By Chloe Brant

We’re big fans of into Plastic Free July and at your Co-Op we want to help you reduce waste and be plastic free when using cleaning products.

It can be a little overwhelming when faced with so many plastic packaged products. You can literally feel like you’re drowning in all the plastic options. At your Co-Op, we’re all about supporting plastic free and reusable alternatives and if you’re serious about reducing your waste, then we’ve got some great options for you to try.

First off, when starting on a journey to reduce plastic and waste it’s all about knowing this is a gradual process where preparation is key. As we draw towards the halfway mark of Plastic Free July we want to let you know what an inspirational job you are doing so far.

Here are some DYI recipes and plastic free cleaning options which we recommend, helping you along your plastic free journey all of which are available at the Co-Op in bulk where you can bring your own jars to fill up on:

White vinegar

Lavender VinegarThis can be used as window cleaner, to clean blinds, floors, kitchen appliances, to remove bathtub film and prevent shower door soap scum build-up. Vinegar has so many different uses! If you don’t like the smell, just add some drops of an essential oil of your choice or make your own infused vinegar cleaner like this one:

Add dried lavender flowers and dried rosemary twigs to a cup of white vinegar, place in a glass jar and let infuse for a week or so with the lid on. Strain the dried flowers and rosemary and mix the infused vinegar with water (depending on the strength you want add 2-3 cups of water), fill into a spray bottle and use to wipe your kitchen bench. The lavender gives it a lovely pink colour and it smells great!

Essential oils

When mixed with lemon and 2 cups of white vinegar, essential oils can be used as an all-purpose cleaner.

Castile soap

DYI you very own soft scrub by mixing together 1 cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of castile soap and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. You can also make a foaming hand soap by adding 1tsb of castile soap, 6 ounces of water, ½ teaspoon of almond oil and 10 drops of essential oil.

Bicarb soda

Bicarb soda can be used to clean dishes, remove stains from benchtops, deodorise your fridge, pantry, garbage and recycling bins.

Citrus peel

In a bowl mix citrus peel, a squeeze of lemon and salt together to rub on shower glass doors to clean.

Natural Toilet Cleaner

White vinegar is perfect for cleaning a toilet seat. To clean the bowl you can use lemon juice. The acidity binds to minerals in the toilet bowl making it easier to clean. Baking soda is also a great way to scour and deodorize the bowl.

Alternatively, you can make your own toilet cleaner bombs! Check out Biome’s recipe below.

  • ½ cup bicarb soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Distilled water (boiled and cooled)
  • 12 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 12 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 12 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 12 drops lemon essential oil
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a glass bowl to mix together. Spritz with water and continue to mix until it resembles the consistency of damp sand. Be careful not to overdo spritzing the mixture with water, or it may start fizzing and crumble.
  2. Pack the mixture into 4 moulds or hand roll into 4 equally sized round balls.
  3. If you are using a mould, leave the mixture overnight and unmould the following day. Leave to dry further for 2 days.
  4. Store in a sealed glass jar until ready to use
  5. Drop the bomb into the toilet bowl and wait for the fizzing to stop to flush the toilet.

At the Co-Op we also stock the following all natural cleaning products in bulk if you don’t want to make your own:

  • Multipurpose cleaner or Spray and Wipesoaps
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Dishwashing powder
  • Wool wash
  • Laundry detergent
  • Laundry powder
  • Soaps

To take it that step further you can also make the switch to plastic free and reusable for all cleaning utensils. This is trickier to navigate as you would know by looking through the cleaning aisles at the major supermarkets or retail outlets which generally only stock plastic cleaning tools. Check out these alternatives which you can use over and over again!Dish Brushscrub pads

Or why not reuse old t-shirts by cutting them up to replace kitchen paper towels and use as rags for cleaning? Especially cotton cloths can be used over and over again, washed regularly and at the end of their life composted.

It will take time to turn your kitchen, bathroom, laundry or workplace into a plastic free environment when cleaning, but we know all to well how infectious it can become to want to rid your whole life of plastic once you get started!

Do you have any cleaning DYI recipes or tips you’d like to share for our Co-Op community? Then leave a comment below.

About the Author Chloe Brant – An avid ocean lover and eco blogger, Chloe works in broadcast communications and felt she needed to share the message of living a more sustainable life. The Manly Food Co-Op was the perfect fit to share their local and healthy produce and waste-free thinking with the wider community.

“I volunteer writing content for the Co-Op to share my love for local produce and to learn all I can from like-minded volunteers and community members about living a sustainable life for a happy planet :)”