The best eco cleaning gadgets
Want to trim your bills, update your home and do your bit for the planet? Sarah tests the latest 'eco’ products and sorts the fads from the finds. This week: eco cleaning gadgets.
One of my most striking childhood memories is from the three-day-week Wilson era of rolling power cuts. Not one to lower standards, even with four small children and no electricity, my mother, confronted with the imminent visit of exacting grandparents, set me to work with our ancient push-along Ewbank carpet sweeper. It seems rather surreal now, pushing that squeaking machine along our dim hallways and around the drawing room, illuminated by a few flickering candle flames.
Strange to report that 85 years on from the launch of Ewbank’s first carpet sweeper, sales remain buoyant, as domestic gods and goddesses swap their energy-guzzling cyclone technology vacuum cleaners for the greener joys of push-along cleaning. Having spent a morning testing out a 2012 model, the Ewbank Handy, I can report that modern carpet sweepers are quieter and more efficient. This one purrs, rather than squeaks. What’s more, it offers a fantastic workout for bingo-winged biceps – and is cheaper than the gym.
My Ewbank Handy has several advantages over cyclone vacuum cleaners. It is very light, so you don’t need to be a weightlifter to carry it around the house; it is much flatter than modern, chunky vacuum cleaners and can sneak under low-slung sofas and, of course, saves money: my powerful 2,000-watt vacuum cleaner costs around £25 a year in electricity and £20 a year to service. And then there is the priceless satisfaction of knowing that all the grit in the pan was scooped up by my own elbow grease.
There are other eco cleaning gadgets that can mean less energy wastage, fewer chemicals washing into the rivers and less plastic going into landfill, as the nation gets to grips with cleaning away the winter grime. Next time you replace your broom head, dustpan brush or washing-up brush, think about the millions of plastic-handled utensils that end up in landfill each week. Wooden brushes are either made from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) or similar managed woodland, or, in the case of Adam King, from coppiced hazel.
Adam, a wood carver from High Wycombe, specialises in traditional besom brooms, with hazel handles and birch-twig brushes. He says that while older customers remember using them as children, younger ones reared on Harry Potter ask him “can you really sweep with them?”