In this article, I am showing you my favorite cleaning essentials that are non-toxic, sustainable, and perfect for your natural home.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series for all your cleaning routines. With spring cleaning just around the corner, you might be wondering how you can “green” your cleaning routine.
If you need more inspiration, you can get my FREE printable spring cleaning list HERE.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure.
Why go green?
I like to keep my home natural and non-toxic. In part 2 of this series, I will talk about simple homemade cleaners. However, you can improve the effectiveness of your cleaners by using the right helpers.
Using a combination of old-fashioned, time-tested essentials and newer products is my preferred way of doing things. Most importantly though, I am looking for these qualities:
- natural – such as wood or natural fiber bristles for example
- non-toxic production
- long-lasting and reusable and/or recyclable
Even though I mostly make my own cleaners with non-toxic products, I like to protect my hands. My hands often get very dry. By wearing long-lasting latex-free gloves, I don’t have to worry about them.
Natural Chamois Leather
I absolutely love this chamois leather! You can use it hundreds of times and it really cleans all your windows and mirrors. It is a natural product. If you can’t find one, you can use a microfiber cloth instead. However, since microfiber is made from plastic, it is not very green when made. Furthermore, it releases tiny plastic particles into the water stream every time you wash it.
This is perfect for the mullioned windows in our 1910 home where I can’t really use a squeegee.
Wooden scrub brush
I like this one a lot, too! It comes in handy for cleaning the grout and walls in your shower. You can also use it anywhere else in your bathroom. This wooden scrub brush has just the right size for my hands and allows for a good grip.
This is another natural product. Sponges have so many uses, from cleaning your dishes to cleaning your sinks (both kitchen and bathroom), for wiping your countertops, and just anywhere you might use a sponge. Contrary to most other sponges, cellulose sponges are made from vegetable fibers. Thus, they are much nicer for the environment once you are ready to toss them out. Most other sponges are made from plastic which does not degrade when thrown out.
Just like your scrub brush, this dish brush is nice when you need just a bit more scrubbing power for your dishes. They will last you a long time if you get excess water out of them after use and letting them air-dry. In fact, I had one that lasted me ten years!! Imagine that! Even better, I kept the handle and just replaced the brush head. With natural bristles and wood, I didn’t need to feel bad when I finally had to throw that brush head out.
Copper scouring pad
So sometimes, I do have food that is caked onto dishes. Or cheese that sticks to your casserole. When I need to bring out the big guns, it is my copper scouring pad. Copper doesn’t rust and it is a soft metal that won’t scratch your dishes. It will also last you a long-time (as you can see in my picture below 😉).
Even though I really like my leather chamois, there are times when I like to use a squeegee. On big mirrors, for example, a squeegee works perfectly. I know what you might be saying: “But this is a plastic product …” And you are right but it’s not about being perfect. This one is where I compromise.
This is one essential for cleaning the floors in our home (wood, linoleum, tile, cork, etc). Again, made from natural materials, a wooden scrubber will last a long time. If you’re not sure how to use it, check out my post and video here.
Make sure to get a long handle/broomstick to save you back!
You can use this with your wooden scrubber as described here.
They are completely reusable and will last you a long time: when dirty, just throw them into your washer in the hot cycle. Most of them are made from cotton (which I prefer) but some are made from mixed materials. Of course, you could use an old towel here as well.
Another product made from natural materials: lambswool. I use this duster to get the cobwebs off my walls and ceilings. Sometimes, I use it just to dust surfaces in our home. Once I am done, I just shake off the dust.
Of course, you need some bucket or pail to hold a lot of water. You already know that I don’t like plastic. Therefore, I have an enamel pail. Nothing has the homemaking and farmhouse vibe as enamel does. Eventually, you might get little chips in the enamel which just adds a nice patina.
Do you need all of these?
Certainly not! I am just showing you the items that I prefer. You might already have one or a few of them. Or you might be ready to replace a worn item.
As you might expect, most of these natural items are more expensive than their plastic counterparts. I like to see it as an investment: in my family’s health and the environment.
In terms of sustainability, I am not sure it’s all that helpful to throw out perfectly good items just to replace them with a more sustainable one. Just go at your own pace.
Please do come back next week for part 2 of this series where I will show you how you can make your own cleaners from very simple ingredients. Of course, all are non-toxic and natural.
My favorite cleaning essentials and where to get them:
- latex-free gloves (here)
- natural leather chamois (here)
- wooden scrub brush (here)
- cellulose sponges (at Trader Joe’s or here)
- dish brush (here)
- copper scouring pad (here)
- all-purpose squeegee (here)
- wooden scrubber (here or here)
- cleaning/mopping cloth (here)
- lambswool duster (here)
- enamel pail (here)
Stay tuned for my next blog post in which I will share my favorite homemade cleaners with all non-toxic ingredients!
Get your FREE printable spring cleaning list HERE.