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Long term readers of Moral Fibres will know that I’m big on eco-friendly cleaning. It’s lighter on the planet, good for your health, and it’s a whole lot of fun whipping up your own cleaning products in your kitchen. I promise you’ll feel a bit like an alchemist mixing up various (often food safe) ingredients, and coming up with potions and powders that will leave your home sparkling clean and smelling beautiful.
I’ve been asked a few times lately about my eco-friendly cleaning supplies and where I source my materials. As it’s come up a few times I thought it would be useful to put all of this information into a blog post. So lo and behold, a comprehensive list of the eco-friendly cleaning supplies I use and where to source them.
My eco-friendly cleaning supplies:
Amber Glass Bottles (500ml or 1000ml size)
The reason I specifically use amber glass bottles is that the cleaning products I make typically contain essential oils. Amber coloured bottles protect the essential oils from ultraviolet light, which can damage the oils. Meanwhile, the glass is used because certain oils, such as citrus oils, may dissolve plastic over time. This could be a problem if you’re reusing plastic bottles time and time again. I found my amber glass bottles at Baldwins, and their service is second to none. Don’t feel you have to splash out on bottles though. For a zero-waste solution the glass bottles that white vinegar comes in will suffice: just store them in a dark cupboard when not in use.
The glass bottles from Baldwins all come with screw tops. I add a few trigger spray nozzles to my order. Alternatively reuse trigger sprays from any used up cleaning products. I’ve bought the nozzles as some as my bottles are 1000 ml sized, for cleaning products I like to make in bigger sizes.
I’m having a go at making my own hand wash, so have two pump tops, again from Baldwins, for easy and measured dispensing. I’ll share my recipe once I’ve hit the homemade hand wash jackpot.
I buy my white vinegar in bulk from eBay, getting four 5 litre jerrycans of the stuff at a time. Twenty litres works out at a little over £15 (with free postage) and it’s the most economical way of buying vinegar. At about £1.33 a litre, it’s way cheaper than buying the glass bottles of white vinegar at the supermarket (£1 for 568ml) or the plastic 750ml bottles from the pound shop. I use vinegar all around the house, and even the garden, so it’s a handy bulk supply to have in stock.
I buy a big bottle of vodka specifically for cleaning with. Nothing fancy, just the cheapest, nastiest stuff I can find on the bottom shelf of the supermarket. Minimum alcohol pricing laws in Scotland means the cheapest I can find vodka for is £10 for 750ml. Vodka is scent-free and oddly great for deodorising (I promise your house won’t smell like a pub). It’s also great at cutting through soap scum and has some disinfectant properties. And the handy thing is that once you’ve finished cleaning you can pour yourself a celebratory vodka and tonic…!
Bicarbonate of Soda, Soda Crystals, Salt, & Borax
I keep a couple of boxes to hand of each ingredient. Each is handy in its own right – see here for soda crystals uses and here for borax uses, and often can be combined with other ingredients to make powerful homemade cleaning products. Large boxes of borax, soda crystals, and bicarbonate of soda can be found cheaply in the cleaning aisle of bigger supermarkets, at Wilkinsons, or in pound shops. Alternatively, try eBay if you want to buy in bulk at low cost.
I’m a fan of Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap. I’ve been buying the orange scented soap in the larger size and been using it as part of the handwash recipe I’m working on. I also use it for other uses around the home, such as cleaning my solid floors.
I use a variety of essential oils. The most common ones I use are lemon, sweet orange, and grapefruit, as I’m a particular fan of citrus scents. I’m also partial to lavender and tea tree oil because of their disinfectant and antibacterial properties. I tend to buy my essential oils from Buff & Butter on eBay as they are priced competitively, offer free delivery, and have the added advantage of being organic.
I love my e-cloths – I wrote a whole ode to e-cloths here. These cloths remove dirt, grease, and 99% of all bacteria, including salmonella, E.coli, and listeria, with just water. When dirty, just pop them in the washing machine. I’m particularly a fan of using e-cloths to clean my windows and shower screen, and for cleaning my stainless steel hob and appliances. Streak-free cleaning at it’s finest.
There is a bit of controversy regarding microfibre cloths shedding microplastic into the ocean. However, if you wear any kind of synthetic clothing then it’s also responsible for this microplastic release. I would personally argue that the environmental impact of not using harsh chemicals that ultimately end up in our waterways is better than the small amount of microplastic coming from microfibre cloths. That’s your personal choice to make though.
Cotton cloths, scrubbing brushes, and citrus fruit are always handy eco-friendly cleaning supplies to have to hand, as is a little bit of elbow grease!
Looking for inspiration? Try my post on my green cleaning favourites for some recipes to try out with these eco-friendly cleaning supplies!