Since moving into our apartment, I’ve been doing a LOT more cleaning. After all, I’m not just cleaning my own room anymore, but every other room in the house. I recently asked via a poll on Instagram if my audience was interested in learning how to clean low waste. A lot of people answered yes! And then I realized I never wrote a blog post about my favorite zero waste cleaning products or brands. So, here we are! I know that sustainable cleaning can seem a bit intimidating, but I’ve curated this list to make it extra simple for you. These are the best eco-friendly cleaning brands and products on the market.
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What is zero waste cleaning?
The goal of zero waste cleaning is to reduce waste as much as possible. Many cleaning products are single-use, packaged in plastic, and contain questionable ingredients. These ingredients, when dumped down the drain, can even lead to water pollution.
For example, phosphate which is used in several detergents, can lead to eutrophication in waterways resulting in big algae blooms. These algae blooms deplete the water of oxygen and can harm marine wildlife.
Most conventional cleaning products are also packaged or wrapped in plastic, making them either extremely difficult or impossible to recycle. Only 5% of recycled plastic actually gets recycled, while the rest clogs landfills, litters our streets and contaminates waterways.
For example, about 900 million laundry detergent jugs are used and thrown away each year in the United States. Only 30% of these high density polyethylene jugs are recycled, leaving the remaining 70% as litter or landfill waste.
Alongside being bad for the environment, most conventional cleaners are bad for our health. Many products on the shleves contain synthetic fragrances that are known allergens. For example, I cannot even spray Febreze without sneezing up a storm or feeling like my throat gets itchy.
But beyond that, conventional brands can use toxic chemicals that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia. Some areas have even started placing a ban on the amount of VOCs allowed in cleaning products because of their effects on air quality.
The best way to practice zero waste cleaning is to utilize reusable and/or refillable cleaning supplies made with sustainable materials and ingredients.
Examples of zero waste cleaning products/supplies include:
- Wooden brushes (for sinks, tubs, etc.)
- Cloth towels, rags and Swedish dish cloths
- Liquid cleaners packaged in recyclable, refillable and/or reusable bottles (like all-purpose cleaners).
- Concentrated cleaners in minimal packaging (toilet cleaner bombs, dissolvable tablets, etc.)
What are the best plastic-free cleaning products?
The best plastic-free cleaning products are typically the ones you can make at home. These will reduce the amount of waste created on a large scale. Plus they often contain drain-safe ingredients that won’t harm waterways, or your health.
I have several DIY cleaning recipes on my blog:
- Orange peel, lavender or strawberry vinegar cleaner
- Tub + sink scrub
- Disinfectant wipes
- Toilet cleaner bombs
- Air freshener
However, if you are not into DIYs, there are several plastic-free cleaning brands and products to choose from.
If you’re specifically looking for plastic-free cleaning products, I recommend checking out brands like Ecoroots, Ethique, and Meliora (more on those later), as these brands package their cleaning products completely plastic-free.
That being said, I do really love Blueland, a refillable cleaning company. It’s not completely plastic-free, but it can be. If you have your own reusable glass spray bottle at home, you can just simply purchase their refills, not their plastic spray bottles and boom – you have a plastic-free cleaner.
That being said, we shouldn’t demonize plastic either. For example, I think it’s great to cut down on single-use plastics, but I don’t see the harm in reusing a plastic spray bottle you’ve had forever. So keep this in mind when purchasing your products!
What are some environmentally friendly cleaning products?
What I look for in environmentally friendly cleaning products is clean ingredients, efficiency, low waste packaging, and refillability. I personally love when a product has all four.
So for example, I absolutely LOVE Blueland’s cleaning sprays. Lets go over why:
- The clean essentials set consists of all-purpose cleaner, glass/mirror cleaner, and bathroom cleaner. Which is essentially all I really need. Plus it comes with hand soap!
- They are easily refillable, and the refills come in compostable packaging (+ they are affordable!)
- You purchase the spray bottles once and reuse them infinitely (can also opt out if you have your own bottles)
- The products actually WORK and do their job, without harsh chemicals.
So, to summarize, you want to go for brands that are not only innovative and zero waste, but also ones that actually get the job done. And, trust me when I say this, less is more.
If you walk down a cleaning aisle, they will literally try to sell you a cleaner for every part of your home…But that’s basically just their way of making a profit. You don’t need a different cleaner for everything.
I personally love these cleaning products:
- Wooden dish brush
- Wooden scrub brush
- Dish soap bar
- Swedish dish cloth (I can throw these in the wash and reuse them!)
- Blueland’s cleaning set
- Cleancult’s laundry detergent
- Microfiber cloths and rags
- Biome wipes, or reusable disinfectant wipes
- Blueland’s toilet cleaner
- Wooden toilet brush
That’s basically it. That’s all I need to clean my home.
Bona doesn’t bother my very sensitive nose and the microfiber pads are machine washable/reusable. There’s no ammonia, dyes, formaldehyde, parabens, phosphates, or phthalates in their floor cleaners.
How do you clean a toilet with zero waste?
Cleaning a toilet with zero waste isn’t hard. You just need the right tools and products.
For the inside of the toilet, I recommend dropping in one of Blueland’s toilet cleaners, letting it dissolve, and then scrubbing it with a plastic free toilet brush.
For the outside of the toilet, I just use Blueland’s bathroom cleaner, and my reusable Swedish Dish cloth (you can also use rags).
I make sure the cloth is damp, I spray every inch of the toilet, and I wipe it down with the cloth. Then I rinse it out and continue in this manner, as needed. At the end, I place my Swedish dish cloth in my laundry basket and wash it with the rest of my laundry. Simple!
The best zero waste cleaning brands
These are the best brands that sell zero waste cleaning products. I’ve purchased from almost all the brands on this list and can vouch for their effectiveness. My favorites are without a doubt Blueland, Ecoroots, CleanCult and Biom.
Some of these brands are outright cleaning brands, others are stores that have a selection of sustainable cleaning products. But either way, you can find great zero waste cleaning products on any of these sites.
For the places I’ve personally tried, I’ve also gone ahead and mentioned my favorite product from them!
Image credit: Blueland
Image credit: Ecoroots
Image credit: Cleancult
4. Dirty Labs
- Dish + Laundry products
- USDA Biobased
- Bio enzyme formula (phytolase)
- Vegan, biodegradable ingredients
- Recyclable aluminum + cardboard packaging
- EPA safer choice
Image credit: Dirty Labs
Image credit: Dropps
Image credit: GetBiom
Image credit: Meliora Cleaning Products
- Multi-purpose bathroom spray, stain remover bar + kitchen spray concentrate
- Home compostable packaging
- Certified palm oil free
- B Corp
- 2% of sales to charity
Image Credit: Ethique
- Toilet, floor, all-purpose + window cleaners
- Plastic free packaging
- Concentrates + powders
Image credit: Etee
10. Zero Co
- Laundry, kitchen, + bathroom cleaners
- Refillable products
- Forever bottles made from 50% recycled + ocean plastic
- Vegan + cruelty-free
- Phthalate + palm oil free
- Australian-based company
Image credit: Zero Co
Image credit: Tiny Yellow Bungalow
So, what do you think of these zero waste cleaning products and brands? Which are you most excited to try?
For more sustainable cleaning inspo, be sure to check out this zero waste cleaning guide.
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