Ethique's New Housecleaning Concentrates are Zero Waste and Plastic-Free

They're made from solid bars that you dissolve in boiling water.

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Ethique Household Concentrates
Ethique has launched a line of zero-waste household cleaning products.

Ethique (used with permission)

Over the past few years, zero waste products have made impressive inroads into the personal care and beauty industries, but they have been slower to enter the house-cleaning sphere. This is unfortunate because a great many plastic bottles are used to sell cleaning products that last for a short period of time.

That's why I was so happy to hear that Ethique, a pioneer in the solid beauty bar movement, has expanded its product line to include hand wash and spray cleaners for kitchen and bathroom. Ethique was founded in 2013 in Christchurch, New Zealand, and was the first company I heard of making solid moisturizers, shampoo bars, deodorants, and facial scrubs. I wrote about it for Treehugger back in 2016, and am thrilled to see how it's grown since then. It now has a U.S. distribution center, making its products more accessible to the North American market.

As with all of Ethique's products, these new housecleaning products come in bar form, always in paper packaging, and must be dissolved in boiling water before added to an existing container that it assumes every household already has (a safe bet!). The ingredients are 100% plant-based, vegan, ethically sourced, and free from parabens. Ethique is one of very few companies that refuses to use palm oil, replacing with coconut oil, rice bran, and olive oil.

Ethique handwashing concentrate
Ethique's handwashing concentrate in bar form.


Treehugger asked founder Brianne West to speak about the benefits of solid bars over plastic-bottled liquids. She explained that there are three main reasons why Ethique's approach is superior, and they boil down to plastic, water, and carbon.


One 350 mL HDPE (high-density polyethylene) bottle requires 700 mL of water to make. The average bottle of multi-purpose spray is diluted with up to 93-96% water. West said, "Why waste that precious resource when you’re using these products in a room full of it?" Indeed, this is something I've argued before on Treehugger – that removing the surplus water from products and shipping only the cleansing additive could go a long way toward reducing plastic packaging and carbon emissions. 


Around 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually, but only 9% gets recycled. Much of the remainder ends up in the oceans, where it breaks up (not down) into pervasive microplastics that enter the food chain and contaminate the water supply. It's a material we all need to use less of.


Ethique is proudly carbon neutral, working toward being carbon positive. It is striving to offset 120% of its net carbon emissions by the end of 2020. West explained:

"One of our bars has just 8% of the carbon footprint of the equivalent liquid product. The large footprint of bottled products comes primarily from the plastic packaging. Plastic production has a huge carbon footprint and is manufactured using massive amounts of oil or natural gas and energy. On average, the initial production process produces about 6kg of CO2 per 1kg of plastic. 150g of carbon dioxide is released just to make one 25g plastic bottle versus just 9g for our largest product box."

If you're looking to cut down on plastic in your cleaning routine, Ethique is a great place to start. You can see what's available here, with more concentrates launching in December. This is the start of a housecleaning revolution, we're sure of it!