The best eco-friendly cleaning products to use around the house
From biodegradable laundry liquids and refillable cleaners, to compostable and reusable sponges, this is how to clean your home the sustainable way
Researchers are constantly coming up with new ways to recycle plastic, but it’s not quite enough to tackle the huge pollution problem we face today. And rather ironically, cleaning products are a big culprit.
Packaged in plastic containers with plastic pumps, many products come in unrecyclable packaging, plus the cleaners are comprised mostly of water, making them difficult to ship efficiently. What’s more, the formulas themselves often contain microplastics, and are applied to surfaces with sponges and cloths that also contain harmful chemicals and particles that find their way into our soil, water systems and even our bodies.
The good news? There are an increasing number of ethical companies that are producing eco-friendly cleaning products that truly sum up the green ethos. These plant-based options, packaged in eco-friendly materials, are a sustainable way to clean up your act. Whether you want to be part of the ‘refill revolution’, make your own cleaning products at home, or find the most natural solution possible, these products are certainly worth considering.
Most cleaning sprays come in plastic bottles that are typically only used once, and tend to contain up to 90% water! Neat offers a solution to both of these issues, by offering a refillable system of multi-surface cleaning products. You'll receive an empty aluminium bottle and a 30ml glass bottle containing the concentrated cleaning solution, which is vegan and cruelty-free. You simply empty the solution into the spray bottle and top up with water from the tap. Give it a shake and you've got a plant-based, biodegradable cleaning solution ready to go. When you're finished, simply order more glass refill bottles to top up your sleek metallic one. Now that's neat!
As one of the newest household cleaning brands on the scene, Colt & Willow offers a range of sustainable, plant-based cleaning products that not only work well but smell and look divine. The products are made in Britain using sustainable materials. The formula itself is biodegradable yet effective, while the long-lasting refillable bottles are made from glass, with recyclable PET litre refills available via subscription.
This lush washing-up liquid is available as a Refill and Reuse Duo, or as part of The Essentials Pack, which also contains a Geranium All-purpose Cleaner and Rosemary & Juniper Berry Bathroom Cleaner – a great place to start if you're making the switch to eco-friendly, refillable cleaning products.
Colt & Willow is serious about creating a better future, too: the brand produces its range in the UK, supports local employment by keeping money within the community, plus a portion of every sale is donated to 1% For The Planet – a global movement that inspires businesses and individuals to support environmental solutions through membership and everyday actions.
The #refillrevolution is really taking off and it's great to see some innovative brands offering us more solutions. Fill sends off its products in glass bottles, which you then send back to be refilled once you've used them up. It's a great way to cut down your plastic usage, especially if you don't have access to a zero-waste shop.
Better yet, Fill's cleaning solutions are cruelty-free, vegan and biodegradable. You can pretty much kit out your entire cleaning cupboard with Fill products, too, as aside from this toilet cleaner, the brand also makes a kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, washing-up liquid, dishwashing powder, laundry liquid, glass cleaner and floor cleaner.
The long-running Bio-D has made it its mission to create cruelty-free, vegan and environmentally friendly cleaning products for years – and we love what the brand stands for. The company is always taking more steps to be more eco-friendly too, having recently introduced bottles across its ranges that are made from 100% recycled bottles from recycling bins across the UK.
Bio-D has you covered with cleaning products for the whole home, inside and out! This Home & Garden Sanitiser can be used on patios, paths, decking, greenhouses, waste bins, sinks and drains, so is a super bottle to keep on hand for keeping everything clean and disinfected. Better yet, the formula is free from synthetic chemicals, phosphates, preservatives and perfumes.
Delivered to your doorstep in reusable pouches, Bower Collective's Reuse and Refill service is a handy way to switch to more eco-friendly cleaning products while reducing your plastic consumption. Simply stock up on Bower Collective bottles and dispensers – or use your own – then order refill pouches to top up your bottles. The pouches are then returned in pre-paid envelopes to be cleaned, sterilised and reused, helping customers to save around 100kg of plastic waste from going to landfill and incineration each year!
Starter kits are available if you you're looking to overhaul your cleaning cupboard, or you can buy individual products like fabric conditioners, laundry liquids, bathroom and all-purpose cleaners.
Dr Bronner's is synonymous with castile soap, so these magical, multi-purpose bottles are perfect as an eco-friendly cleaning alternative as you can use it as a base for various cleaning solutions.
Woodsy and medicinal, this tea tree castile soap is concentrated, biodegradable, effective and extremely versatile. Made with certified organic and fair trade ingredients, and packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle, the soap can be used for just about everything, from doing the dishes and laundry, to mopping and cleaning around the house. It's free from synthetic preservatives, detergents and foaming agents, too, so is mild enough for sensitive skin. We use this as a base for homemade cleaning solutions such as floor cleaners. The tea tree option is great for cleaning as the essential oil is naturally anti-bacterial. But the soap is also available in other scents such as almond, lavender and citrus.
LG&G content creator Rachael is a huge fan of soap nuts. Grown on trees, soap nuts are entirely natural, yet surprisingly effective! The shells of soap nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent that gently foams to remove dirt from clothes without stripping them of their colour. Simply place 4-5 soap nuts into the little cloth bag that's provided, then place on top of your laundry in the machine. Rachael's secret is to also add a few drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil onto the bag for a fresh scent.
Extremely economical, a bag of soap nuts can last around 100 washes. You can even use them to create your own multi-purpose cleaning sprays!
The ecoegg Laundry Egg has gained popularity recently, offering a complete replacement for traditional washing powders, liquids, gels and tablets. This nifty egg can simply be popped into your washing machine on top of the laundry. It contains two types of cleaning pellets inside, which activate in the water and produce a powerful foam to clean your clothes of grime and dirt. The ecoegg contains no harsh chemicals, so is considered to be kind on the skin as well as the planet, plus one egg lasts 70 washes!
Did you know that those yellow and green sponges we often use to clean our dishes contain synthetic materials like plastic as well as chemicals! Plus, they never seem to last long, and aren't recyclable or degradable.
Enter Urban Green Company's zero-waste sponges. Made from 100% cotton, bamboo fabric and hessian, they're reusable, compostable and washable. They'll last up to a year, and can be popped in the washing machine.
Absorbent, durable and reusable, these plastic-free sponges are great for cleaning your kitchen, bathroom and other areas around the house. Made of natural renewable resources and water-based inks, they're a great alternative to conventional sponges that are riddled with plastic. You can pop them in the washing machine or dishwasher to freshen them up, ready to reuse over and over again. When they've reached the end of their life, then can be added to your home compost where they'll safely biodegrade without releasing plastic or micro-fibres.
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