Hello, awesome readers! :) It is Thursday already and that means, it’s time for eco-talk! ;) Lately I have been looking for A LOT of alternatives for everyday products like shampoo, cleaning agents etc. So far I am making my own toothpaste, trying out washing hair with rye flour and rinsing with diluted apple cider vinegar and yesterday I tried using DIY recipe to unclog the drains (which worked very well, by the way!). About that hair thing, I am really concerned, because I really, really don’t want to go through yucky hair phase but fingers crossed!! By the I WILL give you my review of rye shampoo but not yet. :) And the drain unclogging recipe is to use baking soda and vinegar. Just google it, you’ll find the process. :)
Ok, I started to tell you about the alternative I am using because I noticed that there are two main ingredients that play a big role in zero-waste or DIY cleaning. And it is soda (baking and washing) and vinegar. My boyfriend is not 100% sold on this DIY cleaning thing I have going on ;), he is not against it, but he did ask me what is the manufacturing process of vinegar and soda. Maybe it is not more ecological as I think it is? So I wanted to have a look through the mighty Internet and find the answers how soda and vinegar are manufactured.
But before getting into the manufacturing process, I think using vinegar and soda is more nature-friendly anyway because I don’t think that the making of those two can be worse than manufacturing Tiret for example. Also, Tired has a packaging that is almost toxic waste when vinegar packaging is JUST waste and soda comes in a carton which is recyclable if not mistaken.
Let’s talk vinegar.
Made some research and found out that at first what I thought were two ways of making vinegar – the traditional one and the one where vinegar is made from petroleum derivates. However now I think that VINEGAR is made only the traditional way, but the second way is how acetic acid is produced. Vinegar CONTAINS acetic acid but it is possible to produce just the acetic acid from petroleum and then dilute it to get vinegar.
I found this awesome post about vinegar manufacturing research, so I advise you to have a read, if interested. The only thing, it is written in 2011 and in 6 years a lot can be changed about what’s on the shelves in our shops.
The natural way vinegar is made from diluted alcohol, whether it is wine, beer or rice. Vinegar can also be made from barley or wheat. I understand that vinegar can be made from everything that ferment and become an alcohol. For vinegar to be made it needs oxygen and sometimes they add specific bacteria so the fermentation happens faster. So, that’s the somewhat traditional method.
How to tell is your vinegar produced from natural ingredients or petroleum? The article I mentioned above, says that if the label says “acetic acid … %”, the vinegar is made from petroleum. The label on vinegar I have at home says: “Naturally brewed” so I believe it is safe to say it is made from plant based ingredients. Also I think there should be information on the label from what the vinegar is made – is it wheat, wine or other. So I believe that after inspecting the label, you will find out from what that vinegar is made of.
My conclusion is that vinegar is more ecological choice than Tiret and other regular cleaners. However, I didn’t do a deep research on how vinegar manufacturing impacts the environment, but from a quick view in google, it looks fine and vinegar is safe.
Source about how vinegar is made.
Now about soda. First of all, there are two types of soda used in household – baking soda and washing soda. You can make washing soda by heating baking soda BUT the heat changes its chemical formula and properties so bear in mind that WASHING SODA is NOT edible and CANNOT be used to replace baking soda. NEVER. By the way, I can’t believe I learned about washing soda’s existence only a few days ago. :O
Acquisition of soda. As I understand it, it can be made from mineral trona which is obtained through mining or it can be made from limestone, ammonia and brine through a process called solvay process. Some sources say that making soda with solvay method causes pollution problems so some manufacturers are now leaning more towards mining the trona and acquisition soda that way.
Source about how soda is made.
Found this article, quite old, from 2007, but it tells you how ecological or not ecological baking soda is. Advise you to have a read!
The bad news – soda is not as awesome ingredient as vinegar. Because the solvay process causes pollution problems that is the first no-no for environment concerned individuals (aka me and you ;) ). Ok, even when soda is not made by the solvay method, it is mined and the origin of soda IS NOT a renewable resource. So once we have dug up all the trona, that’s it. No more soda for us. The little silver lining though is that there is so much trona that it should provide us with soda for another 2000 years.
The conclusion is that soda STILL is a more ecological choice for house cleaning than the “regular” cleaners that are filled with toxic ingredients, and if not the ingredients themselves are toxic, then the manufacturing process is questionable. Ok, I’ll be honest, I haven’t researched the manufacturing process of commercialised cleaners, but I assume so. Please, make your own research on this topic for now. :)
Another source about is soda really eco-friendly.
So, there you have it! Vinegar and soda nature-friendliness. :) My overall conclusion is that to be really, really nature-friendly the only way IS to go into the woods and live with the animals. As long as we want to have houses, clothes, self-care products and intellectual progress, we have to accept that we have to take something from the Earth to make the things we need. However, I do believe that there is a way to do it wiser and not so wasteful. And maybe in future houses and products will be made of ingredients that decompose or there will be machines that can turn back products into their ingredients. :) Let’s hope for the best, but until then let’s use more and more sustainable products!
What soda and vinegar recipes have you tried or want to try at home? Share your experience in the comments! :)
Let’s stay in touch! FOLLOW Lookforsmile blog everywhere else online. :)
Tweet this post!⤵
(You can edit the text after “click to tweet”. The link will show up with a nice preview, so your tweet looks yummy! :) )