I have a hate and love relationship with cleaning. I love when everything is clean but I hate doing it, but that’s not news to anyone in the world I guess? We live in an apartment by ourselves with a cat, so there shouldn’t be that much work, but it is. I noticed I use a lot of products for different things and I have to keep re-purchasing them all the time, and how expensive is dish-washer soap and laundry detergent? Seriously?? I also have no idea wtf goes in it. Is it safe? Don’t know.
A lot goes into cleaning your home. Some products can impose a hazard to our health and the environment and they are expensive. I’m too lazy to get on with cleaning most of the time, so many products and things to do. If you use less products and more natural solutions it can really simplify your life and save you money, time and space. For the sake of a eco-friendly home, I’ll be pointing out alternatives to plastic as well.
Brushes, brooms, dustpans – A good place to start would be to stop buying plastic scrubbing brushes. If you already have a bunch of them and you want to get rid of them, you can find a container from Plastic Heroes (locations here in Amsterdam) and dump them there if they are 100% plastic. You can use wooden brushes with natural bristles and stainless steel handles, and use dust pans made of tin instead of plastic. I could find wooden brushes and clothespins in my local supermarket without much trouble.
Buckets, boxes, trash cans, baskets – Instead of using plastic buckets, you can buy stainless steel ones like these from Dille & Kamille. You can also use boxes and baskets made of Kobo instead of plastic to organize your house and a tin trash can.
Essential Oils – The holy grail of natural cleaning solutions! These are powerful little things and can help you clean, disinfect and make your home smell amazing. For a basic kit I would recommend you have Lemon, Tea Tree, Lavender and Peppermint oils in hand when you go into natural cleaning.
Soaps – Bar soaps are great and less wasteful! You can make them liquid too. Many times you can buy them unpackaged or in a paper package. You can use them to wash anything, make laundry detergent, wash the floor, wash your sink, hands, etc. Castile soap bars are my favorite, specially the ones with coconut oil in it or 100%. They are also biodegradable.
Vinegar – This will be your disinfectant and you can add essential oils to it and other things to clean whatever you need. The toilet? Baking soda + vinegar. Unclogging? The same recipe. Cleaning your kitchen counter? Vinegar + water… Possibilities are endless. And again, super cheap and maybe you might find this in bulk.
Baking soda & Hydrogen Peroxide – Powerful cleaners for grout, grease, clogged drains, laundry… You name it.
Vegetable Oils – Oils can help you polish furniture and clean dust very efficiently.
Laundry – Use clothespins made of wood and stainless steel, bar soaps, and homemade laundry detergent. It’s very easy to make your own detergent, lasts long and it’s cheaper and healthier for you. Be mindful of your laundry because your washer uses a lot of water, but you already know that, right?
Dishes – Use eco-friendly brands or just liquid castile soap if you wish. I personally think bar soaps are great for this too. Back when I lived in Brazil, my family always used a bar of coconut soap for dishes and never had a problem.
Important note about supplies: Remember that if you already have a lot of plastic things such as a big plastic trash can, sometimes it’s better to keep using it and take care of it’s state than sending it to recycling and using more resources just because you want that nice looking one made of tin.
De Traay Vegetable Soap / Wooden brushes / Wooden Clothespins / De Traay Household Soap / Liquid Castile Soap out of a bar