This week on The Seep Blog, we have a very special post written by our favourite expert on sustainable cleaning, Kesia Hosking (thegreendomesticfairy.com). Kesia has kindly written a great starter guide to cleaning your kitchen sustainably, and the all-natural products that work beautifully (some of which you may already have in your kitchen).
Sustainable is such a ‘viral’ word at the moment. According to the Cambridge dictionary, sustainable means:
When I think of sustainability I think of the word “Legacy”. It’s weird huh? I think I relate them in my head because I personally think actions today should have as little damage to the world I’m leaving to our kids as possible. And, to think that something as little as a sponge will outlive me by at least 400 years is rather bonkers, isn’t it?
I realise that when it comes to making wise and sustainable decisions, the sense of overwhelm, guilt and fear kicks in. Believe me, I’ve been there many times. I advise you to put those feelings on the passenger seat and be driven to change. It’ll make such a positive difference.
Taken from my personal journey of sustainability; the approach that I’d invite you to take is that long-lasting changes are done little by little (pouco a pouco, as I say). This is the approved system that I use with my “Detox Your House” programme. It helps avoid burnout and frustration to the point of throwing everything away and “forgetting all about it”.
How to make your kitchen sustainable
Start with the basics.
Start with the object or product that you use the most in the kitchen. I would usually guess that this is washing up liquid. There are some amazing plant-based, refillable, and eco-friendly washing up liquids available out there. When I doubt I use Castile soap, which works great in soft-water areas.
Choose plastic-free washing up tools.
You need a good sponge and a dishcloth. But did you know that if you use a normal, everyday sponge it usually is full of plastic? And it’s the plastics that are going down the drain and directly into the ocean. Generic sponges are made of petroleum-based ingredients which are non-recyclable and release microplastics during every wash.
Since finding this out, I’ve personally been using the Seep sponges and cloths. They’re plastic-free and can go straight into compost after use. I’ve found they’re great for cleaning grubby kitchen tops and stainless steel sinks, just add a little bit of bicarb or salt to scrub and make it shine.
Read Seep’s guide on how to clean your sink with baking soda.
Don’t be scared.
Sustainable cleaning or green cleaning doesn’t have to be scary, or complicated, or like a science class. So, here are a few easy swaps that can indeed transform the way you clean your kitchen, improve the indoor air quality of your home and consequently the planet.
Here are some of my best eco-friendly cleaning hacks to create a sustainable and clean kitchen.
To clean surfaces in a sustainable way use citrus peel vinegar spray. Spray on the surface and use a cloth to wipe it. Clean and repeat if necessary.
Warm the oven up for about 10 minutes at 180c. When it is lukewarm, apply a paste with half a cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of citric acid and a teaspoon of Castille soap, mix it well and apply to the oven. Wait 15 minutes before scrubbing it off and wiping it clean.
Combine salt and sparkling water for a chemical-free fridge cleaner. Or use the vinegar spray mentioned above, the smell fades away pretty quickly.
Slowly pour a cup of salt down the drain then 1 litre of hot water down the kitchen sink to deodorise and unblock.
Washing up soap (like the Castille and Bio-D mentioned above) is perfect for the floor. I have a wood floor in my house so it needs slightly more attention. Personally, I use a refillable floor cleaning from Splosh. It smells lovely and I’m not paying for transporting water.