It’s spring cleaning time, and with most people sheltering at home due to COVID-19, I have a feeling a lot of you are digging into some deep cleaning projects!
Over the years, I have found more sustainable options to replace my conventional cleaning products. The cleaners I used to use were full of chemicals that were bad for me, my pets, and the earth. And all the paper towel waste? Not good! I have gradually transitioned to a more eco-friendly cleaning routine.
Y’all, let me just go ahead and acknowledge right now that I’m sure my cleaning routine isn’t THE MOST eco-friendly. I’m sure there are people out there advertising even more sustainable ways to make your own cleaners using natural ingredients and reused glass bottles. Friends, I want to emphasize that I am a very “normal” person with a full-time job and busy life. I don’t have time to make my own cleaners! My cleaning routine fits into my life while also being as eco-friendly as possible.
I’ll break it down by category and share links to my favorite products.
General Surface Cleaning
The best decision I made for the earth a couple of years ago was to switch to reusable cleaning cloths rather than paper towels. This has cut down on the amount of waste in our trash can SO much. I have tried reusable bamboo paper towels and microfiber cleaning cloths (note: microfiber is probably not the BEST option as it may contaminate the water supply when washed), but my favorite cleaning cloths are repurposed scraps of fabric because they are FREE. If I have t-shirts I no longer wear or clothing that has become worn or torn, I will cut it up into scrap pieces of fabric to use as cleaning cloths. Reusing is always better than buying new when it comes to environmental impact!
And honestly? I don’t miss the supposed “convenience” of paper towels. Maybe once a month, I wash all of my used cleaning cloths, then fold them up and store them in a bin in my pantry. It takes me very little time and effort to use reusable cloths rather than disposable towels.
Now, I haven’t banned paper towels completely. There are some jobs too icky for me to feel comfortable using my reusable cloths (i.e. cleaning up dog vomit). I will pull out paper towels for really nasty jobs. I buy unbleached, recycled paper towels to lessen the environmental impact.
When it comes to cleaning solutions for surfaces like countertops, I really like Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner, which is made with essential oils and other non-toxic ingredients. You can purchase refill concentrate that lasts FOREVER and helps you reduce the amount of plastic you’re using. I’ve had my same original Mrs. Meyers spray bottle for years now and have only had to purchase one concentrate refill!
For dusting, I don’t use cleaning solutions at all. I have a reusable dusting mitt (similar to these) that doesn’t need to be wet to work! Love that thing.
I’m gonna level with y’all: It’s time to ditch the Swiffer.
Disposable floor cleaning pads are incredibly un-friendly for the environment.
We use a regular old mop in our house. We have this one, which I love because the mop fibers can detach from the stick, and you can toss it in the washing machine. It grosses me out to think about using the same dirty mop on surfaces over and over again, so being able to wash the mop is great and really gets it clean!
We have been using Method Squirt + Mop Hard Floor Cleaner. I love it because you just squirt it on the floor and mop; no water required! The solution is plant based and biodegradable.
Ah, everyone’s favorite room to clean: the bathroom. For countertops, I use reusable cloths and the same Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning solution I use on everything else.
I confess, my use of reusable cloths ends when we get to the toilet. Toilets gross me out too much. To clean the toilet seat and other toilet surfaces, I use Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes (essentially the greener and less toxic alternative to Clorox wipes). For the actual toilet bowl, I use non-toxic Ecos Toilet Cleaner (I buy both the wipes and toilet cleaner on Thrive Market; use this link for 25% off your first order).
When it comes to the shower, I don’t use cloths at all! Instead, I spray everything down with non-toxic Ecos Shower Cleaner (from Thrive Market; use this link for 25% off your first order), then use a scrubbing brush to loosen the grime. Just be careful about scrubbing caulk, as a stiff scrub brush can tear it up (I learned the hard way). Once I’ve scrubbed everything really good, I rinse down the whole shower and wash the cleaner and soap scum down the drain.
Do y’all have any favorite eco-friendly cleaning products? Share with me! I’m always excited to learn about new sustainable brands!
P.S. – This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a product using a link from this post. Read more here about my disclaimers/disclosures.