My kitchen cleans deeply often let me waste a lot of plastic bags, paper and plastic containers. It got me wondering how I could cut down on the waste of my cleaning routines, but my research was disappointing.
Scientists develop new ways to recycle plastic, but it is not an environmentally friendly material at the moment, and the cleaning products use a lot of it. Solutions like disinfectant sprays and soaps are largely made up of water, which also makes these products heavier and more difficult to ship efficiently. Excessive packaging is another contributing factor, as are harmful chemicals that can end up in the water supply (or in you). Add the risk of removal of microplastics and a gazillion green Instagram ads, and it can be hard to know how to start making your routine more sustainable.
Here are some of my favorite cleaning products that try to be more environmentally friendly. They won’t feel too different from what you’re already using and are relatively affordable.
Updated April 2021: We’ve updated this guide with newer products.
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Eco-friendly cleaners for the whole home
There are several cleaning solution manufacturers that offer general purpose products that you typically buy in sprays. All of the brands mentioned here are eco-friendly in a number of ways, whether that’s by offering refills, using green ingredients, or shipping plastic-free. Pick what suits your cleaning style, budget, and aesthetic goals because, yes, they’re all good to look at.
- ★ Supernatural Starter Set (our top pick): Supernatural’s $ 75 Starter Set is pricey, but you get what you pay for. Glass vaporizers are heavy (in a good way) and the silicone bottoms hold the bottles in place on your shelf. The nozzles don’t clog or get stuck, and the best part is the scents. Concentrate vials (also glass) contain essential oil blends designed for windows and mirrors, countertops and granite, bath and tile, or wood and floors. The smell of the products amazing—Like fresh plants, not artificial or chemical like other cleaning solutions. This set is the only one I kept buying refills for.
- Blueland concentrated cleaning kit (best value for money): Blueland’s cheap refills come in the form of soluble tablets. You will get some recyclable acrylic “forever bottles” by purchasing a $ 39 starter kit. Refills include Hand Soap, Bathroom Cleaner, Glass & Mirror Cleaner, and Multi-Purpose Cleaner. They all smell good and work well.
- Branch Basics Concentrated Cleaner Kit (Most Versatile): The $ 69 starter kit gives you a 34-ounce bottle of durable concentrated cleaning solution, plus sprays with fill lines for easy dilution and a jar of Oxygen Boost powder. You’ll get enough concentrate for three bottles each of all-purpose cleaner, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner and foamer, plus a 64-load bottle of laundry. The unscented concentrate is potent and made from simple ingredients.
- Grove Concentrate Cleaner Kit (best appearance): Grove Cleaning Concentrates are available in a three-pack for $ 10. You will get all-purpose cleaners for glass, tub and tile. Empty contents into 16 ounce bottles (also on the Grove site) and fill the rest of the bottle with water. I especially like the glass cleaner, which works better than Windex. (It smells better too.)
- Seventh Generation Clear All-Purpose Cleaner (ideal for sensitive households): This $ 4 bio-based product is not sold as a concentrate, but I’m including it here because I haven’t tried anything else. It has neither scent nor color. It almost feels like cleaning with water. If you are really sensitive to scents, to the point where “lightly scented” still gives you a headache, this is what you are looking for.
For the kitchen