Five Low Waste Cleaning Hacks To Keep Your Home Clean

yellow rubber gloved hand cleaning a white counter with blue cleaning cloth

11/3/2020

Written by: Allie Willison, Customer Experience @blueland

Winter is coming and it’s time to get your house cleaned up and ready to hunker down. Now that the seasons have changed and some more time indoors is upon us, it’s time to clean up, and clean out. All while doing what you can to make your house glow a little greener. 

Here are five easy cleaning hacks to help you get the house holiday ready! 

Low Waste T-Shirt Cleaning Rags

Now we all know one day in quarantine you decided to Marie Kondo your closet by getting rid of all those band t-shirts from high school. And wouldn’t you like something else to grab other than paper towels that you’ll have to toss right after? In 2015 the US produced 7.4 Billion pounds of paper towels and other “tissue” waste, like single use face wipes. Let’s cut that number down by making our own rags. Saving on money and waste!  

Dig into that pile you were gonna take to Goodwill but never did, and find those t-shirts, turtle necks, old PJs… Now grab your scissors! Knitted cotton is the best to use, because natural fibers have better wear than synthetics and can stand up to cleaning again and again! Slice them up and throw them in a basket, volia! You have a bunch of new cleaning rags that can be thrown in the wash when they get too icky and that can be used again and again. 

Plastic-Free Reusable Mop Pads

Have any old towels laying around that have seen one too many washes to hang up in your bathroom? Do you own a Swiffer to get dust off the floors but hate that each time you use it a little piece of plastic fluff ends up in the garbage? We have the perfect trick for you, make your own reusable mop pads! 

  1. Take that towel out with a piece of leftover t-shirt as well and lay them flat
  2. Measure out your last ever disposable swiffer sheet over your fabric
  3. Cut around the fabric with 1cm seam allowance
  4. Sew the cotton and towel side together
  5. Turn on your cleaning playlist 
  6. Realize the next song is Mambo #5
  7. Skip Mambo #5 because you can’t hear it again without it getting stuck in your head for 7 days straight
  8. Pop your new rag into the swiffer with the towel side down and sweep that dust with a peace of mind, they’re washable and reusable! 

Dryer Balls 

We all love how fresh our clothes smell after using those dryer sheets that add an extra boost of scent, but it’s a big bummer how they only end up in a landfill after one use. Instead, invest in some wool dryer balls, they pick up static and lint from your tumbling clothes just as well (if not better). You can then add a few drops of essential oil to them for a light scent (make sure to tumble them for a few minutes alone to make sure it’s soaked in). 

Lets make our own using an old wool sweater or some extra yarn you might have laying around! Just follow these easy steps: 

  1. Grab either your yarn or cut up that sweater into long little strips 
  2. Start to wrap them around your finger tightly to create a ball
  3. Keep wrapping (after removing your finger) until it’s about the size of a tennis ball
  4. Tuck the ends under the other pieces of wool using either a knitting needle, crochet hook, or anything on hand
  5. Take a pair of old panty hoes or socks and plop your wool balls into them, tying off the space between with string
  6. Fill a big pot with water and place your creation in the water, bringing it up to a boil
  7. Remove the pot from heat, then let the wool shrink and felt as the water cools (FYI you might see some dye transfer, but don’t worry, once dried this won’t transfer to clothing in the dryer!)
  8. Get out all your stress by squeezing the excess water out of them, then tumblr dry the cores 
  9. Start wrapping again until they’re about 3 ½ inches in diameter 
  10. Repeat the felting process above (Steps 4-8) and done! 

We love pine essential oil around this time of year to really bring out the holiday spirit. Or try peppermint and have everyone around you wondering why they suddenly crave a candy cane! These are wonderful to help you pick exactly what scent you prefer. 

DIY Reusable, Washable Unsponge 

We all have that little, sad sponge dish that sits next to our sink just waiting to be tossed when you’ve finally convinced yourself it’s time. Since traditional sponges can hold upwards of 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter, it might be time to ditch that sponge for good. Instead, try making an unsponge or a little team of unsponges that can be reused for years. 

All you need is the following: 

  • Cotton fabric 
  • Some old flannel bedding or cotton batting 
  • Tulle, muslin, or thin old kitchen towels (for the more abrasive side) 
  • Scissors 
  • Needle and thread

Cut your fabric into rectangles with 2 pieces of cotton, 3-4 pieces of flannel, and 1 piece of tulle all the same size and stack in the following order: 

  1. 1st piece of cotton (right side up) 
  2. Tulle 
  3. 2nd piece cotton facing the 1st 
  4. 3-4 pieces of flannel 

You can pin them if you’d like too! You’re going to sew all around the edges leaving an inch opening so you can turn the fabric right side out. This should give you one soft side of cotton and one abrasive side of tulle over cotton. Just make sure to close up the hole with some more stitches, you can also get a little fancy and sew another seam on top ¼ and inch in! 

These are washable too, once you’re feeling like they need a good refresh just throw them in with a bunch of towels and they’re good as new! 

Drive the Stink Away 

Got a stink in a room that you can’t get out? Pour a small amount of distilled white vinegar into a bowl and shut the door, leaving it to sit for 24 hrs. It will soak up any smell, from pets smells to cooking smells! Check out some more ways to keep single use plastics out of your kitchen, here!

The Clean Essentials

The perfect way to start cutting out single-use plastic from your home