Keeping spaces clean is an important part of our health - especially around flu season. However many of the cleaning products we use produce a lot of waste, can harm our environment, and can harm our own health.
Cleaning spray bottles typically cannot be re-purposed since the chemicals within them may stick to the inside of the bottle and cannot be fully removed, making it dangerous to reuse.
Other cleaning products such as air fresheners are aerosols and contribute volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the atmosphere and have the potential to affect global climate change.
Cleaning wipes are immediately disposed of after use, contributing to the total amount of garbage that we produce each year.
Many of the chemicals that are in cleaning products contain toxins that are dangerous for our health as well. While these products keep things clean, they can also have negative effects.
Using a form of zero waste cleaning can be better for our own health and the health of the environment, so here are some zero-waste cleaning alternatives to harmful cleaning products.
For cleaning surfaces such as counters, doors, tables, windows, and desktops you can use the following ingredients to make a cleaning spray:
· Distilled water
· White vinegar
· An essential oil such as eucalyptus
Combine distilled water and white vinegar in a 1:2 ratio with 8 drops of a preferred essential oil in a glass spray bottle. Another option is combing Castile soap with distilled water in a glass spray bottle. Using this spray and a cloth to clean will produce zero waste and the products can be easily refilled at home (for cleaning glass, the first recipe will work better in use with a microfiber cloth). These options cut the cost of having to buy more cleaning products and are less wasteful than the typical cleaning products (typically, Castile soap comes in large plastic bottles, but those bottles can be turned into recycled crafts such as planters or be recycled so they don’t end up in a landfill).
Other zero waste cleaning options include switching out products you use with reusable alternatives. For laundry, use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. Wool dryer balls are reusable and can remove static from clothes just like dryer sheets. A diffuser with essential oils can be used in place of air fresheners. There are also reusable sponge options that just require it to go through the washing machine to keep them fresh. All of these options are more cost effective as well, especially for college students, since they are one-time purchases and you do not have to constantly keep buying the same items over and over again. In the long run, these options are better for your own health and the environment.
~Written by Nyah Geolingo~