Most cleaning cloths on sale in supermarkets and DIY stores are made from nylon or polyester. Neither of these biodegrade, so each time they are washed, they deposit microplastics in the machine, which go into the oceans, and harm marine creatures. Microfiber cloths are very popular. But although effective, they also have the same environmental negative effects.
What is far better is to use biodegradable cleaning cloths. The main material used for these is cellulose, which is made from wood. Or you can find organic cotton or hemp cleaning cloths, as good alternatives. This way, they last for years and used with biodegradable cleaning brands, do no harm to the planet.
This cellulose wood pulp cleaning sponge is ideal to clean showers, baths or anything else, with less soap. Made from biodegradable materials, it’s plastic-free and compostable, and breaks down into harmless organic waste. Sold as a pack of 2, they can be composted at home (not for industrial composting). After use, you can freshen up the sponge by washing it in the dishwasher or washing machine. Once well used, cut it up and place in your home compost bin.
Never mix cleaners of any kind with bleach (you could die, really). Keep essential oils away from babies and pets, and also avoid Borax (toxic to pets, close toilet lids, after cleaning if used). Read why not to harm spiders (most die if put outside) and use humane methods to deter ants, mice etc.
Houseplants don’t ‘clean the air’ (some houseplants are toxic to pets like lilies, sago palm and cheese plants). Don’t use disinfectants near pets (they lick their paws after walking on countertops etc – Erin Heights Vet Hospital says Dettol destroys bacteria walls, and Veterinary Poisons Information Service says Zoflora can cause ulcers.
Seep Eco-Friendly Mini Cleaning Bundle contains products for most washing tasks, all made from durable and non-toxic natural materials. The pack includes:
- 1 set of 4 cellulose & loofah sponges, made from wood pulp and dried loofah fibres, which break down into harmless organic waste. Use them to clean dishes, glassware and hard surfaces (they require less soap as the liquid is retained within the sponges).
- 1 pack of 3 loofah cloths to fit on flat mops. These are ideal to wipe up dirt and dust, and also good for hard surfaces and everyday cleaning around the house (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom).
Dry them out between uses, to prevent mould. You can also freshen them up by washing them in the dishwasher or washing machine. Once well used, cut the sponges up to speed composting in the home compost bin. If you have no compost bin, pop them in household waste (place the costs in household waste or send to a textile recycling centre).
Compostable Cleaning Roll contains a roll of 12 cloths separated by a perforated line. Made from plant cellulose and cotton, these are more absorbent than supermarket sponge cloths and plastic-free and home compostable. Just remove a roll and wet to clean areas and rinse after use and store in a dry place, then wash and line dry.
Vesta Living Reusable Cotton Wipes are ideal to replace paper towels. Ethically produced in the UK in 7 colours and patterns, in packs of 6, 12 or 24. Wash warm with similar colours, do not bleach. Expect some shrinkage.
Jangneus Design makes pretty cleaning and dish cloths, made from cellulose (wood pulp) and cotton. Machine-washable and made in the UK, you’ll get lots of use from these before they go in the compost bin.
Compostable Sponge Cloths are machine-washable or wash in the top shelf of the dishwasher. Use code ENG-GPE-5 for 5% discount for orders over £10.
If You Care Natural Sponge Cloths are made from a blend of cotton and cellulose (wood pulp). These can absorb over 20 times their own weight in liquid, so 1 cloth replaces 15 rolls of paper towels. You can also compost the corn starch packaging. Leaves no streaks, tear-resistant and can be washed in water up to 300 times.