Cleaning our homes has been especially important during the coronavirus pandemic, not only to safeguard ourselves, loved ones and homes against the COVID-19 virus but as many of us spent more and more time in our homes, they undoubtedly became messier quicker. As more and more people are becoming eco-conscious the use of eco-friendly thinking is on the rise – this ranges from sustainable household products to the plastic on those products to chemicals that you use to clean your home and so forth. Cleaning products that are safe for the environment does not mean compromising on safety in terms of killing bacteria and viruses – in fact being more eco-friendly your household cleaning supplies can include anything from reusable cloths to eco-friendly anti-bacterial cleaners.
There are plenty of approved cleaners on the market that are eco-friendly, however, make sure you check the label to see what this is referring to – as it could just reference the packaging. However, the products that legitimately use eco-friendly ingredients can be better alternatives for your cleaning sprees without compromising on effectiveness, many of these products are widely available or can be purchased online. Ingredients can be naturally derived, biodegradable and so forth and still kill bacteria. Ensure however, you read the label to be sure that these products are to the standard required.
For general cleaning purposes you may look to basic household remedies from products you already have in the cupboard, bi-carbonate of soda acts as a great cleaner, deodoriser and stain remover and there are plenty of recipes that can help you utilise this. Further, vinegar can help remove limescale, add shine back to surfaces and so forth, lemon juice can eliminate odours, reduce food stains from chopping boards and so on.
Good Housekeeping wrote that although more research is needed on how non-chemical methods kill a wide range of germs, ‘”Studies have shown that vinegar can kill a range of bacteria, including E. coli – which is often associated with food poisoning – as long as it’s at least 5% in strength,” says Dr Darshna Yagnik, an immunologist at Middlesex University London.’
However, it is always worth checking the label or researching into these remedies first. Whilst there is a global pandemic, always check with health organisations such as the CDC for the best ways to clean in light of the coronavirus. It is still worth cleaning the high-risk areas (such as the bathroom) with disinfectants, especially if you or someone you live with has a reduced immune system.
Reducing plastic has been included as a target of many brand and companies’ eco-friendly missions – and household products are a major culprit to the plastic crisis. Many personal care products such as shampoos and body cleaners can now be found as plastic free bars in an attempt to reduce on plastic waste, other companies are offering re-fillable products rather than throw away bottle’s month after month, some are looking to use 100% recycled and recyclable packaging. Being conscious of your plastic consumption on cleaning products will help you become more sustainable – there are refillable, plastic free or recycled cleaning products available on the market – from the bottles the products come in, to the cleaning appliances such as cloths and brushes used.
Most laundry detergents can be incredibly toxic for the environment and are continually pumped into our water supplies. According to Earth Island Journal ‘detergents don’t completely biodegrade and they contaminate our water supplies, rivers and oceans with toxic heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic. Studies have shown that phosphates, a common ingredient in detergents, builds up in waterways and lead to eutrophication — big algal blooms that can starve fish and other plant life of oxygen.’
There are plenty of alternatives, from eco-friendly detergent to mineral pellets that contain no harmful chemicals and reduce on plastic waste as they can be re-used for a high-number of washes. These alternatives often don’t compromise on killing bacteria, removing stains and keep laundry smelling fresh and clean.
Whilst disposable wipes are convenient and may seem ‘cleaner’ they are incredibly bad for the environment, ending up in landfills, sewers and the ocean killing its wildlife. Opting simply for reusable cloths, that can be washed effectively (provided you set your machine to a high enough heat) to kill bacteria, can be both eco and pocket friendly. Not only does this choice make for a more sustainable one, but some cloths such as microfiber cleaning cloths are designed to pick up more dirt and bacteria than other products themselves – so may be a cleaner alternative.
There are also plenty of cleaning tools on the market that are made from sustainable products such as copper scrubs, bamboo brushes and so forth. Many of these products ditch the plastic, last longer, are sustainably sourced or can be recycled, so look to see where you can replace disposable items for more sustainable alternatives.
Becoming more sustainable in the home is not one quick easy fix but by slowly opting for greener and eco-friendly options you be well on your way to achieving an eco-friendly household. There are even cleaning subscription services that will help you to select and stock your eco-friendly cleaning kit.