Cleaning Sustainability

20 Zero Waste Cleaning Products for the Home

Zero Waste Cleaning Products for the Home

I have been cleaning my home using natural, zero waste cleaning products for years now. It is not only better for the health of my family, it’s better for the environment! 

We do our best buy cleaning ingredients in bulk, then refill our spray bottles over and over again as necessary. This minimizes the amount of packaging waste we generate or consume which is something we can feel good about. 

Zero Waste Cleaning Tools and Ingredients

Tools

Ingredients

Just about every cleaning product I use in my home is derived from a small list of natural ingredients easily purchased in bulk quantities:

Zero Waste Kitchen Cleaning Products

Zero waste kitchen cleaning products

1. All-Purpose Cleaner

This solution can be safely used on just about any surface in your home, from cabinets to countertops to floors… If you like the simplicity of using just ONE cleaner for almost everything then this is a solid option.

NOTE: While this certainly works as an “all purpose” cleaner, it doesn’t mean it’s the BEST cleaner for every purpose in your home. If you’re looking for what’s best to use in each area of your home, keep reading for my recommendations.

2. Tile Countertops 

Spray and wipe up with a microfiber cloth. 

3. Granite Countertops

When cleaning any type of stone surface, you want to avoid vinegar, lemon juice, or any other acidic ingredients. Acid can etch or weaken the surface of stone. This solution contains alcohol which dries quickly and will leave your sealed granite countertops clean and streak free.

For other types of stone countertops (marble, onyx, etc.) it’s best to play it safe with the gentle all-purpose cleaner recipe. 

4. Butcher Block Countertops

Scrub your countertop with soap and hot water to clean, then rinse with a clean sponge or rag and water. Sanitize by spraying with vinegar and wiping with a clean cloth. Lastly condition the wood with mineral oil once a month.

5. Kitchen Sink

White Porcelain Sink: Sprinkle baking soda over stains then dampen your sponge with hydrogen peroxide before scrubbing the baking soda into the sink. It’s amazing how well this removes stains – I even filmed a video to prove it!

Stainless Steel Sink: Sprinkle sink with baking soda then scrub with a sponge and some dish soap to leave your sink looking perfectly shiny! 

6. Garbage disposal

  • Ice cubes (Vinegar ice cubes also minimize weird smells)
  • Lemon

Grinding ice cubes will help sharpen the garbage disposal blades, while lemon rinds will improve its smell. 

7. Microwave

  • Lemon
  • Water

Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and lemon slices, then microwave for 4 minutes. Let the bowl sit inside of the microwave for a few extra minutes until it’s cool enough to touch and the walls of the microwave are dampened from the steam. Open the microwave and wipe down all surfaces with a sponge and microfiber cloth. Watch this video to see how-to.

8. Dishwasher

Interior: Once a week (at least), run your wash cycle with a ceramic bowl or mug filled with 1-2 cups of white vinegar. Place the vinegar cup or mug on the top shelf and run a very hot cycle. Vinegar will help eliminate any lingering odors as well as prevent hard water buildup or discoloration of the interior of your dishwasher.

Filter: Every time you unload your dishwasher, remove the filtration parts from the bottom of your dishwasher. Rinse and scrub each part of the filtration system with a brush or a sponge. Lastly, check the holes on the spray arm to make sure they aren’t clogged with food particles. Clogged spray arms reduces your dishwasher’s cleaning power and may leave your dishes and utensils dingy. You can pick them clean with a toothpick.

9. Refrigerator

Remove all fridge contents including drawers and removable shelves. Wash shelves and drawers in the sink with warm soapy water, then dry with a microfiber cloth. Use a sponge and soapy water to scrub down the interior of the fridge. Follow up with a clean sponge and water to wipe away soap residue then dry with a microfiber cloth.

For stubborn grimey spots, sprinkle with baking soda for extra scrubbing power. 

10. Stainless Steel Appliances

Spray the exterior with a homemade cleaning solution that consists of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away any fingerprints or other marks from the stainless steel surface.

Polish with a small dab of mineral oil (olive oil also works) on a cleaning cloth.

11. Wood Table and Furniture

Spray on & wipe off wood furniture and surfaces. The mineral oil also helps to slow down dust collection on wood shelves and tabletops.

Zero Waste Bathroom Cleaning Products

Zero Waste Bathroom Cleaning Products

12. Toilet Bowl

Flush the toilet then sprinkle baking soda around the walls of the toilet bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub with a brush then rinse the toilet bowl walls with vinegar and continue scrubbing as the mixture foams. Flush the toilet once more then let the toilet brush dry horizontally propped underneath the toilet seat for 15 minutes before putting away.

13. Tile, Glass, Mirrors, Exterior Toilet Surfaces

Spray and let sit for a few minutes before wiping away.

More about glass and mirror cleaner.

14. Shower & Tub

Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, shake, then spray all over your shower tile and tub (caution: do NOT use this solution if your shower has natural stone tile or surfaces). Let sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing with a sponge then rinsing.

15. Stubborn Shower & Tub Stains

Mix baking soda and dish soap into a paste and scrub it on grungy areas. Let the paste sit for 15-30 minutes then scrub with a sponge and rinse.

Zero Waste Floor Cleaning Products

Zero Waste Floor Cleaning Products

16. Wood Floors

Use this mixture in a bucket with a mop, sponge, or cleaning rag. Alternatively, us it as a spray on your floors and mop up with a microfiber swiffer attachment.

17. Laminate, Tile, & Stone Floors

Especially when cleaning any type of stone surface, you want to avoid vinegar, lemon juice, or any other acidic ingredients. Acid can etch or weaken the surface of stone (especially on marble, onyx, and travertine [source]). A simple solution of dish soap and water should suffice for most floor types.

19. Grout

Combine all ingredients into a spray bottle, spray on grout and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Using a scrub brush (or cleaning toothbrush), give your grout a good scrub. Use a towel to wipe up extra moisture as you clean, then follow up with a clean, wet cloth or sponge to wipe up any cleaning product residue.

20. Carpet and Rugs

Carpet stain removal recipes depend largely on the type of stain as well as the carpet material. For instance, oil-based stains should be immediately covered with baking soda or cornstarch to absorb excess oil, then followed up with dish soap and water. 

Wine stains can be treated with seltzer water then by scrubbing with dish soap. 

With that said, if you have a wool carpet or rug you cannot treat stains with water. 

Here is a comprehensive list of stain removal recipes!

Cleaning without Paper Towels

If you are used to cleaning with paper towels, the concept of using reusable towels and rags might seem intimidating. If you’re unsure about what cleaning cloths to use, where to store dirty cloths in between washes, and other tools that might be helpful in your quest to go paper-free, read my post about a paper-free kitchen.

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