The Best Plastic-Free Cleaning Tools

Our top pick is the Etee Eco Coconut Dish Brush.

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Cleaning a plate with a brush


Keeping your home as sparklingly clean as your conscience is all about swapping out single-use plastic cleaning tools for environmentally sound counterparts. Available in a range of natural materials, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, coconut husks, cellulose, and even recyclable copper, these tools are designed to biodegrade rather than join the 6.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste floating in the oceans or sitting in landfills around the world. 

Switching out your sponge or brush for a biodegradable option is one of the easiest ways of turning your cleaning routine green and also means that you’re not adding to the global problem. Instead, natural cleaning tools can be easily washed and reused, and many are built to last for hundreds, if not thousands, of uses.  

Designed to keep your home as green as it is clean, here are the best plastic-free cleaning tools:

Redecker Copper Cleaner

Redecker Copper Pot Scrubber

Courtesy of Amazon

Made from 100 percent copper, these two scrubbers will get even the most stubbornly cooked-on food off your pots. Spun in fine copper threads, these scrubbers won’t cause any damage to most surfaces (just don't use them on non-stick treated cookware or painted surfaces), and they can even be thrown into the washing machine to be rinsed and returned to their original state. 

Not only are they simply designed and come packaged in paper, but they’re made from a metal that ranks highly for sustainability, as it can be easily recycled and turned into something new.

Etee Eco Coconut Dish Brush

Etee Eco Coconut Dish Brush

Courtesy of Etee

Nothing takes the takes the joy out of cooking like spending an hour scrubbing those pots clean. Avoid this fate with this two-pack of dish brushes made from FSC-certified timber and coconut husks, the latter of which delivers all the scrubbing power. Safe on non-stick pans, this brush can cut through even the greasiest of layers and is naturally antibacterial.

Fully organic, biodegradable, and arriving in plastic-free packaging, these brushes are guaranteed to make you see coconut as not just a tasty snack — but a sustainable and fully-ethical plastic-free cleaning alternative.

Full Circle 100% Organic Cotton Dish Cloths

Full Circle Tidy Dish Cloth

Full Circle

These organic cotton and eco-friendly dish cloths are 100 percent GMO-free. The colorful weave pattern also creates a textured surface that’s designed for scrubbing and getting into every corner. 

To keep them fresh, throw them in the laundry and you’ll find they dry fast too, making them the perfect go-to dish cloth for your home. They’re also made by B-Corp company Full Circle, which is plastic neutral (meaning they recover and recycle the same quantity of plastic that's use in the company's products).

Three Bluebirds Reusable Swedish Dishcloth

Sunflower Reusable Swedish Dishcloth

Courtesy of Three Bluebirds

If you’ve never been introduced to the multi-functional and highly sustainable world of Swedish dishcloths, then you'll want to check them out. Designed to be a cross between a sponge and a dish towel, they’re the perfect replacement for environmentally damaging paper towels, and serve a multitude of purposes. You can use them for wiping down countertops or mopping up spills because they can absorb up to 20 times their own weight and air dry quickly. 

Available in a range of graphic prints and patterns, they’re a surprisingly fun addition to any kitchen and can be easily laundered to keep them looking and smelling fresh. Although they don’t last as long as thicker, more durable cloths, when you’ve used them up, they can be added directly into your home compost bin as they’re made from biodegradable FSC-certified cellulose.

Cleaning Essentials DIY Reusable Wet Wipes

Cleaning Essentials Wipes

Courtesy of Earthhero

Wet wipes used for both cleaning and cosmetic purposes are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to environmental damage caused by cleaning products. They clog up sewage systems and result in microplastics entering waterways and the oceans. 

Ditch them from your kitchen with these homemade reusable wet wipes. Reclaimed cotton scraps come in a storage jar complete with three recipes for making 100 percent eco-friendly cleaning wipes to use in your home, which are made using a range of natural ingredients. Launder the cotton to keep them fresh. You can choose the among different recipes depending on the cleaning challenges you face, including gentle, all-purpose, or heavy-duty formulas. 

Marley’s Monsters Rolled Unpaper Towels

Marley's Monsters Reusable Unpaper Towel Roll

Courtesy of Amazon

Paper towels might be an easy fix for an unexpected spill, but they’re a truly terrible choice for the environment, comprising around 2 percent of landfill in the US alone. Consider switching them out for these reusable towels. 

Handmade In Oregon from organic cotton, they’re free of all the chemicals and pesticides that pollute waterways and soils during the normal cotton growing process. While they’re definitely less absorbent than their paper counterparts, this does actually increase through use and they’re a really sturdy alternative to the flimsy paper towels many people rely on. Easily washed as part of your normal laundry load, you can get rid of even the most persistent stains if you soak them in a vinegar and water mixture.

Friendsheep Wool Dryer Balls

Friendsheep Wool Dryer Balls

Free the Ocean

You probably didn’t realize it, but dryer sheets are packed full of chemicals that are harmful to the environment. We love these quirky wool dryer balls from Friend Sheep Wool as a more eco-friendly alternative. Designed in the shape of round penguins, they go into your drying cycle to work their softening magic. They can also reduce drying time by up to 40 %. 

Extra brownie points for these plastic-free dryer balls comes in the fact that they’re handmade by Nepalese women with disabilities, who receive a fair wage for their work. Made from cruelty-free certified New Zealand wool, they’re biodegradable when they reach the end of their lifespan — which’ll be about 1,000 drying cycles later.

Why Trust Treehugger?

To create this list, we looked for cleaning tools made from responsibly-sourced materials, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber, and those that have either been reclaimed before going into landfill or can be recycled at the end of their lifespan. 

Steph Dyson has worked hard to reduce how much single-use plastic she brings into her home and continues to trial new products and new cleaning tools to help her achieve this. She’s a strong believer that small, individual actions can have a huge impact — and that every wipe saved from entering the sewer system makes a difference.

Arricca SanSone updated this article. Her favorite kitchen cleaning tools are Swedish wipes because they're almost indestructible and are compostable so they can go right into her backyard compost bin at the end of their lifespans.

View Article Sources
  1. Kessler, Rebecca. “Dryer vents: an overlooked source of pollution?.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 119,11 (2011): A474-5. doi:10.1289/ehp.119-a474a