Plastic pollution is an increasing concern for many eco-conscious consumers. With over 300 million tons of plastic produced every year, much of it in the form of single-use containers and packaging, consumers are looking for plastic-free alternatives whenever possible.
Cleaning products are a major source of plastic waste, with most cleaners packaged in single-use bottles, spray containers, and other disposable plastic packaging. The good news is there are now more and more eco-friendly cleaning brands offering effective cleaners free of plastics.
In this guide, we’ll highlight the best plastic-free and zero-waste cleaning products across all categories. We’ll share tips for identifying truly eco-friendly options free of greenwashing claims. You’ll also learn reusable alternatives to common disposable cleaning tools and accessories.
Let’s explore how you can easily make the switch to plastic-free, eco-friendly cleaning that aligns with green values while still getting your home sparkling clean.
Overview of Plastic-Free Cleaning Products
The market for eco-friendly home products has grown exponentially in recent years. Consumers today have far more choices when it comes to effective cleaners in plastic-free, zero-waste packaging.
Here are the main types of plastic-free cleaning products available:
- Tablets – Concentrated powder formed into dissolvable tablets for diluting.
- Bars – Solid bar soaps for cleaning hands, dishes, laundry, and more.
- Loose powder – Powder cleaners sold loose or in compostable paper pouches.
- Refill stations – Refill reusable bottles with cleaning concentrates.
- Glass containers – Some brands offer traditional liquids in glass bottles.
- Cardboard – Cleaners sold in recyclable/compostable cardboard.
You’ll also find more cleaning tools like brushes, sponges, and scrub pads made from natural materials versus plastic.
The key is to evaluate packaging and ingredients. Let’s look at how to identify truly plastic-free, eco-friendly cleaners.
Identifying True Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
With “greenwashing” rampant in the cleaning industry, how do you spot legitimately eco-friendly products free of plastics and toxins? Here are tips:
Check Product Packaging
- No plastic materials – Should not contain any plastic components.
- Recyclable materials – Cardboard, glass, and metals are acceptable.
- No laminations or coatings – Avoid plastic linings in cardboard.
- Minimal packaging – Avoid excessive, disposable packaging.
- Plant-based ingredients – Look for plant-derived compounds like essential oils.
- No petrochemicals – Avoid petroleum-based chemicals found in many conventional cleaners.
- No carcinogens or toxins – Stay away from harmful compounds like bleach or ammonia.
- Fragrance-free – Skip added synthetic fragrances which can contain phthalates.
Consider Company Practices
- Transparency – The mission statement commits to eco values explicitly.
- Supply chain – Sourcing of renewable, organic ingredients.
- Manufacturing – Renewable energy, zero waste facilities preferred.
- Offsetting – Carbon neutrality through offset programs is a plus.
Using these criteria will help you identify cleaning brands that are committed to sustainability versus those making token eco claims. Now let’s explore plastic-free options for common cleaner categories.
Plastic-Free Kitchen Cleaners
The kitchen poses one of the biggest challenges for plastic-free cleaning. Here are excellent options for common kitchen cleaning needs:
- Unwrapped Life Dish Bar – Plant-based solid dish bar that lathers easily.
- Tru Earth Eco-Strips – Dissolvable strip with concentrated dish soap.
- Blueland Dish Tablets – Cleans dishes, and bottles made from recycled plastic.
- Grove Co. Reed Diffusers – Plant-based counter spray in glass bottle.
- Blueland Multi-Surface Cleaner – Foaming spray tablet diluted in reusable glass bottle.
- Common Good Descaling Powder – Mix with water to clean and deodorize surfaces.
- HiBar – Natural bar hand soap free of plastic packaging.
- Humble Co. Hand Soap Bar – Essential oil-infused bar soap to replace liquid hand soap.
- Soap Cheri Oval Soaps – Multi-use solid organic soap for hands, dishes, and more.
- Blueland Dishwasher Tablets – Cleans dishes, dissolves plastic-free.
- Earth Breeze Dishwasher Minerals – Powder mineral cleaner in compostable box.
- Cleancult Dishwasher Powder – Non-toxic powder dishwasher detergent in paper carton.
Plastic-Free Bathroom Cleaners
Cleaning the sinks, toilet, tiles and shower without plastics takes some rethinking. Here are excellent plastic-free bathroom cleaner ideas:
- Plastic Pollution Coalition Toilet Cleaning Block – Solid toilet tablet cleanser with natural enzymes.
- Blueland Daily Toilet Spray – Foaming spray toilet cleaner from dissolvable tablet.
- Bower Collective Eco-Enzyme Spray – Enzyme-based spray toilet cleaner in glass bottle.
All-Purpose Bathroom Cleaner
- Blueland Daily Shower Spray – Foaming shower spray tablet.
- Common Good Eucalyptus Bathroom Cleaner – Plant-based powder bathroom cleaner.
- Cleancult Foaming Bathroom Cleaner – Plant-derived foaming spray in aluminum bottle.
- Package Free Solid Hand Soap – Palm-free plastic-free soap bar.
- Soap Cheri – Organic palm-free solid handmade soap.
- HiBar – Natural zero-waste hand soap without plastic.
Plastic-Free Laundry Detergents
Doing laundry without all the plastic detergent bottles and jugs takes some adjustments. Here are top options:
- Tru Earth Laundry Strips – Disolvable powder strips packaged in paper.
- Blueland Laundry Tablets – Plant-based concentrated laundry tablets.
- Soap Cherie Laundry Powder – Bulk powder laundry detergent sold plastic-free.
- Tru Earth Fabric Softener Sheets – Biodegradable softener sheets.
- Common Good Fabric Softener – Plant-based liquid softener in glass jar.
- Spruce Natural Resources Wool Dryer Balls – Reusable wool balls to soften fabric.
- Attitude Stain Remover – Natural enzyme-based stain remover in glass spray bottle.
- Blueland Stain Remover Pen – Concentrated formula dispensed via stainless steel pen.
- Common Good Stain Remover Bar – Solid cold water soap formula bar.
Reusable Alternatives to Disposable Cleaning Tools
In addition to plastic-free cleaning products, you can further reduce waste with reusable versions of typically disposable cleaning tools and accessories:
- Reusable mop pads – Replace disposable floor mop pads with launderable microfiber mop heads.
- Dishwashing brushes – Opt for durable silicone dish brushes over disposable plastic scrubs.
- Microfiber cloths – Washable microfiber rags and sponges substitute for paper towels.
- Upcycled t-shirt rags – Cut up old t-shirts to make reusable rags.
- Compostable sponges – Switch to renewable materials like cellulose instead of plastic sponges.
- Reusable food storage bags – Clean and reuse stashers and bags versus wasting zip top bags.
- Washable dusters – Swap single-use dusters for launderable microfiber dusters.
- Refillable spray bottles – Buy cleaners in concentrate form and refill reusable bottles.
Top Plastic-Free, Eco-Friendly Cleaning Brands
If researching individual products feels overwhelming, start by choosing among these purposeful eco cleaning brands:
Offers dissolvable cleaning tablets for spray bottles along with reusable forever bottles and stain remover pens. Ships plastic-free.
Sells powder cleaners, bar soaps, and concentrates in zero waste packaging. Plastic-free and USDA Certified Biobased.
Provides foaming cleaners, soaps, powders in aluminum bottles and kraft boxes. Plastic-free and carbon neutral.
Specializes in handmade bar soaps for laundry, dishes, hands, and more. Zero waste packaging.
Eco strips, powders, and concentrates in dissolvable packaging. Ethically produced, non-toxic formulas.
Natural cleaners with plastic-free options like glass bottles and paper packaging. B Corp certified.
Making the Switch to Plastic-Free Cleaning
Transitioning to plastic-free cleaning products better aligns daily habits with eco values. But it does require some adjustments:
- Evaluate habits – Determine most common cleaners used to prioritize swaps.
- Use up existing products – Avoid waste by using up current plastic cleaners before switching.
- Try multifunctional formulas – Seek universal cleaners like bars or tablets that can replace many liquids.
- Start slow – Change one category at a time instead of overhauling everything at once.
- Troubleshoot issues – Experiment with dilution or scrubbing if a formula seems weak at first.
- Share with others – Help friends and family discover and make the switch to plastic-free cleaning too.
While it takes some effort to rethink cleaning routines, using plastic-free products increasingly feels like second nature over time. The peace of mind from aligning daily habits with green values makes the effort worthwhile.
The growing market of eco-friendly brands now makes plastic-free, non-toxic cleaning products accessible to all. Vote with your dollars to support purpose-driven companies offering effective cleaners not reliant on single-use plastics. Your purchasing choices collectively incentivize businesses to adopt ethical practices.
Pledge this year to cut down on plastic waste from cleaning products. With this guide, you now have all the information to make the switch to plastic-free, eco-friendly cleaners that are gentler on the planet without sacrificing performance.