Zero waste cleaning for a sustainable home has been becoming more and more popular, as more people are relying on basic, natural ingredients in their household. There are many ways that you can make your cleaning routine more sustainable and doing so will help the environment, your health and your wallet! In today’s article, I have 6 cleaning tips for you, which will help transform your home into a zero-waste space.
So why should you give up your old cleaning products and look for more natural, waste free alternatives? The environmental impact of conventional products includes plastic pollution from packaging, as well as the release of toxic compounds into our air and water. Many conventional cleaning products are not only harmful to the environment but also pose a risk to your health. Drugstore household cleaners can contain substances such as phthalates, triclosan or 2-butoxyethanol. Scientific studies have found a correlation between these toxic chemicals and health issues including respiratory problems, reduced fertility and possible (though still not firmly confirmed) carcinogenic effects.
Make sure to remember or write down some of these points. This information will not only make you more determined and provide more motivation at moments when you feel like just grabbing an all-purpose cleaner at the store instead of ordering baking soda. However, it will also help you better explain why you want to do this to other members of your household if they are not as enthusiastic about the switch to zero waste.
1. Go for package-free
To start off, you can find many natural cleaners, which will work just as well as the conventional ones, in package-free stores. If you have not been to your nearest zero waste or bulk store after reading the zero waste living article from two weeks ago, now is the time to do so. Then, all you need to do is bring your own container to the store and fill it up. Generally, zero waste shops will stock more natural alternatives, without toxic chemicals. However, this can be a little more expensive than your regular cleaning products. If you are looking for a natural alternative that is also very budget-friendly, read on!
2. Baking soda and vinegar
What are a zero waste person’s two best friends when it comes to cleaning? Baking soda and vinegar. These two miraculous natural ingredients can take care of most of your cleaning needs: toilet cleaning, bathtub scrubbing, all-purpose cleaning. I keep my vinegar in a reusable spray bottle, so that it is always ready, and use it as a multi-purpose cleaner, adding baking soda to the surface if I am dealing with stubborn stains or grime.
Don’t like the smell of vinegar? It won’t stick around your home after cleaning anyway, but if you want to hide it even more, you can add a few drops of essential oils to it or soak citrus peels in the vinegar for a few days before using.
3. Specialised zero waste cleaning products
There are some amazing companies making package-free cleaning products that also contain only natural ingredients. Again, these can be a little more on the pricier side, so you may not be too happy about them if you are somebody who prefers budget solutions. However, if you do not mind splurging a little to support eco-friendly companies and try out some innovative solutions, you should definitely check out brands such as No Tox Life or Vera Bee.
4. Wooden brushes and repurposed cloths
Now that we have talked about the cleaners themselves, what about brushes and cloths? There are many different wooden cleaning brushes to choose from, but if you have an old plastic brush at home that is still good to go, use it before you purchase new ones. The most zero waste product or solution is the one that is already in your home.
As for cleaning cloths, you can go out and buy linen or cotton ones that will not release tiny plastic compounds as microfiber cloths will, but there is still a better solution. Simply use what you have – an old t-shirt you would otherwise throw away can be cut into squares and used for cleaning!
5. Mindful decluttering
Once you have cleaned your home, you may want to declutter your drawers or cupboards. While some decluttering enthusiasts adhere to the Marie Kondo philosophy (If it doesn’t spark joy, throw it out), I like to think about some other uses I could find for these items. Old plastic Tupperware can be given a new life to organise your office drawers to hold cables and supplies. Old clothing can be repaired, or if it is beyond repairable, used for cleaning. This will not only make sure you use the old item to its full potential but also save you waste and money!
6. Watch what you bring into your sustainable home
Lastly, think before you bring something new into your home and ask yourself how it will benefit you. Will it become a valuable addition to your sustainable home, or will it simply be clutter you will throw away after a few months or years? Rethink what you really need in your home and shop accordingly.
I hope these zero waste cleaning tips were useful to you and that you became inspired to start cleaning your sustainable home the zero waste way. Take it step by step and the journey towards eco will become easy! If you would like to read up more on zero waste cleaning, great places to check out for even more info are Going Zero Waste or Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home. Also, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled on The Imperfect Blog for more sustainability articles like this one every week.
A marketing and media student with a passion for all things sustainable and zero waste living. While studying, Lucie also works as a freelancer, writing articles about sustainability and helping eco-businesses with their marketing needs. In her writing, she hopes to inspire people to make small changes that can create a big difference in the world.