Spring is here, and it’s a good time for all the big, I’ll-do-them-later cleaning tasks that are easy to put off when it’s cold. Plus it’s a time when some of us have to be more diligent about dust, pollen and allergens inside the home.
These Aussie products not only help you keep on top of those tasks – as well as the daily, weekly and as-needed cleaning you should do all year round – they’re non-toxic, plant-based, cruelty-free, and in containers that are either refillable, recyclable or plastic-free.
Native Australian flora and botanicals continue to have a moment: they’re on restaurant menus, in local gin, used in skincare and also in cleaning products. Run out of Sydney, Koala Eco uses aromatherapy-grade essential oils to make products like a lemon-myrtle-and-mandarin kitchen cleaner, peppermint glass cleaner, eucalyptus-and-rosemary laundry wash, lemon-scented tea tree surface spray and more. Each one is plant-based, non-toxic and cruelty-free, plus packaged in 100 per cent recycled (and recyclable) bottles. It doesn’t hurt that the labels are aesthetically pleasing, too.
You can find Cove products at your local supermarket, easily identified by the swish aluminium bottles, colourful minimalist labels and cute refill pouches. Its main products – laundry liquid, all-purpose spray, glass and window spray, bathroom and shower spray, and dishwasher tablets – are all plant-based, cruelty-free and manufactured in a solar-powered factory in Melbourne. And once you have the core bottles, refills are only $3.50.
The Dirt Company
Eight times more concentrated than regular laundry detergent and with 90 per cent less plastic than the standard 20-load bottle from the supermarket, The Dirt Company’s eco-friendly alternative is great for your clothes, skin, wallet and the planet. There’s also a detergent for wool and delicates plus a stain remover. They all come in a dispenser bottle with a pump so you can easily measure your dosage, and refills are available. Half of the profits also go towards pulling plastic out of the ocean.
Koh has the certifications to back up its sustainability claims, with a tick of approval from Good Environmental Choice Australia. Its universal cleaner is sold in four-litre goon sacks to cut down on hard plastic, and the formula was developed by researchers at UNSW to be non-toxic; the range also includes dishwashing tablets, surface sanitisers and essential oils for natural fragrance.
This female-led start-up on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast specialises in just-add-water bars that cut down on hard plastic. One small chalk-sized tablet makes half a litre of cleaning solution: choose from a multi-purpose, bathroom or glass-specific formula. There are pretty glass spray bottles you can purchase for each one, or you can reuse one you already have. Pleasant State is also working towards B-Corp certification.
Resparkle’s products work similarly, but in powder form. Founder Pearl Chan spent months developing a formula that’s all-natural, effective and affordable. There are powder concentrates you can mix with water to create dishwashing liquid, hand wash and an all-purpose cleaner, plus a three-in-one laundry powder. The powders come in compostable sachets made from plants, while reusable bottles are a mix of glass and silicon.
Zero Co’s range – including laundry liquid, stain remover, multipurpose cleaner, dishwashing liquid, shower cleaner, toilet cleaner and air freshener – are packaged in plastic. But that’s a good thing: the containers are made from recycled plastic destined for the ocean and landfill. They’re called “forever bottles” that you can refill endlessly, and you can return your empty refill pouch with a complimentary reply-paid envelope so the company can keep reusing it.
Nontre has more than 150 products, including personal care and pet wash, as well as a wide range of household cleaning products. Everything is cruelty-free, with scents inspired by Australia’s landscape. There’s an antibacterial all-purpose spray, bathroom cleaner, dish soap, home and linen spray, laundry liquid, fabric softener, fruit and vegetable wash and even tools such as bamboo dish brushes, microfibre cloths, bottle brushes and a wooden sponge holder.
It’s only available in a small pocket of Sydney, but Reco is innovating the household cleaning product space with reusable glass jars delivered, collected and refilled just like the milkman used to. And the products inside them – a core range of dishwashing and laundry powders – are free from toxins, carcinogens, allergens and petrochemicals.
Like pavlovas and Russell Crowe that us Aussies claim as our own, we think it’s okay to include New Zealand-born Ethique in this list because it has long been championing shampoo bars and plastic-free personal care. That ethos extends to home cleaning, with three concentrated cleaning bars (for the kitchen, bathroom and dishes) that you can turn into liquid cleaners. Just chip off pieces from the bars, mix them with boiling water until dissolved, then decant into a reusable bottle.
Need more cleaning tips? Check out Broadsheet’s Spring Cleaning 101 series for help decluttering your pantry, reducing stress and improving your living space in the simplest of ways.
Additional reporting by Georgina Safe, Jo Robin, Steph Vigilante, Che-Marie Trigg and Tristan Lutze.