A Guide to Eco-Friendly Cleaning
Spring has sprung, which means it’s time for the big spring clean!
Here at Wave, we’re on a mission to help you find eco-friendly alternatives to make a small difference to your lifestyle, but a big difference to the planet.
That’s why we’ve partnered up with Mahira Kalim, Founder and CEO of Spruce, to share top tips on how to do a big, eco-friendly spring clean.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about eco-friendly cleaning. From simple cleaning hacks to pet-friendly products, we’ve got everything covered for you. Read on to discover more.
WHAT IS ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING?
Eco-friendly cleaning, or ‘green cleaning’, is when you use products that are not harmful to the environment. Instead, you use products made of natural ingredients for a more environmentally friendly clean.
ARE ECO-FRIENDLY AND GREEN CLEANING THE SAME THINGS?
Yes, green cleaning is the same as eco-friendly. They are more sustainable approaches to cleaning that have the environment in mind.
HOW HARMFUL ARE CHEMICAL CLEANING PRODUCTS?
Mahira explains how the concoction of toxic chemicals found in cleaning products impacts our health and the planet: “For decades, we've trusted cleaning brands to keep us safe. But here's the truth: regulations for what can – and can't – be added to these products haven't changed at all.
Traditional cleaning products contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals, such as VOCs, pesticides, phthalates, ammonia, and chlorine bleach, just to name a few. Because of products like these, the air inside our homes can be up to 5 times more polluted than the air outside!
This indoor air pollution is harmful to the planet and our health, often contributing to serious health concerns like hormone disruption, infertility, breathing difficulties and even cancer.
A study, spanning over 30 years by Harvard University, found that using bleach just once a week could increase the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by 30%.
Furthermore, a more recent Norwegian study suggests exposure to cleaning products has the same effect on the lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
That’s why it’s so important to switch to a non-toxic eco alternative.”
WHY USE ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS?
The most obvious reason you should use eco-friendly cleaning products is because it is a lot better for you and for the environment. The elimination of harmful chemicals in cleaning products reduces pollution and improves your health.
Mahira explains: “Most cleaning brands rely on single-use plastics, synthetic fragrances (known as carcinogens and endocrine disruptors), palm oil, petroleum, pesticides and other harmful chemicals in their formulations.
Plus, it’s estimated that 468 million plastic cleaning spray bottles are thrown away in the UK every year, with less than 9% of plastic being recycled.
Instead, it ends up polluting our waterways and soil, causing ocean acidification, threatening marine life, and even ending up in the food we eat.
Choosing to switch to a refillable and single-use, plastic-free option is far better for the planet, and your health. Just this simple swap will prevent dozens of plastic bottle waste per year for the average household, which over a lifetime amounts to thousands! Once you have the bottles-for-life, you can simply top up with plastic-free refills and water from your tap, composting the refill packaging for zero waste.
Refillable cleaning is also often a cost effective solution later down the line. For example at Spruce, once you have the refillable bottle, our refills can be purchased for as low as £1.75 per full bottle of cleaner.
Eco-friendly cleaning products also contain no toxic chemicals, and are instead made with safe, natural, ethically-sourced ingredients. By switching to eco-friendly alternatives, you can prevent indoor air pollution in your home and reduce your chances of ingesting and inhaling toxins which contribute to serious health concerns.”
WHAT ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS SHOULD I USE?
The eco-friendly cleaning market is continuing to grow and there are plenty of sustainable products you can use to switch to green cleaning.
Try and opt for products that are made from natural, vegan-friendly ingredients and avoid anything with harsh chemicals in.
Products like plastic-free spray bottles, bamboo brushes and reusable cloths are also great items to own.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN ECO CLEANING PRODUCTS
One way to clean ‘greener’ is to make your own sustainable cleaning products from natural ingredients you can find at home. It’s cheaper and a lot better for the environment and will leave your home spick and span.
A great alternative to bleach is a mixture of lemon juice, vinegar and borax, whilst tea tree oil is also another effective solution.
Mahira adds: “When it comes to making your own eco-friendly cleaning products, a few simple ingredients like bicarbonate of soda, lemon, white vinegar, and essential oils, will be your best friends.
Natural and organic essential oils are not only a safer alternative to synthetic fragrances but they also have natural antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which can be good for disinfecting surfaces naturally.
Citric acid is also great for cleaning purposes, whether it's formulated in a product or used as a stand alone ingredient. It's effective at tackling soap scum, hard water stains, calcium deposits, lime and rust, and it can help kill bacteria, mould and mildew. It's great for general disinfecting and cleaning without harming your health or the planet.”
ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS ALTERNATIVES
Mahira has shared her favourite eco-friendly alternatives for popular cleaning products:
“Spruce Multipurpose Cleaner Spray: This natural but powerful multipurpose spray is perfect for cleaning your oven without any harsh chemicals ending up in the very place you cook your food. Formulated by scientists to be highly effective against grease and grime without harsh chemicals.”
“Bicarbonate of soda is a great natural carpet cleaner for general use and stains. Sprinkle baking soda lightly all over the carpet or stained area, rub in and let the baking soda sit on the carpet for 30 minutes, before vacuuming the carpet as you normally would.”
“One of my favourite eco-friendly cleaning hacks you can easily do at home is to make your own fridge deodoriser from bicarb and essential oils. Simply add half a cup of bicarbonate of soda and 5-6 drops of your favourite essential oil to a small jar and place in the back of your fridge to warn off any nasty odours - it works every time.”
WHAT ARE THE BEST PET-FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS?
According to Mahira: “The best eco-friendly cleaning ingredients that are safe for pets are those that are non-toxic and chemical free. This is because it's very easy for animals to come into contact with these chemicals through their paws or by licking surfaces. Ingesting or inhaling these chemicals can cause a range of health problems for pets, including respiratory issues, skin irritation, poisoning, and even organ damage.
You can utilise safe ingredients with natural antimicrobial properties that are already lying around your home. Vinegar, lemon, and bicarbonate of soda are must-haves for pet-friendly households!
You can try the Spruce non-toxic refillable cleaning products, which are made with safe, non-toxic ingredients and fragranced with natural organic essential oils. With no harsh chemicals, it means your four-legged-friends – and you – can breathe clean. ”
For more information on how to live a greener life, visit our blog where you will find a catalogue of useful articles, full of tips and tricks on how to live sustainably.