5 Disposable Cleaning Products You Should Ditch For These Natural And Effective Alternatives

Ditch single-use cleaning products with these expert-backed hacks.

November 27, 2017
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green cleaning
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I don’t know about you, but I really can’t stand most conventional cleaning products.

Weird chemical ingredients aside, the majority of them are just plain wasteful. No matter how great Swiffer wipes are at grabbing dog hair off the floor, or how Magic Erasers make kitchen cabinets almost glimmer, I just can’t get behind using disposable cleaning products. (These 7 genius cleaning tricks can help you clean your home without using chemicals.)

And yet, I’m sort of a neat freak. You can imagine the conflict this presents. I want my living space to sparkle like one of those beautiful homes on Pinterest. But I’m not willing to shell out for products that will ultimately end up in the landfill. You probably feel the same way, right?

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Determined to keep clean while still cutting down on the trash, I reached out to the experts. Turns out, there are plenty of surprisingly easy hacks that can help you waste less. These are their top tips—and the ones I’ll be using in my own home.

disinfecting wipes
DIY disinfecting wipes and magic erasers

To make reusable disinfecting wipes, fill a spray bottle with 4 parts water, 1 part rubbing alcohol, and a squirt of dish soap. Spray the desired surface and wipe down with a clean microfiber cloth, recommends Jasmine Hobbs, a cleaning expert with London Cleaning Team. Need wipes on the go? Cut an old dish rag into quarters, spritz each with a generous amount of the disinfecting spray, and tuck them into a reusable baggie or container.

Related: 8 Natural Cleaning Recipes With Essential Oils (That Actually Work)

As for the Magic Erasers? Mimicking their ability to remove scuffs is surprisingly easy. Just sprinkle baking soda on a wet cloth and gently scrub the affected area, says Hobbs. The mild abrasiveness of the baking soda will help lift up stubborn marks or dirt.

baking soda sponge
Get rid of weird smells sans Febreeze

You might already use essential oils to freshen up a room naturally. But what about furniture like mattresses or upholstered items? Just use baking soda, says home design expert Lorena Canals. Start by hand-vacuuming the surface to suck up any dirty or grime. Then sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda onto the surface, let it sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum it up. The soda neutralizes odors without the need for buying yet another disposable spray bottle, spray can, or plug-in.

Find out 6 ways to use tea tree oil:

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tea bag
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Try tea instead of glass cleaner

Here’s one more way to keep those disposable plastic spray bottles out of your recycling bin. The tannins and acidity in black tea can easily cut through dust and smudges on mirrors and windows. Brew a pot and add the cooled liquid to a spray bottle, spray on glass surfaces, and wipe with a reusable cloth, recommends Dmitri Kara of Fantastic Cleaners. And save those tea bags. You can use them as a natural polisher to wipe away extra stubborn smudges.

Related: These Are The 7 Dirtiest Items In Your Home

End your reliance on Swiffers once and for all

There are plenty of options for swiping away dust that don’t involve single-use cloths. One is with your vacuum’s brush attachment, which works wonders for sucking up dust on blinds, windowsills, lampshades, and baseboards, says Jim Ireland, founder of White Glove Elite.

Related: 19 Ways To Allergy-Proof Your Home

Or, just use an old t-shirt or a sock. To max out its dust-grabbing powers, run your hands under the faucet and dry them with the sock or t-shirt. It’ll get the material just damp enough to make it more adhesive, Ireland says. But not so wet that it ends up leaving clumps of nasty, wet dust behind. (See more ways to conquer the dust within your home.)

yellow rubber gloves
Invest in a pair of rubber gloves

Let’s be honest here. Green cleaners (including homemade ones) can get rid of dirt and grime, but they’re not quite as powerful as their conventional counterparts. When you don’t have those harsh chemicals to do the heavy lifting, you have to use a little more elbow grease.

Related: 10 Natural Products That Will Make Your Home Smell Incredible

To that end, Caleb Backe of the green personal care brand Maple Holistics has a simple—but genius—tip: Get yourself a pair of rubber gloves. "They help on a psychological level," he explains. “You’re more likely to give it all an extra touch when it’s not your actual hands doing the touching.”