5 Smart Cleaning Tips from the Maker of Our Favorite Eco-Friendly Cleaner

published May 25, 2022
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A person cleaning a kitchen counter with a cloth and spray bottle
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

I bought my first set of Blueland — a line of concentrated cleaning products that eliminates single-use plastic — last year, and after testing it out, I can honestly say I’ve fallen in love. Rather than buy an all-purpose spray or hand soap in brand-new bottles every time I run out, I simply drop a Blueland cleaning tablet inside the bottle and add water. And just like that, I’ve replenished my cleaning supplies, at very little expense to the planet!

Credit: Ashley Abramson
My Blueland cleaning supplies.
Credit: Matt Kelly

The genius behind the brand is Sarah Paiji Yoo, a mom who was fed up with single-use plastic and wanted to find a more sustainable way to clean her house. The result? She launched Blueland — but, in the process, she also worked planet-safe habits into her own cleaning routine. Inspired by the brand’s philosophy, we asked Yoo to share her favorite sustainable cleaning tips. Let’s take a look!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Turn old T-shirts and towels into rags.

When the time comes to deep clean, Yoo saves money and cuts down on waste by repurposing old T-shirts and towels as cleaning tools. “Instead of buying a new Swiffer cloth or paper towels, opt for stronger cloths made from your old linens that you can wash and reuse,” she says. For spots that need a bit more pressure, such as your tile backsplash, use an old toothbrush!

2. Opt for sustainable sponges. 

Because most sponges harbor bacteria, Yoo recommends replacing them every two weeks. That said: Most sponges are made of plastic and can’t be recycled. “Instead of purchasing a landfill-bound sponge, swap for a sustainable, plant-based one that can be composted instead,” she says. Blueland’s pop-up ones fit the bill — when you’re ready to change out your sponge, just compost it in the backyard.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

3. Clean your cleaning machines.

It’s easy to forget to clean the machines that do our cleaning for us, like dishwashers and washing machines — but grimy buildup can prevent them from performing effectively, says Yoo. Most appliances have a clean cycle, and you can use machine cleaner tablets. “Or, you can make your own cleaner at home with vinegar and baking soda,” she says. “Just make sure to run the cycle while the machine is empty.”

4. Cut down on drying time.

If you live in a busy city and are confined to ventless dryers, you know how long a load of laundry can take to dry. Yoo’s secret to speed things up? Dryer balls. These wool balls make laundry more efficient, remove stray lint, and soften towels and linens without single-use dryer sheets.

Credit: Kelli Foster

5. DIY an easy kitchen deodorizer.

Instead of reaching for a deodorizing spray with some not-so-planet-friendly ingredients, Yoo adds sliced lemon, mint leaves, and cinnamon sticks to a simmering pan to freshen up her home. If you have a garbage disposal, toss the spent lemon rind down the drain and turn it on. “The citrus can also help freshen and clean your disposal, and you’ll use all parts of the lemon,” she says. 

Do you have any eco-friendly cleaning tips? Tell us in the comments below.