Posts tagged "cleaning"

How can I repair/revamp a stained cotton rug?

I haven’t done a “repair this” for a while but this is something I’ve been wondering about for a few weeks now: how can I repair/revamp a stained rug?

It’s a circular cotton rug with off-white (even before the stains!) and pale blue strips, and even though it was pretty cheap, I love it. But it is stained and dirty now and it really needs a good clean and/or a revamp.

Since it’s cotton, it can probably handle some tough cleaning love – but it’s also about 2m/6-and-a-half feet in diameter and heavy and awkward to work with. It’s not going to fit in a sink or a washing machine – even cleaning it in a bath will be very awkward because it’s so big.

As for revamping it, since it’s cotton, I thought about the possibility of dyeing it – but again, that’ll be an awkward job, and also potentially a very, very messy one.

Any suggestions for how can I clean it? Or any advice for dyeing it or revamping it in another way?

How can I reuse or recycle a (Clorox) wipe dispensing container?

We’ve had an email from Cassondra asking:

How can I reuse/recycle clorox wipes containers?

I hadn’t heard of Clorox wipes but my friend Google tells me they’re the same type of dispensing containers used for many types of wipes (baby wipes, screen cleaning wipes, etc). Like with all disposable wipes, the first thing I’d say is reduce your use of them if you can. Use a washable/reusable cloth instead – either a standard dishcloth or a specially designed cloth for use with just water, no additional chemicals needed.

But to answer the question in hand, chances are, you can recycle the container with your standard plastic recycling. I’m not 100% sure about Clorox ones but most of the ones I’ve come into contact with and checked have been made from polyethylene (PE) plastic, which is widely recyclable.

As for reuses, without any modification at all, they’re good string, twine or yarn dispensers in the garden or for crafts – the container protects the yarn from the elements/cat-attack and you just pull it out as you need it. You probably won’t need more than a couple of those though so any other ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle excess sterilising solution?

We’ve covered a wide range of things during our cleaning themed week here on Recycle This – bleach bottles, plug-in air fresheners, making dishcloth & pot scrubbers, and yesterday’s very interesting discussion on reducing plastic waste from cleaning – so I feel it’s fine for me to go off on a bit more of a tangent for this last one: sterilising fluid.

When I’m making jams & preserves, I use the hot soapy water then time in the oven approach for “sterilising” my glass jars – but that doesn’t work for John’s homebrew stuff. Some of it is plastic, some of it is just too big for the oven, and some of it is both plastic and too big. Instead, he uses sterilising solution – either bought as a concentrated liquid or made up from tablets. The stuff John uses is 2% sodium hypochlorite – weak bleach – so maybe this isn’t off on such a tangent after all ;)

Anyway, when he’s doing some homebrew, John mixes up a big vat of the sterilising fluid and uses it to sterilise this things – but since they’re hot-water-clean already, the liquid doesn’t get too messed up. I’d imagine people sterilising babies bottles would be in a similar position. It apparently has an effective life of about 24 hours so we can reuse it for other things – but what?

According to this forum on MoneySavingExpert, it’s a good halfway house for bleach – you can use it as a safer bleach for cleaning places you wouldn’t want to use full strength bleach (the microwave, tea cups, camping water bottles).

Does anyone have any other suggestions for things to do with it? I know some people use a weak bleach solution for cleaning plant pots before sowing seeds/delicate seedlings in them – would this be suitable for that?

Plastic-free and aerosol-free cleaning – how do you do it?

This week, we’ve had a vaguely spring cleaning inspired week here on Recycle This and looked at a few cleaning related questions – so far, reusing/recycling bleach bottles, making homemade dishcloths/pot scrubbers, and reusing/recycling air fresheners. Today though, I’d like to hear your tips and suggestions for reducing waste from cleaning – for going plastic-free and aerosol-free.

Plastics seem to be a core part of modern cleaning products now – from the cleaning solution bottles to the sponges, the film the sponges are wrapped in, many mop buckets and dustpans and brush sets. The latter things may last a while but the former are likely to end up in the bin very soon. Some bottles can be recycled but the sponges and any film-type packaging can’t be. Even more traditional eco-friendly cleaning solutions such as vinegar often come in plastic bottles these days (or at least they do if you bulk buy them).

Similarly, plastic pump-action spray bottles have replaced some cleaning product aerosols but they’re still very common for polishes & foaming sprays (such as oven cleaner) — and aerosol recycling is not exactly common. (They can be recycled and some areas do collect them kerbside, but most don’t.)

Have you made any efforts to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated due to cleaning? Have you swap to different products to reduce plastic packaging waste? We’ve talked about making dishcloths/scrubbers – but any other suggestions for reducing the use of plastic sponges?

And what about aerosols? Have you got any advice for moving away from them?

How can I reuse or recycle plug-in air fresheners?

Following on in our vaguely spring-cleaning inspired cleaning week here on Recycle This, I received this email from Helen:

How do I recycle plug in air freshener? My daughter has been diagnosed with allergies and they’ve recommended no air fresheners now. I’ve got four to get rid of.

We’ve not used them so I’m basing my advice on reading/looking at pictures rather than hands on experience but I think they’ll be classed as electronic waste – they seem to be a plug with a small heating/vaporising/expressing element, which I’m presuming is some sort of electronics. If that’s the case (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), then they should be recycled along with other WEEE waste, wherever it’s collected near you (usually the local tip/household waste centre).

It would be better to reuse it before sending it for recycling though – perhaps try passing them along to someone who might still use them (they could be Freecycled if no one in your family/friends circle wants them).

And while we’re on the topic, I know the point is to buy refills for them but can they be refilled at home instead – with essential oils or whatnot? Anyone got any suggestions on how to do that? Possibly still not a solution for Helen but it may save some waste for other people.

Any other recycling advice or reusing ideas?