The Best Refillable Cleaning Products for Your Eco-Friendly Home
When it comes to a clean home, shouldn't the products you use also be clean enough for your health and the environment? That's what the makers behind a new wave of cleaning products have been asking themselves for years. As it turns out, many of the conventional cleaners on the market aren't actually all that clean. "The products we think are improving our home are actually some of the most toxic," says Allison Evans, the founder of the all-natural, refillable cleaning company Branch Basics. Evans first launched the idea with her aunt, Marilee Nelson, and friend, Kelly Love, after all three experienced life-changing health shifts after ridding their homes of common household chemicals. Their line of thinking? There had to be a different and less harmful way to clean.
But the world of green cleaning isn't just about creating more natural formulas and plant-based concentrates. For Sarah Paiji Yoo of Blueland—which sells refillable bottle sets and cleaning concentrates in the form of water-activated tablets—the plastic waste that comes with many cleaning products was another huge problem that needed to be tackled. "I was horrified to learn how many microplastics are floating in our waters," says Yoo, who soon decided to work on reducing her personal plastic consumption. "But I realized that I didn't have much choice as a consumer to cut out single-use plastic packaging for household products."
The solution? Find a way to sell more of the things consumers really need—safe cleaning concentrates that actually work—minus all the additional packaging. And Yoo isn't alone. See who else is rattling the cleaning industry with products that give you more of what you need (and often for less money, to boot!) and less of what you—and Mother Nature—can simply do without.
Inspired by the Latin word for "better," Meliora founder Kate Jakubas is always striving to do just that: make the world a better and cleaner place with truly sustainable cleaning alternatives. Not only does a single set of cleaning solutions and a refillable glass spray bottle replace the need for 19 single-use plastic bottles, but the company—who eliminated all single-use plastic in their products this year—also takes pride in being completely transparent with consumers.
"We always disclose 100 percent of the ingredients in our products including fragrances, which still isn't required in the United States," says Jakubas, who first had the idea for Meliora while studying for a Masters in Environmental engineering. Activated simply by adding water, the multi-purpose cleaning concentrate is available in plant-based scents or fragrance-free and is made from just four biodegradable ingredients, all mixed in the company's Chicago-based factory. "We're setting a new industry standard for information," says Jakubas. And if you didn't think it could get any better: A portion of every sale goes towards helping an environmental nonprofit.
Shop Now: Meliora All-Purpose Home Cleaner, $9.99 (refills from $9.99), amazon.com.
For Sarah Paiji Yoo, a mother and the founder of this popular refillable cleaning newcomer, changing the way we clean doesn't just mean developing affordable and non-toxic formulas in fewer plastic bottles. With cleaning refills designed as dissolvable tablets, packaged in compostable and recycled paper, Yoo is determined to seriously banish single-use plastic waste. "So many of our everyday products, from windows cleaners to toothpaste, are packaged in single-use plastic," says Yoo. "I founded Blueland with the belief that you don't have to sacrifice a clean home for a clean planet." Each tablet, the size of a dime, comes formulated for various areas of your home and can be purchased in refill packs of three, six, or nine, starting at $6. Starter sets, which include your refillable bottle (made of shatterproof acrylic) and one tablet, start at $12, while a bundle of all four sets runs for $38; luckily, you can snag three sets for $29 on QVC. "To make the biggest impact possible, we're dedicated to make it easier to make the right choice with products that are more effective, affordable, and convenient," says Yoo.
Shop Now: Blueland Cleaning Kit with Acrylic Bottles and Tablets, $29 (refills start at $6), qvc.com.
Going all-natural doesn't have to be boring. In fact, Suzy Batiz, founder of supernatural, is all about embracing the essentials—essential oils, that is. "I was shocked when I started looking at big 'natural' cleaning brands and realizing that most contained synthetic fragrances or synthetic preservatives," she says. "I knew we could do better." With her idea to strip down cleaning products to a simple, essential oil-based concentrate, Batiz believes it is possible to clean your home effectively while reducing your carbon footprint. "Nearly every conventional brand ships its products made of 95 percent water. It's simple unnecessary." Shipped without a single-trace of plastic, this starter set includes four reusable glass bottles, each built to last (and look beautiful in your home!), and four vials of non-toxic cleaning concentrate. Each is tailored for a specific area of your home, from counters and granite to wood and glass. And with the subtle yet oh-so-soothing scents of supernatural's concentrates, you may even start looking forward to cleaning.
Shop Now: supernatural Starter Set $75 (refills are $10 each), supernatural.com.
For this Ohio-based cleaning company, simplicity is key. "We started Truman's because nobody needs a gazillion cleaning products with harsh chemicals cluttering their cabinets," co-founder Alex Reed tells us. "And our planet certainly doesn't need the plastic empties." That's why you'll find a complete set of just four cleaners on the company's site—plus the option to subscribe (and save a few bucks) so refill cartridges get sent to your doorstep when you run out. You also won't need to worry about measuring, mixing, or scooping out concentrates, since each cleaning (recyclable!) cartridge refill comes with an auto-dispensing mechanism that releases the cleaner in water when the bottle is filled and secured. And if you still find your home isn't sparkling after your next clean, Truman's offers a 30-day 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
Shop Now: Truman's Starter Kit, $18 ($15 if you subscribe), trumans.com.
Dedicated to making it easier for you to shop for your eco-friendly home, beauty, and personal care essentials, Grove Collaborative is giving us another reason to love their green mission: a refillable cleaning set with everything you need to give your home the TLC it needs. For starters, all three of the durable glass spray bottles come with sleek no-slip silicone sleeves so you can easily differentiate your cleaners. You'll also receive a pack of microfiber cleaning cloths that pick up the most stubborn dust, dirt, and oils—and can be rewashed and reused to help cut back on disposable wipes. Finally, the concentrates are made from plant-based ingredients and scented with 100 percent essential oils.
The best part: Every Grove shipment is carbon offset and helps plant a tree in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation.
Shop Now: Grove Collaborative Complete Concentrate Kit, $47.99 ($5.95 for two-pack concentrate refills), grove.co.
A veteran in the world of refillable cleaning, Common Goods founder Sacha Dunn says she first launched the line nearly a decade ago when she had her kids and was concerned the "green" products on the market that she wanted to use weren't actually very eco-friendly. "I wanted three things: a safe, green product to use around my kids and dog, nice natural scents that didn't stick to my hands, and a bottle I could leave on the counter without cringing." Enter Common Goods's minimalist line of products—from hand soaps and dish soaps to all-purpose cleaners and laundry detergent—all of which are made with safe, sustainably-sourced and biodegradable ingredients and are designed to be refilled (and refilled!). When it's time to restock, you can bring your bottles to a Common Good refill station at a retailer near you or stay tuned for the company's refill box launch and subscription service aiming to make it even easier for you to keep a clean, healthy, and eco-friendly home.
Shop Now: Common Goods Cleaning Products, prices vary, commongoodandco.com.
Fans of this better-for-you e-commerce company will love what it has to offer when it comes to finding no-frills (and super affordable) refillable cleaning products. For starters, each cleaning set—which includes the bottle and a water-soluble cleaning concentrate pack—can be snagged for just $6 (or $24 for all four varieties of cleaner: multi-surface, tube and tile, glass, and granite and stone). Refill packs are $6 for two, and each cleaner comes in its own delightful scent from cucumber mint to lavender.
The entire line is also made in America and Green Seal certified non-toxic. "This means they've gone through a rigorous testing process from a third-party eco lab to verify they're safe and sustainable," says Kate Scott, Director of Product Design and Development at Brandless. "We're proud of this certification and the level of trust it gives our customers to feel good about the products they're using at home and around their families."
Shop Now: Brandless Cleaning Concentrates Starter Bundle, $24 for all 4 (refills are $6), brandless.com.
When it comes to creating products that are better for the planet and for your health, female-founded cleaning company Branch Basics is on a mission to tackle the culprits closest to us: our homes. The solution? A multi-purpose, plant-based concentrate that was tough enough for grimy tubs, greasy counters, and even stained sheets, but still gentle enough to use on hands and even food-safe for scrubbing vegetables. The trio's fragrance-free, clinically-tested solution, which has all of its ingredients listed on the website, is also safe to use around kids and pets.
In each complete starter kit, you'll find a bottle of concentrate and a set of refillable bottles, each indicating how much concentrate to dilute depending on your cleaning needs (say, bathroom surfaces or foaming hand wash). And with enough solution to make three of each cleaner and still have enough for over 60 loads of laundry, let's just say your home will be well-stocked—and safe from cleaning chemicals—for a while. "We're on a mission to change people's lives by teaching them how to create a healthy home," says Evans.
Shop Now: Branch Basics Start Kit, $59 (trial kit available for $5), branchbasics.com.
As a fellow veteran in the refillable cleaning industry, JAWS (Just Add Water System) owner R. Bruce Yacko says the company's founding principle is simple: Stop shipping water. "I realized cleaning products are predominately water-based and packaged in single-use plastic bottles," says Yacko. "But why are we shipping water when it's readily available in our homes? And why should perfectly usable bottles be thrown away when they can be reused?" On a mission to save you money and spare the planet of excess waste, JAWS has saved over 40 million bottles from landfills to date with its non-toxic refill pods of cleaner concentrate. To make your lives even easier, choose from a starter kit (single bottle and pod) for just $6.99 or spring for a complete starter kit, which includes all four reusable bottles and two of each refill pods with the option to subscribe for future refill deliveries. Built to be completely safe for use around pets and children, the pods also come with extra proofing, designed to only release cleaner when they are secured in their bottles.
Shop Now: JAWS Home Cleaning Kit, $26.99 for complete set (refills start at $5.99), jawscleans.com.
Finding the ingredient list on his cleaning supplies, let alone understanding what was listed, was the driver behind Ryan Lupberg's idea for a new kind of cleaning company. With cleancult, you can not only learn about all the ingredients in your coconut-based cleaning formulas (it's that natural!) but you can also customize a cleaning suite that works for you so you only spend money on the products you need and save on what you don't. Speaking of products: Their line features sleek, label-free bottles that are built to last and reuse. ("I love that I don't have to hide my bottles when guests and friends come over," says Lupberg). They even have containers for storing your dishwasher or laundry tablets. And when you run out of cleaning solution, refills get shipped to you in plastic-free paper mailers or paper-based milk-style cartons to further help reduce waste.
Shop Now: cleancult Mosaic Starter Kit Bundle, $59.64 (refill bundles are $38.96), cleancult.com.