After spending several months using up my supermarket washing-up liquid and sponge, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to replace them. I needed something biodegradable that would last an awful lot longer than a sponge, (typically a couple of months for me) as well as a way of replenishing my soap without buying new plastic bottles each time.
The washing-up liquid was the easiest thing to sort out. I have a bulk shop near me that offers refills of Ecover, an option that would mean I could bring back my old bottle and save on the plastic. However I wanted to find a system I could follow even if I was living somewhere where refills were not available. On my travels in France and the UK I have come across many shops that sell castille or marseille soap (all natural, cold-pressed) loose or in paper. I used half a bar of soap nut castille I received from Living Naturally, diluted in 500ml hot water to create my washing-up liquid (I shake it up before every use as the soapier water tends to collect at the bottom). It is nice to know I am now washing my dishes with something that is chemical-free and harmless to the environment that I could even EAT if I wanted to! Plus it does the job, obviously.
As for my sponge replacement, I have been popping into every homeware shop I’ve passed for weeks and weeks looking for a loose scourer and some kind of wooden brush. I finally located one in Rennes, BazarAvenue, a 30-minute journey from my house, where I picked up my wooden brush from Redecker. I picked the soft bristle one, with beechwood bristles, as the other option appeared to come from some kind of animal (horsehair). The child inside of me is very excited about using this brush with the handle and everything!
Last but not least I needed something for stubborn marks, so I also picked up a copper scourer from the same shop. I don’t think I need to explain this one. I originally intended to knit a small cloth out of hemp (like this) just to have something soft and more sponge-like, for situations when the brush and scourer are too hard. I will think about it over the next few weeks and decide if I really do need one.