As we come to the final week of Plastic Free July, we share some of our top tips on getting your home sparkling with zero plastic
Switching to eco-friendly cleaning could be one of the best things you can do for your health and the environment. Not only are most conventional cleaning products awash with unpronounceable chemicals and toxins that we’re regularly introducing into our homes, most of these goods are housed in plastic packaging. From washing up liquid bottles to packets of wipes, these plastics are left to sit for hundreds of years in landfill or litter our beautiful landscapes. So, what can we do to ditch the non-degradable plastic and start a more sustainable cleaning regime in our homes?
1 Look at the tools you already own
A great place to start when switching up your cleaning routine is looking at the tools you already use. There’s nothing wrong with plastic – it’s an incredibly durable material after all – and discarding it when it’s still usable is a sure-fire way to add unnecessary waste to landfill. But if your existing tools have seen better days and you’re on the look-out for replacements, check out those made from sustainable materials like wood or steel which can be infinitely recycled.
Dusters – Microfibre dusters have been marketed as a great tool for dusting as the fibres attract the pesky particles for an effective clean. But, made from a blend of polyamide and polyester, the fabric can shed microplastics in your home and, when it’s reached the end of its life, it won’t degrade. Consider switching to a natural feather duster (you can purchase one second-hand if you’d prefer not to buy new) or opt for 100% cotton cloths.
Brooms and mops – When it comes to your wooden, laminate or tiled floors, sweep with a traditional wooden broom with natural bristles; an old-school mop and bucket of water paired with detergent or soap is a great plastic-free way to keep floors sparkling.
Vacuum – You’ll be hard-pressed to find a plastic-free vacuum cleaner but when you’re making your purchase, opt for one that comes with a lifetime guarantee so it can be repaired instead of discarded for a new one.
2 Eliminate unsustainable washing up
The plastic washing up bottle is prevalent in supermarket cleaning aisles, and with washing the dishes a daily chore, that’s a lot of plastic bottles that will take hundreds of years to break down. Some household names are introducing bottles made from recycled plastic, which is a step in the right direction towards more sustainable choices, but there are other ways to reduce the plastic in your home when it comes to washing up.
Consider visiting your local refill store where you can reuse a container you already own (perhaps an empty washing up liquid bottle that you’ve saved from landfill!) If you have the space, you could buy washing up liquid in bulk to limit the number of new plastic bottles entering your home.
For the ultimate convenience, bide’s eco washing up liquid arrives at your door as a concentrate in plastic-free packaging – simply decant into a bottle and add water. Ours is made using vegan, plant-derived ingredients, so you know there are no nasties getting washed down your drain, either.
If using the dishwasher is more your thing, this is another area where plastic can be entering your home and waterways. Most dishwasher tablets are either individually wrapped in plastic or contain a water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol plastic film. Aside from the chemicals leeching into our waterways, the plastic will have been created from fossil fuels such as crude oil which is devastating for our planet. Look for a plastic-free alternative – our dishwasher powder is completely plastic-free, including the packaging, and made from natural, non-toxic ingredients.
3 Get rid of the kitchen sponge
The innocuous-looking kitchen sponge is often harbouring millions of bacteria which are then easily spread onto our surfaces and dishes. What’s more, these kitchen staples are made from layers of polyurethane so not only can they leak microplastics into our water, they cannot decompose after you’ve chucked them out. Switching to cotton dish cloths that you can wash and reuse or wood-based viscose cloths that you can compost are a great alternative, or you can go down the natural route and use a loofah or coconut scourers which are both biodegradable at the end of their lives.
4 Say no to kitchen towel
Paper towels are often a handy addition to our kitchens for mopping up spills and wiping down surfaces. But it’s not always the best option for the planet, with the manufacturing contributing to deforestation and the rolls usually wrapped in plastic. Fortunately, there is a more planet-friendly alternative. Reusable kitchen roll can often be purchased in eco shops, or you can make your own from old cotton t-shirts cut into squares or unused muslin cloths. They can simply be washed with your usual laundry and reused.
5 Freshen up your loo the eco way
If you already have a plastic toilet brush, keep using this until it’s reached the end of its life – there’s no point in throwing it away for a plastic-free alternative when it’s perfectly functional! When it does come to the time for a change, opt for one made from sustainable materials like wood or stainless steel with natural bristles. Pair your loo brush with bide toilet freshening bombs (perfect for a mid-week freshen up) and a toilet cleaning scrub (ideal for a more thorough clean). Both products are natural alternatives to chemical-laden toilet fresheners, using non-toxic and plant-based ingredients that fizz away limescale and dirt. As always, our toilet cleaners come in zero plastic packaging.
6 Raid your kitchen
Store-cupboard items that you already have can work wonders in cleaning your home. Bicarbonate of soda is a great natural deodoriser – you can sprinkle it in dustbins or leave some in your fridge to fight unpleasant odours – as well as being effective at tackling stubborn mildew, cleaning your kitchen surfaces and unclogging drains. (In fact, our toilet scrub we mentioned earlier is also great at these!) Lemons – which you can buy free from plastic packaging – can be used to shine up dull taps, polish wooden furniture and clean your microwave.
Head over to our TikTok where we share lots more cleaning hints and tricks – including some uses for our products you might not expect!