Favorite Items for Spring Cleaning

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Including a few suggestions from your pantry!

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Dear Readers,

One year ago, I sent out the first-ever BuyBetter newsletter on spring cleaning. Since then, I’ve found new favorite organic cotton undies, switched detergent, and finally got an induction stove. Thanks to the newsletter, many of you have purchased compostable phone cases, shampoo bars, and indoor composters ($50 off with code BLUEDOT). Our readership has grown substantially, and I’m grateful to original and newer readers alike. In this anniversary edition, you’ll find those first cleaning faves and then some, as well as a little BuyBetter FAQ. As some of you might recall, I introduced myself to you with an anecdote about someone I admire, even if he never was known for his judicious use of resources … Liberace. You’ll have to keep reading for more. 

You can clean, or you can clean like Mrs. Doubtfire — with a purpose.
Image courtesy United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Every spring, my husband designates a weekend for deep-cleaning and decluttering our house. I’m not looking forward to this. He will inevitably try to convince me to get rid of the life-sized paperboard cutout of Liberace that lives in our hall closet, and I will declare no — Liberace stays! We will scrub, sweep, dust, and polish. And while I’m not one of those people who enjoys cleaning, I find the seasonal ritual a little less onerous every spring, probably because our cleaning process itself has become greener with each passing year.   

Conventional cleaning products contain lots of nasty ingredients like petroleum, volatile organic compounds, and chemicals that can dramatically harm indoor air quality. Slowly but surely, we’ve been getting rid of them. In recent years, we’ve mostly ditched some chemical solvents in favor of things like plain old baking soda and white vinegar, or this 100-year-old scouring product that makes everything sparkle (all on Amazon).  

Have we had some false starts? Sure. But I can tell you with great confidence that there are great “clean” cleaning products out there — ones that really do clean! Click through the list below to find items we use to keep our own little corners of the world clean. You can also visit the Buy Better Marketplace for more items of all kinds.

Is there something you’d like to see on the list? Let me know. And thanks for reading.

– Elizabeth Weinstein, Marketplace Editor 

Cleaning Up, Sustainably

An assortment of liquid and bar soaps from Dr. Bronner's.

The 18-in-1 Original

There’s a reason you’ll find Dr. Bronner’s products in just about every health food store and in almost all Bluedotter’s homes: the stuff is awesome. This Certified B. Corp’s biodegradable, super-concentrated, castile soaps keep us feeling fresh at home and on the trail. Writer Mollie Doyle has been devoted to the zippy peppermint soap for over 40 years. Read our review.

A cardboard box full of eco-friendly products, including Bee's Wrap, a loofah, stainlees steel food storage tins, Kleen Kanteen reusable beverage containers, bamboo cutlery, and more from sustainable online marketplace EarthHero.

A Great Marketplace

EarthHero is one of those companies that seems to do just about everything right, so we love buying from this eclectic sustainable marketplace of thoughtfully vetted goods. A climate neutral B Corp and 1% for the Planet member, EarthHero carries everything from cleaning products to kitchen goods to underthings to dog toys to gifts. Save 15% with code BLUEDOT. Read our review.

Our Fave Paper Towels

“Love it! Use it! Amazing!” “Everyone kept recommending Who Gives A Crap to me and it lives up to its reputation.” “I’ve been using Who Gives A Crap for three years and my tush and my heart are happy.” These effusive reviews from Bluedotters represent just a sampling of the great things we have to say about WGAC. Read our review.

Two white bottles with green and purple markings and a white and grey cylindrical package, all labeled as Dirty Labs brand Bio Laundry cleaning products, on a lavender and beige-colored background.

Better Detergent

Dirty Labs makes effective, eco-friendly laundry detergent that cleans using stain-fighting enzymes and other bio-based ingredients. A 21.6-ounce stainless steel bottle tackles 80 standard loads. It’s also non-toxic and biodegradable. The space-saving results alone will win a city-dweller’s heart. Save 15% with code BLUEDOT. Read our review.

 

Two canister vacuums, a robot vacuum, and a cordless vacuum are displayed on a staircase. An Australian Shepherd dog sits at the top of the stairs. Photo Credit - Miele

A Hard-Working Vacuum

Certain products will never be quite as sustainable as others: a vacuum cleaner, for instance, simply can’t go in the compost at the end of its life. So what sustainability really means, in this context, is getting a product that does its job extremely well and that lasts for an extremely long time. Enter Miele. Read our review.

A turquoise background shows four bottles of cleaning solution made by Blueland. A woman's hand hovers over one of the bottles to drop a tab into the bottle.

Refillable Cleaning Products

The vast majority of cleaning products come in single-use plastics. Those plastics encase mostly water with a teeny bit of cleaning concentrate. Enter Blueland. This cleaning company makes the chicest cleaning products we’ve ever seen, and their AlkaSeltzer-like functionality makes them (gasp!) fun to use. Read our review.

A bottle of Rubio Monocoat Soap for cleaning wood floors. Photo credit - Rubio Monocoat

Dot's Favorite Floor Cleaner

When our own Dear Dot and Mr. Dot were renovating, they looked for floors that could withstand the impact of their two large dogs. After scratching up samples with keys, they selected gorgeous, indestructible, FSC-certified Brazilian walnut wood. They maintain their gorgeous wood floors with Rubio Monocoat. Read our review.

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Elizabeth Weinstein
Elizabeth Weinstein
Elizabeth Weinstein, Bluedot’s Marketplace Editor, lives in Manhattan with her husband; papillon Finley; and cats SanDeE* and Modell. When she’s not asking the folks at Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom to try on their most sustainable sneakers in a size 9½, she can be found at the Union Square Greenmarket or gardening on her rooftop terrace.
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