Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

This guide is to help you create a plastic-free kitchen and find the best alternative plastic-free products to fit your daily routine.

From washing up bottles to using lemon juice to clean, these products will help us move away from plastic use in our kitchens.

1. Plastic-free dish washing

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

Let’s start with dish washing. Washing dishes by hand can be a chore, and while there’s no getting around that, there are ways to make doing the dishes a plastic-free experience.

You can refill your washing up liquid bottles, laundry liquids and all-purpose cleaners at Ecover refill stations across the UK.

Let’s start with dish washing. Washing dishes by hand can be a chore, and while there’s no getting around that, there are ways to make doing the dishes a plastic-free experience.

Refill stations are becoming more widespread so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one near you.

There are also dish washing blocks that can be purchased instead of the liquid bottles.

And for drying you can use a LINEN TEA TOWEL which is made from Flax, the  is a sustainable fibre that is recyclable and biodegradable.

2. Brushes, Sponges and Cloths

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

Wooden dish brushes are a great alternative to plastic brushes.

One is made of wood, metal and natural fibres (cactus or horse hair) and you can replace the head when it wears out.

You don’t even have to give up the sponge. You can find heaps of plastic-free sponges on the internet – like this one from Rowen Stillwater – that are washable. At the end of their life they can be composted.

“Opt for natural, reusable and washable cotton cloths or flannels for washing up and cleaning rather than disposable cleaning cloths,” Amanda suggests.

“It helps to have a colour code system so you know what is used in different rooms or for different levels of cleaning (to prevent toilet cleaning cloths being mixed up with dish cleaning cloths), or different pots (eg old ice cream tubs) labelled up for you to know which cloth is used for what.

“You can also re-purpose old T-shirts and other items of clothing that would otherwise be thrown away into cleaning cloths,” she advises.

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

3. Plastic-free dishwasher detergent

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

For the dishwasher most supermarkets sell dishwasher powder that’s packaged in cardboard boxes. Sainsbury’s, for example, .

If you want an eco-friendlier brand of dishwasher detergent, I’ve found some alternatives:  are wrapped in a water-soluble wrapper that dissolves in your dishwasher – breaking down to carbon dioxide and water.

If you are after eco-friendly products, Ecoleaf offer eco-friendly dishwasher tablets with a soluble wrapper, made from plant derived ingredients that are biodegradable and non-hazardous. They come in a cardboard box.”

4. Plastic-free cleaning

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

The cupboard under my kitchen sink used to groan under the weight of all the different plastic bottles I had for all the different cleaning jobs around my home. Glass cleaner, oven cleaner, carpet stain remover, antibacterial spray, stain removal spray – you name it, I had a plastic bottle for it.

Over the past 10 years I’ve switched to making my own cleaning products. Whilst this isn’t entirely plastic-free, it has drastically reduced the amount of plastic I’ve been popping in my recycling bin.

In my book Fresh Clean Home  I share all of my natural cleaning recipes. It includes methods for every corner of the home, not just the kitchen – in case you’re interested in making your own cleaning products too.

In my cupboard we also always used to have a pack of plastic-wrapped kitchen roll for cleaning and wiping. Now we just keep a store of inexpensive dish cloths in a drawer. It’s a more frugal alternative to kitchen roll, with the added benefit that the cloths get washed in the washing machine when they’re dirty rather than going in the bin, as kitchen roll does.

If you’re crafty then you can even make your own reusable kitchen roll which looks very fancy.

Plastic-free toilet paper, often made from bamboo but there are some available on the market that are made from recycled paper.

5. Plastic-free food storage

Moving on, plastic-free food shopping is a topic that requires its very own article. However, no article on the plastic-free kitchen can be complete without a discussion about plastic-free food storage.

I used to be a plastic Tupperware hoarder. Whilst I have a couple of bits of Tupperware that have lasted more than a couple of years, my experience has mostly been that it has a nasty habit of breaking and discolouring. Rather than replacing it all with glass Tupperware, which is very nice but can be quite pricey, I’ve gone down the more frugal route. Now, as my Tupperware breaks or loses a lid I’ve been trying to replace it with plain old glass jars.

Glass jars make for great food storage in the fridge, as you can see at a glance what’s inside the jar – helping you reduce food waste at the same time.

You can even freeze food in glass jars. Worried about the glass breaking? I’ve found that the trick is, when filling the jars, to leave an inch at the top to allow space for the food to expand when freezing. This will greatly reduce the chances of the glass breaking in the freezer.

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

6. Plastic-free food wrap

If you’re after a plastic-free alternative to cling film, there are heaps of low-cost and no-cost options. For leftover food that I want to store in the fridge, I cover it with upturned bowls or plates. It costs nothing, is plastic-free, and means I can store stuff on top of the plate or bowl. I’ve also used pan lids to cover food in the fridge.

Beeswax wraps make great food savers. Simply warm them in your hands and mould them over your bowl or round your food to help keep your food fresh without plastic. I wouldn’t wrap meat or fish in them – instead place them in a bowl and cover the bowl with the wrap. Buzzcloth makes some good beeswax food wraps.

If you’re vegan then you can pick up vegan wax food wraps from Rowen Stillwater that are just as effective as their beeswax counterparts.

Wraps can be a little pricey, so if you’re after a thriftier option then you can make your own wrapsreally easily from fabric scraps and a little beeswax.

For packed lunches, I bought a few snack and sandwich bags from KeepLeaf. These can be washed in the washing machine or dishwasher to keep them fresh and clean. Although they do contain polyester they make a great alternative to disposable sandwich bags.

7. Distilled white vinegar makes a great alternative to window cleaner

Verity suggests using distilled white vinegar to clean windows and leave them sparkling.

Vinegar is also good for removing lime scale on kettles – just fill the kettle with a solution of one-part water to one-part white vinegar and leave overnight. In the morning, the lime scale will come off easily – but remember to rinse thoroughly to remove odours. You can do the same with shower heads

A solution of water and vinegar is also good for keeping lime scale at bay on taps, tiles, basins and baths. Much like bicarbonate of soda, a cup of vinegar can absorb odours – its vinegary smell will fade over time.

Buying vinegar in glass bottles and using it in the above ways can alleviate the need for buying numerous products that normally come in plastic packaging.

8. Bicarbonate of soda is a powerful natural deodoriser

It’s great for removing odours from fridges, carpets and upholstery.

For fridges, place a shallow bowl of bicarbonate of soda on one of the shelves. For soft furnishings, sprinkle onto the area and leave for a few hours then, suction up using the appropriate nozzle on your vacuum cleaner.

A scouring paste made from half bicarbonate of soda and half water is also great at removing stains from worktops, sinks, cookers and saucepans.

Best of all, bicarbonate of soda can be bought and stored in cardboard boxes – no plastic necessary.

Clearing plastic from your household | Kitchen

9. Be aware of Microfibers in clothes

A lot of our plastic pollution that goes into the sea comes from microfibres – the small fibres that wash out of our clothes, whether that’s our polyester underwear or our fleece tops.

Purchasing a product like this one called the Guppyfriend which can go into your washing machine and trap microfibres to prevent them from getting into seawater.

Ultimately we need to have clothes that don’t shed pollution into the sea but in the short time getting something like a Guppyfriend is a great thing you can do on a personal level.

10. Lemon juice is a must-have

Citrus juice is a natural bleaching agent. Use it to remove stains from chopping boards by rubbing with fresh lemon (or the bottled stuff) and leave overnight.

It’s also effective at removing rust stains and half a cupful into your wash-load will brighten whites.

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In Summary 

Each year brings new items that can be sourced locally to provide your bathroom/household with the latest sustainable and free from plastic products.Starting with one room and then working through the house.

We will be updating this list with more products that can now be used as an alternative in the other rooms of the house, look out for our next blog 💚

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