Cleaning madness Vol.2
Making her own cleaning products was not the only reason why my grandma’s cleaning cupboard was not bursting with different liquids, powders and gels.
Grandma had a good dose of rational distrust accompanying her decision-making process. It could be due to the interesting times she lived in, it could be something that runs in my family’s blood, as there is quite a lot of healthy scepticism in me (just one of the reasons my friends would refer to me as ‘pain in the ass’). Irrespective of where it came from, it made my Grandma pretty much completely immune to advertising.
During the advent of the golden age of advertising in the 1950s, ads had one main purpose – to sell the product, through the depiction of exciting and interesting lifestyles modelled by the famous faces of the time. Advertising has moved on in our modern era and is not so much about the product but more of the idea, ethos, philosophy or politics that the particular company espouses.
Energy drinks are a good example. They all taste pretty much the same, they all have pretty much the same ingredients, yet we are more eager to buy particular brands which more often than not are the more expensive ones. It is because we no longer buy a product, but the idea we associate with it through smart advertising. Who would not like to feel the thrill of being a star stepping on the stage surrounded by devoted fans, living on the edge and making the most out of life, participating in extreme sports with no fear? Here, just hold this can.
The same principle applies to cleaning products.
Half-naked Jason Momoa.
I do not deny scientific and technological progress. For sure the washing up liquid you can get in the store now will be better than anything that was available 30 years ago. However, with time and progress, their formulas became pretty much the same. Adverts no longer focus on convincing you which brand will be more efficient, they are selling you the dream. You are presented with washing up liquids made of unicorns’ tears that will do the dishes without any involvement on your part. Or even better, the moment you open the bottle, a half-naked Jason Momoa will pop out of the bottle and do all the cleaning for you. With a smile!
What would Grandma say? “If it is too good to be true, then most likely it is not true.” Instead of buying, buying, buying, she would stick to one brand she already tried and tested.
The one lies to rule them all.
So, you stick to this one cleaning product you know. You are happy. Until you hear “Well mate, if something is good for everything, then it is good for nothing.” The lie repeated a sufficient number of times, becomes a truth. On top of the spray, you were using for the general cleaning, you need another one for your cooker and another one for the worktops in your kitchen. One for the tiles. One for the sink. One for the glass. Another one for the fridge. One that smells nice. One that kills the bacteria (99% of them!). One that makes surfaces shine and one that protects them. Then maybe an extra kitchen just to store it all. All will come in copious amounts of plastic packaging of course.
Taming the madness.
I get it. We all live busy lives. As much as I like to feel like the Goddess of the Clean Household and make my own cleaning potions, sometimes I come back from work, and I just cannot be bothered. There is a pile of books waiting for me. An interesting movie I’m itching to watch. Not to mention that Mr Cat requires some attention, boyfriend occasionally too! Even though it is not difficult nor time-consuming to make one’s own mixtures, sometimes I just want to use something ready-made for my convenience. Yet, I do want to use products that I have chosen consciously. They all are there, just a few clicks away.
I am not going to use the names of brands. I am not here to advertise any products (sic!) and I cannot say that I have tried them all. It is only to name just a few of many options for keeping your place clean without generating more plastic waste.
- Refills! There are companies that will send you refills of cleaning products (anything from the liquid hand soap to the washing up liquid) with a prepaid envelope. You move the product to the dispenser of your choice and send the bags for further reuse. No waste!
- Tablets! Why pay for the water in your cleaning solution, if you can get a tablet that will dissolve in the water from your very own tap at home. Again – you are using the dispenser you already have, and tablets are packed in biodegradable paper so no more extra waste!
- Recyclable refill! Your product comes in glass bottles that are so much easier to recycle than plastic. No waste!
- Highly concentrated cleaning products! This is my favourite. Depending on what you want to use them for, you dilute the different amounts of the same product. True – some of them come in plastic packaging, but they replace multiple cleaning products, and they last for ages!
- Powder refills! Again – you buy your bottle for life once or use the dispenser you already have and keep buying the product in a form of a powder that needs to be dissolved in water. It comes in a paper envelope. No plastic waste!
Pretty much all of the above can come to your place regularly in a form of a subscription customised to your needs. You are not only saving time by skipping the trips to the shops, but at the same time, you are saving the planet by reducing your plastic waste. Genius! That should definitely be advertised…