Updated: Oct 9, 2021
The goal of this list is not to get an instant overhaul of everything your own. Life at home is messy and certainly not an instagram picture. The idea is to start with what you currently have and when empty, or properly worn out you make the switch to the better options.
Every great endeavour starts with a proper preparation. So let's get ready and prevent any unsolicited harm to happen.
Even if you clean with toxic free chemicals, wearing gloves and treating your hands with a creme afterwards is the gentle skin caring way to go.
For non disposable gloves, go for a brand with sustainable rubber sourcing practices like If You Care or Fair Zone.
Let's debunk the myth, you can forget about the maid outfit and prevent projection on your favorite shirt by dressing really accordingly. We advise wearing an apron with pockets to place cloths, gloves and products. You can combine it with a full sportswear attire to move freely and better regulate body heat while in motion. It's a physical and skilled activity so dress like an athlete that you are.
Organic cotton or upcycled materials
Cleaning agents can host pretty nasty and unnecessary toxic chemicals. You can start by empty yours, and reduce your number of cleaners to the bare essential.
Then you can transit to eco labels agent with a sustainable packaging, then get a pair of spray bottle and add refillable products (usually tabs or powder) or a concentrated.
The step beyond would be to create your own.
Our picks for the essentials are :
All purpose - Tabs
Kitchen - Tabs
Glass/mirror - Tabs
WC gel - Any with an eco label
Substitute: White Vinegar and Baking Soda
To go further, we published a dedicated post on these different levels to reach the ultimate Green Cleaning Agents mastery.
The goal here is to switch from any single use wipes you would have: for countertops, sanitising, paper towels, newspaper... forget those and invest in the reusable ones.
Our pick for a good essential mix is the combination of tea towels and microfibers.
When dry they are to be used as duster, slightly moistened they remove grease- and water-soluble dirt. Since they become statically charged, they also attract dirt. Only use fine, smooth microfibre cloths for smooth surfaces!
Microfiber do not work for windows/mirror due to they composition of not having a plain surface. It will be too time-consuming to dry the surface.
Microfibre cloths are made of polyester or polyamide and can be made of recycled material. They do not lint and bind a lot of dirt due to their structure. They are the first choice when a surface not only needs to be de-dusted, but also thoroughly cleaned.
When dry, tea towel works wonder for mirrors, windows and polish metal fixture. Slightly moistened they clear crumbs, wipe up big messes.
Anything you have in stock, then you can go for organic cotton.
Brushes and scrubs
Use - Dishes, surfaces, showers and bathtubs, it’s a good idea to have a handful of multi-purpose cleaning scrub brushes, bottle brushes, and dedicated cleaning toothbrushes on hand.
Material - made of wood and natural bristle. Some come with a replaceable head.
Sometimes you have to go commando, a metal scrub for the pan, the oven, the shower door or the stove made of ceramic glass is required.
Against burnt surfaces, we would advise to go crescendo from the mildest to the harshest. The mildest being a combination of soap and steel wool, an harder version the stainless steel scrub and finally a razor blade.
Use the one you have until impossible to save. Obviously it has to be cleaned at least once a week and to be discarded around every 6 month with signed of wear, discolouration and smell which does not go away.
Our pick would be to go for a wooden handle and natural bristle or one made of silicone. Silicone is an inert material more durable than plastic until unusable, resistant to bacteria, easier to clean and sterilise, it doesn't leak toxins and is a low-impact material.
Material - Natural or with a silicone head
(Optional) Your sponge and paper towel can be substitute by one thing: european/swedish dishcloth.
It is of a square shape and they are made of cotton and cellulose which are renewable materials and fully biodegradable. Dishcloths air-dry much more quicker than your usual sponge due to their fabric and thin thickness. Thanks to this, germs and bacteria don’t have time to grow on them. When smelling gross or looking dirty, toss them either in the dishwasher or in the washing machine and they’ll be good as new after one cycle.
Here a somehow provocative thought, do we actually need bin liners? Assess for which category of waste they are required, obviously when spills are possible but if you already recycle well, spills are reduced to the organic waste only, leaving the others...well bin free?
Here could be a progression:
Bags made of recycled material
Biodegradable bin liners
Reusable and washable bin liners
No bin liners
No need to introduce this item, it is the life changer of household chores. Check your need with the number of floors you have, your square meter, if you have pets... and then select the appropriate one.
FYI, suction power does not equal wattage. The motor power measured in Watts does not translate into how powerful the motor actually is but how much energy it consumes (and so how high your energy bill will be). So it is useless to focus on this. You can get better performance with low wattage / energy consumption. To go further, we published a dedicated post for you to know exactly what to look for when purchasing a vacuum cleaner.
Broom and dustpan
Same as above, transition when necessary to a wooden version with natural bristle and steel. Models made of recycled plastics are also available.
If you have the plastic version, keep it as long as you can, period. If anything happen then choose an untreated wood solution.
Every field has its secret weapon. In housekeeping it comes with a hysterical name, the ... squeegee. It is great to win precious time for large surfaces such as windows, mirrors or any type of surfaces for a quick clean. The thing to look out for is to have the correct hand motion to avoid heavy drips. Follow our instagram for those.