Coronavirus-inspired panic buying of cleaning products needn’t be a worry – the way we used to clean our houses and hands is cheaper, greener and no less effective.
The chemicals you use to clean your home day-to-day can have a detrimental effect on the environment – not least because they invariably end up in the water supply. And while many cleaning products are now marketed as environmentally benign, invariably they come in plastic bottles – just one aspect of their production process and product life cycle that has an unwanted impact on the environment. The good news is that for most household cleaning tasks, lemons and bicarbonate of soda can be used in place of caustic chemicals.
It’s being drilled into us that frequent hand washing is vital if we are to restrict the spread of coronavirus. What’s perhaps less well known is that you don’t have to use the alcohol based products that are currently in such short supply. A bar of soap will work wonders just as long as you use hot water, work up a lather and give your hands a thorough scrub. Traditional soap has the added advantage of being free of plastic packaging.
Mix distilled white vinegar with water and apply to window panes with a sponge. For best results, finish with a squeegee.
De-scaling your kettle
If you live in a hard water area, every couple of days, squeeze a little fresh lemon into your empty kettle and watch as the limescale dissolves in front of you. Leave the lemon juice to work its magic for a few minutes, wipe with a cloth and then rinse with fresh water.
To rid your garden of weeds without polluting your soil, pour full-strength white distilled vinegar on unwanted vegetation. Conversely, if you’d like to keep freshly cut flowers looking good for longer, add two tablespoons of white vinegar and two tablespoons of sugar to the water.
To mop floors, add one mug of white distilled vinegar to a bucket of warm water. Environmentally benign, surprisingly effective and no need to rinse.
Next time the inside of your microwave looks like a crime scene, add white distilled vinegar to a mug of water (same proportion as if you were adding milk to a latte) and boil in the microwave until steam forms on the window – then simply wipe away any food residue.
To remove tarnish from copper and pewter, apply a mixture of one teaspoon of salt, two eggcups of white distilled vinegar and enough flour to make a paste. Apply to the metal and after 15 minutes rinse with clean water before polishing.
To prevent the build-up of soap scum, wipe shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar. No need to rinse.
If your pet pees on your carpet, use paper towels to blot the affected area. Before treating the carpet with vinegar, it’s important to test for colourfastness in an inconspicuous place. If you’re happy the colour will not run, apply a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water and allow to sit for ten minutes. Blot as before, and when the carpet is mostly dry, sprinkle with baking soda to help absorb odours. Vacuum after one hour.
Distilled white vinegar can work wonders removing stubborn glue residue.
Need to soften an old paintbrush? Soak it in hot white distilled vinegar until it softens and then wash with warm, soapy water.
Ethical Home Insurance
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, travel insurance, breakdown cover and home insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
Unlike many home insurance providers, our quote process is quick and simple. Just tell us the basics about you and your home, and we will provide a clear, no-obligation quote in under two minutes. Get a quote now
We also won’t ask for your contact details, which means we won’t bombard you with a telephone calls, emails or letters just because you’ve asked for a quote.