Join the Greener Revolution is a stunningly bright and colourful book that shares 30 easy ways to live and eat sustainably from an individual level all the way to a global level. It’s written by Ollie Hunter, chef and owner of the most sustainable pub in Britain. He describes The Greener Revolution, his second book, as a cookbook at heart. Food he says is an integral part of a sustainable life and his life. Recipes are thus interspersed throughout the book’s colourfully illustrated pages and wealth of information.
It’s not a recipe I have chosen to share, but rather another part of his solutions to living more sustainably – making your own natural cleaning products. Afterall, all good meals require a mess and if you’re going to cook sustainably why not clean sustainably too.
‘When chemical-laden cleaning products go down the drain, they enter the water supply’, Ollie explains. ‘This not only affects the environment, but over time they can build up and become toxic to us and our bodies too. Natural cleaning products work well as disinfectants, deodorizers and grease cleaners because the acid in the vinegar chemically changes the proteins and fats that makes up viruses and bacteria, destroying their cell structures. They’re not quite as effective as very harsh chemicals, but we’re not trying to wipe out all life on Earth, just clean. If you really want to get something super clean, then the best way to do it is using hot soapy water and good old elbow grease. Scrub the area hard, then spray/soak with pure vinegar, leaving that on for 10 minutes before wiping it away.’
Apple cider vinegar is his go-to ingredient for making natural cleaning products – because as he says ‘it’s wonderful for so many things and should be dosed out liberally’.
If you do not have access to apple cider vinegar, he does say that any type of vinegar can be used in all of the cleaning recipes. Don’t forget to also regularly clean your cloths or sponges themselves – obvious maybe, but so important.
Ollie Hunter’s Natural Cleaning Product Recipes
For the bathroom and kitchen
Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water. You can leave naturally scented ingredients like rosemary or lavender in the vinegar to infuse for 10 days before using or add essential oils in a natural fresh scent of your choice, such as apple and mint. Leave for 1 week, then strain (if needed) and pour into a reusable spray bottle. You can also replace the vinegar with citric acid powder if you like but use warm water to dissolve the powder.
Make a cup of tea! The astringency of a well-brewed cup of black tea is the perfect thing to cut through grease and dust. It’s also great on other shiny surfaces like windows or wood floors.
For tough surface stains
Make a thick paste with equal amounts of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water. Scrub this into the affected area, leave it overnight and then wipe away the next day.
For carpet stains
Generously sprinkle bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) over the stain, spray with some hot water and leave for a minimum of 4 hours. All you need to do is vacuum it up later or the next day. Alternatively, you can mix together 1 part washing soda (sodium carbonate) with 1 part vinegar and 10 parts water and clean as normal.
Mix 1 part vinegar with 30 parts water and rub on with a soft cloth. Or use 1 part vinegar, 4 parts oil and 30 parts water. Or, for really tough stains, mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to form a paste and then scrub (you might need to re-oil the wood after this one).
Add 250 g / 9 oz of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to the drain, leave for 1 hour, then add 250 ml / 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Leave to sit for 12 hours, then rinse thoroughly with water.
Sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), then add 2.5 cm / 1 inch of water and simmer gently for 2 minutes on the hob (stovetop) before wiping away the dirt.
The above has been extracted with permission from ‘Join the Greener Revolution: 30 Easy ways to live and eat sustainably’ by Ollie Hunter, published by Pavilion Books. ‘Join the Greener Revolution: 30 Easy ways to live and eat sustainably’ is available online here or bookstores.