It’s time to give the house some new life with a much-needed spring clean after a very cosy winter. Here’s a guide to our favourite natural spring-cleaning products that are plastic free or recyclable to get your home looking and smelling fresh.
Ideas around harsh chemicals to ‘destroy’ germs can lead us to take plastic in cleaning products for granted. Its easy to assume that plastic bottles are necessary to protect us from what’s inside them, but we hope we can convince you that its possible to go plastic free and still have a clean house – and we don’t just mean ‘wipe it with a wet cloth’ clean.
Tools & Utensils
The first things you need for an eco-spring-clean are the tools to scrub up with. For small spills, try forest-friendly kitchen towels without the plastic packaging at our favourite toilet paper brand, Who Gives a Crap. Give it some elbow grease and try compostable sponges, plastic-free scourers and compostable bin bags from Ecovibe, or find a range of environmentally friendly cleaning utensils at the Ethical Superstore. See Norfolk Natural Living for beautifully minimalistic beechwood and stainless steel dusters and dustpan and brushes.
Picture by Norfolk Natural Living
Plastic-Free Cleaning Products:
*A&A top choice* You might have noticed refill shops popping up all over the place for your daily essentials. Fill have taken this a step further by introducing refillable products for all your cleaning needs; kitchen and bathroom, laundry, washing up, floors and all purpose. Their products are made by chemists in a family-run business in Northamptonshire, and come in stylish glass bottles that you’ll want to hold on to.
Buy a 500ml bottle of the product you need for £7-£8 and refill for just £3! If you want to test their products first, you can buy a sample bundle for just under £15 online. If you’re in Margate, and you’ve already made the obligatory trip to our lovely shop, you can refill at Salt Of The Earth, Broadstairs is the place to go. If not, their products are stocked all over the UK and Ireland, find a shop near you here.
If you don’t have a refill shop near you, ditch bottles with these soluable cleaning sachets from Iron & Velvet.
Ecover is a Belgian company producing ecologically sound cleaning products, which we particularly recommend for laundry detergents. Make sure to recycle the bottles after use, or buy their refills online. For a plastic free alternative, grate this versatile soap bar from Foekje fleur into your machine before washing, or melt it in warm water to hand-wash your clothes.
When you wash your clothes in the washing machine, thousands of microfibres are released from the clothes into the water; and can end up in rivers and oceans. The microfibres from plastic-based fabrics such as polyester, nylon and elastane are damaging to marine life, who often mistake the fibres for food, and can die from excess consumption of microplastics. The ‘guppy bag’ laundry bags prevent fibres from your clothes from escaping with the water from your washing machine.
Dryer balls are an alternative to fabric softeners, and can reduce drying time in tumble dryers. As tumble dryers use a large amount of energy, it is always best to hang dry your clothes if you can. You can find wooden clothes pegs at Norfolk Natural Living, who also offer ceder balls as a natural alternative to moth balls for moth, mildew and odour repellent.
Homemade Cleaning Products
Vinegar, baking soda and water are your three best friends when it comes to natural cleaners, as most home cleaning can be done with these alone. Combine 120 ml vinegar, 240ml water and half a cup of baking powder, and add 10 drops of your favourite essential oils for a general cleaning solution.
*A&A top choice* Reusable Cleaning Wipes: 120ml cup white vinegar, 180ml boiled water, 8 drops tea tree essential oil, 6 drops lemon essential oil. Put all ingredients in an air tight container an add 8-10 cotton squares to soak. Wash after a couple of uses.
Drains: Unclog your drains the eco way by pouring a cup of baking soda into the drain, with 120ml vinegar. Come back after an hour and pour hot water down the drain to flush out the blockage. Repeat if needed.
Carpets: Adapt your cleaning cupboard by adding a squeeze of eco friendly dish soap to a 1:3 part vinegar and water solution for a homemade carpet cleaner.
Windows: Mix 400ml white vinegar with 600ml water for a simple solution which will leave your windows sparkling clean. Tip: For streak-free windows, dry with newspaper.
Wood Polish: 120ml white vinegar, 120ml olive oil, 10 drops lavender essential oil.
Brass: Slice a lemon in half and sprinkle table salt onto the fleshy part of the fruit, before rubbing onto tarnished brass. The salt/lemon combination will remove the tarnish, then use a dry cloth to buff the metal and revive its natural shine.
Essential oils: What’s a spring clean without that spring clean smell? Make your cleaning solutions smell good with essential oils of your choice, we recommend a mix of lemongrass and rosemary for a classic fresh scent for all purpose cleaners. Tee tree oil is good to use on mould-prone areas due to its anti-fungal properties. Pine helps to eliminate other odours and is great for a bathroom cleaning solution.