Is green apartment living something you’re interested in? If so, an easy place to start is with your cleaning products.
Environmental toxins are a big talking point these days—all those scented products, strong chemical cleaners and disposable cleaning products aren’t great for our health or the planet. But often the green alternatives, found in organic shops, can be expensive and come packaged in plastic, too.
The alternative is to make your own inexpensive, low-waste, natural products that will keep your home clean and smelling lovely without harsh chemicals or lots of throw-away waste. Here are some tips if you’re looking to make a few changes this year.
Clean up your act
When it comes to cleaning, white vinegar, baking soda and water are just as effective as strong chemical products. You can mix up different batches depending on what you are using them for. By using recycled spray bottles or glass, you’ll not only save money, you’ll also cut down on plastic packaging.
Here’s a basic kit to get you started, and some green cleaning recipes.
What you’ll need:
A couple of spray bottles
A shaker jar for powder—an old herb shaker or a jar lid with holes punched into it will both work well
A bottle of Doctor Bronners Pure-Castile Soap (a little goes a long way, and there are many fragrances to choose from)
Baking soda (buy in bulk to save money)
Essential oils—peppermint, lemon, lavender and tea tree are all lovely for home use.
All purpose spray
This gentle cleaning spray will keep your surfaces clean without harsh chemicals and smells great too.
Half-fill a spray bottle with water, then a quarter of a cup of pure-castile soap (scented or unscented) and optional essential oil—20 drops is fine). Now you have an all-purpose cleaning spray for your home (which doubles as a room freshener).
Mix up a solution of half water and half white vinegar for windows and mirrors. With this, there is no need for those weird blue liquids, and you’ll also save money. Wipe down glass surfaces with an old towel or t-shirt, or newspaper.
For tougher bathroom cleaning, fill a shaker jar with baking soda and about a teaspoon of essential oil. Sprinkle this on bathtubs, basins or your toilet, leaving for a little while before scouring. This will work for showers, tiles, baths and toilets.
These are great if you have small children as you can keep them nearby for quickly cleaning up messes, and they have less packaging and plastic than disposable wipes.
Old t-shirts or towels cut into squares (these can be washed and reused).
A glass or plastic container to fit.
1 ½ cups water
1 tbsp Dr Bronner Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
20 drops essential oil of your choice
Put your cloth squares in the container, mix up the solution, pour it over, and you have a supply of ready-made wipes for quickly cleaning up spills around the house. These will last about two weeks, so make up as many as you need for that time frame.
Clean the air with plants
Another thing we don’t think about when it comes to our homes is air quality, which can often be much lower than outdoors due to a build-up of toxins and not opening our windows enough.
Regular ventilation is important, as is cleaning your air naturally with indoor plants. The best ones for air cleaning are mother-in-law’s tongue and peace lily, so keep a few in your bedroom. They look beautiful, too.
Keep the dirt out
While cleaning hacks are great, there’s a lot to be said for avoiding mess in the first place. Living in the city means dirty footpaths and lots of things that don’t bear thinking about getting into your home via the soles of your shoes.
The best cleaning hack is taking your shoes off at the door! This means you need to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying yourself. And read our recent blogs on sustainable apartment living and edible plants to grow on your balcony for more ideas about green living.
Talk to us
Do you have any clever cleaning tips for green apartment living to share? Please comment on our Facebook page.