My Kitchen And How I Try To Keep It Green – Part 1

I hope the articles I’ve written over the past year have proved helpful to my readers. Starting this month I thought it might be interesting to feature some of the rooms in my home, to provide an understanding of my thought processes and lifestyle choices in action!

The main theme is always think: ‘REDUCE and REUSE’! So to start off, let me walk you around my kitchen, and discuss the products I use to keep it clean, as well as highlighting some of my furniture and appliances.

CLEANING PRODUCTS: I use relatively few products to be honest. I use eco-friendly washing up liquid and obtain refills from The Natural Life Shop as it’s cheaper to buy than to make it (N.B. this shop has been supplying refills for a number of household products for many years). I also buy eco-friendly dishwasher tablets, but use white vinegar as rinse aid, which works really well. For all other cleaning in the house, I use bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, borax and some lemon juice – that’s it! In addition, I’ve used micro-fibre cleaning cloths since about 1986, when they first came on the market, as they can be washed in the washing machine time and time again. I have about 15 of them so I can have a new dish cloth each day. For a scourer, I use two metal scourers which I’ve had for about 15 years and put them in the dishwasher when they need freshening up. The bottom line, therefore, is that I haven’t bought any disposable scourers or cloths for a very long time.

When cleaning off food that’s ground in on a saucepan or oven dish, I use the old method of adding some washing up liquid into the pan with water and heating it for a short time on the cooker. I find the food comes off really easily after that. To freshen smells from the kitchen, I air it each day – I have a stable door, which provides flexibility and even in the winter (which is normally quite mild these days apart from the recent cold snap we’ve had), I find I can open the top of the stable door for a short while.

I really can’t abide synthetic fragrances as I find them so overpowering and unnatural. I can’t help but wonder at the effect synthetic fragrances have on people – especially people with respiratory problems.

I make my own soap which is a total joy to create, with no unnecessary chemicals, colourants, palm oil or synthetic fragrance. It tends to be more effective with moisturising my skin and I even colour my soap with natural botanicals and only use essential oils to scent it, or leave it unscented altogether.

As I’ve mentioned before, I never use a tumble dryer (for full details about tumble dryers see my article in August 2020). A tumble dryer will use the equivalent of 225 light bulbs per hour, when it’s running. If you have the facility to dry laundry on a washing line, it’s preferable and is often possible, even in the winter. Or place washing on an indoor clothes airer, which uses no energy and is very effective if left in a warm spot.

With cleaning products, I think one of the key things is to be aware how much marketing we’re subjected to on our TVs. This advertising is aimed at persuading us to buy yet more products that we honestly don’t need. How many times have you looked into a cleaning cupboard (your own or a friend’s) and noticed the quantity and variety of stuff stored inside – a great deal of which is duplicated! It’s of huge concern to hear that apparently the UK has the worst track record in Europe for washing contaminants down the plug hole!

Most importantly, I don’t buy products that I don’t need. I pared down the contents of my kitchen cupboards years ago to what I actually need and use, and haven’t accumulated any more since. Remember, every single thing we buy has a carbon footprint and many cleaning products are bad for the environment. Another element to mention is that I’ve always had houseplants around my home. It seems they’ve recently come back “in fashion”, which is great as they help to clean the atmosphere in our homes (check for yourself online).

ON THE FURNITURE SIDE: in my kitchen, I have:

  • A sideboard that is post-war which has been painted with eco-friendly paint (I’ve had it for about 40 years), it’s also really attractive and very spacious with two drawers and two large cupboards beneath. It’s a brilliant piece of furniture.
  • Then there’s my beloved freezer. I bought it the year before I had my daughter so I know that it’s 37 years old and still going strong. My previous washing machine was 23 years old when it finally died. I just kept getting it fixed and it lasted and lasted. It’s good to know that new legislation will mean that manufacturers have to make parts available so that white goods last longer.
  • A beautiful second hand vintage display cabinet (I’m not sure how old it is but apparently it’s called a Dutch cabinet) – again it’s been painted with eco-friendly paint and I keep glasses and special plates and bowls in it (a combination of new and second hand stuff – I do love vintage crockery).
  • A shelf which I purloined from my late friend’s house (as her executor), on which I keep all the mugs.
  • My pride and joy is my Smeg fridge, which I got second hand off ebay. It was a bit of a quest as I needed a certain model so that it would fit into the space I had. It’s a beauty!
  • The whole kitchen is painted with eco-friendly paint – and I never use gloss paint as it is high in VOCs (volatile organic com pounds – really not great for us or the environment). One wall is wall papered with British hand printed wallpaper.
  • I also have a lamp in the kitchen which I love. The shade was made with old fabric and I put it onto an existing lampstand that I had.

You can hopefully see from the photos that my kitchen doesn’t look second hand which goes to show that with a bit of effort you can create your own special space that is unique to your home.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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