There’s a content, empowered feeling I get right after cleaning my apartment. Every surface is spotless, each item is in its proper place, and the visual proof of my effort is on display. However, that positive feeling was dampened when I realized that my cleaning sessions were far from eco-friendly. That’s when I decided it was time to invest in environmentally low-impact ways to tidy up my place.
For my zero-waste approach to cleaning, I decided to focus on two main areas: decreasing the amount of trash I created and cutting back on the harmful chemicals I used.
One important tip to remember: clean often. If you don’t let grime add up, it’s way easier to use natural solutions to remove buildup.
With that in mind, here are some of the steps I took to make my cleaning habits greener.
An easy zero-waste cleaning guide
1. Avoid paper towels
Trust me, I know how tempting it is to reach for paper towels when you’re cleaning. They’re a quick and easy option. Instead, though, grab a reusable kitchen towel. Not only will they not add trash to the landfill, but they’re sturdier than paper towels, too. That means scrubbing will be easier because you won’t have to worry about the towel tearing.
Don’t have any kitchen towels on hand? Use an old t-shirt—they work surprisingly well.
2. Use a traditional broom and mop
Instead of cleaning with single-use floor cleaners, opt for the classic broom and mop. These reusable options create way less waste to throw out—especially since it typically takes multiple single-use floor pads for a single cleaning. To further cut back on harmful waste, you can make your own mopping solution. Just mix up four ounces of white vinegar with one gallon of water, and you’ll be good to go. For an extra thorough clean, add a tablespoon or two of eco-friendly dish soap to the mixture.
3. Make your own natural cleaners
Homemade cleaners are less expensive, better for the environment, and surprisingly simple to make. You only need three ingredients to clean most of the surfaces in your home: white vinegar, water, and baking soda. In a glass spray bottle, combine a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water. You can throw in some essential oil to the mix, too, for an added fresh scent. This will be your go-to cleaner—just avoid using it on granite and marble. The mixture is great for counters, glass, and most any surface in your house. If you come across a stubborn spot of dirt, it’s time to break out the baking soda. By adding just a bit of water to baking soda, you have an effective scrub that works on everything from counters to stoves.
Need to stock up on eco-friendly kitchen equipment? Our Food Storage and Cleaning category has you covered.