My kitchen deep-cleans used to leave me wasting a lot of plastic bags, paper, and plastic containers. It got me wondering how I could make my cleaning routines less wasteful.
Scientists are developing new ways to recycle plastic, but it’s not an Earth-friendly material right now, and cleaning supplies use a lot of it. Solutions like disinfecting sprays and soaps are largely composed of water, which also makes those products heavy and hard to ship efficiently. Excessive packaging is another contributing factor, as are harmful chemicals that can end up in the water supply (or you). Add in the risk of microplastic shedding and a gazillion greenwashed Instagram ads, and it can be difficult to know how to start making your routine more sustainable.
Below are some of my favorite cleaning products that try to be more eco-friendly. They won’t feel too different from what you’re already using and are relatively affordable.
Updated October 2021: We’ve refreshed this guide with some new favorite products.
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Eco-Friendly Cleaners for the Whole House
Several cleaning solution makers offer general-use products you’d typically buy in spray bottles. All of the brands mentioned here are eco-friendly in various ways, whether by offering refills, using green ingredients, or shipping without plastic. Go with whichever fits your cleaning style, budget, and aesthetic goals—because, yes, they’re all nice to look at.