Welcome to Recycle Less, where in this edition I’m turning into my mother.
Dish and cleaning sponges weren’t thing growing up aside from cleaning the car. My Mum used dishcloths of which I still have nightmares about. I think they were old t-shirts, or old clothes cut up. She boiled them every now and then but the same one was used for a long time. I hated the way they got slimy, the way the turned grey. I’m still shuddering. So much are my nightmares that if I smell even today them being sterilised by boiling which my Mum did once in a while I’m gagging. I remember in primary school I’m not sure if the school kitchen was cooking something or was boiling cloths however I remember whenever that smell was a round there was no way I was eating.
Because of childhood dishcloth trauma I’ve avoided them. I prefer sponges. Better at foaming, scrubbing, wiping down. However most are made of plastic or a type of manmade plastic. I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastics I use and it’s hard. Food and cosmetics are the number one plastic abusers. The last few years I’ve purchased vegetable sponges made with 100% recycled fibres with walnut fibre scrub bit by Spontex. While these come in cardboard packaging, others I’ve tired still come in plastic (some are packaged in biodegradable plastic) and a lot of energy and resources used in production. I’ve been fine with these replacing them monthly.
I was until YouTube kept bugging me to watch How to Hand Wash Your Dishes Like A Pro, With Rajiv Surendra | Life Skills With Rajiv on HGTV Handmade. I think because the algorithm knows I watch Hamimmony I like cleaning. FIY I don’t but I like a clean house. I ended up watching 14 minutes on how to hand wash dishes properly. I was okay, Rajiv tell me! One thing he said one thing that stuck out. You’re around someone else’s house and you go to wash up and what you find ‘is a nasty, smelly, rancid kitchen sponge ‘ you really don’t want to touch. I was surprise, washing up at the time and was hmm, yes looking at the sponge. He recommend not giving up sponges completely, they have their roles and preferred to use a dishcloth. I was horrified and carried watching.
While I’m on team it was fake with regards to the Will Smith Chris Rock Oscar slap, (is that ancient news already as it’s now 3 days old or something?), sometimes aggression is needed to remove remarks marks.
natjtan is about leading a more sustainable lifestyle, sharing cute animal photos, nature photos, beauty finds while trying to lead that more sustainable lifestyle which unless live off grid, sometimes seems impossible. A UK supermarket, Tesco slogan’s every little helps is the way many of us can lead a more sustainable lifestyle. More so by what we choose to purchase or choose not purchase.
Which is great until it comes to the bathroom in a hard water area. Limescale no matter how many vinegar bio eco bathroom cleaners you buy, mixing up your own vinegar and bicarb soda solutions and scrubbing with an old toothbrush, using a loofah or eco sponge, limescale won’t budge.
I remembered a Buzzfeed article on something like household cleaning tips, hacks or something that one tip was using a pumice stone to remove limescale build up in the toilet bowl. Off course I had to try it out to see if it worked. Pumice stones are quite cheap, widely available in beauty departments, supermarkets and are renewable and sustainable as volcanic. Sadly many come wrapped in plastic. As they’re quite coarse they’re prefect for removing scrapping away limescale, itself a hard chalky deposit of calcium and magnesium found in hard water.
I soak the toilet bowl weekly with white wine vinegar when I clean it which is cheap as chips in Spain, to help dissolve the build up through an acid attack, yet it does’t remove much. I remembered the Buzzfeed tip and gave it a go.
Gloved up as nobody wants to shove a bare hand in a toilet bowl it did work. At a cost of the porcelain scratched and 10-15 minutes of elbow grease (you can buy as I’ve found out scratch free toilet bowl pumice ‘brushes’). As it’s not my toilet bowl, I abandoned that idea. However the idea was there to try the pumice stone on other things:
Build up around the *tap pipes in the bath by the wall (I’ve no idea the official word for these).
Welcome back to another Recycle Less where I share my journey to be more sustainable and using less plastic. This edition features something I don’t think anybody likes doing, cleaning the toilet yet everybody loves a clean toilet!
To be honest at the moment I seem to have hit a stalemate on recycling less. I’m not buying non plastic items just for the sake of and replacing everything with a more sustainable version. It’s more when the current plastic item needs replacing I seek out the non plastic alternative, so I don’t have many finds to share at the moment. I still use a lot of plastic. Mostly with groceries but that can’t be helped. Thankfully more companies are aware of this. I’ve noticed it’s more the organic products that are coming in plant based plastics. I still use when buying loose produce, cotton produce bags. Thankfully I’m not a huge junk food biscuit kinda girl which cuts out a lot of plastic. When it comes to clothes, accessories I buy less as so much of it is plastic crap! I do have some FOMO, but I know it’s a buy to satisfy a mood so I walk away and literally forget about the item upon leaving the shop. Basically now when shopping I consider the packaging more than the item.
There are things however that are if you see it, buy it as my Mum says. A plastic free toilet brush being one of them. It was also on that other list of if you see it buy it, the list of things to look out for. It wasn’t my intention to purchase a new toilet brush, yet I knew the current toilet brush would need replacing in the next year or so. A visit to check out Yes, Future Positive Supermarket here in Barcelona was one of those if you see it, buy it days.
First up, it is expensive. €9.90 which is a ridiculous amount for a toilet brush when plastic ones, you can pick up for €2 or less. Maybe online you can find them for cheaper. The advantage over plastic ones is when it needs replacing no plastic to landfill, recycling or more plastic for the next one.
Okay, does it clean, scrub as well? I think so. The bristles have bent like plastic ones do but it cleans and scrubs okay. Initially it does smell, a plant sisal smell that hangs around for a day or 2 however after a few uses that goes. None of the bristles have fallen out within the 6 months of use, but have bent or crushed a like plastic toilet brushes bristles. I knew it would happen quicker than plastic ones but not this quickly. It does I think clean more aggressively the limescale build up in the toilet bowl as the build up seems less. Tmi Nat!
The biggest problem is how to dry it so mildew and other moulds don’t build up, which is the advantage plastic ones have. The shop also sold its stand separately which I declined, as that would have made the whole set up around €30 and I was also buying out of curiosity if it worked. I still had the plastic pot for the current plastic toilet brush and thought I can use that. Well, yes and no.
Welcome back to another Recycle Less where I share my journey towards a lesser plastic free and more sustainable lifestyle. This edition is solid dish soap. Yes, solid dish soap! I didn’t know it was thing either.
I don’t know why but it never occurred to me that you could get solid soap other than hand soap and shower/bath soap. I mean, where did that idea come from to use a solid soap to wash with come from. Probably Nat from soap that was used to wash EVERYTHING! First however a backstory how I came across solid dish soaps if you’re interested otherwise, skip 3 paragraphs and grab a cup of tea or coffee, for this is a long one.
Back in October last year a YouTube video wouldn’t get out of my recommendations. To shut the algorithm up I clicked it. The algorithm might know me a little too well. I can’t remember the exact video other than the channel is Hamimommy and I’ve subscribed. Hamimommy is a channel I thought I’d never watch. A house cleaning, day in a housewife type of show. I like clean house, there are other things I prefer to do with my time. The cooking parts I mostly skip as meat is featured and I don’t eat meat. What I do like about her is she’s very much about reducing waste, reusing things, buying less plastic, sharing tips, promoting a less wasteful and more sustainable lifestyle. It’s one of the few videos I look forward to watching and the only one I sit down and watch rather than have on when in the kitchen cooking. Her house is gorgeous, her videos are amazingly filmed and edited and I’ve got some many tips and ideas from her. One being solid dish soap. I can’t find the exact video, however this one, 13 Items To Help Make Less Plastic and Disposables/ Zero Waste Routine features solid dish soap. No worries if you like me don’t speak Korean, you can turn on the subtitles in your language in YouTube settings.
I wouldn’t say a light bulb when off when she featured solid dish soap. More a frying pan to my head. I use solid soap in the shower instead of shower gel to save plastic and help the environment when it’s washed down the drain. I use solid soap to wash my hands. While I’ve never got on with solid shampoo bars I have tried them. Why hadn’t I thought about solid dish soap before? Why? Because I didn’t know they existed.
It was also around that time I started using new liquid dish detergent by Frosch. I’ve always used Frosch dish detergents as they’re bio, not that expensive and widely available in Spain. This particular one, a new rosemary scent came with a hazard sign on the back. None of the other Frosch dish detergents I’ve used have this!. While I use solid soap to wash my hands in the bathrooms, in the kitchen and when I get in, I use liquid dish soap. The scent even after rinsing well was still on my hands. I was concerned then that even with rinsing well the dishes, I was ingesting this hazardous bio dish soap. Hamimmony released that video, I went on a hunt for solid dish soap down a long rabbit hole. And with that, the actual review of the first dish soap I found.
I tried Amazon first and it seemed only Jabon Zorro d’Avi a Spanish brand had sold natural dish soaps. I did find in my local supermarket Marseille soap however that had sodium tallowate, beef fat. Being vegan I didn’t want to wash with animal fats. The shipping was expensive even on Jabon Zorro d’Avi’s site. I think it’s since gone down. The soap bar, 120g, Jabón Sóldio Natural para Vajilla, wasn’t cheap €5.95. Amazon €8.95! Amazon shipping €3.95. €12.9 is a lot! I only wanted to try one! I decided to try a few zero waste shops locally to see if I could find any. The first one I visited stocked it however a little more than online I think €7. The sales assistant said it would last me 3 months.
I think I used it wrong as it lasted about 3 weeks. It’s not a foaming bar. I’m team if it foams it’s working right? I know foam isn’t always an indicator that something’s working. I used the soap exactly as I do in the shower. Wet sponge, wet bar, rub them together, foam, clean. I tired to cut it into smaller pieces but it just crumbled. It also left white marks everywhere if you didn’t rinse or wipe down surfaces or the draining board well. Due to how quickly I got through it I decided to find another solid dish soap to try.
I did like that it was plastic free, vegan and all natural ingredients: Helianthus Annus oil, aqua/water, Olea Europapea Fruit oil, aqua/water, Sodium Hydroxide.
In another zero waste shop Yes Future Positive Supermarket, I found a vegan traditional Marseille soap by La Corvette 300g. The sales assistant said it can be used for everything. EVERYTHING! I purchased one for the kitchen and went back a few days later to purchase another for hand washing as I wanted to stop liquid hand washing detergent. Price is around €3.50-€6.99 on La Corvette’s own site (in English!) depending on size purchased and if plastic wrapped. They sell non plastic wrapped bars and sell in bulk! It’s also palm oil free and certified COSMOS NATURAL by ECOCERT Greenlife, so I’m hoping coconut derived ingredient’s ethically sourced.