Cleaning naturally, organically and economically

Author: pip phillips

Here are all of our top tips for cleaning naturally, organically and ecologically, without breaking the bank economically...

It’s that time of year again, whether it's the crocuses popping out their heads in the spring, or the sudden realisation that the sun shining through your windows shows up every last bit of grime, many of us will feel the desire to clean our houses, our living spaces and our lives. Whatever it is that drives it; perhaps it’s the longer days, the impending holiday visitors or even an unbeknownst biological cleaning clock! Surveys show that many of us reach for the cleaning products at the turn of the seasons.

What some people might still be unaware of, is that often the process of cleaning our homes can make our planet polluted and may not be doing people many favours either. Some of the products people use for house-cleaning are full of harmful chemicals that are not only bad for the planet but for us too.

If you want more tips, why not try this 'natural cleaning solutions' wallchart from Liz Cook (pictured below), it's a very popular gift as well as gracing the walls of many eco-friendly souls and gives great ideas for eco-cleaning, keeping your conscience as clean as your house will be!

Eco-friendly-cleaning-liz-cook-chart

Cleaning Naturally

You'll need elbow grease to clean naturally!  Here are our cloths and scourers. If it's going to be messy, try using these Fairtrade rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Pure beeswax is all that's needed to give your good wood a proper polish and it only needs to be used sparingly. Once a year ought to be enough to give it a good clean and polish, for scratched or damaged wood, use it to repair and shine immediately.

You might already have some eco-friendly cleaning products on your shelves that you weren’t even aware of. Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar are two common household products that have a multitude of uses, outside of giving your baking a bit of a lift or your chips a bit of bite!

Bicarbonate of soda

Since it has long been known of and is widely used, the salt has many related names such as baking soda, bread soda, cooking soda, and sodium bicarbonate. Often also known as bicarb. You can find bicarbonate of soda here in our webshop.

1.      Refreshing a musty drinks bottle or flask - simply wash normally then add a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda, top up with warm water then leave to soak for a while - say half an hour. Empty and rinse and your drinks bottle or flask will be lovely and fresh smelling.

2.      Sparkly stainless steel - use a moist cloth with a dab of Bicarbonate of Soda on it. Rub gently on cool appliances then polish with a clean, dry cloth to bring back the gleam!

3.      Grimy grout - make a paste of two parts Bicarbonate of Soda to one part white vinegar. Use an old toothbrush and scrub the mixture into the grout then rinse off for pretty instant gleaming grout.

4.      Getting grease off the floor - if you get a greasy spill on the floor, clean up most with kitchen roll then sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on the spill. Give it a while to soak up then mop up as normal. This will get rid of the grease and stop the spreading that normally happens when you try to mop up grease too soon.

5.      Smelly bins- wash the bin out with a strong solution, about 4 parts Bicarbonate of Soda to 1 bucket warm water. Leave to soak for a while, then empty and rinse. Et voilá beautiful bins!

6.      Add it to your washing machine in place of a softener. It will soften but also help remove any lingering odours.

Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile item. What's so great about vinegar for cleaning? Besides being effective, vinegar is cheap and widely available. It lasts for a long time without losing strength, is non-toxic and is much safer to have under your sink than bleach or other toxic cleaning products. Find vinegar here in our webshop.

1.      Clean windows with a solution of 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 2 pints (1 litre) warm water and a dash of washing up liquid (hand dishwashing detergent).  Put into a clean, empty spray bottle, shake to mix before use. Wash from top to bottom on the inside of windows and from side to side on the outside. This way you will be able to tell which side any smears are. Use old newspapers to get a streak-free finish.

2.      Freshen laundry. When your big washing day comes around, toss in a capful of white vinegar. Your colours will come out bolder and your whites whiter. Got grass stains? No problem. Make a mixture of one-third cup white vinegar and two-thirds cup water. Apply the solution to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. Repeat this process until you've removed as much green as possible, and then launder as usual.

3.      Clean carpets. Battle some carpet stains (like wine) with a mix of vinegar and warm water.

4.      Wash fresh fruits and vegetables. Vinegar can help remove residues (bacteria and pesticide) from fruits and vegetable. Mix three parts water to one part white vinegar, and pop in a spray bottle. Spray and then rinse with water.

5.      Deter cats – whilst most folk love cats, some don’t! And often you don’t want them around certain areas, a simple solution is to pour vinegar around the edges of the area you want to protect every few months.

Method is a popular brand for cleaning products that are planet-friendly and naturally derived. Method's entire product line is safe for use around pets and is specially formulated to put the hurt on dirt without harming your furry friends! They are committed to reducing carbon emissions and all of their core products are Cradle to Cradle certified, and more than 75% meet gold level certification. this means a team of scientists at C2C Institute have rigorously assessed all ingredients, packaging materials and design, processes, making sure that Method are designed for maximum material reutilisation. C2C are a not-for-profit business providing open source material - find our more about C2C here.

Ecoleaf provides environmentally friendly cleaning products that are non-toxic and safe for use around the house. The Ecoleaf range is derived from plant extracts and is based on biodegradable and non-hazardous ingredients, rather than the chemicals found in many brands. They are made in the UK, reducing the products’ carbon footprint. The bottles and containers are recyclable, and you can buy in bulk to further reduce the need for new bottles to be produced. All of Ecoleaf’s range boasts the Vegan society logo, and they are animal cruelty-free.

Ecover is the world's largest producer of ecological detergents and eco-friendly cleaning and laundry products. Some products are certified vegan under the BUAV guidelines (they're the leaping bunny logo people), however as they test on daphnia (water fleas) the Vegan Society has removed their vegan status, as have we.

Cleaning Organically

Did you know you can filter our webshop? Simply go to the shop page and search for the products you’re looking for. Then click on the preferred filter on the left-hand side of the page. It will let you pick either organic, vegan, Fairtrade or gluten free, so you can shop for your preferred products with ease.

We've recently started selling Greenscents organic cleaning range and it's proving very popular. Find the Greenscents range here in our webshop. The Greenscents range is certified by the Soil Association (the only complete range of cleaning products to achieve this), Allergy UK, the Vegan Society and Cruelty-Free International. They also do a fantastic job and smell lovely!

Cleaning-organically-at-Real-Foods-Greenscents

Dr Bronner Sal Suds cleaners are an all-purpose cleaner made of plant-based surfactants with natural spruce and fir-needle oils. The pure essential fir and spruce oils give Dr Bronner's Sal Suds a lovely aroma, making your house smell pine-fresh!The 960ml Sal Suds can be found here

Soapnuts are hypoallergenic, biodegradable, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and 100% organic.They are made from the dried shells of soapnut fruits. They contain a natural soap called saponin, which is released when they come into contact with water. They are a natural, non-polluting, compostable alternative to conventional laundry detergents and synthetic soaps. They also contain nothing except soapnuts – so that’s no fillers, foaming agents, bleach, phthalates, phosphates or parabens. Find soapnuts here in our webshop.

Bentley Organic also have all purpose cleaners and toy sanitisers in their organic range. Find them here.

Cleaning Economically 

We always have a huge range of offers on at Real Foods, if you go to the home page and hover over offers you can select the House & Baby range and see what discounts are available. Our offers change frequently and are regularly up to 33% off. Or follow this link to see what's currently on offer.

 

Ecoballs are great value for money, working out at about 2-3 pence per 30-minute machine wash. Each ball lasts for around a 1000 cycles in the washing machine and is hypoallergenic. You can get an Ecoball pack here.

Faith In Nature do a range of excellent cleaners, buy the bulk sizes to get the most for your money, this washing up liquid comes in 5-litre packs now!

So, before you reach for the duster, just take a moment to look at the ingredients list on your cleaning product and ask yourself is it clean for the planet and you, or just your home. If you decide that you no longer want to use any of your current cleaning products remember you can safely dispose of household chemicals at your local community recycling centre. To find your nearest household chemical disposal point check out www.greenerscotland.org