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How to Sustainably Clean Your Home with DIY Recipes and a Swedish Sponge Cloth

It’s probably safe to say that we’re cleaning more in 2020 than we did in 2019. That’s bound to happen when we’re living through a pandemic!

The thing is, not all household cleaners will kill a virus. So, depending on what and where you’re cleaning in your home, be sure to use the right solution!

Below are two recipes for cleaning at home. One is a general, all-purpose cleaner (does not kill Covid-19 germs), plus a disinfectant recipe from the Center for Disease Control, a US-based government website.

All-Purpose Cleaner

My all-time favourite, easy-to-make all-purpose cleaner is simple! Which is why I love it. All you need is a spray bottle, water, vinegar and (optional) essential oil.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1/3 Vinegar

  • 2/3 Water

  • 10-20 Drops of Essential Oil

This all-purpose cleaner is safe for most surfaces, but it’s recommended that you avoid cleaning granite, marble and soapstone countertops, in addition to solid wood furniture.

While vinegar does have disinfectant properties, it is not effective against COVID-19.


These recipes comes directly from the CDC; please ensure you follow their directions and check their website for updates as they become available.

To avoid confusion, the following was copied and pasted directly from the CDC website:

“Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.

  • Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection and has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5%–6%. Ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening, may not be suitable for disinfection.

  • Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.

To make a bleach solution, mix:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of room temperature water


  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water.

  • Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.

  • Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.”

Always follow instructions on the bottles and ensure adequate ventilation. Avoid mixing chemical products and keep out of reach of children and pets. And wear rubber gloves!

Use a Swedish Sponge Cloth

My favourite cleaning companion is my Sponge Cloth. Christen (founder of Ten and Co.) and I came up with a collaborative print which I love and it makes cleaning a bit more fun!

These cloths are soft enough for any surface, but durable enough for stainless steel, cooktops and dishes. They are way more absorbent than a paper towel, sucking up about ¾ of a cup of liquid, making them perfect for spills too.

The best part? They are compostable!

The best part? They are compostable! Ten and Co. Sponge Cloths are made with plant cellulose and cotton and printed with water based dyes. When they reach the end of their useful life (6-12 months later), they will compost away leaving behind no harmful residues.

Ten and Co. Is helping us make easy, quick zero waste swaps at home and a Sponge Cloth is a simple and beautiful way to do just that!

Don’t Forget to Clean these Areas

Okay, so we know the main places we should clean, like the floors and counters and sinks and toilets. But let’s not forget these spots too:

  • Tables

  • Chairs

  • Doorknobs

  • Light switches

  • Handles

  • Computers

  • Keyboards and Mice

  • Faucets

  • Cupboards

  • Cell phones

Happy Cleaning!

Disclosure: This post has been written by Tara McKenna, founder of The Zero Waste Collective, and is sponsored in paid partnership with Ten and Co. For every sale of the Ten and Co. x The Zero Waste Collective collaboration sponge cloth, I will earn a commission.

For more tips on going zero waste, read the book and head to zero waste 101!


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