Climate change is one of the biggest issues in our world currently. While it’s going to take true systemic change from our world leaders to make a genuine impact, there are things we can do in our own homes everyday to help make us feel better about our contribution to creating a greener Earth.
One of the easiest things one can do to help save money and reduce waste is buying simple cooking ingredients that can be used among a multitude of recipes and meals in bulk. Nancy Birtwhistle recently spoke with the media about how she completely changed her lifestyle when she retired to better help the environment, and buying ingredients in bulk was one of the first steps she took.
“I buy a lot of bicarbonate of soda, because that’s used a lot, a big bag of citric acid, a bottle of surgical spirit, sodium carbonate (known as washing soda, which can be a skin and eye irritant) and a bag of sodium percarbonate, known as oxygen or green bleach; it’s not as toxic as chlorine bleach, though you still have to be careful with it. And I bought myself a variety pack of essential oils, because I still like a little bit of perfume in fabric conditioner, or my ironing water.”
She also discussed how she collects rain water to be used in things like her iron or for future watering needs in her garden. Birtwhistle will boil the rain water, fill up her iron and add in a drop or two of essential oil to add some nice scents to her clothing as well.
Using water, white vinegar, and surgical spirit with essential oils for fragrance, one can easily make their own all-purpose cleaner. “I use it pretty much for anything. It’s non-streaky and quick-drying. It started off as a kitchen cleaner for worktops, the hob, cupboards, cutting through greasy marks on shelves and things like that. Then I moved it into the bathroom and everywhere else. It’s good for mirrors, glass, inside the car. It’s brilliant for tiles.”
For brightening whites and removing yellowing stains from things like pillows or blankets, Birtwhistle reccoments making a lemon juice or citric acid solution, as citrus in general is an amazing natural stain remover.
“Place yellowing fabrics in a lemon juice or citric acid solution of 3tbsp added to 600ml hot water, with salt, and leave to soak. You need a sunny day. Peg them outside – don’t rinse or wring them – and the sun will bleach them.”
Your vinegar, water, and spirit solution is also perfectly safe to use for cleaning your electronic devices screens. It can help remove fingerprints and harmful bacteria that clings to those surfaces. Birtwhistle recommends diluting the cleaner with more warm water for electronic devices.
“Marks on glass screens come from a combination of soap scum and limescale. Make a spray of citric acid and water and it comes off in a jiffy. Make sure you rinse it off, because it dries sticky.”
Salt and vinegar solutions are also perfect for removing and preventing mold growth in the home. “Salt and vinegar will kill mold. I keep white vinegar in a spray bottle, so you can get it into awkward places like that. I squirt it, then dip an old toothbrush into ordinary table salt and rub away at it. Once you’ve done that, you could then use a spray of sodium percarbonate if there are any stained bits.”
There’s clearly a multitude of ways one can implement clean and natural solutions into the way they maintain their clean space, and beyond that the environment also benefits from the use of these ingredients.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.