Zero Waste Cleaning

Spread the Sustainable Gospel!

As winter draws to an end, most of us start getting into the spring cleaning spirit. It’s time to clear out all of that winter funk from our homes and start anew, fresh and clean. It’s time to get motivated to clean items in our homes that haven’t seen a cleaning cloth in months.

I’m sure now you’ll start seeing ad after ad for every proprietary cleaner you could imagine. Stores will create visually appealing end caps in their stores to start pushing every cleaning product you’d never need. Even newspapers are stuffed with coupons for window cleaners, toilet cleaners, dusting applications, disposable mop wipes, fragrance plug ins, you name it. It’s definitely a marketable and profitable time of year for cleaning product companies. The average American, alone, spends $504 annually on products! That’s a lot of plastic packaged products that will end up in the landfill.
But do we really need to spend so much money on all of these different cleaning products to properly clean our homes? Absolutely not! You really only need a few items to do all of the work that will leave your home just as clean without all of the caustic chemicals. If I need to wear gloves to clean because the cleaner is that abrasive, I draw the line. It baffles me that we gotten to a point where we’ve stopped questioning what’s in the products we use. As long as it gets the job done, no one seems to care what’s “in” it. We just assume they’re safe.

Below, is a list of household cleaning recipes that can help deep clean your home without the waste and toxicity. These items can all be found package free or packaged in recyclable paper. There’s no complicated concoctions here! Just a repetition of the same few ingredients that will get the job done.


All-Purpose Household Cleaner 

I stick to a 1-1 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar to clean most of my home. Sometimes I add lemon or orange peels to give it a citrus smell. You can also add essential oil for and added fragrance booster.

To Brighten Carpets 

Scatter cornmeal and salt then sweep up.

Carpet Stains 

Sprinkle baking soda on affected area and apply vinegar. Scrub until stain has been removed.

Copper Pots and Pans

Cut lemon in half, sprinkle salt on exposed flesh and use to scrub dull coloration spots on cookware.

 Glass Cook Tops

Sprinkle with baking soda and scrub with a little lemon juice and vinegar.

Greasy Exhaust Hood/Top of Fridge

Make a paste of baking soda and water – this cuts through grease better than any toxic cleaner I’ve used.

Faucets and Shower Heads

Scrub with vinegar to remove lime build up.


Add warm water and vinegar to a mop bucket. For wood floors, add lemon juice.


A bowl of vinegar or simmering vinegar will remove bad odors from a home.


Apply baking soda to dirty areas then mist with water and vinegar to create a paste. Leave sitting for up to 30 minutes, then scrub clean. You can also try heating a pan of water and vinegar in the oven on low for a few hours to help get that burnt on food to loosen up.


Scrub with baking soda.


All purpose cleaner from above recipe and baking soda for tough spots.


Put that darn newspaper that shows up in your mailbox every week to good use by using them to scrub your windows squeaky clean with a little bit of vinegar.

Zero Waste cleaning also goes a little farther than just the products. We also have to reconsider the types of cleaning tools we use. Instead of using disposable sponges, dusters, paper towels, and other throw away products, choose items that are reusable and long lasting.

Zero Waste Cleaning Tools

Disposable Reusable

Additional Tips

  • Use old toothbrushes to clean grout and other small areas.
  • If you already own a Swiffer, look for reusable heads. I’ve seen several DIYs online.
  • Dryer Lint, vacuum dust, and sweepings can be composted. Don’t throw those into the trash!
And let’s not forget the decluttering part of spring cleaning!! Please, check out my previous post “5 Beginner Steps to a Decluttered Life” to help you with downsizing your possessions!

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26 thoughts on “Zero Waste Cleaning

  1. I clean my floor every day because I hate to see my hair everywhere around(I have a long hair and I love it) I found here so many of good tips about cleaning other things too. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This is a great list of zero-waste cleaning tips. In particular, the cornmeal and salt tip for carpet: have never heard of it before and will definitely try it out!

    I actually just compiled a thorough guide to getting started with the zero-waste cleaning. I think you might find some of the ones not mentioned here useful.

    For example, vodka has some surprising advantages over vinegar for cleaning. Take a look if you get a chance:


  3. I used a link to this post in one of my blog posts and wanted to give you a heads up. Think these zero waste tips are so helpful. Warm regards, Nancy Andres @ Colors 4 Health

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