If you want to move towards a plastic-free home, you can certainly make your own cleaning supplies to avoid the plastic waste from the bottles most cleaners come in. Fortunately, more commercial options for plastic-free cleaning products are becoming available. As more consumers recognize the plastic pollution crisis, more brands are responding with zero-waste and plastic-free alternatives.
These more sustainable cleaning supplies often come in reusable or biodegradable packaging that breaks down naturally to reduce the accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and oceans. While some of the products we found come in plastic packaging, the selections featured are intended for refills, which cuts single-use plastic waste over the lifetime of the container. The companies featured in this guide also offer safer products that reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals and toxins that can be harmful to human health and the quality in your home. Reducing and eliminating these chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as plastic waste, helps you create a safer and more sustainable environment for your family, pets, and community in general.
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Responsibly Packaged Cleaning Products
Enjoy these examples of innovative brands offering responsibly packaged cleaning supplies.
Blueland uses safer ingredients and recyclable or compostable packaging. The company holds numerous environmental certifications such as B Corporation, Climate Neutral Certified, and EPA Safer Choice. With the tagline “Refills Not Landfills,” Blueland offers laundry detergent and booster tablets, toilet cleaner, and dishwasher tablets that come in refillable metal tins. They also offer three cleaning sprays. While the starter kits for these sprays come with a refillable plastic Forever Bottle, you can simply purchase the refills and reuse your own glass spray bottle to avoid the plastic.
Branch Basics premium cleaning starter kits include refillable glass bottles plus concentrated cleaners — just add water — for a variety of cleaning needs like laundry, dishes, bathroom, and glass surfaces. Products are available online only with the option to sign up for a subscription. Branch’s website promises, “Our everyday cleaning essentials are packed with power, fueled by nature and delivered right to your door.” Be sure to specify your preferred packaging material when ordering; the products are also available in plastic bottles.
Cleancult sells reusable glass bottles with a protective silicone base for dispensing its cleaning products. The products come in paper cartons that are recyclable — if your local recycling service accepts cartons. Products include all-purpose cleaner, liquid dish soap, dishwasher tablets, liquid laundry detergent, and dryer balls. “Clean should mean clean in every single way. That we should refill not landfill, that paper is mightier than plastic, and that lots of small actions add up to great change,” proclaims the website.
This zero-waste company offers solid dish soap packaged in a cardboard box and wool dryer balls in a fabric bag. Eco Roots aims to “eliminate as much plastic as possible from our products and operations, and our shipment packaging is plastic-free and recyclable,” according to the website.
Based in New Zealand but with a new plastic-free warehouse in the United States, this company strives to eliminate plastic waste. Its products include a stain remover bar, bathroom and multi-purpose kitchen spray concentrates, and dishwashing liquid concentrate. Ethique prides itself on its use of plastic-free packaging. “Our packaging, shipping boxes and padding are free from laminates and plastic (including our packing tape), which means they can go straight into the home compost and will disappear in a matter of months.”
According to Etee, its vision is “Plastic free living for everyone. Making ‘truly’ sustainable products that are accessible to all people of all backgrounds, on all continents.” Products include powdered toilet bowl cleaner; all-purpose, floor, and window cleaners and dish soap concentrates packaged in backyard-compostable Beepods; dishwashing kits; dish soap and laundry stain bars; and concentrated laundry detergent packaged in a paper bag with a 100% biodegradable lining.
This brand makes refilling easy; just subscribe for home delivery of bulk refills. You can also refill in person if you’re near one of the growing number of refill stations in the United States. There are over 120 as of June, Fillaree founder and CEO Alyssa Cherry told Earth911. The company packages its products in locally made reusable bags and sustainably made cardboard boxes. It offers dish soap and all-purpose cleaner in refillable glass bottles.
This Chicago-based brand makes a point of ingredient transparency, listing “every ingredient in every product we make right on the label.” Product packaging is free of single-use plastic — or completely plastic-free — and most is reusable. Meliora’s concentrated powders, solid soap bars, and tablets make it easy to clean your home with zero-waste and low-waste refills. Products include laundry powder, oxygen brightener bleach alternative, soap stick stain remover, all-purpose home cleaner spray in a reusable glass spray bottle, gentle home cleaning scrub, and a dish soap bar.
A zero-waste lifestyle shop in New York City and online globally, Package Free offers home cleaning supplies plus much more. “Products are natural, minimalist, easy on the planet, made to last when you need them (and they biodegrade when you don’t),” says the website. All packaging is 100% backyard compostable, 100% recyclable, or sometimes not there at all. Package Free also ships 100% plastic-free. There is a long list of household cleaning products for laundry, kitchen, bathroom, and more.
With the tagline, “Clean Like Mother Nature is Watching,” Supernatural sells cleaners for stainless steel, wood and floors, bath and tile, glass, and granite. Its product line includes attractive reusable glass bottles you can fill with concentrated, just-add-water formulas to avoid plastic waste. In addition, its cardboard packaging is made from recycled and recyclable materials.
Manufactured in Canada, Tru Earth dishwasher detergent tablets and wool dryer balls and offer plastic-free solutions for laundry cleaning and softening needs. The company’s highly touted Eco-Strips plastic-jug-free laundry detergent strips, and its toilet bowl cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, and fabric softener strips, however, are problematic. While they are delivered in plastic-free recyclable cardboard sleeves, the strips contain polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a plastic polymer. According to academic research, PVA does not breakdown completely, instead up to 75% of the material remains as microplastics that can reach waterways.
This brand touts itself as featuring the first closed-loop cleaner. Sustainable aluminum bottles house an all-purpose cleaner that is made from 97% food waste. (The other 3% includes essential oils for fragrance plus decyl glucoside, a plant-derived and biodegradable fragrance stabilizer.) “When treating waste as a resource, you can both reduce overconsumption of resources and greenhouse gas emissions from landfills,” explains the website. This single-product brand offers a starter kit and refills to minimize waste. We look forward to seeing where Veles goes from here.
Choosing Plastic-Free for the Earth
When it’s time to clean your home, show your support for companies taking action to protect the planet. By choosing plastic-free cleaning supplies, you are making a sustainable choice that benefits both the environment and your own well-being. Your support of these responsible companies helps promote the transition towards a circular economy in which conservation and waste minimization are priorities.