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On a camping trip last year, I met a couple with six young kids and several pets. If that wasn’t already interesting enough, we somehow got on the topic of trash and recycling. (Doesn’t everyone talk about garbage over the campfire? Just me?) They went on to share that they, as a family of eight, generate one (!) bag of trash every week. I was absolutely floored and honestly, a little embarrassed. My husband and I probably go through one bag of trash every two days just the two of us!
The combination of fascination and shame was enough to drive me to look deeper into our habits. Through a lot of Googling, I quickly learned that we were using a lot of disposable items, from cleaning bottles to wipes to endless rolls of paper towels. As I continued to metaphorically dumpster-dive into our problem, a friend told me about Cleancult and even let me have one of his dish soap refills. I enjoyed the dish soap so much that I recently swapped all of my disposable cleaning bottles with Cleancult’s.
A Brand With A “Why”
Founded in 2017 by Ryan Lupberger and Zachary Bedrosian, Cleancult offers an array of cleaning products, ranging from laundry supplies to hand soap. The founders noticed that there was a lack of a sufficient alternative to conventional cleaners that contain harmful chemicals, so they created their own.
On top of heavy chemical content, many conventional cleaning products utilize a great deal of plastic. To quantify “a great deal of plastic,” we used over 481 billion plastic bottles last year alone. It’s no wonder our landfills are overflowing – plastic takes an average time of 450 years to biodegrade. Cleancult saw this as an opportunity to challenge the conventional plastic bottles used for cleaners and created a simple solution: paper-based carton refills with tough glass bottles to store product.
Cleancult offers a membership program that allows for simple, no-thinking-required delivery right to your door at the frequency you desire. If that’s not your style, you also have the option to order the products on a one-time basis.
Unboxing This Bundle of Joy
I decided to dive in head first with a Complete Home Bundle ($109.99). The bundle includes five refillable glass bottles, four cleaning refills, two bars of soap, three dryer balls, dishwasher tablets, and a stain stick, so you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck. When the box arrived at my door, it was separated into little sections by cardboard, similar to a case of wine, and the glass was wrapped in additional protective material. Everything was totally intact when it got to me – a strong start.
I opted for the mosaic color option in the fruity scent palette. Alternatively, you can choose from off-white or periwinkle colors, as well as Cleancult’s classic scents.
Loads of Laundry Products
Laundry products were probably the products I was most scared to “go green” with. There’s something nerve-wracking about not using the products you’ve grown up with. But, when I tried Cleancult’s green laundry products, my fears were largely put to rest.
Laundry Detergent ($12.49)
Cleancult’s Laundry Detergent comes in three different scents: Juniper & Sandalwood, Sea Spray Aloe, and Fragrance Free. Similar to a traditional laundry container, these offer both a screw cap and a lid for easy pouring into your machine. I was pretty skeptical about the number of loads a small milk carton could do, but it advertises up to 64 loads. My clothes went in gym-stinky and came out smelling pretty neutral and soft to the touch, which is exactly what I want out of laundry soap.
Dryer Balls ($9.99)
Dryer balls are one of my favorite green cleaning hacks. They not only eliminate the need for dryer sheets, but they also reduce dry times and help to soften clothes. Lasting up to 1,000 dry cycles, they can help save you money, too.
Stain Stick ($7.49)
I was pretty skeptical of the Stain Stick. I have previously used a pretty intense, conventional stain stick that I’m sure is filled with harmful chemicals, so when I opened the box to find a little soap-looking stick, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I recently got some blood on a white towel and figured that was a great test. After rubbing a bit of it on there as the directions said, I threw it in the wash. Post-wash, the blood was gone. Who knew plants could be so powerful?
On My Soap Box
Soaps can be a touchy subject, especially in a post-pandemic world where there was so much emphasis on clean hands. When switching to more “green” cleaners, many fear that the power isn’t as good as their traditional soaps. Cleancult’s soap line is unlike any other green soaps I’ve tried – it comes pre-mixed so that the consistency is just right. Most importantly, it actually gets the job done.
Liquid Dish Soap ($12.49)
Cleancult’s Dish Soap took a few cleans to get used to, but I quickly fell in love. The scent I got (Grapefruit Basil) is fresh enough for the kitchen without being overpowering. This dish soap really works and is able to get through the toughest of food grime that we’ve put it up against. I have been faithfully using it for over a year now and have no plans to switch anytime soon.
Liquid Hand Soap ($12.49)
I’ve been utilizing a glass container with refills from a health food store over the past year, but honestly, I haven’t loved that container or soap. My previous container required several pumps to get enough soap and the soap itself felt kind of like lotion. This hand soap’s pump is just right, and the soap doesn’t feel quite so thick, but still leaves my hands soft.
Soap Bars ($5.99)
Soap bars, try as I may, are not really my jam. Cleancult’s Soap Bars, however, do smell and look great. I’ll probably continue to stick to my liquid soap, but for all of the bar-lovers out there, this one is worth a shot.
Dishwasher Tablets ($18.49)
We have a pretty small, studio-sized dishwasher, so we, unfortunately, run it nearly every night. I put the dishwasher tablets through the wringer and tested them with stuck-on parmesan cheese. We did rinse a little bit before putting them in, but these tablets did the job and the dishes came out perfectly clean. I think perhaps my favorite part is that these things totally mess-free; you simply drop the entire tablet into the dishwasher (including the wrapper) and let it work its magic.
All Purpose Cleaner ($12.49)
I probably take “all purpose” cleaners far too literally; I use this in my bathroom, on the window sills, in my car, and all around the kitchen. Cleancult’s All Purpose Cleaner is coconut-based, so I don’t worry about breathing in harmful chemicals when I’m using it. Some eco-friendly all purpose cleaners leave a weird residue or don’t have a very good spray range on the bottle. Thankfully, neither of these were a problem with this cleaner. I got the Orange Zest scent, which is pretty intense, so if you’re not an orange fan, I’d probably stick to the Bamboo Lily or Blue Sage.
Kissing Plastics Goodbye
Though our trash consumption is still not at one bag per week, we’re making active strides towards reducing our waste, and I’m proud of the changes we’ve made so far. Moreover, I am thrilled that Cleancult will be there to help make our waste-reduction journey more manageable – not to mention, more aesthetically pleasing.