4 eco-friendly household cleaning tips

Household plumbing and drainage issues often stem from neglect or failure to adequately maintain the systems in your home.

Actions like disposing of fats, oil and grease (FOG) down the sink, not clearing away hair or debris from plugholes, and putting objects down the toilet that shouldn’t be flushed can all add up to a perfect storm of blockages and damage to your drain and external sewers.

But what about the problems caused by seemingly positive habits in the home?

Cleaning has become a national trend recently, making Instagram celebrities of people like Sophie Hinchliffe, whose Mrs Hinch Instagram profile recently passed the 1 million followers mark.

And, while it is encouraging to see more people cutting down on dirt and grime in the home, this could end up having a pretty damaging impact on your drains and – more importantly – the environment. We were recently featured in the Daily Mail, offering advice for those keen to embrace the cleaning craze but minimise the damage this does to the environment.

It got readers – and us – talking about other alternatives they use instead of mainstream cleaning products, so we have summarised some key tips below. We’d love to hear what nifty tricks you have for keeping your homes sparkling, without having a detrimental impact on the world around you. Please share your tips with us on Twitter or on our Facebook page.

1) Wage war on wipes

Here at Lanes, we’re passionate about encouraging people to cut down on their use of disposable wipes, which are one of the main causes of blockages in drains and sewers.

So-called ‘flushable’ wipes should always be thrown in the bin rather than down the toilet, as they inevitably make their way into sewers and cause blockages further down the line.

But even if you dispose of them correctly in the bin, used wipes are still impossible to recycle and typically end up in landfill. Think about whether you really need all these different wipes around the home, and whether you could do the same job with an old-fashioned cleaning cloth and the right detergent.

One Daily Mail reader suggested using different cloths for specific areas of the home which you soak to clean them, before putting in the wash. “Sunshine is the best killer of the germs that you’re paranoid of. Cleaning cloths can be any colour, reuse old linen/clothing to make heaps.”

2) Clean glass with newspaper

This is an oldie but a goodie – many of us remember our parents and grandparents talking about using newspaper for cleaning windows, and the reason they did it is because it works so well!

We know hairdressers still regularly use this technique for cleaning troublesome glass mirrors. All you need to do is mix vinegar with water to create a cleaning liquid, which you then spray on the glass and buff away with scrunched up newspaper.

It will get rid of streaks and leave your glass gleaming; just make sure you don’t get any ink on the frame, especially white window frames, which can be prone to discolouration.

There’s the added benefit of finding a second use for newspapers that would otherwise be thrown straight in the bin.

3) The wonders of white vinegar

White vinegar isn’t just useful for cleaning glass; it serves all kinds of purposes in every room of the home, and many eco-friendly tips suggest replacing commercial cleaning sprays with homemade mixes containing vinegar.

One Daily Mail reader suggested: “I mix equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol (I use 99%) and water in a spray bottle as an all-purpose cleaner”.

Another said: “White wine vinegar can be used to clean kitchen, bathroom surfaces and glass. It can also be used as a fabric conditioner, stain remover and, when used with bicarbonate of soda, a drain unblocker.”

Just a word of warning if you are considering making your own drain unblocker, be sure to carry out plenty of research to check that the products won’t cause corrosion when mixed together. Certain combinations of chemicals can result in damage to metal and plastic pipes, which might cause holes in the network that allows vermin to enter the premises. The same advice goes for when you’re putting anything down the drain, including shop-bought unblockers. Certain chemicals can be dangerous for drain engineers in the event of a blockage, when the chemicals can back up to create hazardous conditions, so you should always think twice before putting strong substances down the drain.

4) Multi-use marvels

One of the biggest environmental risks of the current cleaning craze is the amount of plastic waste resulting from the dozens of different detergents that claim to serve unique purposes around the home.

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