Changing up my cleaning routine was the very first zero-waste swap I made. I started with my cleaning caddy because I think it's one of the easiest swaps you can make.
Not only will it save you a bunch of money (because, seriously, cha-ching) it's also better for your health and the health of the planet.
Did you know that cleaning companies aren't legally required to disclose the ingredients in their products?
Let's take Febreze as an example. According to Proctor and Gamble, it uses only four ingredients: water, alcohol, odor eliminator derived from corn, and fragrance.
Unfortunately, the EWG found 89 ingredients.... 89 ingredients... what on earth could be in that bottle?
When you make your own cleaning products, you can control the ingredients you put inside. This prevents toxic chemicals from circulating in your home and from going down the drain which ultimately gets into our waterways.
Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from switching to green alternatives.
You don't have to worry about questionable ingredients, warning labels, and you can avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
Conventional cleaning products can cause coughing, sneezing, headaches and other health problems.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are released when many cleaning products are used and stored. I wrote a whole blog post on this on ways to purify your air naturally.
Using biodegradable cleaning products means you aren't going to be polluting our waterways, contributing to unsustainable ingredient use, and if you're DIYing you'll also avoid bringing any unnecessary plastic into your home.
DIY cleaning alternatives can be made for pennies. Most recipes are incredibly effective and use inexpensive ingredients like vinegar and baking soda - things you probably have in your kitchen.
I like to DIY my cleaning products for previously mentioned reasons, but I know that it's not everyone's cup of tea so I'll cover a few store-bought alternatives a little later in the post.
One of my favorite things about homemade cleaners is that it only takes a few simple ingredients most of which are easy to find without packaging.
My most commonly used ingredients are lemons, salt, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar (which you can easily buy in a glass bottle or make some from apples), and of course, soap.
All-purpose spray: This spray does it all from mirrors to counters to toilets.
Orange peel vinegar cleaner: If you're really not into the smell of vinegar try infusing it with a few leftover orange peels. This is a great way to use up a food scrap before you compost it! (And, if you're looking for tips on composting be sure to check out our blog post How to Compost Even if You Live in an Apartment!)
Tub scrub: tub scrub is so effective at breaking down soap scum on your bathtub and cleaning grout. You’ll never need anything else!
DIY all-natural bleach: If you're looking to whiten your clothing here's an easy alternative to bleach.
When it comes to DIYing, I promise it only takes a few minutes, but if you'd really like to buy something here are a few of the cleaning companies that I would recommend.
Did you know that the number one ingredient in a lot of our cleaning products is water? This, of course, involves a plastic bottle and transporting water across the country which really doesn't make any sense...
Water is heavy which only adds to the emissions of the product. Blueland sells tablets that you mix with water in your own home.
You get a fancy reusable glass bottle and then tablet refills which is way more eco-friendly and cuts down on emissions and packaging.
Blueland is cruelty-free, zero waste, and biodegradable.
Cleancult is another company that is working on tackling packaging waste in the cleaning industry.
Similar to blueland, they ship everything in beautiful glass bottles. When it comes to refills they ship in milk cartons, and their shipments are carbon neutral.
Cleancult is non-toxic, low-waste, carbon-neutral shipping, and cruelty-free.
Branch basics is a little different because they're not as concerned with packaging. They're more concerned with organic and non-toxic cleaners, but so are the other cleaning companies I included. So, I don't think you can go wrong!
Branch basics is non-toxic, cruelty-free, and biodegradable.
When it comes to cleaning here are a few of my favorite tools that I use on a regular basis.
- spray bottles: perfect for any of those homemade DIY cleaners.
- reusable rags: check out this blog post to get all of our tips on creating a paperless kitchen.
- wooden pot scraper: my favorite tool for scrubbing my dishes
- organic loofah: the perfect compostable sponge alternative
- bamboo bottle brush: just what you need to keep your reusable bottles in tip-top shape