We've all been there. In a desperate bid to get rid of an unsightly mess, we scour the offending spill with harsh chemicals.
Let's face it, taking care of a home is hard enough. Add to that equation kids, a job and a desire to be eco-friendly and you've got yourself a recipe for stress.
At GRAM we have a mission; we want to help you be eco-friendly, without the stress.
So we've put together some tips for eco-friendly home cleaning wherever you are, whatever your budget.
1. use glass not plastic
It may seem obvious, but glass is a million times better for the earth than plastic. You can purchase glass spray bottles from many stores and purchase refills of cleaning products at a growing number of retailers, including Gram.
This one simple step could drastically reduce your waste production.
2. you can clean with products already in your pantry
Industrially-produced cleaning products haven't always been on the market. Everything you need to clean and sterilise can likely be found in your cupboards already, reducing your expenses and waste.
The products below are all derived from naturally occurring substances and are harmless to the environment.
Baking soda is a naturally-occurring compound, though it can be produced artificially. Cheap and powerful, it can sear through dirt but doesn't damage skin, so you can even pop it in your laundry load. Mix with white vinegar for an extra-effective alternative to commercial cream cleaners for surfaces. You can also pour a small amount in old-smelling shoes overnight; baking soda is a powerful, natural deodorant.
White vinegar is naturally made when ethanol or sugars ferment by acetic acid bacteria. To use as a cleaner, simply make a 1:1 dilution with water and use to scour the bathroom or spray and wipe kitchen surfaces.
Eucalyptus oil derives from Australia's most iconic trees. Homegrown, this oil is nature's antiseptic. It's great for tackling mould or freshening up laundry, and can even be used on cuts and scrapes for its anti-microbial and anti-septic properties. A great alternative is tea tree oil.
Salt can be a great scourer for those cast-iron pans that just won't clean. Mix it with olive oil and scrub. Don't do this with non-stick pans, as it will damage and lift the surface.
3. Re-use, re-use and re-use
It can be tempting to throw away old things we no longer need, but so many of the items we discard can be put to good use in a cleaning routine.
Old clothes can be ripped up and re-purposed as cleaning or polishing rags.
Dishwashing sponges, when looking a little old and tired, can be used to clean the bathroom instead.
Old toothbrushes are excellent at hitting those narrow gaps that you just can't get to, especially between tiles. We recommend purchasing bamboo toothbrushes, which will biodegrade.
4. buy smart; know which products are better for the environment
When you're in the cleaning aisle, take a moment to compare the offerings and pick those items you know will do less damage down the track.
Wooden handles biodegrade where plastic ones don't, and mops, brooms and brushes with replaceable heads/sponges are better from a zero-waste perspective.
Many companies now make detergents, sprays and liquids that are completely harmless when washed down the drain, so check the labels before you buy.
Remember it's ok to make mistakes
Nobody's perfect, we all lead busy lives and we all slip up from time to time. What's important is that we make the effort to alter our lifestyle in whatever ways we can.