How many chemical-based cleaning products do you put in your shopping basket on a weekly basis? Whether you’d prefer to have fewer bottles of potentially toxic liquids around a house, would like to do your bit to protect the oceans and environment or would like to reduce your shopping bill, there are ways you can cut down on the items you’re popping into your shopping list. Skin problems such as eczema, breathing issues including asthma and a range of other health complaints have been shown to be exacerbated by use of chemicals. As the kitchen is one area that’s usually a hotspot for the use of chemical-laden mousses, sprays and wipes. This post aims to give you few ideas of how you can make sure the hub of the home is less of a hub for toxins.
One of the simplest ways to cut down on your chemical use is through design. By considering how easy materials and surfaces are to use and wipe clean (as well as how good they look) you can incorporate simpler cleaning into your kitchen. Firstly, think about storing things used together next to each other e.g pans next to the cooker or mugs next to the kettle and coffee.
When it comes to food storage, things like condiments and spices should be easy to grab and put back to avoid any spillages. Your cabinets themselves will be easier to wipe down if they have a gloss finish, though this isn’t to everyone’s taste. Whatever the finish, making sure knobs and handles on cupboards are easy to grab will help avoid smears on door and drawer surfaces. Your kitchen bin should be easy to reach and close without the risk of items that miss the bin getting lost in corners where they can fester.
Tile trends come and go, so before you get caught up picking out tiles in the latest style, think about how much grout you’ll need to clean. Teeny tiny tiles take more cleaning while larger tiles with a glazed finish tend to be quicker to wipe clean. With this in mind, you may want to avoid tiles for the splashback behind your oven and instead opt for a more wipe-friendly material such as stainless steel, quartz or glass.
Chances are you use a whole host of tools in the kitchen to keep things clean – most likely a mix of brushes, cloths and perhaps a mop or hoover. You could choose to tear up and reuse items like old sweaters (washed of course) to reduce the number of new cloths you need to purchase. Many people prefer to use microfibre cloths in the kitchen in as they find they don’t need to use as much product to clean with. Using a steam mop can be an alternative to mopping with chemicals, though you should be aware that you will need the mop to reach a germ-killing 200 degrees for it to be effective. This overview on steam mops with reviews from Groom & Style takes you through the pros and cons of some of the market leaders. You might choose to purchase a sweep and steam mop though a good brush or hoover before using your steam mop can often prove more effective.
There are a growing number of cleaning products on the market that are labelled as eco-friendly, which you may consider adding to your shopping list. Alternatively, you could try out some more traditional cleaning methods. For example, baking soda made into a paste can be used for oven cleaning. Vinegar infused with citrus such as lemons is a very versatile cleaning product that can be used to clean windows, floors and wipe down surfaces. Regular cleaning with a vinegar spray can help shift stains and prevent buildup of grease too.
And, according to this article published in the journal Food Control, microwaving your cloths or sponges could be a more effective way to clean them rather than using bleach. If your kitchen itself is a little stinky thanks to the lingering odour of something like cooked fish, you could try using a homemade air freshener. Make your own spray by adding refreshing smelling herbs to water; try combinations such as lemon, rosemary and thyme or vanilla and cloves. Just add this to an empty spray bottle and use as needed. The aroma of fresh cut flowers in a vase can give your kitchen a friendlier look and smell too.
Do you have any tried and tested tips for cleaning with fewer chemicals? What are your failsafe DIY cleaning products and methods for shifting troublesome stains and smells?
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post, all opinions are my own.