Cleaning a student house can be exhausting, the countless takeaway boxes, the mouldy sink and the unthinkably gross toilet. But with the corona virus outbreak, now is the perfect time more than ever for a spring clean.
But as many of us are re-evaluating our current cleaning techniques and methods, and are perhaps even cleaning more than before, it raises a question: are these methods sustainable for our planet and our wallet?
I’m the sole bathroom and kitchen cleaner of my student house and yes it’s very gross but it has to be done for health and hygiene or we’ll all suffer and at this rate, well all catch the corona virus lol. It’s so tempting to use harsh chemicals when I clean to make sure all the virus and bacteria are gone, but these are very bad and polluting to our environment and are not very safe to breathe in. Students typically are the worse when it comes to cleaning, there are even shows highlighting this issue, but maybe these students just don’t know where to start. With so many products on the market to decide from, some sustainable some not, and some are very expensive in terms of cost per use, students with limited income therefore just don’t know where to begin or whats really worth its value.
That is why I’m sharing my standard sustainable-ish cleaning products. I’ll admit I’m not yet 100% sustainable with my cleaning as somethings do just need something stronger when you live with 6 people but here are a few tips for keeping it clean and green….
- If like my me you have asthma which is triggered by chemical smells and aerosols, why not switch your cleaning spray to white vinegar. White Vinegar is amazing at cleaning shower screens, removing limescale, cleaning mirrors and also stainless steel. When you add a microfiber cloth in to the mix, your bathroom will literally sparkle. It is also a much more sustainable and natural alternative to harsh chemical cleaning sprays. Yes there is a vinegar smell but it quickly goes if you put the fan on or leave the window open. In wilko now you can even buy it cheaply in a spray bottle for about a pound. As the vinegar is acidic, is does kill some bacteria, however it is probably best to use something stronger on the actual toilet. If the vinegar smell is too strong or you want to use it for other surfaces you can create your own spray using white vinegar, baking soda, lemons as shown in this video.
- The other day I was watching This Morning and they had a segment on the corona virus and bleach. Did you know that one bottle of bleach can provide they same volume of surface cleaner as 50 spray bottles?! In order to create your own anti-bacterial and anti-viral spray all you need is one cap full of the bleach diluted in the spray bottle with water. Bleach has been proven along with over 60% rubbing alcohol to kill the corona virus, making it a crucial cleaning product for this outbreak. However be careful with the surfaces you use this spray for as it can strip colour. It has made me rethink the amount of bleach I use for the toilet, typically I pour so much which is wasteful but now I am using less but enough to be effective.
- It is much cheaper and sustainable to buy a microfiber cloth and a spray than to use surface wipes. These wipes are not only bad for the environment as they are non-degradable but they get caught up in our sewage systems and endanger marine life. In the UK alone we use 11 billion wet wipes each year. Microfiber cloths are therefore a great alternative, not only are they really effective with cleaning and picking up dirt and grime but they are also machine washable. Therefore making them a great investment. Typically you can pick up a standard pack of 3/4 for about a couple of quid in most stores.
Bicarbonate of Soda
- Bicarbonate of soda is another ‘cleaning’ product I keep in my kitchen cupboard. Not only is it great for making fluffy muffins and dumplings but it is actually really good when you need to give something a little extra scrub. I use the powder as alongside white vinegar to clean the oven shelves; it is really effective at removing tough grime build up. Also it is amazing at removing stains, once I managed to spill turmeric on a white kitchen surface in my uni halls, I left bicarb and vinegar on it overnight and it removed the stain, thank god. Another time I managed stupidly to place a plastic lid on my electric hob whilst it was still very hot. I had molten plastic everywhere which was too hot and toxic to touch. Over two nights I covered the plastic with bicarbonate soda and white vinegar – i’ll admit it took a lot of elbow grease– but eventually it came off with no damage to the hob. Honestly its amazing! So many hacks online use this basic ingredient so its worth getting some and also looking it up on youtube.
Recycled plastic bottles
- I often look at the label when I buy cleaning products. Many now state whether they have been made using recycled plastic which is great but also so many have the symbol to say they can be recycled. If you can, choose these products. However, many hand pumps and nozzles are not yet recyclable so bare this in mind when disposing these items as you may have to disassemble it first.
- I noticed recently that some big brands such as detol already sell refill packs for their spray bottles in some stores. This is great for reducing plastic but also is typically more cost effective to buy at it will last for ages. So look out for these products to save your wallet.
Canterbury is very good at recycling, but many student houses are not making the most of their bins. Whether you care or not, using these bins ensures you have less general waste in your house just waiting to be taken out but whoever caves in first. Until then it’s just piling up, overflowing, growing mouldy and smelling of last week’s takeaway dinner. My house has reduced its rubbish to about 1-2 bins a week now we have two indoor recycling bins in the kitchen. It also means the kitchen is a lot less smelly than before so it’s definitely something to be doing if not for the planet, but for your own sanity.
so yeah this is what I am currently doing/using in uni house but if I find any other tips or great products i’ll update this blog and share them with you guys. Or if you guys have any great tips please share them as a comment on this post, we would love to hear them!