Please select your home edition
Edition
Ocean Elements 2018
Product Feature
NeilPryde Sailing Raceline Hiking Boot
NeilPryde Sailing Raceline Hiking Boot
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine


Full racing risks
New for old cover
www.noblemarine.co.uk

Make 2019 count - Kinder cleaning

by Gael Pawson 5 Apr 2019 12:00 BST
Katherine is a qualified Yachtmaster Ocean, offshore racer and has won speed competitions in the International Moth as well as the women's European title © Katherine Knight / www.narwhalexpeditions.com

Making a difference on the water

Katherine Knight spent last summer undertaking a sailing expedition to 'Clean up the Arctic'. "It was a really eye opener to the extent of the problem of plastic pollution and inspired us to commit to making simple switches on board our sailing yacht 'Narwhal' to reduce our plastic consumption," she explains.

The following are some simple changes that they have made that anyone can easily make on board their own boat or at home:

  • In the galley they have switched plastic scrubbing sponges for knitted cotton dish cloths.
  • They have stopped taking three plastic bottles into the shower block and instead have switched to shampoo and conditioner in soap style bars.
  • In the laundry they have started using a bag, the 'Guppyfriend', to catch micro fibres that come out of our sailing gear in the wash, preventing them from being washed down the drain and eventually entering the ocean.
  • They also have some 'sapindus mukorossi' seeds, which are supposed to make an alternative to chemical washing up liquid.

"It brings a sense of satisfaction each time I use a plastic alternative," says Katherine, "knowing that my actions are a part of the solution."

And that's exactly the point of this article and our whole series of these features - let's all become part of the solution by considering our actions and making some different choices.

Kinder cleaning

Cleaning products can account for more waste than we might think and there are plenty of alternatives that can make a significant difference to your impact on the world. So as we prepare for that spring boat clean, here are a few ways to cut our negative impact on the environment.

For us sailors it's not just the general cleaning products that we all use, but the products that we choose to use to clean our boats and our kit. If we can encourage our sailing clubs to make some small changes, and change some of our practices on board larger boats as well it can add up to a significant reduction in waste and move towards more sustainable living.

Remember too that many harsher cleaning products aren't very good for us as well as the environment, and the sea is inevitably where they end up. As with the rest of our lives, we are all too used to putting our waste in the bin and not worrying about where it goes, or simply washing it away down the drain. This is where we need to alter our mindset and take a moment to consider what happens after we've finished with a product. And as with every other area we are looking at in this series, every little change we make will make a difference.

There may be some products you aren't ready to let go of quite yet... that's fine, but by switching others you will make a difference.

There are a number of areas we can look into making a difference with here:

  • Switch to eco-friendly alternatives to chemical products.
  • Switch to reusable cloths and scourers.
  • Opt for natural, biodegradable materials where possible.
  • Avoid unnecessary packaging.
  • Choose refillable products, natural packaging.
  • Recycle the waste you do create.

Environmentally friendly products

There is a growing range of environmentally-friendly cleaning products. These can be a bit more costly than some of the harsher chemicals, but you can mix them with some of the cheaper products below. There is a good choice out there, seek out recommendations from friends and see how many of your products you can replace. Just remind yourself, every single harsh chemical product you can substitute will reduce the harm you are inflicting on the sea. Useful brands include Method and Ecover.

Natural products for a DIY cleaning kit

There are a lot of natural alternatives to specialist cleaning products that often work better than you might think and in many cases can be just as good as a specially branded product. One great example is vinegar versus a specific glass cleaner.

Here is a list of some of the key ingredients in a DIY cleaning kit, most of which your grandparents would have used. They aren't all completely 'safe' but are far less toxic than most commercial cleaners and cheaper too, although in some areas they may require a bit more elbow grease.

  • Vinegar disinfects and loosens dirt and limescale
  • Lemon juice disinfects and cuts through grease
  • Olive oil polishes and 'feeds' wood, picks up dirt
  • Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda) great gentle abrasive for cleaning
  • Castile soap foaming cleaner ideal for many uses
  • Borax disinfects, whitens, deodorises
  • Washing soda (sodium carbonate) caustic cleaner and stain remover

Vinegar and bicorbonate of soda mixed together make a great abrasive cleaner for many applications to remove stubborn dirt and stains.

Steam cleaning

Steam cleaners may use electricity, but they're not using chemicals, and so thy can make a big difference to the chemical waste you are adding to the environment, while being effective at removing dirt and grime. If you think it may be worth using one, try borrowing a friend's first before plunging in to buy something that may prove not to work for you.

Cloths, brushes and sponges

We have got very used to special sponges and scourers that have a lifespan and we throw away. These are generally not biodegradable or recyclable, and there are plenty of alternatives that you can use. Remember natural fabrics will biodegrade at the end of their life.

Try the following ideas:

  • Reusable cloths for washing and polishing.
  • Rather than buying cloths, make your own from old t-shirts or towels.
  • Natural sponges.
  • Natural scrubbers and scourers.
  • Brushes with replaceable heads.

Washing

When it comes to using your washing machine, there are eco powders, or refillable balls you can use with natural soap nuts. Additionally, consider reducing the temperature to 30 degrees where possible. Air dry items as often you can and avoid using a tumble drier as much as possible, and finally look at taking measures to avoid micro plastic pollution from manmade fibres you are washing, like the Guppyfriend bag mentioned above.

Related Articles

The Great Escape
Planning for liberation after the outbreak, huh?! Planning for liberation after the outbreak, huh?! Well, a collection of New South Wales clubs has very much kept the spirit of Squadron Leader Roger Bushell alive. Posted on 31 May
Victor Diaz-de-Leon on the Happy Hour podcast
Stretch & Stirfry talk sunshine, sharks, spear fishing and serious sailing It's sunshine, sharks, spear fishing and serious sailing as we join J70 guru Victor Diaz-de-Leon aboard in Miami. Stretch gets tongue tied with the Venezuelan 'love pipe', and the internet lets us down... Posted on 31 May
Yes I, am the Great Contender
David Henshall gets excited in an overgrown field One boat that is not so much of a barn find, but a 'back of the field' feature, is a Contender, which has lain undisturbed for enough years for the brambles to claim it as one of their own. Yet this is a class that surely is worthy of a second look. Posted on 28 May
Savouring being back out on the water
But missing the karate sailing It seems I struck a chord when we published 'The great grass-roots revival?' a fortnight ago. Since then lockdown restrictions have been gradually eased in both Australia and England: we're allowed to go sailing! Posted on 25 May
In conversation with Grapefruit's Andy Yeomans
From large-scale events to social distance signage for your club or business The Covid-19 crisis has caused the cancellation of all large events, wiping out the core of Grapefruit's business, but Andy soon had the team at work producing the social distancing signage and equipment. Posted on 20 May
X2. Times three...
This is the third instalment of information about the exciting new X2 by Farr This is the third instalment of information about the exciting new X2 by Farr. Since its inception we have been excited about the project, if for no other reason than it stood up to be counted as a true racing boat. Posted on 17 May
Terry Hutchinson guests on the Happy Hour podcast
Executive Director and Skipper of America's Cup Challenger NYYC American Magic In this episode we hear from Terry Hutchinson, Executive Director and Skipper of America's Cup Challenger NYYC American Magic. We hear about hours of grinding, preparing for New Zealand amidst COVID-19, and Terry even tells the boys "to grow a pair"... Posted on 16 May
The Red Mist falls in THE splASHES
Brits and Aussies clash in virtual Portsmouth & Sydney Harbour There's nothing quite like the rivalry between the British and Australians in sport, exemplified in cricket, rugby and sailing; so with eSailing taking such a hold in the past couple of months during lockdown, it was time for the inaugural splASHES. Posted on 14 May
The great grass-roots revival?
We are all united by our passion for being on the water We've all been missing our sailing during lockdown, but the months we've been off the water have given us time to reflect on what it is about sailing that we really miss most. Posted on 10 May
America's Cup and life according to Vasco Vascotto
A fascinating insight on Happy Hour with Stretch & Stirfry On this week's Happy Hour with Stretch and Stirfry, we chat to America's Cup sailor and 25 time yachting World Champion, the Luna Rossa tactician - Vasco Vascotto. Posted on 9 May