Going zero waste with most processes has been pleasantly and surprisingly simple. One of the routines that we’ve transitioned has been cleaning our home. Before going zero waste we would use bleach, windex, dawn dish soap, disposable sponges, paper towels – basically everything the normal American household would use to clean. Since going zero waste, we now have a few better alternatives.
- Replace bleach with vinegar. Vinegar’s acidity is what makes it such a good cleaner. Because vinegar is so acidic, it can counteract some icky buildups and cuts grease. It is also a great disinfectant. You can tackle salmonella, E. coli, mold, and other “gram-negative” bacteria with vinegar. Use essential oils and citrus peels to give this all purpose cleaner a fresh scent.
I save citrus peels in the freezer till ready to make a batch. Then soak the peels in vinegar solution for 1-2 days before straining. Or for a quicker way, you can boil the peels in a bit of water to make a citrus concentrate, then mix with vinegar.
2. Scrub with baking soda. If vinegar does not seem to be cutting through, try mixing it with borax, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda or salt. The mixture will enhance its killing power! Plus, the grit from the baking soda will also help scrub off scum.
3. Castile soap replaces basically everything – dish soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, hand soap, etc. I can even wash my dog with it! You will need to dilute it as it is very concentrated. The best part? Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap actually has the dilution recipes right on the bottle!
4. Rags replace paper towels, reuse glass bottles. How many rolls do you go through per week? Save that money and use an old rag. Before throwing your old pillow cases and tee shirts in the Goodwill pile, repurpose! I also love to reuse old glass bottles. You wouldn’t guess it, but a standard head from a windex spray bottle will fit on a repurposed apple cider vinegar bottle, or kombucha bottle!
5. Wooden scrub brush replaces plastic. There are a few ‘zero waste’ items we’ve bought when replacing a broken former plastic. A good old fashioned wooden (or bamboo) scrub brush works wonders when scrubbing the tub. (Sold at www.wildminimalist.com).
The benefits to going zero waste with house cleaning?
- NATURAL: Using all natural solutions rather than harsh chemicals
- SIMPLE: minimalistic with only 3 bottles for all cleaning processes- including laundry and dishes!
- CHEAPER: I reuse the same cleaning scrubbers + rags rather than buying disposable over and over each week
- NO WASTE: The obvious- reduce carbon footprint + eliminate plastic usage.