Cleaning tips How to keep your home sparkling clean

It’s possible to clean without chemicals – and much cheaper, too. GreenMop founder, Virginie Tulik, tells us how.

by Lukas Hadorn 08 Jan 2018

Oil, vinegar, baking powder, soap – if used properly, these simple ingredients can work miracles. Illustration: Cachetejack.

“There’s a story about a hummingbird trying to put out a forest fire with a few drops of water from its tiny beak,” says Virginie Tulik. “The other animals laugh at it, but the hummingbird says: ‘Well, at least I’m trying.’”

The 34-year-old from Western Switzerland sees herself as a hummingbird. And she wishes there were many more like her, prepared to take up the fight against environmental pollution. She runs GreenMop, a start-up that holds workshops where participants learn how to make their own cleaning products and reduce their household waste to a minimum. “You don’t have to take to the waves in a Greenpeace dinghy to protect the environment,” says Tulik. “Every single one of us can do our bit at home.”

It’s cheaper to do it yourself

Virginie Tulik, who built up her company with a microloan from the MSS Foundation, believes in helping people to help themselves. At her workshops, she raises awareness of sustainable consumer behavior, explains about micropollutants and their impact, and demonstrates how to make detergents using vinegar, soap and baking powder.

A particularly interesting fact: By following Tulik’s tips, you’ll not only be doing the environment a favour – your wallet will also benefit. Mixing your own household cleaners is less expensive than buying products that often contain highly toxic chemicals.

Home cleaning: 5 times cleaner

GreenMop founder, Virginie Tulik, shares her five top cleaning tips.

1. My cleaning product: “I clean with a mixture of three parts ecological liquid soap, four parts water, and 10 drops of essential oil. You can choose your own fragrance – whatever suits your mood.”

2. Squeaky clean windows: “Vinegar is still the best household product to clean your windows streak-free. Simply mix a glass of white vinegar with a glass of water and you’re ready to go.”

3. Super dishwasher: “You can even use homemade cleaning products in the dishwasher. Instead of futuristic 3-in-1 power tabs, I use a mix of bicarbonate, percarbonate and citric acid. I put a heaping soup spoonful of each in the powder compartment and use white vinegar as a rinse aid. The dishes come out just as clean as with chemicals.”

4. Shiny floors: “Liquid olive oil soap from Marseille is a real all-rounder for everything in the household. I use it for floors – 1 soup spoonful in 5 liters of water is enough – as well as for stovetops and window panes, the leather sofa, silver flatware, and even potted plants!”

5. Clean clothes: “I also put olive oil soap in the washing machine. Then I add three spoonfuls of baking powder to the detergent compartment. And I replace fabric conditioner with white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil for the scent. Mm, that smells so fresh!”

Microloans, big impact

Since the start of the new millennium, the Stiftung Mikrokredit Solidarität Schweiz (MSS) has been helping people set up businesses in Switzerland by granting microloans of 5,000 to 30,000 francs for necessary investments. At the same time, the foundation offers access to experienced experts. UBS supported MSS through the UBS Foundation for Social Issues and Education.