Mean Green Cleaning Machine

By Jennie Weaver

If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking about how to tackle this problem of plastic pollution. Over the last six years, my life has changed from living in a shared house with friends, with just one shelf in the fridge and two food cupboards, to being part of a family of four, where cupboards are emptied and refilled at an astonishing rate. I constantly have to think about lunchboxes and dinners, and my good intentions of planning meals are usually outweighed by temptations of convenience.

As a family we had already made some changes, such as using washable nappies and wipes, rather than disposable ones. And so, as our next step on this journey, I felt I needed to make some changes to the way we clean.

For my plastic pledge, I switched to a natural bathroom cleaner, and I’ve opted for distilled white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. I decant the vinegar into an old spray bottle, to clean windows and mirrors (half vinegar/half water). The bicarb of soda and a fabric cloth (or just a rag) clean the shower, bath and sink, or both products together create a fun chemical reaction to clean more effectively. I even found some recipes to make toilet tablets that fizz and clean the toilet bowl. All these ingredients can be bought in either glass bottles or cardboard boxes, so I’ve cut down my plastic use.

In the kitchen, I switched to a reusable wooden scrubbing brush. The head of the brush just gets replaced every so often, but it’s fully compostable as it’s made of natural fibres. We still use supermarket dishwasher liquid, but we take it to a refill store when it runs out.

Taking the plastic pledge has given me a chance to reflect on what I do, and why I do it. I realised I had bought into the idea of convenience much more than I appreciated. I’m thinking more about my impact on the planet – the responsibility of caring for it has given me something to mull over and pray about. And as it takes longer to clean using bicarbonate of soda, it’s an opportunity to turn a chore into a labour of love, giving thanks to God for all the good things in this world, and praying for a restored earth.