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Cleaning your home naturally is good for you and your home. Most conventional cleaners come with toxic chemicals that can off-gas in the home, creating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pollute the air, contributing to indoor air pollution.
Most cleaning tools are made from, you guessed it, plastic. It's one reason why choosing eco friendly mops is so essential.
Our top picks for sustainable mopping
Today we are showing you how to mop sustainably. Before you make a purchase, read the guide at the bottom of the post on choosing an eco-friendly mop, what to look for, and why making this swap is more sustainable.
Best Zero- Waste Eco Friendly Mops
If you need an affordable eco-friendly mop built to last, give the Cuban Mop a go. I don't know about you, but some of the mops I have used have left me either struggling to lift the rope's weight, or I'm looking all over the place for matching replacement sponge mops or heads.
The Cuban Mop is the best eco-friendly Swiffer alternative. It has zero plastic and is simple in design and function, making it pretty genius! It's made from two pieces of wood or sticks that screw together to form a T.
To use you fold any small towel or cloth (use whatever you have) over the end to create a mop end, you can use it wet or dry. When you are done with the cloth, toss it in the laundry. As the name suggests, it's trendy in Cuba, South America, and Europe.
It's also lightweight, durable, and made using reusable, compostable, and all-natural components. You can use it to dust and clean furniture, and it's great for hard-to-reach places like under the bed, and bye-bye dust bunnies. Oh, and it looks pretty good too! Price $83
Another option for the Cuban mop is Quick Loop. It's a plastic-free mop that uses a loop to hold the fabric.
You can use any fabric, so if you have old clothes lying around, put them to good use. The Quick Loop is ideal for mopping and dusting. It will also save you a ton of cash since you won't have to replace the head repeatedly. Price $25
How to use the Cuban Mop to clean?
You will need absorbent rags or cloths, a good all-natural floor cleaner, and a mop. Wet the cloth then add the cleaner, squeeze out any excess, then place the rag on the floor, then wrap the rag around the mop by folding each corner around the mop.
When one side gets dirty flip it around. Once both sides have done their job, time to change cloth, you can also use the fabric the same way when it's dry in the same way that you would use a Swiffer. Once you are done with the cloths, you simply launder them.
Before you wash your floors, you will need to sweep, and you can use the Cuban mop for that or opt for a zero-waste broom. An eco-friendly broom needs to be made from natural fibers.
These types are brooms are also available at most hardware stores. I'd use this broom over one with a plastic handle.
DIY Cuban mop
This is so simple. Grab an old broomstick handle. It can be from an old mop, a broom even a rake. Use cloths and rags you already have, sew them together, and voila! This video shows you how to make one using an old t-shirt! I love this!
I love this Certified B Corp and have been using many of their cleaning products for years. I first found them at HomeSense and was delighted that a big-name shop like this carried more sustainable options.
The Mighty Mop is made with bamboo and recycled plastic. The cloth itself is microfiber. You can also use it as an eco-friendly wet mop or a dry duster, making it a very versatile cleaning item to have in your home. It's got an abrasive head that can tackle tough messes, and its replaceable mop head is washable.
It's versatile and can be used as an eco-friendly wet mop or a dry duster. They also offer refills for their mops. This mop is priced at $29.99, and the refills are $11.99
In addition to the mop, I also love the Clean Sweep Broom. It's made from the same materials and is priced reasonably at $34.99.
Full Circle Home works with the Plastic Bank, is Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certified, and GOTS Certified Organic.
Cotton mops make a great addition to your zero-waste cleaning routine, and there are quite a few outstanding ones to choose from.
Okay, I am not going to lie, these can be a real pain if you have to ring them out, and if they are soaked, they can be super heavy, but they are still a better bet than their plastic counterpart from an environmental perspective anyway.
From a cleaning perspective, well, there is a lot of debate about that, and it's one reason why there are so many options for mops on the market.
These are heavy-duty though and will get the job done. So if you have high traffic and mess, this might be the right plastic-free mop for you. Your zero waste mopping routine will never be easier with these brands:
- Genuine Joe's eco friendly mop head is made with cotton, wood, and metal, and you can replace the mop heads when needed. You can also purchase refillable mop heads when you need to replace yours. These are ideal for light-damp mopping or heavy-duty scrubbing and are made using recycled fibers. The mop is priced at $101. Refills are $33.
- Fuller Brush has been making mops in the USA since 1906. Made with a stainless steel handle, these are built to last. The super-absorbent Fuller Brush Wet Mop is ideal for quickly yet thoroughly mopping all hard floors, including wooden floors, tile floors, kitchen floors, patios, & warehouse floors. The high absorbency cotton of this Wet Mop holds four times its weight of water resulting in faster cleaning time. Price $45
Eco Friendly Sponge Mops
I bought one of these ten years ago at the Green Living Show and still have it. I purchased three sponges that I keep in rotation, it's helped them last longer, and I clean and dry them thoroughly before strong them. If you don't do this, the metal can rust where it meets the sponge.
Don't use vinegar with this mop, as the acid can break down the sponge. It's great for tough jobs, I love it because you can squeeze out the water manually with the lever on the handle. The sponge is unbelievably absorbent, and you can replace them when needed.
- The Casabella Mop is the top in this category. It has a durable steel pole, and the sponge is made from cellulose, which is biodegradable.
- Yocada we mops are terrific for lightweight or heavy-duty messes. You've got two eco mops to choose from. Their cotton string mop can be used on any floor. And the Sponge Mops are terrific for pet messes and other heavy-duty spills. Mop heads are sold separately and can be refiled. Price $25-$25.
Best Electric Steam Mops
A steamer is a great option, yes it's made from plastic, but you don't have to use any chemicals to clean, just the steam, it's great to clean and disinfect thanks to the water getting super hot and you can reuse the pads that it comes with.
I've had mine for over ten years and love it! and is so simple to use. Just add water, let it get up, and get mopping. Some floors don't do well with hot steam, do your research. This is a good place to start. Price $109
If you're on a budget, this handheld steam cleaner offers excellent value for money. The Steam Shot Deluxe takes about one minute to heat up and provides reasonable cleaning power, a 6-meter cord, and an easy-to-press trigger.
Buying a high-end steam cleaner is undoubtedly an excellent long-term investment. However, this is an excellent buy for everyday maintenance clean-ups if you're on a tight budget. BTW, Bissell backs the Steam Shot with a 1-year warranty — a great plus! Price $36
I do give my floors a really good scrub, like on my hands and knees, at least every few months, but for weekly use, this is it! Have you ever used a hand steamer for the kitchen or bathroom? It's a must! A good steamer can reduce allergens by 99%.
You might be asking yourself, are steam mops eco-friendly?
The answer is yes when it comes to the number of toxic cleaners we use. I have a huge guide on steamers, make sure you read it!
But the production of a steam mop is intensive given that it is made from plastic (fossil fuels), but if you buy one, a good one, it should last you a lifetime. Mine is over ten years old. Another example is that being green is not about being perfect!
Restored/ Secondhand Mops
It's clear by how much waste we create as humans that we need to move towards a more circular economy! One of the best ways to do that is to shop for secondhand, restored, or refurbished items we use in the home.
In the case of cleaning tools, like steamers for example, you've got three choices:
- Facebook Market Place offers a plethora of used goods at super affordable prices! Make sure you test the item out if you can before buying it.
- Amazon Refurbished find amazing discounts on leading home cleaning brands like Black and Decker.
- eBay's also got tons to choose from. They are professionally inspected before they go on sale.
Eco Friendly Mop Accessories
If you want to make a zero-waste home mop, use what you have! But if you are in the market for something new, here are some ideas:
Reusable Mop Pads
Juniper Seed's mop pads are made from durable and absorbent thick cotton. They are perfect for big or little messes. You can also use them with WetJet swiffers! Based in Colorado, they offer a range of zero-waste kitchen and zero-waste bathroom products. Price $17
If you are in Canada, I love JustMeToo. This mop pad was handcrafted with premium quality cotton and top-quality terry cloth. There is cotton batting inside to soak up excess moisture. This fantastic pad easily sticks with two hook and loop strips. Price $9.95
Marley's Monsters: Compatible with leading brand sweeper products, can be used wet or dry, and are a perfect alternative to disposable mop head sheets. They are made from heavy-duty washable and reusable Scrap Felt.
They felt multiple layers of cotton flannel together to create a versatile mopping accessory. The thick cotton middle is super absorbent, and the single-ply flaps on both sides can clip into most standard-size mop heads. Price $22
Natural Floor Cleaners
So now you've got everything you need as far as your plastic-free mopping routine goes, but what about the cleaner? Well, choosing the most natural is the best way to go! These are brands I use and love in my home and I am sure you will love them as much as I do.
etee's all-natural, zero-waste, gentle, and effective floor cleaners come in their innovative "Beepods." The pods are filled will a concentred formulated. All you need to do is squeeze the liquid into a jar, add water and scrub away.
etee never tests on animals, and all their products are free from parabens, sulfates, palm oil, and unwanted chemicals. You can use this natural floor cleaner on all floors, including tile, hardwood, and vinyl.
etee is a plastic-free company that makes all of its products locally in Canada in its factory that uses renewable energy. Price $19–$52
DIY Hardwood Floor Cleaner
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 drops of Sal Suds or Castile Soap
- 3 drops of essential oils — I use lemon as the Sal Suds has a light-line scent already
- Add all the ingredients to a spray bottle
- Dampen a rag, then spray the floor with the cleaner, the mop away
- Remember, less water is better. There is no need to saturate the floor
I don't typically use vinegar to clean my wood. There is a lot of debate about whether it's safe or not, I find this recipe works so well. If you like vinegar, here is another recipe for any other type of floor.
General Floor Cleaner
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 10 drops of lemon essential oil (optional)
- 10 drops of tea tree essential oil (optional)
- 2 Gallons of hot water
Mix all the ingredients into the bucket, dip the mop, and get cleaning. Don't use this on marble or travertine, vinegar is not great for these surfaces. This recipe is great for tiles, laminate, etc.
How to choose an eco friendly mop?
An excellent sustainable mop can be a real game-changer for your cleaning routine. It needs to be durable, it needs to get into nooks and crannies, have a good grip (that's comfy), and ideally, leaves the floor clean.
Mop heads are made from all kinds of materials, some more sustainable than others, and each has pros and cons. Let's break it down, shall we:
Rayon is one of the most common fabrics used for mops. Rayon is semi-synthetic cellulose-like nylon. It absorbs well and dries quickly. But it can also shed microplastic when you wash it.
Cotton mops are also super popular. They are the most budget-friendly mop and will absorb pretty much anything you need them to. But conventional cotton comes with a whole bunch of issues. It's heavily sprayed with pesticides. You also must ensure the fabric is dry, or it will stink and get moldy.
Then you have mops that are a blend of cotton and synthetics and ones that are microfiber, which are very fine synthetic fabrics that are woven together. They are really tough and were my go-to cleaning must-have for years. Until I learned about microplastic, some sustainable mops are made with microfiber.
When choosing eco friendly mops, we want to make sure that we are accounting for a few things:
- Does it clean well?
- What am I using this mop for?
- Will it last in my home?
- If it breaks, can I repair it?
- When I am done with it, are there ways I can dispose of it responsibly?
Typically with all my posts related to materials, I look at specific criteria, for example, where is the wood sourced, if it's cotton, where and how is it sourced? Are the workers being paid well?
For this post, it was very challenging to find all of this information, but there are still some great options here for you to choose from.
And this is also a reminder that living a sustainable life is not always as easy as we think. But we do our best!
If you have a mop that works for you and is plastic, keep it. I am all for using what you already have. No need to rush and buy something new. The same goes for plastic buckets, cloths, etc.
Some final words eco friendly mops
The most eco-friendly mop is the one you already own. Use what you have and when you need to make a new purchase consider a mop that will last, which means you need to do your research. First, get to know your floor, how much traffic is coming into the home, how often you need to clean, etc.
Before buying any zero waste mop, read the reviews! These are honest (usually) testimonials of how the item works. A clean green home is good for you and food for the planet. What mop do you use? I'd love to know what has worked for you.
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