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How to Create an Environmentally Responsible Cleaning Routine

How to Create an Environmentally Responsible Cleaning Routine

Give your cleaning methods an environmentally friendly makeover by switching to reusable products that are as sustainable as they are effective. Read on for the winning lineup.

4 min read

Take steps to lessen your environmental impact by greening up the way you clean your home. Reusable products cut down on waste and freshen up your rooms just as well—if not better—than the disposable kind. Here are some powerhouse eco-friendly cleaning tools that you can feel good about. 

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Microfiber cloths

Sustainable superpower: Swap out paper towels for reusable cloths that contain tiny polyester microfibers to trap dust, dirt, and germs. With the help of a DIY cleaning spray, they’re perfect for dusting, handling spills, and wiping down countertops, appliances, and bathroom surfaces.

Green cleaning tip: Wash microfiber cloths on their own. Mixed in with clothes and other items, they pick up extra fibers and become less effective. Also, skip the bleach or fabric softeners, which can break down the microfibers. In between washes, rinse the cloths with warm water and spread out to dry. (A bonus microfiber superpower: They dry fast.)

Spray mop

Sustainable superpower: Your floors will look seriously spiffed up after a meeting with a mop that employs reusable scrubbing cloths instead of disposable ones. OXO's Spray Mop works with microfiber pads that can be removed and tossed in the washing machine when you’re done.

Green cleaning tip: You can fill the spray bottle with any kind of liquid cleaner, but we like this all-natural cleaning solution for hardwood.

Furniture brush

Sustainable superpower: A tool like the FurLifter Furniture Brush is an environmentally-responsible replacement for lint rollers, and it will keep your sofa and favorite chairs from looking as hairy as your four-legged friend. Swipe it over upholstery to pick up fur and lint, then dip it into its self-cleaning base.

Green cleaning tip: Sponges and pumice stones are also good at defuzzing furniture. Dampen them first with water, then brush across fabric for a similar clean.


Sustainable superpower: Sponges, like microfiber cloths, cut down on disposable waste, and you can lengthen their life by sanitizing them weekly.

Green cleaning tip: To sanitize, saturate a sponge with water and zap it in the microwave for one minute. (Make sure there’s no metal scrubber attached.) You can also run it through a dishwasher cycle on the top rack. Or soak a sponge in full-strength vinegar (which is more powerful than less acidic white vinegar) for five minutes, then rinse it out.

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Vinegar, baking soda, lemon

Sustainable superpower: These kitchen staples go the distance when it comes to effective and environmentally-friendly cleaning, either on their own or mixed into solutions. 

Green cleaning tips: DIY your way to clean with these homemade mixtures:

  • Distilled vinegar, water, and fragrant herbs or essential oils make a good cleaning spray. Use a one-to-one ratio of vinegar to water. 
  • Combine baking soda and water into a paste to clean your oven or those burned bits on pans
  • Citrus is a great disinfectant. Heat lemon and water for about 90 seconds in the microwave, then wipe down the appliance to freshen it up. To battle odors and grime in the garbage disposal, toss more lemon rinds plus a handful of ice cubes down the disposal and turn it on. The lemon disinfects; the ice cubes sharpen the blades.

Once you’re stocked on supplies, check out this ultimate cleaning guide for tips on tackling all the rooms in your home.


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