Zero Waste Cleaning Swaps
Here is my list of zero waste cleaning swaps!
Remember: Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something. Take it in baby steps, use what you have first, and know that these recommended alternatives are just tools for convenience- you don't NEED to purchase these item to be zero-waste.
If you feel so inclined to purchase any of the recommended items on this page, I do receive a small commission, this makes it so I am able to keep providing free content and education. Everything I recommend I have done extensive research, personally use, or have tried at one point.
Laundry detergent–> Soap Nuts/Pods/Liquid
There are a lot of things I’m willing to make to be zero waste. However laundry detergent is not one of those things. As with all of my suggestions I like to include a few different options because everyone lives a different lifestyle and has different preferences.
I have tried these for a good time when I was doing laundry by hand and although they DO work it is not what I currently am using. I still want to mention them on this list because if you want to go as natural as possible this is about as natural as it gets. That said, I do think that there are better zero-waste/ eco-friendly products on the market now.
This is a company dedicated to sustainability, they created a plant based pod style laundry detergent. The pod itself is plastic free and dissolves in your laundry, they are made of all natural ingredients and are packaged in cardboard boxes that can be recycled and offset there shipping- that's right- they offer carbon neutral shipping! All in all I am highly impressed by this option
I will have a full review here you can view
This is a BETTER option, this comes in a plastic bladder under the cardboard, both are recyclable but you have to be sure to separate the outer cardboard layer from the plastic bladder. I have used this brand for years and I think it is a great first step in the right direction.
Dryer Sheets –> Wool Dryer Balls
These are absolutely amazing! I have had mine for five years and they are still going strong. They eliminate static, freshen clothes, and you can even add essential oils for scent!
Dryer–> Drying Rack
I definitely use the dryer as needed, but to save energy (and that hard earned money) I hang my clothes to dry on a drying rack whenever possible.
Plastic Storage bin –> Metal Caddie
This is a great substitute for those plastic organizers, and a great way to keep all your cleaning supplies in one organized space.
Paper Towels–> Unpaper Towels/ Rags
There are SO many good options for "unpaper towels" here is a great brand that has organic unbleached cotton. You can also cut up towles and scrap fabric to use as cleanng rags (this is the best true "zero waste" option because it is prolonging the life of something and keeping it from the landfill. Both are great swaps!
Plastic Sponges–> Natural Sponges/Cloth Sponges
These are 100% biodegradable made from plants (loufa vegetable). I think this is a great alternative if you are looking for something that is "disposable"
I highly recommend these cloth sponges, they are long lasting, reusable (machine washable). If you are looking for a long term reusable option to replace your kitchen/ cleaning sponges check these out!
Mop/ Swifter–> Bamboo Swifter with reusable Pads/ Cuban Mop+ Reusable Rag
AGAIN I want to restate that f you already own these types of items you don't need to get rid of perfectly functional items. However if you need to purchase one here are some better alternatives then the synthetic ill-made plastic item will not last as long. This goes for the recommended products below.
Synthetic Broom–> Wooden Hand held broom
Plastic Dust Pan–> Metal Dust Pan
I still have the same plastic toilet scrubber but when it goes I am so excited to try the beach wood toilet cleaner, however I also found this gem and here are my thoughts.
Wood- the wood one is made of 100% natural materials that will break down into the earth.
Silicone- even though this one IS still made from plastic components it is higher quality, more durable, and made to last a lifetime... so as far as sustainability goes it is something that you would need to buy once and have forever. The the stainless steel is recyclable , unfortunately silicone is rarely recycled it is better then low grade plastic. It something to consider a) get something made to be one day tossed out (that will break down into the earth) but will continue to use up resources or b) invest in something that will be continually used, only produced once, but will never fully breakdown into the earth.
I will have a list of DIY cleaners coming out soon! For those who wish to purchase cleaners here are some I recommend
This company offers refillable cleaning products (bathroom, multi-surface, and glass + mirror), which you then mix with water. Pretty genius way to cut back on unnecessary waste! You can buy the glass spray bottles they offer or what I use Below.
Dish Soap in Plastic Packaging -> Refillable Dish Soap Refills
Did you know that you actually don't need a ton of different cleaners? Grab your favorite all purpose cleaner and a good glass cleaner and be on your cleanly way!
Plastic Spray Bottle–> Glass Spray Bottle
For those looking to make there own cleaners am creating a free zero waste cleaner recipe book that I will link in! Here are the glass spray bottles I personally use and recommend ( I use glass because some essential oils used in natural cleaners can erode plastic over time- like lemon oil for example)