Sustainable Cleaning Swaps You Can Make TODAY
We’re willing to bet that if we opened up your cleaning cupboard, we would find at least one - if not all - of the following:
- A plastic bottle
- Disposable toilet cleaning “wands”
- A roll of paper towels
- Dryer sheets
- Single-use Swiffer pads
- Plastic scrub brushes
Switching out even one of those products for a sustainable alternative would have a major impact on the environment, so why aren’t we all doing it?
For most people, it’s because creating an environmentally friendly cleaning routine is expensive. We just don’t have the cash (especially now) to change out every cleaner we own overnight.
But sustainability isn’t a zero-sum game. Just like finding love on the Bachelor, sustainability is a “journey.”
Developing an eco-friendly cleaning routine is a lifestyle change; it’s about breaking old habits and sticking to it. It isn’t throwing everything in the recycling and starting from scratch.
Here’s our list of five sustainable cleaning swaps that are inexpensive and easy to implement. Making eco-friendly habits won’t happen overnight, but just like everything else, practice makes perfect.
Make one of these swaps this week, keep it up, and make another next month. You’ll be on your way to a cleaning closet filled with the best environmentally friendly cleaning products in no time.
Plastic Cleaning Bottles
Swap it for: Glass or Aluminum Cleaning Bottles
When we talk about reducing plastic waste, we aren’t just talking about recycling.
At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and the only way to slow that down is to stop making more plastic.
Even if you’re recycling your bottles when they’re empty, you’re still a part of the plastic machine every time you buy a new one.
Keeping the same old plastic bottle and refilling it isn’t a solution either. Plastic, particularly the plastic used to make standard household cleaning products, isn’t a durable material. Overtime - usually in under a year - plastic bottles will dent, “cave” in, or develop holes.
Instead, invest in cleaning bottles made from lasting materials that are good for the planet. Aluminum bottles are durable, lightweight, and infinitely recyclable.
Glass bottles are a good option as well. But be careful using glass if you’re delegating chores to kids who might not be as cautious with their cleaning supplies.
Disposable Toilet “Wands”
Swap it for: Toilet Brushes
A toilet brush you can throw away after use seems like a fairytale.
Toss my toilet brush in the trash and not have to worry about festering germs, you say?
Not so fast.
Disposable toilet wands are made out of disposable, inexpensive materials, i.e., plastics.
On your sustainability journey, focus on replacing plastic and replacing single-use or disposable products. Reusable products are often made from safer materials and create less carbon during production.
Instead, go for a toilet brush made from natural woods and plant fibers, like this one.
Swap it for: Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls are so good, they deserve awards.
They’re the ultimate tiny multi-taskers, fluffing towels, softening sheets, de-wrinkling shirts, and cutting down on drying time by up to 50%. Oh, and they’re 100% reusable.
Dryer sheets might make your clothes softer, but they’re made with plastic and laced with artificial fragrances.
Besides that, dryer sheets are expensive. A set of dryer balls will only set you back around $20 and last for over 1000 loads.
Swap it for: Paperless Towels or Dish Towels
Globally, used paper towels account for 254 million tons of trash every year. In fact, 40% of all waste in the U.S. comes from paper products.
Paper towels, like toilet paper and tissues, can’t be recycled. Their fibers are considered too “short” to be recycled. Most recycling plants won’t recycle paper that has been contaminated with food, grease, or liquids.
Next time you spill spaghetti sauce, reach for paperless towels or a dishcloth instead. 100% cotton paperless towels are reusable, sustainably made, and better at removing messes than thin paper towels.
Even better, you can recycle your cotton towels when you’re done with them, even with all those grease stains.
Plastic Trash Bags
Swap it for: Compostable Trash Bags
We’ve said once, we’ve said it a thousand times: plastic trash bags are not curbside recyclable.
When you put your recycling in plastic trash bags, the recycling facility cuts your waste out of the bags and then sends them to a landfill. And given that Americans use over 300 million trash bags each year, that’s a lot of plastic headed for a landfill.
Instead, start using compostable, plant-based bin bags. Compostable trash bags are often made from recycled paper products and completely disintegrate after use.
Looking for more environmentally friendly cleaning products? Check out our post on the best eco-friendly cleaning products.