The Wokingham Paper

PLASTIC-FREE HOME: Washing the Dishes – From Plastic Free Scourers, Brushes and Cloths to Washing Up Liquid and Dishwasher Tablets

David Lamont
David Lamont

A double-sided sponge was first patented by 3M for the purposes of car washing. Fast forward to 2019 and billions of kitchen scourers are sold worldwide every year.

Couple that with the billions of dishcloths, largely made from Polyester (plastic), that we use annually and consider the fact that both products come wrapped in plastic and shed microplastics every time they are used and it’s a sudding nightmare. 

So what are the plastic-free, more environmentally friendly alternatives when it comes to doing the washing up?

Plastic Free Scourers, Brushes and Cloths

We like and recommend all of the plastic-free options below. All will generally last longer than more traditional scourers and dishcloths and they are made from recycled or natural materials and/or compostable or biodegradable. 

  1. The Coffee Squeeze™ – Rowen Stillwater  £6.25
    The Coffee Squeeze™ is a plastic-free, washable and reusable kitchen sponge made from recycled fair trade coffee sacks.
  2. Coconut scourer and kitchen brush – Ecococonut £5.99 (pair) and £5.99
  3. ‘Unsponges’ – Various but we love those from Altons Honey Bees Inverurie £6.00 (pair)
  4. Washing up pad and brush – Loofco £2.75 and £2.50

Plastic Free Washing Up Liquid

This is a tougher one, but there are a few options.

Before you sit back amazed, a couple of these do actually involve plastic.

Used (and indeed) reused responsibly, plastic can sometimes provide options that are among the better environmentally friendly alternatives. 

With such products, it’s also about what’s inside as much as it is the packaging itself. i.e. the environmental impact that making the product and sourcing its ingredients has on our planet and subsequently, the water system when used.

Those below are generally vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, largely naturally derived/contain no harmful chemicals or palm oil and are kinder on our skin.

  1. Soap nuts – Ecozone £6.99
  2. Ecoegg – Ecoegg £9.99
  3. Washing up bar – Peace with the Wild £10.50
  4. Refill plastic bottles with washing up liquid if you are lucky to have a local zero waste shop or the latter has an online delivery model. Good brands include Ecoleaf, Bio D, Ecover and Splosh. £Varies

Plastic Free Dishwasher Tablets

Again, not overly easy but the same logic should be applied as above. We would recommend:

  1. Dishwasher tablets – Ecoleaf £5.19
  2. Dishwasher powder – Bio D £9.99
  3. Dishwasher tablets – Splosh £5.95

Surface cleaners

You can, of course, make your own quite easily. Google a good recipe… If not, we recommend:

  1. Multi-surface cleaner – Ecoleaf £2.29
  2. All-purpose sanitiser spray – Bio D £2.85
  3. Kitchen surface cleaner – Method £3.00
  4. Kitchen cleaner – Splosh £1.95
  5. All-purpose cleaner – ECOS £3.90
  6. Dr Bronner’s Organic Lavender Castile Liquid Soap – Dr Bronner £17.49 (concentrate)

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