If you are here then you may be interested in living a greener or zero waste lifestyle and that’s great! Before I dive into simple zero waste cleaning swaps (and greener ones too), I want to make discuss the differences. Along my “cleaner living” journey I first pursued minimalism, then a greener lifestyle, and now moving a little bit into zero waste. However, greener and zero waste are not the same things. A cleaning product can be green, and therefore better for you, your kids, and your pets if you breathe it, but not zero waste. For instance, you can buy safe and green cleaners from Amazon but they may come in bottles that can’t be recycled. On the other hand, something may be “zero waste” but not green. For instance, before switching products you may want to use up your somewhat chemical-laden products under your sink first. These may not be green, but by using them, and possibly recycling the bottle, they can be zero waste.
Zero Waste Cleaning Swaps
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I tend to lean toward greener products but when I can, do like to pursue zero-waste options, especially when they can save me money! So below are a mixture of green-cleaning and zero waste cleaning swaps because whichever side you choose, will likely be better for your wallet and your health.
1.) Swedish Dish Cloths
The good news is that Swedish dishcloths are both greener and zero waste – woohoo! They are meant to be used instead of paper towels to cut down on waste. Many are also antibacterial making them greener and better for your health too. Now to be fair, paper towels in themselves aren’t bad. In fact, I often throw mine in the compost (as long as they do not contain scraps of fat or meat, or chemical cleaners.) However, most do end in the trash and they can be pricey.
Swedish dishcloths, however, can be used hundreds of times and are biodegradable. You can also wash them in your regular washing machine or even the dishwasher. They are truly amazing! Grab your own Swedish dishcloths here.
2.) E-Cloth Cleaning Set
I have these and love them. The e-Cloth set includes specific cloths to clean mirrors, your bathroom, kitchen counters, stainless steel, and so on. They also don’t require any cleaning product, which I love, but clean and disinfect themselves. This set is not zero waste in that they are made from polyester, but they are very green and clean for your home. They last up to three years or 30 washes which still make them a sustainable option. Get your own set here, which by the way, is much cheaper than on their own site!
Now, if you want to spend zero dollars I have a great tip for you. Cut up your old t-shirts (my husband’s white undershirts work best!) to clean your home. This is a very sustainable option instead of throwing them in the trash or donating them to a place that will have to throw them in the trash. Cotton shirts also break down eventually. Now just use them with your favorite green cleaner or try my DIY multi-purpose cleaner and you’re good to go.
4. Vinegar and baking soda
Speaking of cleaners, most household cleaners could be replaced by these two powerhouses. Baking soda can help scrub any gunk away as well as help brighten surfaces and fabrics. Vinegar also helps clean and disinfect just about anything. And combined? Magic. For instance, you can sprinkle baking soda in your kitchen sink, spray with vinegar, and scrub until completely clean. The smell might not be for everyone so if need be, orange peels or essential oils can be added. For more tips, make sure to check out my post on my favorite cleaning tips with vinegar!
5. Dryer Balls
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention laundry! I’ve been using dryer balls instead of dryer sheets for almost 6 years and I’ll never go back. They are made from wool, which is all-natural, and obviously way better for you than those chemical-filled dryer sheets. They work great and as an added bonus, your toddler will find them and love to throw them around! This is a very, very simple switch you can make to go green, more sustainable, and zero waste today with little change to your daily life. Get them!
What’s your favorite zero waste cleaning swap? I’d love to know!