Underneath my kitchen sink was once a cluttered apothecary of cleaning products. There was almost a different option for every surface and room in the house. Every brightly coloured bottle offered the promise of a sparkling home, with the bonus addition of an exotic scent like ‘Tahitian breeze’.
When I really started to tune into the cleaning products that I was using, I began to realise that a lot of the ingredients and scents, were completely overwhelming. I also noticed that the vast range of different products and the complicated packaging was also taking up a lot of real estate in my rubbish and recycling bins.
So one by one, as I ran out of a product, I would try and switch to a better alternative. Here are some of the things that I learned along the way.
- Simplify: It turns out we don’t need a different product for every nook, cranny and corner of the house. I’ve found I can get by with a few simple multipurpose options. Not only does it free up space and bring a certain ease to the cupboard under the sink, but it also reduces the amount of packaging waste I’m creating.
- What are the ingredients: When buying products, I’m a big fan of going for the simplest list of ingredients and avoiding things like synthetic dyes and fragrances.
- Alternative packaging: Switching up product packaging or format can be a super easy win. Something as simple as buying the largest bottle of a product will reduce packaging waste and tend to save you money as well. Concentrates and refill packs will reduce the amount of packaging required, while taking your own containers to a refillery will mean you can skip the packaging all together. There are also bar and tablet product formats where you just add water and reuse your bottles over and over again.
- Make your own: I’m constantly amazed at how far the humble baking soda and vinegar will go when it comes to keeping your home clean. I tend to keep it really simple and use plain baking soda with a damp cloth to clean sinks and baths, and vinegar diluted with water in a spray bottle for things like glass. If making things is more your style, there’s a world of recipes out there to create everything from your own cream cleanser to fizzy toilet bombs.
Next time you reach to buy a cleaning product – take a micro-pause and ask yourself if there is a simple switch you can make that’s better for your own well-being and the well-being of the environment? Small changes, big impact.