Over the past few years, I’ve tried to make my cleaning routine sustainable through using non-toxic, “zero waste” products. After many attempts and after trying several options, I’ve settled on a handful of products. These products are the ones that I found were worth the investment and that were also less expensive than other refill options.
Although I’ve tried several types of “zero waste” hand soaps in the past, I’ve settled on refilling my Grove collaborative bottle with soap from a local zero waste store, Eco and the Flamingo. I am fortunate that there is a store close by that does have zero waste options; in the past I’ve also used bulk hand soap from local co-ops as well, or bought in bulk.
Additionally, for all-purpose and general cleaning, I opt for Blueland’s multi-surface cleaning tablet. These tablets come in compostable and recyclable packaging and are less expensive than the typical bottle of all-purpose cleaner. While I did have to spend more upfront to buy the glass bottles from Grove Collaborative, I believe it is a good investment over time, since the refill cleaning tablets from Blueland are only $2. Although Blueland sells reusable forever bottles, mine broke after pouring warm water in them, so I switched to glass bottles from Grove. (Honestly, I wouldn’t spend extra money on buying the bottles if you already have spray bottles or prefer glass ones!).
For my dishwasher, I also use Blueland tablets, which come in a nice, sleek tin. So far, they’ve done a great job at cleaning my dishes and Blueland always include a few extra in the package in case any break. These dishwasher tablets are unwrapped, so there’s no additional plastic or wrapping as well! These are a little bit pricer than the average dishwasher load, at 40 cents per wash, but are overall a great option for anyone looking for a zero waste option for their dishwasher.
Besides surface cleaner, dish soap is probably one of the things I used to go through the most. In the past, I’ve tried solid Castile soap bar soap, but solid soap bar tended to get dirty over time. After finding Eco and the Flamingo, I’ve since refilled an up-cycled soap container with dish soap and it’s worked just as well as conventional dish soap.
One thing that I’m always trying to do is to find the most affordable options for others to go zero waste. So far, I’ve tried many options, but the ones above have worked best for me so far. The upfront costs are often greater, which I would take into account if you are considering going zero waste with your cleaning routine. Not all the products from these companies are affordable, but I try my best to choose the ones that are affordable, and make sure that they are worth the cast.
*Note: There’s lots of things that people are already doing to minimize their waste without having to go out and buy new things. Using less water, diluting soap to make it last longer, and reusing containers are all valid ways to be sustainable. You do not have to buy more containers to be zero waste!!! I personally am not thrilled with the term zero waste in general, because it was a term that was meant for producers, not consumers. I am also in a position of privilege where I have access to these products where that is not the case in many places!