Plastic-Free Kitchen: Cleaning Your Kitchen Without Single-Use Plastic

White kitchen countertop with greens and fruit bowl and brass faucet

Blueland’s Plastic-Free Kitchen Series

A series of blog posts dedicated to providing you with tips, tricks, and products to help make your life in the kitchen as eco-friendly as it can be. So be sure to check back in as the series really gets cooking! Now, without further ado, let’s scrub the chatter and get to the tips for: 

Cleaning Your Kitchen, Without Single-Use Plastic

Keeping your kitchen clean is no easy task. After all, you’re facing fierce countertop competition with grease, oils, crumbs, hot metal cookware, and all sorts of food mess (curse you spaghetti sauce!)  But the real mess in the kitchen isn’t the stain on your sealed marble surfaces.

It’s the 185 pounds of plastic used per person per year, most of it coming in the form of single-use plastic cleaning products. And while these may keep the kitchen shiny and spotless, they’re a real eyesore for our environment.

So if you want to go the extra mile, and keep your kitchen clean and green, then here’s a list of alternatives to single-use plastic that will help leave your kitchen looking clean enough to eat off of!

1.   Eco-Friendly Towels

According to NPR, Americans alone go through 13 billion tons of paper towels per year. If you consider that one ton of paper towels takes 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water to produce, and that every roll of paper towels comes packaged in plastic…you’ll probably agree that we need to roll out some new alternatives.

So why not go back to basics, and build up a collection of linen (or 100 percent cotton) dish towels in a refillable container? Just use your reusable towels to wipe up the mess and dry your dishes, then throw them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. It saves you money, reduces plastic in the kitchen, prevents paper waste, and saves your surfaces from microplastic exposure. And with brands like Marley’s Monsters Rainbow Unpaper Towels, you get to add a little pizazz to your kitchen while also keeping it green!

Another cost-effective, sustainable alternative to paper towels are reusable Bamboo towels! Made from rayon (a natural raw material) and sustainably grown bamboo sprouts, these towels are super absorbent, washable, and completely biodegradable. They look and act just like paper towels, except each individual roll lasts up to 85 uses (which eliminates up to 4,312 regular packs of paper towels a year)!

And with other brands like Eco Nuts and Earthsider,  you’re really going to be on a waste-reducing roll!

2.   Sponge Alternatives

Most conventional sponges are plastic, and can’t be recycled or composted. To make matters worse, they are also havens for bacteria. A group of German scientists actually did a study and found 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter in most house-hold sponges. So if you want a clean and green kitchen, it seems like the classic sponge is best left out of the mix.

Instead, how about giving reusable, washable “Unsponge” a try? Made from natural, biodegradable fibers like cotton or jute, you can make an unsponge at home from fabric you have. If that’s not for you, you can also buy eco-friendly, compostable options like the ones at Handmade By L Davies or Zero Waste Outlet!

And for more information on the topic of sponges, check out our other blog post, Kitchen Sponges: The Dirty Details!

Now, no matter how awesome unsponges are, sometimes they won’t be strong enough to wash away tougher messes. Furthermore, they can collect unwanted bacteria if left unwashed. So if you want to add more dishwashing power to your arsenal, without adding another burrow for bacteria, then wooden dish brushes are the tool for you!

Dish brushes help clean those hard to reach spots, provide a more thorough scrub, house fewer bacteria with less space for them to hide, and they also naturally dry quicker. And if you buy wooden or plant fiber options like the ones at Well Earth Goods or Net Zero Co., you can recycle them when they reach the end of their usage life!

3.   Blueland’s Powder Dish Soap

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we are on track to have more tons of plastic in our ocean than fish by 2050. Furthermore, if you were to stack up every dish soap bottle wasted in just one year, the stack would be about 11 times the height of Mt. Everest.

Luckily, Blueland Powder Dish Soap comes as a refillable, reusable system. Our powder format delivers a powerful clean, with a non-toxic formulation. And, it’s easy to use — simply fill our reusable silicone shaker with dish powder, pour onto a wet sponge or directly onto a dirty dish, and get cleaning! When you run out of powder you reuse the same shaker with a refill pack! 

4.   Blueland’s Dishwasher Tablets

Dishwashers have widely been considered less eco-friendly than hand-washing. But in reality, a fully loaded dish-washer running on eco-friendly settings actually uses less water than hand washing!  Blueland’s dishwasher tablets, however, come completely naked, with no PVA wrapping. The concentrated, non-toxic formula helps get your dishes clean! The refillable metal tin helps you save space and cut down on plastic waste. It’s the perfect ingredient in a recipe for a clean and green kitchen! 

These are only a few ingredients in the recipe for a plastic-free kitchen! Check out how to keep your morning plastic-free here!

The Clean Essentials

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