Monday, March 29, 2010

Baby Steps

I believe in the power of small changes over time to create a lasting change. Every Monday, I'll post a green tip that can help in greening your life - one step at a time. No need to feel pressured - this should just serve as something to consider and use, if it suits your needs and life. (I should just add that I really feel passionately about the holier than thou greenies out there that use shame to try to force people to change their behaviors. Yuck. Fear, on the other hand, is a good motivator.) :)

Okay, without further ado or preaching, our first tip is: Greening your Cleaning

Want to cut costs at the store on cleaning supplies? Use Vinegar! Want to cut out the chemicals around your home? Use Vinegar!  I jest, but vinegar is extremely helpful to use in cleaning. It kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold and 80% of germs. Use a bit in the kettle with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda and some water to dissolve limescale. (I could write a whole post on limescale alone - never experienced anything like it until I moved to the UK.) Use bicarbonate of soda directly on carpet stains. Lemons are also great for cleaning, including copper and brass. You can make your own all-purpose cleaner -which also makes a great shower cleaning spray - by mixing 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 big squirt of eco-friendly dishwashing detergent. 

If you don't have time for the DIY options, I can happily recommend Ecover or Method products. We use a lot Ecover's products: washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, and even their cream cleanser. I must say Method's Ylang Ylang Shower Spray is my latest guilty pleasure. And for only £1.99 now at John Lewis.


  1. Hi Jess, what vinegar do you use? Back in Oz we would use white vinegar and get it in big litre or 2 litre bottles but I can't find it here in the UK - does distilled malt vinegar do the same thing and have you found anywhere to buy it in bigger than the 500ml bottles from the supermarket?

  2. Hi, Steph!

    Great question! I think distilled malt vinegar is made by malting barley, causing the starch in the grain to turn to maltose. Then an ale is brewed from the maltose and allowed to turn into vinegar, which is then aged. The distillation process removes the colouring and changes the flavour.

    "White vinegar is typically a distillate of ethyl alcohol. with water added. The ethyl alcohol in turn is typically made from corn or unmalted grain. It is, to a certain extent, little more than dilute acetic acid. It is, quite literally, the cheapest of the cheap."

    I was completely confused by the lack of plain white vinegar when I first moved here. During one visit back home, I even lugged regular vinegar back to the UK - how's that for a carbon footprint?! I've since found "clear vinegar" (as the ladies from How Clean is your House call it) here:
    or you can also get it in a 5 L size

    That being said I do use the distilled malt vinegar to clean the kettle. (Let me tell you how much I hate limscale!!) It does the job and I'm happy. I just make sure and use the plain white vinegar for cleaning that requires a bit of germ killing!

    Phew. That was long - winded. Might take your question to be a separate blog post as it is a good one.