As we come up on the end of Earth Month, I wanted to share another installation of our ongoing sustainability series. If you haven’t already seen them, check out our sustainable kitchen and sustainable toiletry swaps. Today I’m sharing my tips and recommendations for creating a sustainable cleaning routine.
In my mind, there are three main consideration factors when working towards more sustainable cleaning practices:
- Reducing the carbon footprint of transporting cleaning products
- Reducing packaging waste and single-use products
- Minimizing harsh chemicals in favor of nontoxic, natural ingredients
A lot of the things that help solve for #1 also help with #2. I look for cleaning products that come in tablets or concentrates that I can mix with water at home to make full size bottles of cleaning supplies. Water is really heavy, so shipping a whole bottle of, say, laundry detergent vs. a laundry detergent tablet magnifies the carbon impact of transporting that product from production to point of sale. My go-to source for cleaning tablets is Blueland. I use their dishwasher tablets, laundry tablets, all-purpose cleaner (we use this for kitchen cleaner and mix it into our mop bucket to clean tile), and bathroom cleaner. I tried their glass and window cleaner but didn’t like it because it left streaks behind. Their packaging is also recyclable and compostable, so it’s a close to zero waste option.
Two other brands I’m familiar with that make concentrates: Grove and Infuse. I’ve used Grove before and loved their products but hated their subscription management service. It was really easy to accidentally end up with a subscription for something I didn’t want. I haven’t used Infuse yet, but I want to try their hardwood floor cleaner on our laminate floors. I’m just waiting to use up the conventional laminate cleaner I bought a while back. There are a bunch of other eco-friendly cleaning companies out there so this is by no means an exhaustive list!
The other half of #2 is cutting single-use products from the cleaning process. Beyond the cleaners themselves are the tools we use when working with them. Consider replacing paper towels with rags you can wash and reuse over and over. Avoid single-use wipes in favor of sprays and rags. If you have a swiffer-style mop, use a rag or microfiber cloth with it instead of disposable pads.
The last piece to consider in building a sustainable cleaning routine is the ingredients in the cleaning products we use. I have to admit I have a hard time understanding what ingredients do what. BUT-I just discovered the EPA has a helpful resource for understanding the toxicity of cleaning ingredients, so I will continue to research. Additionally, white vinegar is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. I use it in the laundry in place of fabric softener, and it’s great for cleaning porcelain and ceramic tile floors. The one thing to be mindful of with vinegar is it’s really acidic, so be careful when using it to clean stone or other porous materials that it could etch. I don’t use vinegar on our kitchen counters because they are made of quartz and I don’t want to risk etching it with my cleaners.
Do you have any tips of your own for creating a more sustainable cleaning routine? I’d love to hear from you! Sustainability is journey that gets better when we put our heads together. Hit us up on social media, or drop us a comment below!