Washing up: it’s a daily routine you’ve likely been doing the same way for years. And, along with most people, you’ve probably been buying the same washing-up liquid (and plastic sponge scourers) for just as long.
So even if you’ve taken steps to be greener in other areas of your life, your washing-up routine can be hard to let go of. But what if we told you your favourite brands could be directly polluting your local waterways?
This is no exaggeration – and these kinds of chemicals can be extremely harmful to aquatic life. Luckily, there are now plenty of natural plant-based cleaners readily available, which are biodegradable and non-polluting.
We’re going to explain exactly why you should change your washing-up products – and which eco-friendly alternatives we recommend. Take a look.
Why you should change your washing-up routine
When you wash cleaning chemicals down your sink, they don’t just disappear. Although your household’s wastewater should be treated before returning to rivers, we know that’s not always the case.
Domestic cleaning products – including washing-up liquid and dishwasher detergents – can and do end up in our waterways. There, they can cause significant and lasting damage to biodiversity. The UK’s favourite washing-up liquid brand, for instance, explicitly states on its label that it is ‘harmful to aquatic life’.
The solution to this? Lobby your MP to get harsher on the water companies who are illegally dumping raw sewage into our rivers and streams. And in the meantime, make the switch to washing up with plant-based alternatives.
A natural alternative to washing up liquid
You may feel attached to your favourite brands, but natural washing-up liquids are just as good as the synthetic stuff – and these days, they’re not difficult to get hold of. Personally, we’ve got a couple of favourites.
The OceanSaver Dishwashing Bar may look different to the bottles of liquid you’re used to, but its concentrated form really packs a punch. Made from a plant-based formula that’s completely free from nasty chemicals and palm oil, you’ll be impressed by how well this soap cuts through grease and grime. You simply need to rub your wet sponge, brush or cloth on it and then wash up as normal.
Not only are these dishwashing bars completely free from plastic packaging, but they also last a very, very long time – just keep them dry between uses (this soap dish will do the trick). That means you’ll drastically cut down on your plastic use and the amount of product you use overall. Eco-friendly and economical.
Our other favourite is this Eco-Mate Washing-Up Liquid, which comes in a delicious pink grapefruit scent. We love that it’s packaged in a world-first biodegradable paper bottle that you can compost at home or recycle. Its eco-friendly plant-based formula is vegan, hypoallergenic and not tested on animals.
Like the dishwashing bar, this washing-up liquid is also super-concentrated, so you don’t need to use much. All Eco-Mate products (and their packaging) are made entirely in the UK – and an impressive 20% of profits go to ocean conservation charities.
Try a plastic-free sponge alternative
Plastic washing-up sponges don’t just generate plastic waste that can’t be recycled – they also release harmful microplastics into our waterways every single time you wash up. Here are our best biodegradable alternatives.
These EcoCoconut Biodegradable Scourers are made from coconut husk, a byproduct of the coconut farming industry. Tough, long-lasting and scratch-free, these scourers are brilliant at removing stubborn grime. They’re fully biodegradable once they reach the end of their life, and come in recyclable plastic-free packaging too.
These EcoLiving Compostable Sponge Cleaning Cloths are a fantastic alternative to traditional plastic sponges and cloths. They may look like your average plastic sponge cloths, but they’re instead made from 70% cellulose and 30% cotton. This makes them much tougher – they can even go in the washing machine – as well as completely biodegradable.
Prefer something more spongey? Try an EcoLiving Kitchen and Bathroom Loofah. These rough-textured sponges are made from the loofah plant: a type of gourd that looks like a big cucumber. Loofahs will soften up with use and are robust enough to last for months. Once one reaches the end of its life, you can simply put it in the compost.
Long-lasting, anti-rust and completely recyclable, these EcoLiving Steel Scourers are perfect for scrubbing off baked-on food. Made from tough galvanised steel, they’re designed to completely replace traditional stainless steel or plastic sponge scourers. You can even put them in the dishwasher.
If you don’t have a washing-up scraper, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one. This LoofCo Washing-Up Scraper is handmade from natural coconut husk, and is ideal for budging baked-on food. This waste material is gentle enough not to scratch but tough enough to last – plus, it’s 100% biodegradable.
Switch to eco-friendly dishwasher tablets
Dishwashers are much more water-efficient than washing up by hand – but the chemicals found in the tablets can be particularly nasty. We have several eco-friendly alternatives that will leave your dishes sparkling.
Our Ecozone dishwasher tablets come in Classic or the extra-powerful Brilliance. Both offer potent cleaning that leaves your dishes shiny and streak-free, cutting through grime without the use of toxic chemicals. These eco dishwasher tablets are vegan, cruelty-free, pet-friendly, palm oil free and septic tank safe.
We also love this dishwasher powder by Bide, which contains organic peppermint oil for a beautiful fresh scent. Made using just three other plant-based ingredients, it’s gentle on the environment, vegan and plastic-free. Simply pop a couple of teaspoons where you’d usually add a dishwasher tablet.
Need some extra oomph in your dishwasher? Try this Eco-Mate dishwasher rinse aid, which comes in a compostable paper bottle and is made from plant-based ingredients. And if you’re in a hard water area, this Ecozone Anti-Limescale Magnoball could save you from buying box after box of water softening products. It works in your washing machine, too.
Ready to make the switch to a non-polluting washing-up routine? Browse our full range of products here.