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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips for a Sustainable Home

Eco-friendly cleaning has become important to South African households as we seek to find a balance between affordability, product effectiveness, and doing what is best for Mother Earth.


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From choosing natural homemade solutions to turning old clothes into dish cloths, sustainability nowadays isn’t confined to recycling glass, paper, and plastic. In this article, we dive into eco-friendly cleaning practices that make our lives easier and get us thinking differently.

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Cleaning

Feeling proud of yourself for making savvy consumer choices that make your home both sustainable and safe is just one of the many benefits of eco-friendly cleaning. Eco-friendly cleaning materials and products have less of a carbon footprint. They are biodegradable and non-toxic and are not only less likely to end up in a landfill but are also gentle on our skin. They can be made with household items you already have at your disposal and can be more cost effective to use.

Time-Saving Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips for Busy Individuals

With loadshedding in South Africa and irregular hours of electrical consumption, eco-friendly laundry tips can help us wash our clothes quickly and effectively. This starts with using an energy efficient washing machine. New machines do come with an Energy Efficiency Label that stipulates the model’s efficiency level (ranked from A to G). As a rule of thumb, front loaders generally use less water and electricity than top loaders.

Shorter, cold-water cycles is your next smart move to avoid your laundry getting stuck in the machine when the power goes out. Hang your laundry out to dry naturally, either outdoors or overnight indoors.

Consider ‘The 5 Rs’ of eco-friendly living that can just as easily apply to your laundry habits as they do to other areas of eco conscious consumerism. ‘The 5 Rs’ are:

  1. Refuse

  2. Reduce

  3. Reuse

  4. Repurpose

  5. Recycle

Consider ‘refusing’ to buy cheap clothing that is made from synthetic materials such as polyesters. Polyester fabrics have a nasty habit of losing their shape after a few washes anyway, and they give off microplastics which pollute our seas.

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By ‘reducing’ your consumption and ‘reusing’ hardier, more natural fabrics you’re making a sustainability choice that is simultaneously a fashion one too!

Similarly, you can ‘repurpose’ old T shirts by turning them into washcloths or reusable bags and adopt a ‘recycling’ approach by washing your swimwear and sensitive synthetics by hand when you are in the shower.

Tip: You can use your laundry lint as lining for your indoor pot plants. The lint is ideal for retaining moisture levels in your soil!

Removing Tough Stains Naturally

We already know about the wonders of using vinegar and baking soda to clean a blocked kitchen sink or drain. Well, those same products that are standard items on most kitchen shelves are handy ingredients for making your own homemade cleaning solution.

Castile soap is a vegetable-based soap (made from olive oil) that is made from completely natural ingredients. You can use it to clean sponges, makeup brushes, and for getting rid of tough household stains.

Tip: It is very strong though and our suggestion would be to mix one tablespoon of castile soap for every cup of water. You can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for a nicer fragrance and honestly, you can use this homemade recipe to clean everything from your floors to your face!

Parents of sports-loving kids will understand the struggles of removing tough stains naturally, as often your children will return from the playground or park with nosebleeds and scrapes and bruises, resulting in bloodied clothing.

Check out this article on How to Remove Blood Stains from Fabric, and remember that acting fast is your best move!

Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents and Fabric Softeners

A washing detergent brand like OMO is made with naturally derived cleaning agents and promises unbeatable stain removal first time, even in a quick wash. OMO is made from a minimum of 25% recycled plastics, and its packaging is 100% recyclable too.

When considering eco-friendly laundry detergents and fabric softeners, the rule of thumb is to seek out products that are free from artificial dyes or fragrances as these are what most often cause allergic reactions and skin allergies. As far as regular laundry detergent ingredients go, watch out for glutaral which is toxic to marine life and can also trigger asthma.

Tip: Using half a cup of baking soda during your laundry’s rinse cycle is a natural alternative to fabric softener that is also incredibly cost-effective.

Eco-Friendly Carpet and Rug Cleaning Tips

For an eco-friendly carpet cleaning hack, simply sprinkle baking soda over the stained carpet or rug. Mix water and white wine vinegar in equal parts in a spray bottle and then spray your mixture on top of that. The ingredients will mix, causing a fizzing reaction. Then pat the affected, now fizzing area with a dry rag to soak up the mixture and the stain – and marvel at your handiwork!

Sustainable Roof Cleaning Methods

Cleaning your roof is important as not doing so can lead to a shorter lifespan, which results in expensive repairs. A leaking roof not only leads to water damage, but mould and mildew too.

Our eco-friendly roof cleaning advice would be to grab a ladder before the rain arrives and ensure that your roof and gutters are clear of all debris like leaves, branches, and twigs.

A pressurised water gun is readily available online and can work wonders to remove those black streaks of moss and algae that you might have spotted when you are up on the ladder.

Maintenance is key. You can add a few drops of food colouring to water to identify leaks, and you can fix those leaks with a silicone caulk.

Clear your roof of any overhanging branches and commit to whipping out the ladder and giving your roof an inspection four times a year.

This method is superior to a chlorine-based toxic roof cleaning material (or hiring in expensive professionals) if you are serious about adopting an eco-friendly roof cleaning policy that is in line with your overall sustainable Mzansi home ambitions.

Good luck applying some of our eco-friendly cleaning tips in your home. Remember, making small changes can have a big impact.

For more eco-friendly tips and tricks, visit Cleanipedia today!

FAQs Eco-Friendly Cleaning

How can I clean without using chemicals?

The key ingredients for cleaning at home without store-bought chemicals are baking soda, white vinegar, lemon, and table salt. These can be used in combination to clean everything from mouldy bathroom tiles to kitchen counters.

What does organic cleaner mean?

Organic cleaning products should be certified as containing only non-toxic, natural ingredients. They are usually plant-based and are safe to use around children and pets. Very often they will contain vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and essential oils such as lavender or buchu for fragrance.

What is a recipe for an eco-friendly cleaner?

Try mixing a half cup of white vinegar with a quarter cup of baking soda (also known as bicarbonate soda). Then add four to eight cups of hot water (depending on the concentration strength required) and pour it into a pump-action spray bottle (the kind you get from a nursery). Add a few drops of essential oil (like lemongrass, buchu, or wild lavender) to give your homemade eco-friendly cleaner a pleasant aroma.

Originally published