Zero Waste Cleaning
Zero waste cleaning was one of the easiest zero waste swaps for me. It not only is SO much cheaper, but also appeals to my minimalistic self. I only use two products for cleaning everything in my whole apartment.
Have you ever stepped into the cleaning aisle at the supermarket and been thoroughly overwhelmed by all the options that are in front of you? Do you really need to buy a kitchen spray, bathroom spray, wood spray, glass spray and granite spray??? No, you don't. Companies and advertisements have you believing that you do, but this is just so they can make more money. Also have you ever read the ingredients on those cleaning products and been worried or confused. I mean some of them even say that they are unsafe to use in closed off or small areas and that you need plenty of ventilation... Well, how in the world are you supposed to clean your tiny bathroom without ventilation and not get lightheaded on those fumes?? So they're saying this product is unsafe to use for the purpose that it is needed to be used? How in the world does that work? Also have you ever felt dirty after cleaning because of the products you've been using, like you need to wash it off before it does something to your skin or harms you? It's probably because it is actually filled with harmful chemicals. You're not crazy, don't worry.
Zero waste cleaning is not only better for the environment but also better for you and your health. All the products that I use for cleaning are also safe for consumption (I wouldn't suggest eating them as is, but you get the point).
For my vinegar solution, I have a glass jar I keep my orange peels in until it's full. I keep the jar in the freezer to keep the peels from degrading or growing anything while waiting to fill up the jar. When the jar is full, I pour in enough vinegar to cover all the peels and let this soak for about 2-4 weeks under the sink. After that time, I pour out the vinegar through a mesh strainer into a glass spray bottle and dilute 1:1 with water. Give the bottle a shake and there's your cleaning spray.
You can also change up the scent by using lemon or lime peels instead, as well as adding sticks of cinnamon, fresh mint leaves, or evergreen sprigs. Get creative and find a scent that you like.
Some people may not like the smell of vinegar, but honestly it only smells like vinegar for a couple of minutes right after spraying. After that, the smell goes away. I have never noticed the smell of vinegar lingering around for more than a few minutes.
Yep, that's it just plain old baking soda. You probably already have some in your pantry. I use this less frequently and generally only for those tough stains or dried on food gunk. It's mainly a scrubbing agent for harder cleaning. I keep a bottle of baking soda in a pour spout bottle with my cleaning supplies. I sprinkle it in the bath, toilet, or sink then spray with the vinegar solution. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub away.
You could also just keep your baking soda in any old container you have, I just already had this bottle and spout and thought it would be perfect to hold my cleaning baking soda.
You can buy baking soda in bulk bins or in a cardboard box. I generally buy one of those large cardboard boxes of baking soda because I use it for so many different things around the house. The cardboard box can then be composted or recycled after it is emptied.
BRUSHES AND RAGS
I have a wooden scrub brush I use on my shower/tub and the kitchen sink. These are really the only two places in my apartment that require some elbow grease and scrubbing. I also have kept an old round vegetable brush that broke in half for some smaller scrubbing needs and an old bamboo toothbrush for those hard to reach places and small crevices. I also have a stainless steel scrubber that I use on my metal pots and pans when they get food stuck on them, plus it is also great for getting sticker residue off so you can reuse those glass jars!
For the countertops and other surfaces, I use some old rags that I've had for many years. You can also cut up old t-shirts, that are not in good enough condition to take to the second hand store, or old towels and turn them into cleaning rags as well. If you don't have any old pieces of cloth lying around your house, there are always towels and t-shirts at second hand stores that you can buy for really cheap, cut up and use as cleaning rags.
Cleaning should be simple and not stressful. If you clean frequently, then you don't really need harsh chemicals and products for tough stains that have caked on or been sitting for long periods of time.
What are some of your favorite zero waste cleaning methods? Comment below and let me know! I'd love to hear all of your great ideas!!