Sustainability, zero waste

Canadian sustainable cleaning products

I’ve done a good job of minimizing the products I use to keep my home clean. A few years ago, I used to make most of the products myself, but I quickly learned that this option is not always the better one, as I often bought three products to make one cleaner, which creates more waste than I liked, not to mention the extra storage space these products would require.

For most household cleaning tasks, I use the all-purpose concentrated cleaner from The Unscented Company, which is based in Montreal. Their products are vegan and the company is Leaping Bunny certified. TUC is also a Certified B Corporation, and women owned. TUC provides refilling options: You can buy their refills in large cardboard boxes, which are lined with plastic, as they contain liquids, but this still cuts down a large amount of plastic waste. You can also find refill stations in local retailers, such as Luminate in Bedford, which is close to where I live. The only downside is that the all-purpose concentrated cleaner does not come in refillable boxes; the regular all-purpose cleaner does, but I find concentrates to be a more sustainable and economical option, as you can use them at different concentrations for different cleaning tasks. I buy the very large plastic bottle of all-purpose concentrated cleaner (3.78 L), which comes with a pump. I mix one pump with about 500 ml of water and keep a spray bottle in the kitchen and both bathrooms, and use it also in my refillable spray mop to clean the floors. I’ve had this large bottle for about six months now, and I’ve hardly made a dent in it. The product cleans very well, leaves no residue and, of course, is unscented. TUC sells a number of its own products, as well as other sustainable household goods.

All-purpose cleaners are not particularly good for cleaning mirrors and glass doors. I used to make a DIY spray that consisted of one part water to one part isopropyl alcohol. While this spray worked very well, I was going through a fair amount of plastic bottles of the alcohol. Vinegar is a popular product for cleaning glass, and I can buy it in bulk, but I am not comfortable using vinegar to clean my glass shower door, as I don’t want vinegar to come into any contact with grout, as vinegar can be corrosive. I also have marble counters, which can be damaged by any errant vinegar. Finally, I’ve always found that vinegar leaves some streaks. I’ve recently switched to using tabs (pictured at the top of the post) made by Tanit, which is also based in Quebec. Tanit products are all vegan and cruelty free. They sell a number of products that come in tabs, including a degreaser, an all-purpose cleaner, and toothpaste. I use the unscented glass and mirrors tab. You dissolve the tab in a bottle filled with 500 ml of warm water; the tab dissolves in about five minutes and the product will stay incompletely dissolved until the bottle is empty. The tabs come in a compostable paper package. Tabs are very environmentally friendly, as they cut down on so much water, which also means that the products are lighter and cost far less to ship.

Another Tanit product that I’ve enjoyed using is their tab toothpaste. As I’ve mentioned before, I will not give up my fluoride toothpaste, which I use in the morning and evening, but for the rest of the day, I prefer to use a less wasteful option to clean my teeth. I’ve tried a number of toothpaste tabs over the years, but I’ve found them to be too harsh on my gums, especially since they did not always dissolve well and often contained a lot of baking soda, which can be very harsh on tooth enamel. The Tanit tabs dissolve very well and contain Nano-Hydroxyapatite (nHap), which is a calcium phosphorus compound found naturally in our bodies. Research has indicated that nHap can help demineralize teeth. I use the tabs after lunch and dinner. The tabs come in a glass jar and you can buy refills in compostable packaging (I am subscribed to the four-month plan). Tanit makes several other products for skin, hair, and household care.

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