Published on December 3, 2019

If crumb-, dust-, and toothpaste-free surfaces are high on your to-do list, you’ve probably accumulated a formidable supply of cleaning products: sprays for your kitchen and bathroom in varying levels of strength, a couple different multi-surface cleaners, and the occasional heavy-duty option. But lately, brands are making a push for paring down your supply—a KonMari of your scrubbing essentials, if you will, in favor of more minimalist, earth-conscious alternatives.

Though you might have sworn your allegiance to the spray that promises to kill 99.9 percent of germs, there’s growing evidence that it may be worthwhile to rethink your purchase. One 2018 study showed that household disinfectants could alter children’s gut microbiota, another suggested that bleach-based cleaning products could contribute to indoor air pollution, and a third showed that water is just as effective as some cleaners.

These three growing brands offer sustainable, pared-down alternatives to the hoard of surface cleaners sitting in your cabinet. Cleaning up your cleaning supplies might be the best first step to a tidier home.

The Concentrated One

How it works: Plant-based solutions (for counters/granite, glass/mirrors, bath/tile, and wood/floors) are combined with water in etched-glass spray bottles to create an “extrasensory cleaning experience”—basically, a more pleasant time scrubbing. The formulas are super-concentrated—you just need an ounce per bottle for them to effectively clean.

How it will change your cleaning strategy: Supernatural’s bottles are aesthetically pleasing enough to leave on your countertop, so you can reduce under-the-sink clutter, and you can buy refills of the concentrates so you’ll never run out of cleaner right when you’re tackling a big mess. Plus, since the vials of formula are smaller to ship (and you will be reusing those glass bottles), you’ll be cutting down on your carbon footprint.  

The Tablets

How it works: Similar to Supernatural, Blueland’s cleaners come in the form of concentrates—this time in tablets (multi-purpose, glass/mirror, bathroom, and hand soap). All you have to do is drop one in a reusable spray bottle and add water to create a naturally derived, pH-balanced cleaner.

How it will change your cleaning strategy: Consider this a great tiny apartment hack—these tablets can easily fit in a drawer, so you don’t have to sacrifice any extra cabinet space. (Bonus: Refills are just $2 each.) The spray bottles are plastic, but they’re BPA-free and nonleaching, so they’ll last—and you don’t have to stress about accidentally dropping them.

The All-in-One

How it works: This small device uses an electrical current and three ingredients you definitely have at home (salt, water, and vinegar) for a powerful multi-purpose cleaner that’s been proven to be more effective than some leading brands. It’s not magic—it’s science. 

How it will change your cleaning strategy: Yes, you will have to stash the Force of Nature machine in your closet, but it’s really not much bigger than a medium-size spray bottle. The real game changer is that you’ll need just one cleaner to sanitize and deodorize messes on your countertops, tiles, tabletops—pretty much everywhere. Simply put, it’s a multi-purpose cleaner that actually works wherever you need it to.

See more cleaning advice:
Eco-Friendly Home Cleaning Products That Actually Work
The Oldest Cleaning Secret in the Book Just Got an Upgrade
Our Ultimate Guide to Deep-Cleaning Your Home

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