Zero Waste Cleaning

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

Today, people use a magnitude of products to clean their houses with including paper towels, all sorts of sprays, soaps, and brushes. In actuality, we don’t need that many products. Plus, many of those products contain harmful chemicals and almost all of them are packaged in plastic. I’ve made a few simple switches and now have a low-waste cleaning routine.

#1: cloth rags

Cloth rags are a super easy switch to make from using paper towels. Use old and worn kitchen towels or rip rags from old sheets or bath towels. They clean great and can be machine washed and reused.

#2: Castile soap

Switch to bar or liquid castile soap. It lasts forever and cleans just as well as soaps with harsh chemicals. I like Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap for $5 or their Pure Castile Liquid Soap for $18. Both are cruelty-free, organic, fair trade, and packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled packaging (paper for the bar, plastic for the liquid soap). They are very potent–just a few drops of the liquid soap is enough for huge surfaces.

#3: DIY spray cleaner

It’s super easy to make a spray cleaner which will disinfect and serve as an all purpose cleaner. Fill a jar with citrus peels (I used orange, but lemon, lime, or grapefruit would also work well) and fill it with vinegar so the peels are completely submerged. Leave for up to two weeks or until the peels begin to turn brown. Drain the citrus-vinegar into a spray bottle (I bought mine from Package Free Shop for $14 but alternatively you could reuse a plastic one). The longer you leave the peels, the more citrus-y the mixture smells. Still, I cut the mixture with water so it didn’t smell quite as strongly of vinegar. That being said, even if the mixture does smell strongly of vinegar it dissipates a few minutes after being used.

#4: Brushes

Package Free Shop also offers several cleaning brushes, whether for dishes or for the toilet bowl. I haven’t bought any of them but plan to when I have a home of my own.

I hope this inspires you to switch to zero waste cleaning!