It is vitally important that we all do our little bit to tackle climate change and pollution. Together, we can make a big difference if we all make changes to our daily habits and routines. Cleaning, for instance, has the potential to leave a large carbon footprint — and send a huge quantity of potential harmful substances into our oceans and watercourses.
Thankfully, changing to greener cleaning methods isn’t rocket science. There are some very clever hacks that can help us all to make our homes just a little bit greener.
1. Flour for stainless steel surfaces
Believe it or not, household flour can do a very good job of polishing stainless steel and aluminium. Start by cleaning the surface with a damp microfibre cloth. Then put a little wheat flour onto the cloth, and polish the surface in circular motions. Finish by applying a very thin layer of olive oil, which keeps these metal surfaces cleaner and shinier for longer.
Tip: To be extra green, make sure you throw any leftover flour into a compost heap.
2. Use vodka as an air freshener
Aerosol air fresheners are a little more environmentally friendly than they used to be, but they still contain chemicals that can be harmful to both human health and the environment. Create sweet-smelling rooms in your home by creating your own, homemade air freshener using some cheap vodka and your favourite essential oils. Simply add them to a spray bottle and tackle odours where you find them.
3. Use a natural bathroom cleaner
Some of the bathroom cleaners on the market today contain chemicals that can cause serious damage to natural habitats. They often get into watercourses, where they can wreak havoc on water-based environments and wildlife. Create your own green bathroom cleaner with a solution of one part vodka and nine parts distilled water. Finish your homemade cleaner by adding 20 or 30 drops of tea tree oil. This solution should be powerful enough to clean your sinks, shower, bathtub and pretty much everything except your toilet.
4. Unblock drains naturally
A blocked drain can cause serious odours and structural damage unless it is rectified immediately. Most people panic when they notice a blockage, and buy the most powerful unblocking agent they can find. Unfortunately, many of the brands available use highly caustic chemical compounds that can damage the environment.
Fortunately, unblocking drains with green, natural products is relatively straightforward. Pour a cup-full of baking soda down the drain, and follow it up with a cup of white vinegar. You should notice that the mixture starts to foam and spit as it works its way down. Wait around 20 minutes, and then pour a kettle of boiling water down. Repeat this process at least three times before you think of calling in the professionals.
5. Repair hardwood surfaces with nuts
Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of using expensive wood treatments that contain a range of chemicals, you can cover blemishes and small scratches on hardwood with a few shelled nuts. Rub the nuts over the affected areas; the oils in the likes of walnuts and fresh peanuts can help to cover up flaws.
6. Make whites whiter with lemon
Some people use fabric bleaches in order to brighten up their dullened whites. However, these chemicals are potentially harmful to the environment. Instead, add a little fresh lemon juice to your washing machine’s drum before starting the cycle.
7. Homemade all-purpose cleaner
A good all-purpose cleaner can be very helpful when it comes to cleaning kitchen and bathroom surfaces in a hurry. But instead of using potentially harmful chemicals, create your own by filling a jar with orange peel and covering it with white vinegar. Let the jar rest for two weeks, then pour the liquid into a spray bottle. That’s it… your very own homemade multipurpose cleaner.
These green cleaning hacks don’t just help you to save the planet, they also help you to save money.