Washing and CleaningHousehold chores are a daily – or at least weekly – task for most of us from vacuuming rooms and cleaning the bathroom or kitchen to doing the laundry. Getting the housework done is something probably nearly all of us do reluctantly, but, like many other things in the household, you can add a green twist to at least make the work more ethically friendly!

Take a look at our tips to washing and cleaning your home to leave it clean and green. It’s easier than you think to keep your home and your habits spick and span. Plus, you might even manage to save yourself money on your energy bills and washing and cleaning products.

Doing the Laundry

There are lots of ways that you can make washing day more environmentally friendly. Washing machines and tumble dryers are both particularly high on energy consumption – so the less you can use them, the better. As soon as the weather allows it, dry your clothes outside on a washing line. The wind is free to use, will dry your clothes quickly and will save you on tumble dryer and radiator costs.

The type of cycle you use will also have an affect on the amount of energy you use. Washing clothes at 30 degrees will save up to 40% on your washing energy costs. The major washing powder and liquid brands, such as Ariel – who work with the Energy Saving Trust to promote their ‘Turn to 30’ campaign – all agree that the technological advances in their products mean it will work just as well at a lower temperature.

Air Freshening

You should check how you’re freshening your home by ensuring the air fresheners you use are environmentally friendly and do not contain polluting materials, or potentially toxic substances that aren’t good for you to be inhaling regularly. Again, use the outdoors, once weather allows, to freshen your home. Open windows and let in the outdoor air to keep your home smelling fresh and feeling ventilated. You should also minimise the use of energy-guzzling air conditioning systems.

Check those Chemicals

You should always read the ingredients of all the cleaning products you’re using in the house. Bleach is powerful, corrosive and toxic, and other abrasive products will irritate your skin and eyes if you make contact.

As much as possible, only use the minimum amount of whatever you need to clean the kitchen surfaces, bath, shower and toilets. Also look for phosphate-free products that do not upset the balance the natural systems in rivers and lakes. Look for biodegradable products not based on petrochemicals.

Refill and Recycle

Always choose items that come with a refill option. This minimises the need to use more packaging than you need to, as you instead re-use the original product bottle that you buy. The great thing about refillable items is that they tend to be cheaper than the non-refillables.

Also, try and choose items that are available in recyclable containers.

Green Cleaning Tips

There are also plenty of inexpensive but natural, eco-friendly approaches to cleaning. Firstly, there are a number of ‘green’ cleaning brands, such as Ecover. This company offers items that use natural ingredients and won’t harm your local environment.

Additionally, you could use your own everyday items as cleaning products. The following will clean your house just as effectively as bought chemical-based products, and offer a sweet-smelling, natural and eco-friendly element to your housework:

  • Soda crystals – Great at unblocking sinks
  • White vinegar –A natural disinfectant, stain remover and reduces mineral and lime deposits
  • Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – Mix with water to cut through grease and dirt on almost any surface, or use alone for tougher stains
  • Lemon – A natural bleaching and disinfecting agent which also smells great
  • Olive Oil – Use as a furniture polish to nourish wood.