Household cleaning products are amongst the worst offenders when it comes to single-use plastic packaging, and what’s inside isn’t much better – most formulations are 90% water topped up with chemicals, and that added weight from the water pushes up the carbon emissions from shipping. There is a way to sidestep all that and still keep your home clean and that’s with refillable products. It’s estimated that if every UK household switched to refillable cleaning, 300 million single-use plastic bottles would be saved from polluting the environment each year. Now there are lots of refillable cleaning brands on the market that have completely eliminated plastic packaging, with many also available on subscription so you don’t have to worry about running low on supplies. Here are our fave ones….
Spruce has two non-toxic cleaning products – multi-purpose and bathroom – which come in compostable sachets, so all you have to do is empty them into the reusable aluminium bottles, add water, and spray away. The Eternity bottles are plastic-free, durable and infinitely recyclable, and the refills are free from harsh chemicals, pesticides, palm oil, petroleum and artificial fragrances. And because Spruce doesn’t include any water in its products, they save on shipping weight helping to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint.
Get all your refillable cleaning products in one place with Bower Collective, which has bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner, all-purpose sanitiser, glass & mirror cleaner, floor cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, laundry liquid, fabric conditioner and washing up liquid in its range. All the products come in recyclable plastic pouches for you to decant into reusable bottles, and you can send the empty pouches back in a pre-paid postal box to ensure they get recycled correctly.
Most cleaning products are 90% water, which is wasteful to ship (especially in plastic bottles) when we’ve already got it coming out of the tap at home. With Homethings, you buy non-toxic cleaning tabs – they have Allthings, Shinythings and Baththings ones – which you drop into reusable bottles (they have recycled plastic and glass versions) filled with tap water, and once they’ve dissolved you can spray away.
Bristol-based Ekologik has a core range of three products – multi-purpose cleaner, toilet cleaner and bathroom cleaner – plus a new virucidal disinfectant which are vegan, palm oil-free and don’t contain any harsh chemicals. You just drop the sachets into one of their bottles for life, fill with warm water, shake and spray.
Clean Living uses biological formulas in its cleaning products, aka natural and safe bacteria that completely break down dirt, oils, fats and odours. They’ve got formulations for a whole load of household issues from drain maintainer and carpet cleaner to limescale remover and kitchen degreaser. To use, you just empty a sachet into one of their reusable aluminium bottles, and if you can’t recycle the foil sachets at home you can send them back to Clean Living who can do it for you.
If you like to buy in bulk, Fill is the refill cleaning service for you. They sell a range of laundry and household cleaning products like fabric conditioner, floor cleaner, cleaning soap and toilet cleaner in 5L, 10L and 20L refill bag-in boxes and scrub powder and citric acid in 5kg bags. The brand also sells 500ml and 1L glass jars for you to store your products in and you can take the bottles to any of their stockists for refills or return the inner bags to them and they’ll fill them back up and send them to you.
EcoVibe sells a vast range of eco and sustainable alternatives to everyday essentials, including cleaning products. As well as refillable cleaning solutions they’ve got the tools down too – they make plastic free, plant-based and compostable sponges that are durable and naturally anti-fungal; biodegradable and compostable scrub pads made from coconut husks; and compostable, non-toxic and non-scratch washing up loofahs.