Earth Week: Low Waste House Cleaning

I am a fastidious house cleaner. Maybe excessively so, I just find it so much more pleasant, but it has not escaped my desire to use less plastic. I think I have made great strides here, but there are still areas I can work on. I also don’t think that there is any increased costs to sustain a low waste cleaning routine, but there is a big cost barrier to entry, collecting the glass glass bottles to use for refilling, the brushes, etc. But once you have them, I find they last so much longer than traditional plastic sponges and that they feel less gross, they actually seem to get dry and not start to smell funky.

My personal sources for these items are : Long-handled dish brush, amber glass spray bottle (although you can get them everywhere now, I have had mine for 4 years now), Swedish Dishcloth (although we can also get these everywhere now), dish soap pump bottle, toilet cleaning tabs (also I still laugh at myself when I see the jar, mid-July last year when places started doing take-out cocktails I order jars of margaritas from this steakhouse in Oakville and they are the best jars for refilling because they are so big), The Bare Home dish soap (although I have also gotten it from Kind Matter Co. ), The Bare Home all-purpose cleaner (and also at the Kind Matter Co.), and then I just have generic microfibre cloths from Canadian Tire or Wal-Mart or something, my toilet brush and stand are from the Pale Blue Dot, but I think I got my most recent replacement from the Kind Matter Co. (I can’t currently find it on their website). The stand doesn’t seem to be available at the Pale Blue Dot anymore, or at least not online, I did find it at Package Free Co.

So I have to be completely honest. I don’t actually like my long-handled dish brush, I think I am going to switch to a short-handled brush without the metal components. I think the combination of the wooden handle and the metal and the water in the sink is hard on the connection between the wood and the metal and it wears out quickly. You also have to buy the same brand’s replacements heads because they have a slightly different size between brands.

Areas for improvement:

These are the “conventional” products I still use. I have had the same bottle of windex for about 4 years. I only had a small bathroom mirror for several years and lived in a basement apartment/windowless bedroom for a bit, so it’s lasted for several apartments (no they were not legal apartments). I’m planning on just switching to vinegar when I’m finished with this bottle.

I have not yet found an alternative for Pledge furniture polish, I’m not really in to making my own products. I don’t trust myself not to make something that won’t damage my hard-earned, carefully curated (lol I sound so pretentious but I do spend a lot of time looking for furniture and saving up for furniture before I buy it) furniture. Even when I thrift something, it is still a big chunk of cash for me and I will not ruin it.

The Clorox wipes were a panic pandemic purchase last year. I keep them in my car to give it a wipe down. Given the current numbers in Ontario I don’t see myself stopping this new habit any time soon, just like the hand sanitizer.

The Bar Keeper’s Friend is a total Instagram-influenced me purchase. @gocleanco uses it to make things look like new again and I am a self-proclaimed clean freak who totally loves stuff like that. The litter wipes and Resolve Pet Cleaner were a total impulse purchase one day before I moved back in with my parents and was worried about the cat making messes in their house. I won’t be re-purchasing the litter wipes, I don’t think they do anything at all except provide a slight perfume to the area which is really useless.

I haven’t mopped my floors since I moved in (I feel gross saying that, but it’s only been a month it just feels longer because I have barely left since then), but I normally use white vinegar and baking soda. I bought this massive box of “cleaning” baking soda a few years ago. It’s like a kilogram of baking soda in a cardboard box and I am still working through it.

I think a big point of this week is to say that none of us is perfectly zero waste. We can all be better, and the best we can do is better for the planet than not doing anything at all. I still have many changes that I can make and I hope that me being honest about that brings home that message that we do the best we can for as long as we can and that is what matters.

Any suggestions for a tried and true furniture polish alternative would be greatly appreciated!


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