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Favorite Low Waste Non Toxic Household Supplies and DIYs

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Being zero waste is more than being plastic-free. It’s ultimately about consciously living, such as limiting your waste stream and personal emissions (limiting animal-based consumption, airplane flights, and excessive consumption). It’s also about large scale systemic changes. I love limiting my waste, but I’m also focused on LARGE SCALE systemic changes, like 1.) Reforming our corrupt political system, 2.) Pressuring big polluters and 3.) Selective boycotts. Remember that 100 companies produce 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

If you live in a western country then your country (proportionately) produces the most greenhouse gases in the world. Western economies are typically consumer based. For example, 70% of the US economy is solely consumer based. So our individual and collective consumption habits DO MATTER. I discussed this in my post on zero waste changes I’m making in 2023.

More than Just Plastic Containers

Before I became zero waste I used to grab dishwasher detergent, dish soap, and cleaners in convenient plastic containers, not giving much thought to the product or the package. When I became a zero waster I became hyper focused on the packaging itself, without considering anything else. I avoided most disposable plastics, not considering the different types of disposable plastics, their recyclability, or the disadvantages of glass packaging. For example, glass packaging is not necessarily more “green” than plastic. Thankfully, the shift to being zero waste or low waste is a holistic transformation and a learning process!

Now I look at how the product is sourced, the transportation involved, the recyclability of the package, the size of the package, the companies I’m purchasing from, and the toxicity of the chemicals inside it. Reading the ingredients, there’s a surprising level of toxicity in household and personal care products that often go unnoticed. From seemingly innocuous laundry detergent to everyday items like dishwasher powder, lotions, and toothpaste, many conventional products harbor a cocktail of chemicals that can be harmful to both our bodies and the environment. These substances, often lurking behind fancy packaging and enticing scents, may include allergens, irritants, and even potential carcinogens. It’s a wake-up call to scrutinize ingredient lists, understand their implications, and make informed choices for our well-being. ?✨

Close-up of non-toxic handmade lotion, showcasing natural ingredients for a gentle and nourishing skincare routine, promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Beyond Homemade

When I first became zero waste I thought the solution was to MAKE EVERYTHING FROM SCRATCH. Again, being zero waste (low waste) goes beyond making your own recipes. While the allure of homemade cleaning and personal care products is undeniable, it’s essential to recognize that they might not be the one-size-fits-all solution for every need. Take household appliances, for instance – your trusty dishwasher or washing machine might not respond well to the homemade concoctions floating around the internet. DIY cleaning products, despite good intentions, can sometimes lack the specific formulations necessary to maintain the longevity and functionality of these appliances. Similarly, when it comes to personal care, not all homemade recipes are created equal.

Skincare isn’t a one-shot-fits-all scenario, and concocting your own lotions or toothpaste may not deliver the optimal results you desire. I speak from experience with a baking soda based deodorant! Worst deodorant I ever tried. Warning: Do not use a baking soda based deodorant unless your underarms are made of cast iron. So it’s a delicate balance between eco-conscious choices and ensuring efficacy, prompting us to explore reliable, eco-friendly alternatives that cater to both the well-being of our appliances and our bodies. ??

Non-toxic laundry detergent bottle, promoting eco-friendly and gentle cleaning for clothes, suitable for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Laundry

I do not make my own laundry detergent. There is evidence that homemade laundry detergent is harmful to your washing machine and your clothes, as your clothing does not truly get clean. Clean clothes require three things: a surfactant, water, and agitation. If homemade laundry detergent doesn’t have enough surfactant your clothes may smell clean at first, but they will build up residue. In lieu of homemade laundry detergent, I thought I was doing good by purchasing powdered laundry detergent in a cardboard box, but I wasn’t considering the toxicity of the detergent itself.

I was a powder Tide girl! I loved my Tide and how it made my clothes smell. When I cloth diapered Tide kept the cloth diapers pristine! That said my favorite Tide detergent contains a likely carcinogen (Dioxane). The state of New York banned laundry detergent with higher Dioxane levels, like Tide, Arm & Hammer, and Gain. One of my children has eczema and it’s likely that my favorite detergent wasn’t helping things! So I switched to Nellie’s Laundry Soda. You can find it on Amazon, and you can also find it at my favorite store–Costco. Lastly, I typically use a laundry stain removal bar of soap with a laundress brush to get stains out.

Non-toxic dishwasher detergent packaging, highlighting an eco-friendly and safe solution for sparkling clean dishes and a sustainable kitchen routine.

Kitchen

I used to buy any dishwasher detergent that was on sale, but I recently switched to a non-toxic brand–Nellie’s brand again for the win  (Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder)! If you don’t shop at Amazon, you can find this on iHerb as well. Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder ?✨ is a plant-based formula that easily tackles grease and food particles, leaving your plates spotless and the planet smiling. It’s biodegradable, septic safe, and phosphate-free, it’s a guilt-free choice for both your dishes and the environment. With just 1 tablespoon, this vegan and Leaping Bunny certified detergent makes dish duty a breeze. Make the switch to Nellie’s for a cleaner, greener, and happier dish-washing experience. ?️?

READ ALL ABOUT MY FAVORITE ZERO WASTE CLEANING SUPPLIES. 

If you want to try your hand at making your own dishwasher detergent, see my recipe below.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Dish Soap

Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is my favorite household soap. I buy the 32 oz (.94 liter) bottle because it lasts longer and requires less packaging waste. When you buy a larger package it reduces the amount of plastic needed. I use Dr. Bronner’s soap because of its ingredients AND the company. Dr. Bronner’s is a versatile and environmentally friendly soap. The company was founded by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation soap maker, whose products are widely recognized for distinctive packaging, with philosophical and religious quotes. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soaps are known for their organic and fair trade ingredients. These soaps are plant-based, biodegradable, and free from synthetic preservatives, detergents, and foaming agents. I use Dr. Bronner’s for almost all of my household soap needs, inlcuding hand soap and dish soap. Please note that Dr. Bronner’s is concentrated so I water it down before I put it in a hand soap dispenser.

For personal care I use handmade soap from a small business located in Asheville, NC called The Soap Shed. Please support them if you can!

Here’s how I use Dr. Bronner’s soap to make my dish soap recipe.

Using liquid Dr. Bronner’s castile soap

  • 3 parts warm water
  • 1 part Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of washing soda (to thicken)
  • 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice (optional)

If you’re using a castile bar soap, follow the recipe below.

Directions: Grate soap, add to saucepan, add water, gently heat without bringing to a boil soap has dissolved. Add vegetable glycerin and stir well. Place in jar. After cooling for 30 minutes to 1 hour, add tea tree oil and allow to set for 24 hours.

Non-toxic shower cleaner bottle, promoting an eco-friendly and gentle solution for a sparkling, toxin-free shower and a sustainable bathroom routine.

Additional Cleaners

Listed below are some of my miscellaneous DIYs and non-toxic cleaning products that have become game-changers in maintaining a clean and healthy home environment. These DIY recipes will not only keep your living spaces pristine but will hopefully spare you from exposure to harmful substances found in many commercial cleaners. The best part? They’re budget-friendly, eco-conscious, and customizable to your favorite scents. Let’s clean smarter, not harder, with these non-toxic gems! ?✨

Shower Cleaner

One cup of vinegar
Four tablespoons of dish soap
One cup of water
Ten drops of tea tree oil

All-Purpose Cleaner

One part vinegar
2 tbsp of Castile soap
Four parts water
Ten to twenty drops of essential oils

Drain Cleaner

I have tried the baking soda/vinegar method and it never seems to work for me. However, I’ve discovered that the trick is to create a baking soda water mixture, then pour vinegar down the drain. Follow up with boiling hot water. I repeat, don’t put dry baking soda in the drain. My absolute favorite method to clear my drains is Drain Weasel.

Pest Control

Depending on how bad your pest control situation is, you may need to call a professional. However, if you see a bug here and there, then check out my favorite pest repellant, Harris Roach Tablets. Place them as directed and watch the nasties go away.

Window Cleaner

One part apple cider vinegar
Two parts water
Twenty drops of essential oils

Paintbrush Cleaner

Two parts vinegar
One part lemon juice

Conclusion

Living the non-toxic, low-waste lifestyle is like giving your home and your health a high-five. Why? Well, it’s not just about decluttering your space but about giving toxins the boot. Traditional household supplies might make things shiny and clean, but they’re often packed with chemicals that can mess with your well-being. Making the switch to eco-friendly, non-toxic alternatives, is like saying, “Hey, I care!”

I hope these options have been helpful to find non toxic household cleaning products! Remember that reducing toxicity is a crucial step towards creating a more sustainable household. It’s not just about what’s in the bottle; it’s about what’s NOT in it. So no more sketchy ingredients that you need a chemistry degree to pronounce! It will be like a breath of fresh air for your home. So, next time you’re doing the dishes or tackling that laundry pile, remember – you’re not just cleaning, you’re making a positive impact. Cheers to a cleaner, greener, and happier home! ??

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please share them with me in the comments or on Instagram




#CleanLiving #LowWasteHome #NonToxicChoices

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