy new bamboo ones, but when it comes time to replace them, consider a plastic-free alternative. There are plenty of brands out there, especially reputable labels like ZeroCo, Biome and Change, that use recycled ocean plastic, glass and sustainably-sourced timber for their products. There’s really no reason to have a plastic toilet brush in 2022. Natural materials work just as well. Plus, they look better.
2. Go re-useable
The majority of cleaning products are designed to be used once then chucked away. It’s a real shame, especially when there are re-useable alternatives everywhere you look. Instead of paper towels, try cotton bar towels or washable rags. Instead of generic rubber gloves, switch to FSC-certified cleaning gloves. Instead of pine-scented disposable wipes, use essential oils and some white vinegar. Instead of plastic air fresheners, make your own potpourri (your neighbour’s lavender is perfect for this). Finally, ditch that old, gross kitchen sponge for a natural fibre pot brush.
3. Repurpose as much as possible
At the end of the day, most cleaning tools are just scrubbing devices, and there are plenty of those lying around the house already. Cut up old t-shirts and socks to make cleaning rags. Turn bristly old toothbrushes into scrubbing brushes. A ball of woolen yarn can make an excellent dryer ball (there’s a handy guide over here), while old stockings can be woven into eco-friendly tawashi sponges. Before you throw anything away, just take two seconds and think: could I use this to clean something? Most of the time, the answer’s yes.
4. Make your own surface spray
This one’s so easy and much better for your family’s health. Anyone can make their own home cleaning surface spray. All it takes is one part white vinegar, one part water, some lemon rind, and rosemary sprigs. Chuck that into a glass spray bottle, give it a shake, and let it infuse for a week. Boom – a natural disinfectant that (coincidentally) smells delicious. Just don’t use acidic cleaners on granite; the acid eats away at the stone. You can mix up this recipe with orange peel or any botanicals that take your fancy.
5. Don’t forget compost
A good compost bin doesn’t just reduce your carbon footprint, it’s great for the garden too. Keep a small compost caddy in the kitchen for food scraps, eggshells, and organic material, and make sure to empty it regularly. If you have 100% wool carpets (or silk rugs) you can even recycle the dust from your vacuum cleaner! Don’t forget to compost old coffee grounds, tea bags, shredded newspapers, and cardboard, too. They’re all biodegradable.
Use your energy wisely. Check out Dodo’s range of energy plans today.