Once you’ve decided you’d like to give eco-cleaning a go, it can feel a little overwhelming when looking at the various products and tools that promise to help you. But a hefty cleaning product haul really isn’t necessary. I’ve alway felt it’s much better to invest in a few key quality tools that will stand the test of time and make the most difference to your routine.
Here are just a few of my green cleaning must-haves that I’d recommend you start with.
I’ve found a copper pad is a very useful thing to have by your sink and happens to be a rather a beautiful thing. Aesthetics aside, it’s a very versatile tool to help make your washing up a little easier. It’s also 100% recyclable which is very important to us.
Used with warm soapy water, our copper pad is non abrasive and ideal for use on even the most delicate kitchen and tableware. I can never quite get over the fact that, simply by adding water, this wiry material can cleanse so gently without scratching. I even use it on our Aga as it’s perfect for enamel too.
The fine copper threads remove even very persistent baked-on stains and dirt, without the need for hours soaking or laborious scrubbing. Just please don’t use them near any Teflon coated pans.
A bit later, I will talk about the cleaning power of distilled white vinegar when mixed with bicarbonate of soda. Its natural potency and multitude of uses makes it probably my ultimate cleaning-must have.
You can clean so many things with vinegar, including your washing machine, windows, your kettle, silverware, brass and even your loo. It’s a real guilt-free product too. You can happily pour it down the loo without worrying about polluting our waterways with toxins.
The only downside to cleaning with vinegar is the smell. So, to avoid that fish and chip aroma, we created two scented versions. Now it’s a much more pleasant experience, with the delicious natural scent of coastal sea salt or English lavender.
Linen dish cloth
This one is a really basic tool and it’s worth investing in a few of these, as you will soon find that you are using them all over the house. And who doesn’t love a bit of natural linen?
Our linen dish cloth makes washing or drying your dishes easier - due to the tight weave it leaves no fluff or fibres on your plates and will not retain oils or bad smells. Each cloth can withstand months of use - including washing - without losing its shape or integrity.
We recommend washing yours on a boil wash with a dash of Clothing Wash. If they’re particularly dirty, pre-soak in some Scented Vinegar first.
Multi surface cleaner
Since becoming a mother, I’m a lot fussier on what I clean my surfaces with. More often than not, my babies will eat a sliced banana or piece of toast that I’ve prepared directly on the counter top. So I don’t want anything laden with chemicals getting into their food, or mine for that matter.
This spray ensures safe, natural cleaning for every surface in the house. The gentle yet effective formula uses the power of plant-based ingredients to rid your surfaces of dirt and bacteria, without leaving harmful residue or overpowering smells.
Bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
If you’re a baker, you probably already have some of this in the larder. If not it’s readily available from all supermarkets, usually in the baking aisle, but check the cleaning section first as it’ll be much cheaper and in bigger quantities.
Firstly, let’s look at the hows and whys of this wonder ingredient. Bicarbonate of soda (sometimes known as baking soda) is actually a milder version of salt. It’s a great odour absorber because most smells are acidic and, because baking soda is basic, it reacts with the acids in the smells. Hey presto - they’re gone. It doesn’t mask the aroma, but actively destroys it.
This basic/acidic reaction also means that when mixed with an acid such as vinegar, the resulting chemical reaction makes a fabulous cleansing paste that can cut through grease and grime with ease. The abrasiveness of the bicarb also gives it extra scrubbing power.
I love bicarb for its brilliant natural deodorising properties that I’ve already mentioned. It absorbs even strong smells like magic. If you struggle to get odours out of wooden chopping boards, a paste of bicarb and lemon juice works a treat. A little dish of it in the fridge also absorbs any lingering food aromas.
I think my favourite use for bicarbonate of soda is the stain removal power from mugs and teacups. As a black coffee drinker, lots of my cups are stained an unsightly brown. However by soaking in the sink with 1 part bicarb to 4 parts water, they’re soon white again.
If you’ve got any other eco-cleaning basic tools that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them and give them a try in my own home. Make sure you tag @norfolknaturalliving and we’ll repost our favourites.