Once I got started on reducing plastic in my bathroom (see my previous article), I was keen to expand the project to other areas in the house. So began my journey of reducing plastic in my kitchen and laundry. I have experimented with several products to reduce my reliance on plastic and make my own ‘Local Impact’. I have shared my tips and product suggestions below to help you on your way (noting I am not being paid by the companies to do reviews, I am simply sharing my research).
I was keen to stop buying dishwashing detergent in plastic bottles for the sink. Initially I tried swapping to a dishwashing concentrate bar. I melted it into hot water, mixed until smooth and decanted into an old detergent bottle. However, it was a flop! It did not soap up in the sink, nor did it remove grease and oil from my dishes! So I went back to the drawing board and found a ‘dishwashing soap block’ by That Red House. The verdict; I love it! You simply put it in your sink while you are running your tap. Remove once the sink is full and you will have nice bubbly water. It cleans the dishes well, removes oil and grease, lasts for many washes, and also comes in paper packaging.
I have always used sponges in the kitchen, but once again I wanted to find a plastic free alternative. I found ‘compostable dish cloths’ as the perfect replacement! I bought three to allow for regular washing in the washing machine between uses. I have had them for well over a year now and they are still going strong. The cloths can be popped into the compost bin when they reach the end of their life.
I have plastic handled dishwashing brushes currently in rotation at my sink. Over a year ago, I was about to throw them out as they were getting too dirty, but discovered the best hack to extend their life! They can go in the dishwasher! They come out super clean, and enable me to reuse them again and again.
I have bought a bamboo handled dish brush with coconut fibre bristles to use once the plastic brushes go past their best.
I switched to using Tirtyl hand soap at my laundry and kitchen sinks. This is a tablet-based soap, where you fill a reusable foaming soap bottle with water, drop in a tablet and when it has dissolved it is ready to use. It foams really well and the flavours I have tried smell amazing! My personal favourite is Tangerine and Rose. The tablets are wrapped in a compostable wrapper too, so it is a low waste option. You can buy kits with bottles, or use your own, as long as it is a foaming bottle.
I am yet to find a way to leave out a plastic bag in our landfill bins (kitchen, bathroom and laundry) and prevent the rubbish sticking to the side of the inside bins and subsequently kerbside rubbish bins. I have however come up with some hacks to largely prevent the purchase of new plastic bags! I keep plastic packaging bags and repurpose them in our bins. For the small bathroom bin size, bread bags are the perfect fit. For the next size up, pita bread bags do the trick. I don’t frequently purchase items that are packaged in bags large enough for the kitchen bin, so I use ‘Glad to be Green’ bags which are made from 95% recycled plastic. I also only empty the bins when they are completely full to save on plastic. The lid has a good seal and we have had no issues with smell.
I previously used laundry liquid, however this comes in a plastic bottle. I switched to powder and tried a few brands, but inevitably they still contained some plastic in their packaging. For example, they contained a plastic measuring scoop, or a plastic window on the brown paper packaging bag. I finally found the Ecostore laundry powder. They previously included a scoop in their product, however recently made the decision to remove it! So you can now buy laundry powder in a plain cardboard box with no plastic scoop. The powder works a treat with my clothes coming out fresh and clean. I use the lemon-scented powder.
Tirtyl laundry sheets are another great option I have started to use. They come in a paper pack that can be recycled or composted and are effective at washing clothes. They are really easy to use – simply place a sheet into your top or front loader and you are done. They work well in cold washes and our clothes come out nice and clean. A major advantage I have found with using laundry sheets are they are easy to travel with. If you are going on holidays and need to do a load or two of washing while away, you can simply pack a few sheets into an old takeaway container. They are lightweight and spill-proof in your suitcase!
Good old bicarb soda has been a laundry hero in my house to remove odours. It comes in a cardboard box and is cheap to buy! I simply mix bicarb soda with water to make a paste, spread it on the underarms of clothes, leave for half hour or so, and wash normally in the washing machine. I use the handle of an old toothbrush as my spreading implement and mix the paste in an old plastic takeaway container. This is a great way to repurpose old items!
When it comes to stain removing, the sun is my best friend. It takes tomato and berry stains out of the kids’ clothes like a champion! No effort required. However, some stains do need help. I recently purchased ‘laundry sticks’ from That Red House. They are easy to use and seem effective on mild stains. I must admit, I haven’t had the chance to use it on a tough stain like red wine or paint, so I can’t vouch for it for all stains just yet.
This concludes my plastic free kitchen and laundry experiment to date. My next adventure will be to trial plastic free cleaning options. There are a range of tablet-based cleaning options available which are on my list.
Once again, pick and choose the ideas that suit your family, and you will be making your own ‘Local Impact’ by reducing your reliance on plastic.
Let me know what plastic-free items have worked in your kitchens and laundries in the comments below!
Stay tuned for my next article on consumption of material items.
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Hi Meggie I don’t buy dish clothes. I am on to the last of my cotton towelling nappies. I cut them into 4 , overlock edges and have about a dozen going at a time. Washed them millions of times. I will have to use old towels from now on.
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Hi Jill, that’s amazing! Such a cool idea. I have a few cleaning cloths made from old towelling nappies too. I imagine old flannelette sheets would do the trick too! Cheers Megan