I’m right now sitting on the terrace of my parents’ house in Germany at the beginning of our 3 week Europe trip. (Be sure to find a post on zero waste travel soon). I apologise for skipping last week’s post in the hectic of the pre-travel arrangements – okay I’m lying, I was probably more lazy than busy 😉
This week, due to the mentioned travel arrangements, we haven’t really done much, and this is why I focus this week’s post on something that I’ve been doing for quite some time now: zero waste cleaning.
So far, I’ve always tried to keep it simple when it came to cleaning. I’ve had a simple multi-purpose cleaner for kind of everything, and a kitchen cleaner (which I guess was technically the same) for the kitchen. Additionally, I’ve had oven cleaner (that type that burns your face off if you don’t watch out) and window cleaner. Not to forget, anti-bacterial wipes.
Well, scrap that all. I’m now proud to present you today my all-in-one-and-everything-cleaner!
Of course, you think, it must have some crazy expensive and fancy ingredients, why else would everybody prefer to buy store-bought stuff? Nope, it’s very simple, inexpensive, and environmentally a true hero. Presenting you: Vinegar. (As in, that stuff you have in your kitchen cupboard which is been taken out once in a while when you forgot to buy that salad-dressing from Tesco or so.)
Seriously: I’m amazed by what I found online. Apparently, it’s perfectly fine to clean everything with vinegar (in a more or less diluted way), from surfaces to loos to even windows (especially mold, too). It apparently can effectively clean the majority of bugs, bacteria and other stuff; good enough for my needs. What is more important, there’s no chemical nasties that rightout wipe away all bacteria and this way support super-resistant bacteria to take over my kitchen. And for making bread it’s great, too, as the residue won’t kill the yeast when kneading on the kitchen surface.
I’ve seen a fair amount of cleaning recipes during my quick ‘research’ on the topic. Some add essential oils to amplify the anti-everything properties (bacteria, viruses, fungi and all that stuff). Some combine it with soap, as vinegar is rather a disinfectant than a cleaner – you still need to wipe clean your counter before using. Some recipes have combined with baking soda, which, if I’m not mistaken, results in a powerful cleaning chemical reaction. But only the actual reaction tackles the scum properly which means pre-mixing both has not much of an effect.
Myself, I’ve settled for vinegar on its own, only diluted 50:50 with water (sometimes preceded by baking soda, if it’s about stainless steel (very nice shine indeed)). I still use dish soap for greasy bits and my hob, as the vinegar won’t cut grease. (Oh and btw: do NOT use vinegar on marble!) But over all, I’m more than happy I just got away from the multi-purpose-cleaner fumes (which were very strong even with open window) and eventually my anti-bacterial wipes when they run out, as I’m getting myself into the habit of using cloth more and more 🙂
Oh, and as to the oven cleaner, I gave that away after it did basically nothing to my oven (but left me hysterical as to getting nothing on my face, clothes, hands). I don’t know if I did something wrong in the application back then when I used it (even though I followed the instructions very carefully), but I ended up scrubbing just as much. Recently, I have cleaned my oven again without the cleaner, and there really was no difference between oven cleaner and straight soap. As I said, I ditched it, since even touching the bottle made my creep out about how much it can burn my hands away, and I don’t want a thing like this in my house again… I’d call that a fail. 😛
Here’s also my post about the vinegar I made myself, which makes it the cheapest thing EVER.