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Finally, I have created my own environmentally friendly cleaning kit!

The best thing is, it is simple, cheap and works.

Even better my children can help me clean, because none of the products are going to harm them if they get on their skin and if these products go down the drain they shouldn’t be damaging our waterways, wildlife or anything else.

My test run was on our bathroom:

  • Glass cleaner (vinegar and water) – for shower screen and mirror
  • Enjo mitt and marble spray – for bath and bottom of shower screen
  • Lavender spray (lavender oil and water) – for benchtop
  • Bicarb soda and vinegar – for toilet

My three year old son cleaned the shower screen and sink with the spray pumps. Oh joy! My least loved job – and he had fun! Combine these products with microfibre cloths and  it all seems fairly straightforward.

This is a definite winner and soon I will have my  pre-prepared cleaning kit complete and have my kids, hubby and myself on the job!

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washing

After writing about Laundry Environment Savers last year, I have been meaning to follow up with some information on which laundry detergent ingredients are best avoided to make sure that the water going from your washing machine into the garden is safe and not hurting your plants or anything else.

1) Phosphorus – avoid products containing phosphorus as this can harm sensitive native plants.

  • Try to buy products labelled NP (No Phosphorus).

2) Sodium – otherwise known as salt this can build up in the soil and damage your garden.

  • Try to buy products labelled “No Sodium”.

3) Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulphate – a strong and harsh detergent, repeated use can accumulate SLS in the body.

  • Not sure how regularly this is found in laundry detergents, but best avoided as build up in your body or the environment is not a good thing!

washing on the line

A woman’s work is never done, or at least it feels like it when it comes to the laundry in our home.

I probably wash between 5-7 loads a week, which together with hanging out, folding and putting away feels like a never ending chore. But I do get inspiration in finding environment savers and ways of cutting corners.

My 3 EASY STEPS are:

> Use cold water – reduces washing machine greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and reduces your energy bills (but not recommended for woollens!).

> Wash with full loads – uses less water and energy

> Line dry – clothes dryers are a killer for chewing up energy and generating greenhouse gas emissions, plus most baby clothes can’t  be tumble dried, so don’t rush out and buy one because you have a new baby in the family (see 5 reasons to line dry your laundry).

My best shortcut is:

> Wash business shirts and other creasables on a creasables cycle – uses more water but saves on the ironing if they are hung up immediately on a coat hanger (plus saves on hanging later!)

3 INTERMEDIATE STEPS (may require a new purchase)

> Use phosphate free detergent – stops horrible algal blooms from developing in our waterways.

> Use a greywater hose – divert water direct from your washing machine to your garden (but make sure the detergent you are using is suitable to do this).*

> Use a concentrated washing liquid or powder and buy in bulk – as requires less packaging and is cheaper per wash.

My favourite is:

Earth Choice which is grey water and septic safe, Australian made and owned and contains no phosphorus (at $16.11 for 4 L comes out at 20c per wash).

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

3 ADVANCED STEPS (requires more expensive purchases)

> No detergent – not as insane as it sounds. I have an Enviroball which they say should last for 1,000 washes (at an upfront cost of $50 that comes out at 5c per wash).

> Install a greywater system – a bit pricey but with water prices going up it should save you in the long-term plus there are government incentives to help you out (see www.environment.gov.au/rebates or Living Greener for more information).

> Buy a front loading washing machine – generally more expensive than top loaders but should save you money in the long term and are better for the environment, as they use less water, less energy and less detergent. Plus they wash more gently so your clothes should last longer.

*Apart from any wider environmental benefits I find one of the main benefits of reusing my laundry water is my lovely fern garden which is watered almost exclusively by the greywater hose!

I startled my children this morning, by dashing out first thing to clean our outdoor wooden table with a bucket of strong hot tea and a broom covered with a stocking.

When I told my son I had seen it on a TV show the night before, he thought I was joking or had gone a little crazy. As would you, if you had seen me in action!

Lush House on the Lifestyle channel (Foxtel) has been inspiring me about all manner of interesting cleaning methods that also have the benefit of being eco-friendly. Ultimately my efforts with the tea covered broom did have the desired effect of making our table not only cleaner but slightly darker than it had been previously (sorry, no before and after shots, my camera is broken 😦 ).

Below is a link to Shannon Lush’s cleaning kit, which I am hoping to put together for my own home and includes:

  • Bi-carb Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Methylated Spirits
  • Lavender Oil and
  • Unprocessed Wheat Bran

An interesting cleaning kit to say the least, but should be cheaper and greener than some of those nasty cleaning products currently lurking in my laundry cupboard!

 http://www.lifestylechannel.com.au/content/factsheets/PDF/LushHouse_Factsheet_EP1.pdf

Will keep you informed on the results…… 🙂

How to be Comfy Shannon Lush and Jennifer Flemming

How to be Comfy Shannon Lush and Jennifer Flemming

I have just found an interesting statistic which may help to explain why I have felt perpetually tired for the last two years.

Australian mothers with a child under 5 years old spend 23 hours a week doing housework and those with a youngest child 5-14 years old spend 20 hours a week (for more details see  http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/snapshots/familytime.html).

Combine that amount of housework with paid work plus time spent parenting and playing with two active kids and you start realising where all those hours disappear to…..

Well I am aiming to find:

– inspiration in the daily household tasks

by

– finding ways to make housework FASTER

– using cheaper products that are better for the environment

learning MORE and having fun in the process!

After all the main homemaker generally decides the majority of daily household purchases and how they are used and as a result contributes to having a major impact on the health of their families and the planet (oh the power is going to my head!!)

So I am hoping to explore this further, document my journey and let you know how my experiments with environmentally sustainable homemaking, reducing housework (is it possible?) and staying sane as a Mum go.

Ciao EnviroMum