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natural cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Eco-Friendly Toilet Cleaner: The Green Brands That Scrub Up

Looking for eco-friendly toilet cleaner? Here are the green brands that scrub up nicely – from vegan brands to the sustainable refill brands and more.

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Cleaning the toilet is not high up there on the list of things that bring me joy. There are about a million other things I would rather do than clean the toilet. However, needs must. Whilst I do use natural cleaning products, such as citric acid to clean my toilet cheaply and easily, I know not everyone is so comfortable using such natural methods.

If that’s you, then I have entirely no judgement. When life gets hectic, I do sometimes use more conventional products. In fact, I’ve tried quite a few eco-friendly toilet cleaners over the years, to get a green clean without the use of chlorine bleach and other dubious products found on our supermarket shelves. After all, scientists have found that scented surface cleaners can produce enough pollutant particles, that the effect on your lungs is similar to breathing in the air on a busy road.

The Best Eco-Friendly Toilet Cleaner Brands

A plant next to a toilet with a blue text box that reads eco-friendly toilet cleaner: the green brands that scrub up.

However, just what are the eco-friendly toilet cleaner brands that actually work? Which brands will clean your loo. I’ve put several brands through their paces. Here are my favourites.

Bio-D

Bio-D’s bleach-free toilet bowl cleaner* is both strong and effective, whilst being kind to the environment. Meanwhile, the lemongrass essential oils help to naturally freshen your loo, without the overpowering aroma of bleach. For best results, squirt some cleaner into the toilet bowl and allow it to soak overnight. You can then scrub thoroughly the following morning for a sparkling finish.

Tough on limescale, this naturally derived non-toxic eco-friendly toilet cleaner is made from sustainable ingredients. This means it is free from synthetic chemicals, phosphates, preservatives, enzymes and synthetic perfumes, as well as chlorine. If you have a septic tank then it’s entirely safe to use.

What’s more, all Bio-D products are both Cruelty-Free International and Vegan Society Approved. Plus all Bio-D products are UK-made – manufactured in the Bio-D factory in Hull.

The founder of Bio-D, Michael Barwell cleaned commercial ships in the 1980s. Industrial strength cleaning products and heavy-duty safety equipment were required for this tough work. However, Michael was horrified to discover that many of these industrial cleaning ingredients could be found in household cleaners.

In response, Michael set about looking for safer, naturally derived alternatives. Bio-D was born in 1989 with an environmental and ethical responsibility at its heart. The brand also believes that sustainable eco-cleaning products must be accessible to everyone. Bio-D is therefore passionate about producing great cleaning products at an affordable price.

Buy a 750 ml 100% recycled bottle for £2.65* (0.004p per ml) and a 5L refill carton for £12.80 from Ethical Superstore* (0.003p per ml).

Miniml

I’m a big fan of Miniml products all around the home. Its spearmint and peppermint non-toxic and eco-friendly toilet cleaner* is no exception.

This clinging gel formula acts fast to deep clean and remove tough stains from your loo, whilst leaving your bathroom with a pleasant minty aroma. Effective in both hard and soft water areas, it’s also safe for use in septic tank systems.

Miniml says to let the eco-friendly toilet cleaner sit in your toilet bowl for at least 5-10 minutes before flushing to rinse clean. Any tough stains can be scrubbed with a toilet brush to remove.

Bleach-free, it’s also free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), solvents, lanoline, sulphates, parabens and phosphates. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free and British-made – manufactured in Miniml’s Yorkshire factory.

Only available in bulk refill size, once you have finished with your empty packaging, you can send it back to Miniml free of charge. Simply scan the QR code on the back of the packaging or the information card in your order so that it can be cleaned, reused and refilled. This means that no single-use plastic goes to waste.

Buy a 5L refill from Good Club* or Ethical Superstore* for around £12 (0.002p per ml) and decant it into an empty bottle.

Bower Collective Refill Toilet Cleaner

Person decanting Bower toilet cleaner into a reusable bottle.

I’ve used a few of Bower Collective’s clever refill pouches – particularly its eco-friendly shower gel – and I’ve always been impressed. Its concentrated eco-friendly toilet cleaner* is equally as impressive.

Made in the UK using 100% naturally derived and ethically sourced ingredients, this hypoallergenic Toilet Cleaner has a refreshing lemongrass scent. It is free from harsh chemicals, including petrochemicals, phosphates, preservatives, enzymes and synthetic perfumes. Plus, it’s vegan and cruelty-free.

Just before you go to bed, simply squirt the toilet cleaner under the rim of the toilet bowl. In the morning use a toilet brush to remove the dissolved limescale and flush. Job done!

What’s to especially love is that Bower’s non-toxic and eco-friendly toilet cleaner comes in 1L refill pouches. Simply decant the product into a bottle and then return the pouch to Bower in the free pre-paid envelope provided. You don’t even need to wash the pouch out. Simply pop it in your nearest post box as is.

Bower will then refill it with the same product at our refill centre, ready to go again! Each pouch can be reused over and over again, and at the end of its life, Bower ensures that it is responsibly recycled with its specialist recycling partner.

Buy a 1L refill directly from Bower Collective* for £3.79 (0.004p per ml). You can also buy the cleaner in a pine and cedarwood fragrance*, and a reusable toilet cleaner dispenser bottle* for £3.99.

Ecoleaf Toilet Cleaner

Also made in the UK, Ecoleaf’s eco-friendly toilet cleaner* is made from natural, biodegradable and sustainably sourced ingredients. Derived from plant extracts, it’s entirely vegan-friendly and suitable for septic tanks.

All Ecoleaf containers are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, and you can buy the bulk containers to decant into your own bottle.

To use, simply squeeze a small amount around the toilet bowl and flush. The liquid is a little thin compared to other brands, and it does come out of the bottle quicker than you might expect. However, it still does the job nicely, without leaving your bathroom smelling like a swimming pool.

Buy a 750 ml 100% recycled bottle for £1.99* (0.003p per ml) and a 5L refill eco-friendly toilet cleaner carton for £12.49 from Ethical Superstore* (0.002p per ml).

Do also check out my guide to eco-friendly cleaning products that work for more product suggestions. Or want to make your own cleaning products? Try my guide to natural cleaning products to DIY.

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

The Best Way To Wash Fruits and Vegetables to Remove Pesticides

Wondering what the best way to wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides is? Wonder no more! I’ve found the most effective way to do this, backed up by science.

Eating fruit and vegetables is a key element in leading a healthy lifestyle. However, many fruit and vegetables are grown using pesticides. After picking, these pesticides remain on the skin of fresh produce. Meanwhile, some pesticides can penetrate into the flesh of fruit and vegetables.

Some fruit and vegetables have a higher pesticide load than others. While buying organic is one of the best ways to reduce the number of pesticides on the produce we buy, it can be cost-prohibitive to shop organically. This is particularly so with the cost of living crisis impacting household budgets across the country. Thankfully, there are ways to remove pesticides from the skin of fruits and vegetables easily, effectively and cheaply, and backed up by science.

Scientists Say This Is The Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables to Remove Pesticides

A person washing fruit in a sink with a blue text box that says the best way to wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides

A 2017 scientific study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, and published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry carried out research into washing fresh produce. Here they investigated the effectiveness of commercial and homemade washing agents in removing surface and internal pesticide residues from apples.

Interestingly this study established that pesticides that were found on the surface of the apples were most effectively removed by a common household ingredient. That ingredient being bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda). This was in comparison to using just tap water or bleach.

How To Wash Fruit and Vegetables To Remove Pesticides

According to this research, here are the best ways to wash your fruit and vegetables to remove pesticides. I’ve provided different methods, depending on how much produce you have to wash.

In each case, it’s best to wash your fruit and vegetables right before you plan to cook or eat them. This is because in many cases, moisture on your produce can cause it to go bad faster.

In The Sink

  1. First, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any dirt and germs from your hands.
  2. Next, clean your sink using a natural cleaning product to remove anything untoward in your sink.
  3. Now, fill your sink with cold water – approximately half full.
  4. Add three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to the water, and agitate the water to dissolve the powder.
  5. Place your fruit and vegetables in the water to wash them. Follow the instructions below for washing specific fruits and vegetables, before leaving them to soak for 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Finally, remove your fruit and vegetables from the water, and let them dry thoroughly before prepping or eating.

In A Bowl

  1. First, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any dirt and germs from your hands.
  2. Using a measuring jug, fill a clean bowl around half full with cold water. Make a note of how much water your bowl holds.
  3. Next, add 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda for approximately every 450 ml of cold water you added to the bowl, and stir to dissolve.
  4. Place your fruit and vegetables in the water to wash them. Follow the instructions below for washing specific fruits and vegetables, before leaving them to soak for 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Finally, remove your fruit and vegetables from the water, and let them dry thoroughly before prepping or eating.

Notes For Washing Specific Fruits and Vegetables

Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce or cabbage should be separated into their individual leaves before washing. This allows the bicarbonate of soda to get into all the nooks and crannies to remove surface pesticides.

Soft fruits and vegetables – such as strawberries, grapes or tomatoes – should be rubbed lightly with your fingers. This helps to gently loosen any chemical residue, dirt or wax – without damaging your produce.

Firm fruit and vegetables – think carrots, apples, potatoes, melon, or cucumber – can generally tolerate being scrubbed with a soft-bristle vegetable brush. This scrubbing action helps remove anything untoward on their surface.

Want About Pesticides That Penetrate The Skin Of Produce?

The researchers of the study note that washing apples with bicarbonate of soda reduce pesticide levels mostly from the surface. They advised that peeling the apples is more effective to remove the penetrated pesticides. However, they do note that many beneficial nutrients found in the apple peel will be lost. Apple peels contain 72% of the total amount of vitamin E and vitamin K contained within the apple. It also contains around half the total iron content, as well as all of the apple’s vitamin B9 content. Vitamin B9 is also known as folic acid.  

With this information in mind, I would say that washing your fruit and vegetables to remove surface dirt and pesticides is sufficient.

What If Soaking Produce For 12 -15 Minutes Isn’t Practical?

I’ll admit, soaking every single piece of fruit or vegetable for 12 to 15 minutes before you go to eat or cook with it isn’t always so practical. Putting barriers up to eating healthy food isn’t something I want to do either.

Simply soaking your fruit or veg for a minute or two in a little bicarbonate of soda, and giving it a scrub, admittedly may not be as effective as the longer soak time prescribed. However, it will remove some pesticides and dirt, and be clean enough to eat.

Why Are Pesticides Used On Fruit And Vegetables?

Pesticides are used on fruit and vegetables for a variety of reasons.  Pesticides help to protect food crops from plant diseases and pests. They are used to control weeds and/or insects that damage and destroy food crops.

However, pesticides are not without their controversy. Pesticides can contaminate land, water, and other plants. Their use can kill precious pollinators, such as bees, as well as other creatures, such as birds and fish. Pesticide use can also harm farmers, farmworkers, and local communities.

So grab some bicarbonate of soda and give your fruit a wash. Once you’ve done that, read up on the work of organisations such as Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK), which promotes safe and sustainable alternatives to hazardous pesticides. You can also check out the Good Food, Good Farming campaign, which campaigns for a radical transition of EU food and farming policies, and the RSPB’s calls for responsible pesticide management.