Green cleaning: how to embrace sustainable cleaning in London
Green cleaning isn't just better for the planet - it's better for our health. From recycled loo roll to refillable detergent, here's what to have on your radar.
When it comes to greening our lives, our eco activism often starts in the home: we abandon plastic bottles for Soda Streams, pick out environmentally friendly paint to spruce up a room and swap our shampoo bottles for Lush bars. But what about our cleaning products?
Cleaning products have long been filled with some of the worst offenders on the toxic scale, from phthalates to ammonia to chlorine - a fact we've often chosen to overlook in our efforts to get our homes spic and span. Often, it's impending parenthood that makes us stop and think about the products we want to be using to clean our homes: when our precious baby is crawling around licking everything, we're not so comfortable ignoring the nasty ingredients in our kitchen spray.
Potentially toxic ingredients in cleaning products are bad for our health and can cause skin irritations and trigger allergies, respiratory issues and headaches. A lot of these cleaners aren't just bad for us - they're also killing the environment.
We're a bit manic about our cleaning these days: from Marie Kondo-ing and decluttering our lives to the fact we're a nation of "Hinchers" (cleaning buff Sophie Hinchcliffe has 2.6 million followers on Instagram). Even Mrs. Hinch has faced backlash for using non-eco friendly cleaning products... it will be interesting to see if her ethos changes now that she's become a parent.
There are tons of green cleaning products and brands to know about, from London-based cleaning companies to refillable detergents (yep, these green cleaning companies help you cut down on your plastic-use, too) to get on your radar now. In the long run, these can save you money, too.
Green cleaning companies
Inside green dry cleaner BLANC
An award-winning natural dry cleaner that uses "wet cleaning" and biodegradable products to clean clothes in an environmentally sound, non-toxic way - which also happens to be gentler on the clothes, and your skin - head to one of BLANC's London's outposts (located in Notting Hill, Marylebone, Chelsea and White City) when you need something cleaned, mended or laundered. BLANC also offers home pick up and delivery service for those who live in other parts of London. Not in London? Not a problem: you can stock up on the artisan cleaner's eco-friendly cleaning products for your clothes and every room of the house online. Look out for brands like Mangle & Wringer and Tangent GC.
Nope, a dry car wash isn't an oxymoron - it's the way of the future. Disruptive brand Dropless has turned car washing into a digital, mobile experience (they come to your door), which just happens to save over 150 litres of water each wash thanks to the brand's ecological products, which clean, shine and protect in one, breaking down dirt so all it takes is a microfibre towel and the nano-solutions spray to get your car sparkling.
Eco-home and office cleaning companies
If you're looking for green cleaners in London, there's no shortage: companies like Greenleaf use Ecover and Method cleaning products for home cleans, while Beck and Call assures you'll get chemical-free green cleaning across London (plus, they recommend environmentally sound products to buy). The Green Elf specialises in office cleaning using less harmful products.
Giki is the sustainable shopping app to know about
The green app to know
Giki helps takes the mystery out of whether or not a product that you're buying is good for the planet, rating everything from its toxicity to the brand's animal welfare policies to a product's carbon footprint, using 13 different badges. Find companies whose concerns and priorities mirror yours - while Kinder Cleaning is one of the badges, we predict you'll be using this for every food and clothing shop from now on, too.
Method's 2019 artist collaboration, with Morag Myerscough
Supermarket eco brands
The good news is that environmentally and ethically conscious cleaning products can be found in most supermarket aisles these days - and when you do your online shop. Here are the ones you can't miss.
With gorgeous scents (pink pomelo, vivid watermelon, water mint) and a product for every need, Method's colourful cleaners have hooked everyone from millennials to busy parents. Look out for special collaborations, which are cleaning products-cum-statement pieces in your kitchen or bathroom. Don't miss the brand's refillable products, like hand wash and washing-up gel. Waste not, want not.
Ecozone's environmentally sound laundry balls have been around for 20 years
For busy, big families feeling stressed about the constant use of the washing machine and its environmental impact, then Ecozone's Ecoballs could be precisely what you need: instead of using detergent for every wash, just fill the spherical Ecoball with mineral and plant-based cleaning pellets, which clean on cooler temperatures and don't require a rinse cycle so they'll save water. They're also hypoallergenic for the most sensitive skin, and can last up to 1000 washes before you'll need a refill. Ecozone also has dryer cubes and anti-limescale balls to use in the washing machine and dishwasher.
An Ecover refill station in Waitrose.
Method's sister brand, Ecover, has plenty to recommend it, from its B Corp status (which stands for a stringent commitment to ethical and sustainable practices anywhere and everywhere within the company), with products that aren't only non-toxic, but also put waste to good use (see the washing up liquid bottle caps, containing 50% post-consumer recycled polypropylene plastic). Ecover's dishwasher tabs, with rinse, salt and cleaner in one, use biodegradable plant-based ingredients and are a particular favourite with customers, while the Ecover Zero range is as clean as can be for any allergy sufferers or newborn babies. Don't miss Ecover's Refill Station initiative - just bring an empty of your favourite product to one of the refill zones across London and the UK, where you can also stock up on hefty five-litre sizes.
Cif may be known for its powerful and effective cleaning products ahead of its eco-credentials, but fans of the brand will be pleased to see their latest product is designed to minimise waste - and save you some cash. Cif's new ecorefill products (kitchen and bathroom sprays) allow you to use one spray bottle for life, and refill with the small, 10x concentrated cleaner so you're using about 75% less plastic than you would buying a new 700ml spray bottle. Just add water.
Refillable brands to know and subscription services
The green-clean movement is partially about swapping to less harmful products with fewer toxins. We're also keen to reduce our environmental footprint where possible and seek out brands that offer refills so we don't need to buy quite so much.
Fill's glass bottles can be used and refilled at
Fill's gorgeous glass bottles are somewhere between a milkman and a bulk zero-waste shop: the bottles come with eco laundry detergent or house cleaners (choose from scented or unscented, powders or liquids). When you're done, Fill can pick up and refill your glass bottles with your fave product, or you can take them to your local plastic-free shop and do it there.
Cleaning pods you get sent in the post, dilute in water and then use for all of your household needs? Genius. In addition to pods to clean every bit of the house, Ocean Saver also sells bottles for life, bamboo ear buds, beeswax wraps and biodegradable straws and wooden cutlery. Eco-birthday party sorted, then.
Laundry capsules, by post
If you're not ready for laundry balls, then perhaps laundry detergent by post will tempt you? Two new brands, Smol and Homey, have recently launched, promising fewer chemicals, super-convenience, ultra-compact and recyclable packaging to minimise waste and cheaper costs. Both offer free trials so you can test them out.
TINCTURE's range of eco, paraben-free cleaning products
You'd be forgiven for thinking Tincture's cleaning products were for your beauty regimen - the packaging is that appealing. Free from everything nasty and award-winning, these English-made products come in starter packs and bundles (which make great gifts) to clean everything from furniture to mirrors to wooden floors. The ingredients list is super-appealing and features chamomile, eucalyptus, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, rosemary and more. We also love the mini versions of cleaning products in recyclable packaging - a must for packing on your next family holiday.
KINN's range smells good enough to put on your body - look out, some of their products are
KINN is another brand with products that look and smell good enough to put on your skin - and some of these you actually can, thanks to the organic body and bath oils from the award-winning brand. When it comes to cleaning, you'll find plant-based, neroli-scented laundry detergent and fabric softener, lavender bathroom cleaner, sweet orange washing up liquid and more. All products are made with essential oils known for their antibacterial benefits.
Who Gives A Crap toilet paper
Who Gives A Crap
Who Gives A Crap has taken loo roll and turned it into a force for good: not only is the toilet paper 100% recycled (in cool, colourful recycled paper packaging) or made from bamboo, with no inks, fragrances or dyes, but 50% of all profits go to building toilets for those in need, through partnerships with charities like WaterAid and WaterSHED. You can now get tissues and kitchen roll from them, too.