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Plastic Free - cleaning products

When I occasionally walk up the "cleaning" aisle of the supermarket I am baffled by all the different products, gadgets and essential items required to keep our house clean!  I have never made a secret of the fact that I don't particularly like spending time cleaning the house.  I have much more interesting things to do in the garden, but I do try to keep in to a minimum standard (and to be fair, Pete is the chief toilet cleaner).  We don't buy any cleaners from the supermarket these days, but we do occasionally clean the house.... more on this in a minute....

This July Pete and I have taken up the challenge once again to reduce and analyse our single use plastic consumption with Plastic Free July. Throughout July have to shared with you our progress, and lots of tips and ideas, and its been great to see you all join in. I have one more giveaway, so join in, share your ideas and have a chance to win some plastic-free products this July!

In Week 1 I wrote about food shopping and food storage, and for Week 2 the topic was rubbish and recycling, last week I wrote about plastic in the bathroom and offered to giveaway 2 bars of my homemade soap for you to try.  This week I have a sample of soap nuts to send to one lucky reader, see below.

Well, I didn't get many comments last week, clearly you didn't want my soap!  The only two comments were from winners of the Fregie sacks for the week before.  If you two do want soap, just let me know, but I know at least one of you makes your own :)

Throughout July you can also get some great plastic free discounts.

Biome are offering a 15% discount on their lunchbox range.  To claim the discount, just enter FLLBC15 "Voucher Code Box" all through July 2014.  

The Fregie Sack have a 15% discount for their clever light-weight bags through July 2014.  All you have to do is enter the code MYDEAL when you order.  

Instead of buying multiple cleaners, we have come to realise that all we really need is vinegar, baking soda and plenty of reusable cloths.  A while ago I made citrus vinegar by packing a jar full of lemon peels and topping up with vinegar, we are still using this to clean just about everything, including bench tops, wiping out the fridge, cleaning the bathroom and cleaning the windows.  I filled several spray bottles and they are in strategic locations around the house.  

The soap shaker arrives from NZ (opened by customs)

For the dishes, we use homemade soap in a soap shaker, but we do keep some detergent for really greasy dishes and for cleaning the milking machine.

In the laundry, I have been using soap nuts, and recently I also made some soapwort liquid.

a bag of soap nuts

There's really not much more to say, except that I think all the different cleaners are a scam, most of them have very similar ingredients and different packaging.  If you try using vinegar on most things, and a baking soda paste on anything really stuck on (then spray with vinegar and watch it bubble), you will find that it works to clean most things.

Giveaway *now closed*
This week I'm going to giveaway:

1 sample bag of soap nuts

To enter, all you need to do is comment on this post and tell everyone how you reduce plastic when cleaning, or any other plastic-free ideas. I will draw the two winners at random.  Australian postal addresses only please (but share you ideas in the comments anyway, just let me know where you're commenting from).

I will announce the winner next Friday, and start the next giveaway - I will not contact you, so you have to remember to come back and contact me if you won, so it might be a good idea to follow Eight Acres - the blog on blogger, bloglovinFeedlyfacebook, or pinterest, so you don't miss out.  I've set up a pinterest board for plastic-free information, so follow along if you need some inspiration.

Good luck everyone and keep thinking about plastic!  I'll be back with more next Friday.

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  1. Hi Liz

    I would love to try the soap nuts. Can you use them in front loaders?

    My plastic free cleaning tip for the bathroom is just to rub some normal soap onto a body scrub ball that I bought from the supermarket to clean the bath, shower screen and basins. I use Enjo for the floor. (But I do have to fight mould occasionally and for that I use a mould killer, which is so bad. Any ideas besides better ventilation?)

    Geraldine, Melbourne

    1. Thanks Rick for that info.

    2. You can use clove oil for mould killer it works really well.

  2. Gee Whiz, I thought your soaps would be snapped up! I love using my soap. I always give it away as presents thinking I'm giving people an amazing gift. Perhaps the recipients aren't as enamoured as I assume they are! LOL

    The like the soap shaker. It reminds me of my nana but we just use a bar of soap and swish it in the water by hand. I probably don't have my water as hot as Nana used to though. I'm not in the running for soap nuts btw. I have some here somewhere but I'm using homemade soap powder atm. It looks like Plastic Free July is going well for you. Great posts!

  3. Great idea plastic free month, what a difference it would make if everlne participated.
    We make all our own fermented sodas at home in glass bottles no plastic bottles allowed. And I save heaps of money.
    Geraldine, I've used soapnuts in my old frontloader and they work well. I often added a drop of essential oil on the bag to scent the washing.

  4. What?! I must have missed the soap bar offer. I had made a batch myself but I wasn't completely happy with the smell. It would have been good to try someone else's to see the differences. Anyway, I'd really like to try the soap nuts. Talk about swishing soap through water, I'm thinking of grating down my homemade soap and diluting it with water to make a handwash liquid?? Cheers Liz.

  5. I only use hand mades soaps as we love the texture and the amazing aromas and as a bonus we don't have any plastics as they are all unwrapped

  6. I would love to try the soap Liz!

    Soap nuts are something I've heard of but I have no idea how they work. Can they be used with cloth nappies?

    I clean with only vinegar and bicarb. I especially love cleaning the microwave this way- so much more effective than marketed cleaners. Just fill a bowl with some vinegar solution or spray the walls of the microwave with it (vinegar and water in trigger spray bottle). Heat for a minute then wipe. So easy.

    1. Yes they can, I used soap nuts to wash my MCNs in. That, plus a day in the sun seems to kill all germs/smells.

  7. I'm with you Liz the cleaning isle leaves me wondering how much money people waste on it all when it is not needed. I make my own laundry liquid but have never tried soap nuts and would happily give them a go. We use bi carb, vinegar, essential oils and kin kin oxygen whitener and washing up liquid.

  8. Since turning my back on commercial cleaners four years ago, I can't go back to them. Even the slightest whiff of those toxic chemical hurts my nasal passages. And the price!
    I use straight white vinegar for cleaning, bicarb for scrubbing. Old clothes are cut up and used for cleaning cloths, which are chucked in the compost once they get too grubby to clean with. Pineapple skins are also great for adding to vinegar for a nice 'fresh' scent.

  9. Thanks for the share. I wasn’t a fan of cleaning too when my husband and I get married. We just call a janitorial service to do the thing for us. But as the time passed by, I realize I’m throwing away such large amount of money. So what I did was, I learn to invest in cleaning supplies that would benefit us long term. Some house cleaning supplies we’ve found were from here It’s such a steal because most of these are eco-friendly and no chemicals that could harm your family.


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