6 Easy Tips for Zero Waste Cleaning

It’s not news that there is a bunch of trash that gets thrown out every day. It’s an overwhelming amount that leaves a lot of uncertainty for our planet. Fortunately, we can do our own part to make sure that the home we live in contributes as small amount as possible.

Zero waste means exactly as it sounds, nothing goes to waste and little to no trash. In short, zero waste cleaning means reducing single-use products, reusing what’s available, and limiting continuous purchases.

Have you ever wandered down the cleaning aisle and seen endless rows of detergent bottles, all-purpose cleaners, dish soap, etc.? It overwhelms me that eventually all of those bottles will end up in landfills. If you’re not yet practicing zero waste cleaning to reduce those purchases, here are some easy tips to get started.

How to Clean Zero Waste

One simple thing to remember about zero waste cleaning is to reduce the trash. Before you purchase any cleaning products ask yourself if they can be reused or how much trash comes from them and if it has to be repurchased.

“The more convenient something is, typically, the worst they are for the environment”

The biggest waste and the easiest swap is cloth rags for paper towels. The US alone throws away about 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year. This can easily be reduced by reusing rags instead of fresh paper towels every time you clean. You can keep a stack of clean rags in each room, that way the room that you clean will already have clean rags to use instead of carrying them around or continually going back to where they are stored. You can also carry around a dirty bucket while cleaning to keep the dirty rags after you are done and throw it into the wash right after!

Don’t purchase single-use items. Swiffer mops and dusters are very high on this list. The more convenient something is the worst they are for the environment. These produce a lot of trash and they cost a lot of money. Simply replacing the reusable pads with rags and towels will get the job done. Use mops that you can throw in the wash afterward and lightly dampen a rag and that will dust just as effectively.

Use tools that are recyclable. Cleaning tools are a big part of the cleaning process. The mop, dustpan, duster, sweeper, spray bottles, etc. Plastic tools that break easily or don’t last as long are just as wasteful if they have to be repurchased. Additionally, they don’t recycle and will not biodegrade as easily, plastic can take up to 500 years to be broken down. Instead, choose wood, bamboo, metal, or glass. All of these can easily be recycled if they happen to break or are just run down. Shop with the intent to keep it for a very long time.

Ditch the sponges. Sponges apply to the last two rules but felt they needed their own section because overall they are unnecessary. They’re not single-use but they need to be replaced every two weeks, and yes recyclable ones are better but that means it will cost you more. Not only that but they are the most unsanitary tool in the kitchen! Because they are always wet and don’t get dry thoroughly, they are filled with bacteria. Switching to a brush is easier and if it can go into the dishwasher then it doesn’t need to be scrubbed so much.

Make your own cleaning solutions. Making your own all-purpose cleaner is a great idea. Buying items like vinegar, baking soda, and salt in bulk will save you money and waste. In general, green cleaners and DIY cleaners are better for our overall health. Popular conventional cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can cause respiratory and other health issues, which is why they come with warnings on the labels. Invest in a good glass spray bottle and you’re set! No more repurchasing bottles and bottles of cleaners in plastic containers that you’ll have to throw away once done.

Buy refillables. Look in your area and search to see if there is a refill store nearby. These stores sell items by ounce or pounds and you bring in your own container to refill in. Depending on the store or area you live in, they typically have shampoo, conditioner, a variety of cleaning products, and many other zero-waste items. There are also companies that will sell refillable cleaners in bulk and typically in concentrated versions. The key is to reuse your own glass containers, or whatever it is you’re storing it in.

The Essentials of Zero Waste Cleaning

We don’t want to throw more stuff away, so whatever cleaning products you already own right now, use them up until you run out or it’s no longer functional. Don’t feel bad that you currently own a bunch of plastic cleaning items, use them up, then when you’re ready for a new one, find those eco-friendlier items. If you’ve made it this far to research how to clean zero waste then you’re already doing a great job. The biggest thing is to educate ourselves and to be aware of those future purchases.

Look for things with minimal packaging, the less plastic the better. The quality of the item, will it last a long time without repurchasing? Things like a Dyson vacuum are expensive now, but they have lifetime warranties if they break down. Machines like these can replace the bag vacuum cleaner and even has attachments to use for dusting (no need for feather dusters or rags!).

Zero waste is about creativity, instead of throwing away trash, how can you reuse it for a different purpose? When you have an old cloth like bedsheets or clothes that don’t fit anymore, cut them up and reuse them as cleaning rags. Old toothbrushes can be used for scrubbing harder-to-reach surfaces, plastic containers can play a role in the garden, take-out containers can be used as food storage containers, old detergent bottles can be reused for your DIY cleaners, anything goes! How can you reuse what you’re about to throw away?

Why Zero Waste Cleaning is so Important

Going zero waste will save you money; not having to repurchase items will be a lot lighter on your wallet. Quality items if taken care of can lasts a lifetime. Cleaning is as simple as it can get, no need to buy the newest product or latest invention.

The other obvious answer is that we don’t want to contribute to the already billion pounds of landfills out there. All those piles out there are not decomposing correctly because of the large amount, which then produces harmful gasses for the environment. They are compiling way faster than they are trying to decompose. Zero waste is about sustainable resources, a healthier community, and continuing a livable planet for generations to come.

Recent Posts