Green cleaning swaps

Green Lifestyle

Simple swaps to make, that’ll earn you serious eco-brownie points, along with health benefits to boot.

Instead of conventional: Use this: Or go DIY: For these benefits:
Surface sprays Dr Bronner’s castile liquid soap is ethically sourced; just dilute with water and spray.

Re-Sparkle formula’s are certified organic, and have snap-on lids where you add your own water at home – cutting down on transport emissions and plastic.

Plain old salty water works a treat!

A few drops of tea-tree and eucalyptus essential oils wiped on the bench or added to a salty water spray will keep insects away.

Many antibacterial sprays contain triclosan, which cause bacteria to become drug resistant.
Floor cleaner We swear that the floor looks cleaner after using Probiotic Solutions Mop Me moreso than using other products – especially dark-coloured tiles that really shine afterwards.

Method Squirt + Mop hard floor cleaner leaves no wax or chemicals behind for vinyl lino and tiles.

Make a solution of ¼ cup vinegar per litre water, plus a few drops of essential oils (optional). Use in a bucket with a mop, or in a spray bottle directly on the floor, wiping off with a few pre-soaked washcloths. Pets and children get up to all sorts of mischief on floors, so keep them safe by avoiding nasty chemicals. There's also chemicals to consider in the mop water that you'll tip down the sink.
Dishwashing liquids Earth Choice dishwashing liquid is biodegradable, phosphate free, and packaged in recycled plastic.

Earthwise has a biodegradable liquid formula that cuts stubborn grease while protecting your hands.

The Eco Max kitchen scrubber is made from fair trade natural fibres and can be popped in the compost when it’s time for a new one.

Grate up your choice of bar soap and mix with water, or even herbal tea for extra scent and hand protection. Phosphates that are constantly getting washed down our drains are contributing to toxic algal blooms and altering natural soil composition, which specifically affects our native plants.
Dishwasher powder or tablets Ecover phosphate free and biodegradable powder also isn't tested on animals.

Method Smarty Dish naturally derived tablets are free of dyes, perfumes, and have recently reduced their recyclable plastic packaging by 87%.

Replace your powder with bi-carb soda or soap nut liquid and add 1 cup white vinegar as your rinse aid. As with hand-washing dishes, phosphates are an issue in the dishwasher – and also the single-use plastic packaging on some brands of each individual dishwashing tablet.
Drain cleaners Actizyme pellets use natural enzymes to break down waste matter which can then be washed away along with nasty smells. ½ cup apple cider vinegar + ½ cup salt + ½ cup bi-carb soda mixed and poured down drain. Wait a couple of hours and rinse down with water. Strong acids usually used to break down waste have potential to reach waterways and damage skin on contact. They also destroy the good bacteria that naturally keep the system clean.
Air fresheners Pure Bamboo's Moso room deodoriser uses bamboo charcoal to absorb odours, moisture and chemicals.

The Orange Power range of freshener sprays is completely palm oil free, and smells like freshly picked fruit.

Make your own oil diffuser with bamboo skewers, baby oil and your favourite essential oils. Pop them in a decorative old jar or vase.

Bring back pot pourri! Check out more ideas here.

More phthalates. Plus air-fresheners (particularly aerosols) can trigger allergies and cause issues for asthma sufferers.
Bathroom bleaches & disinfectants Again, we suggest Orange Power – it uses citrus to cut through scum and mould.

Probiotic Solutions also has a bunch of little bacteria added to the solution that keep on cleaning even after you’ve stopped!

A spray solution of 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water kills mould.

A good microfibre cloth and a bit of elbow-grease also works wonders.

Strong disinfectants can cause asthma, eczema, or hayfever.

Bleach kills aquatic life.

Toilet cleaner Ecostore has a toilet cleaner that kills E.coli, Staph, and other bacteria – plus it’s greywater safe, and you only need a capful. Leave 1 part lemon juice, 3 parts water in the bowl overnight, and flush away in the morning. Petroleum-derived ‘nonylphenol ethoxylate’ (NPE) interferes with fish reproduction, and can degrade soils.
Stain remover Tri Nature's Enhance Express pre-wash spray actively breaks down stains with plant-based ingredients. Spray as soon as possible with vinegar or lemon before washing. Soak delicates and whites in bi carb soda added to your hand washing mix. Put your whites in the full sun immediately after washing. Bleach and some unnatural enzymes kill aquatic life.
Clothes washing detergents Bosisto’s laundry powder contains no fillers which is better for your skin and reducing corrosion in your machine.

Sindhiya SoapNuts are a 100% natural alternative, releasing a hypoallergenic and antibacterial soap in the wash.

Ecoballs save water and electricity by cutting out the need for a rinse cycle.

6 cups of washing soda plus 3 bars of chopped up castile soap (Try Dr. Bronner’s). Mix in food processor for a laundry powder that lasts up to 62 loads. Full instructions here.

Chemicals in conventional powders stay on the clothes and can irritate sensitive skin and noses.
Fabric softener Ecostore has a highly concentrated, no filler product that contains no synthetic chemicals or fragrances. Add ½ cup bicarb soda dissolved in a cup of water to your wash to soften the water. You can also use up old eco-hair conditioners with a small squirt per load. Along with triclosan and a bunch of other chemicals, there are growing concerns about artificial fragrances containing phthalates that are toxic to the environment and to human reproductive health.
Window cleaners Tri Nature Hyaline cleans windows and glass with no fumes or ammonium. ½ cup of vinegar rubbed on with scrunched up newspaper. Wait for a cloudy day to prevent streaks from sun drying too quickly. The fumes from ammonia in window cleaners can irritate people and pets when breathed in. Accidental mixing with chlorine creates poisonous gas.
Wipes and paper towels ENJO gloves require only water to remove residue and dust from any room of the house.

If you feel that absolutely have to use paper towel (for example, if you have young pets still to be toilet-trained in the house) go for the 50% recycled SAFE brand, or a bit of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper – which is made from 100% post consumer waste recycled fibres, and 50% of it's profits to build toilets in the developing world.

As always, reusable cloths are the greenest option. For the floor, walls, and all surfaces, try these pre-soaked washcloths. Cut up old cotton towels or sheets. Look after cleaning cloths as you would other household fabrics so they last longer. Paper towels often contain bleach just to look good, packaged in plastic, and few are recycled. Reducing reliance on packaged and disposable products makes a big difference to landfills.