Have you asked yourself why you are starting to see so many ads for refillable cleaners? Living is messy. There are no two ways about it, so it’s understandable we all rely on a variety of cleaners to keep our houses looking good and sanitized. What is surprising, perhaps, is that most of us still purchase cleaning supplies in single-use plastics. Sure, some of us recycle, but not as many as you might think.
Perhaps more alarming long-term is that many cities are making the tough decision to cancel their recycling programs. Ironically, China previously imported trash to recycle for new uses, but stopped the practice to reduce local pollution.
So what can we do? The best path forward is to stop buying plastics. For the average Joe, including myself, avoiding plastic altogether may seem like a daunting task, but there are simple ways to reduce our plastic footprint. One of those is to scale back on single-use plastics.
Fortunately, there are several companies focused on making this option a mainstream reality. Several of those are focused explicitly on refillable cleaners. But which should you choose? Check out our detailed review below, or review our side-by-side comparison table. If you prefer to see our recommendation, just skip to the bottom of the article.
The Top 5 Refillable Cleaners
The good news in this story is that you can keep your house sparkling clean, while still feeling good about your decisions. There are some fantastic options on the market, and we have reviewed them in detail to help you make an informed decision. These are the top 5 refillable cleaning products on the market:
- Blueland - Most Complete Household Cleaning Line-Up
- Cleancult - Best Glass Bottle System
- Force of Nature - Best Overall Cleaning Option
- JAWS - Fullest Line-Up of Surface Cleaners
- Truman’s - Best Brand Profile
Blueland Cleaning Products Review
Blueland started because the co-founder saw a problem, realized how much the issue was hurting the environment, and ventured out to be a solution. For instance, did you know 90% of the water we drink and 33% of the fish we eat contains microplastics? Blueland is fighting back by creating tablets that mix with water in a reusable container.
The benefits of this strategy are multifold. It reduces the amount of plastic pushed into the ecosystem, but it also reduces the pollution created in transit. Shipping 1,000 tablets is much easier than shipping 1,000 bottles of cleaner, mostly made of water. Shipping all of that water takes substantially more energy.
Blueland’s refillable cleaner bottles are made from acrylic, and are shatterproof. Since the goal is reducing single-use plastics, Blueland bottles will last a lifetime. The bottles are sleek and minimal. Minimalist wording and a color-coded top clarify what product is in each bottle, but there are no splashy logos, making the product feel much more sophisticated than what you buy at a big box store.
The cleaning solutions are competent enough to cut through any grime or grease, but completely non-toxic. Blueland’s cleaning solution avoids nasty chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine bleach, parabens, and phosphates. Their products are labeled an EPA Safer Choice, Leaping Bunny (meaning they are cruelty-free), and USDA BioPreferred.
Blueland Cleaning Products: How It Works
Getting started with Blueland is easy. They have multiple starter sets, so you can choose how quickly you want to transition to the refillable product lifestyle. If you’re going to get started with just one cleaner, they have a starter set for that. On the other hand, if you want to start using refillable cleaners, soaps, dishwasher tablets, and laundry detergents, they have a starter set for that too.
Blueland has three distinct cleaning tablets to meet your needs and a plethora of other refillable household items, such as foaming hand soap. The multi-surface cleaner has a Fresh Lemon Scent, the bathroom cleaner has a Eucalyptus Mint Scent, and the glass cleaner is unscented. The foaming hand soap comes in three scents, including Iris Agave, Perrine Lemon, and Lavender Eucalyptus.
The refills come in compostable packaging and are about the size of a coin. Aside from the obvious eco-friendly benefits, there are other benefits here as well. For instance, if you keep a stash of refills in your house, you won’t ever run out of cleaner or have to make a last-minute run to the local grocery store. Also, there is a good chance you will save money in the long run. All of Blueland’s refill tablets cost $2 or less, and as you buy in larger quantities, you keep more money.
So when you purchase from Blueland, you buy a bottle once and refill it for a lifetime. Blueland will help keep your house clean while also promoting a cleaner environment.
Blueland Cleaning Products: Does It Work?
If Blueland falls short in one area, it’s that they don’t claim any disinfectant effectiveness as some of their competitors due, but for general cleaning purposes, the product works fantastically. We love that they have an entire line-up of products that might revolutionize your household shopping and cleaning. The containers are modern and durable, and the refill process is effortless. By the way, we didn’t even mention Blueland landed a deal on Shark Tank. If you are ready to make a big dent in your plastic footprint, Blueland is the way to go.
Cleancult Cleaning Products Review
You might not expect to find innovation in a milk carton, but Cleancult is out to surprise you. Cleancult takes a different approach to sustainability. Rather than sell a tablet or insert to mix with water, Cleancult sells its refills in a compostable milk carton.
The founders of Cleancult were disappointed by natural cleaners that didn’t clean well enough, and by traditional cleaners that were full of toxic chemicals. Their disappointment led them on a journey to find better ingredients, and that journey led to a coconut-powdered formula. Coconuts have natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Given the coconut-based products also cut through grease, coconut is like an underutilized super cleaning machine.
This coconut-based cleaner smells excellent and cuts through gunk too. Is it going to work the same as bleach-based products? No, but that’s the point. Cleancult cleaner is useful and can be used anywhere throughout the house because it is safe. The cleanser also includes a little citric acid to fight bacteria, mold, and mildew, in addition to the coconut.
Cleancult Clean Products: How It Works
Cleancult’s all-purpose cleaner initially comes in a shatterproof glass container. There are a couple of color options for the glass container, but most of the bottles come in off-white or one alternate color in keeping with the minimal underlying. The all-purpose cleaner also comes in a subdued, clay color.
While you are checking out, Cleancult offers you the option of setting up an automatically recurring refill shipment at the interval that works best for your needs. Any time you can set it and forget it, that’s a win in our book. You can choose to receive recurring refills every one, two, or three months.
Your refill will ship in the compostable milk carton container, a process by which Cleancult claims they reduce plastic consumption by over 80% compared to traditional cleaners. Cleancult is cruelty-free, GMO-free, made in the USA, and vegan. It checks a whole bunch of boxes, and receiving your cleaner by mail in a milk carton is also cool.
Not only is Cleancult Leaping Bunny certified, but it is very safe compared to traditional products. You can use it on pretty much any surface, including electronics, so long as you are careful not to get any openings or crevices wet. While some competitors have specific products focused on various household tasks, Cleancult’s all-purpose cleaner works on everything. Clean your kitchen and bathroom, and wood to glass, all with this one cleaner.
Do Cleancult Clean Products Work?
Cleancult’s unique coconut blend naturally cleans and cuts through nasty grime and germs. Some customers say the cleaner leaves a residue behind, but at least one customer used it to condition her granite and hardwood tables. While not chemically optimized enough to claim killing 99.99% of germs as some brands do, Cleancult naturally works, is unique, has a fresh and pleasant aroma, and will help save the planet.
Force of Nature Cleaner Review
Force of Nature might be the most simple cleaning product you will ever use, while also being the most sophisticated cleaning solution you will ever use. What do I mean? Well, there are only three ingredients: water, salt, and vinegar. Simple, right? On the other hand, Force of Nature works by electrolyzing the solution, so it activates as a cleaner. More on that to come.
A big takeaway worth highlighting is that Force of Nature is an EPA registered disinfectant, which kills 99.9% of germs. This includes hard-to-kill viruses like NoroVirus, Salmonella, Staph, MRSA, Listeria, and Influenza A. In fact, Force of Nature can even be used against COVID-19, because when used as directed, the cleaner works against SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19).
The fantastic thing about this is that Force of Nature is gentle to use. There are no toxic chemicals, fumes, or residues, so Force of Nature is safe around your kids and pets. It is so safe; you don’t even have to rinse off the toys between disinfecting and handing to your child.
Force of Nature Cleaner: How It Works
Force of Nature works by electrolyzing the three everyday ingredients: water, salt, and vinegar. All you have to do is push a button on the small appliance included with the starter kit. When the salt and water molecules electrolyze, it creates sodium hydroxide (which helps cut through the sticky messes) and hypochlorous acid (which deodorizes and disinfects). The vinegar helps Manage the pH level and acidity of the solution. All this results in a natural and gentle cleanser that is so effective it is an EPA-registered disinfectant.
When you are getting started, Force of Nature requires more investment than a traditional cleaner does, mostly because the Force of Nature system utilizes an in-home appliance to electrolyze the solution. You can get 20% off the start kit by signing up for the company’s email list, so that might be worth considering.
The initial cost might be a non-starter for some unless you dive in a little deeper. The first thing to consider is that Force of Nature is truly an all-in-one cleaner. You can use the product in the kitchen or the bathroom, on glass, and even as a deodorizer. Goodbye 409, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Febreze. Streamlining the various cleaning solutions into one will save money and reduce your plastic footprint.
The second consideration to keep in mind is that once you have the appliance, it costs less than $0.10 per ounce to make the cleaning solution at home, which is up to 80% less than other natural cleaning brands Seventh Generation or Method. When considering this, it seems like a much more reasonable investment for a hospital-grade sanitizing and disinfecting cleaner. Given it has only three ingredients, Force of Nature is unscented. The company recommends against adding any essential oils or other fragrances because it could impact the chemical balance, making it less effective. Of course, this also makes shopping with Force a Nature very efficient because the company focuses on one, unscented product, which is sufficient for all of your cleaning needs.
Force of Nature offers bundles in various sizes, which means the more product solution capsules you buy, the cheaper each unit gets. The capsules contain the vinegar and salt ingredients, which you will mix with water in the at-home appliance. You can recycle the capsules, and since it works with reusable bottles, you can reduce your plastic waste by about 97% compared to traditional cleaning products.
The capsules can be set up on a subscription basis, to be received every two months, three months, or six months, which Force of Nature will help recommend based on how much cleaner you use. The subscription process is painless, and shipping is eco-friendly since only the capsules ship, rather than premixed solutions, which are heavier and require substantially more plastic.
Does Force of Nature Cleaner Work?
You might think that Force of Nature is some kind of miracle to be so effective as a disinfectant, while also being gentle and safe for your kids and pets, but it’s no miracle. Force of Nature is pure, beautiful science. Plus, how cool is it that you can electrolyze the solution in your own home? This can make for both a great science experiment and a memorable moment if you have kids! The bottom line is that there is no more effective cleaner on the market, and as far as refillable and natural cleaners are concerned, Force of Nature rises above the rest. It’s a natural cleaner that is just as effective as bleach.
JAWS Cleaner Review
JAWS is a classic movie about shark attacks, right? It seems like an odd choice for a cleaner name, until you realize it stands for Just Add Water System. The JAWS system encourages reusing its spray bottles, so they sell “refill pods,” to which only water needs to be added to create an effective cleaner.
Many of their competitors focus on one all-purpose cleaner or a few specific cleaners, but JAWS takes an entirely different approach. Instead of having one all-purpose cleaner, JAWS has at least six different cleaners to meet your specific needs. On the other hand, this is nice if you are specifically looking for a hardwood cleaner.
On the other hand, encouraging users to accumulate six distinct cleaning bottles doesn’t seem quite as plastic-adverse and eco-friendly as the other brand options. Don’t get us wrong; over the long-term, this is still way better for the planet than the traditional single-use plastic cleaners, but it does feel a little more cumbersome than necessary.
JAWS Cleaner: How It Works
To get started with JAWS, you can buy a reusable bottle, clearly marked for its intended purpose, along with refill pods to which you will add water. JAWS offers six separate cleaning products, including kitchen, glass, hardwood, shower, disinfectant, and granite. The starter kits include bottles specifically labeled for their purpose.
This helps if you plan to invest in multiple cleaning products, but if you choose to buy all six cleaning products, you might need to clear a little space in the cabinet first. We do give JAWS kudos for offering a disinfectant, since not every refillable cleaning brand offers such a product.
The JAWS bottles will naturally be delivered empty (just add water, remember?). To get started, fill the bottles up with water to the max fill line. Paying attention to the fill line is essential because the refill pods are inserted into the bottle mouth, so if the bottles are overfilled, you will make a mess. Once the water is added, and the pod is inserted into the bottle’s mouth, you next turn the neck onto the bottle until you hear a click. This should release the cleaning concentrate, and once it sufficiently mixes into the water, you can use your cleaner.
You can set up a JAWS refill subscription through their website, or Amazon. Most of JAWS’ products are non-toxic, but the disinfectant is not. The brand’s primary benefits are refillable plastics and reduced shipping waste because water is added at home.
Does JAWS Cleaner Work?
JAWS shines when you are looking for a specific solution. If you want a non-toxic cleaner to use on your granite or your hardwood floors, then JAWS might be right. On the other hand, you prefer a non-toxic disinfectant, or if you are looking for a more all-purpose type cleaner, you might consider some of the alternatives.
Truman’s Cleaning Products Review
Does your life feel a little complicated at times? Truman’s gets it, so they set out to streamline part of life: your household cleaners. They don’t worry about updating their scents every year, and they don’t have 15 cleaners for 15 different types of glass. They land somewhere in between Force of Nature, who has one product, and JAWS, who has six products. Truman’s has four essential cleaners, which seems like an excellent place to be, as well as a line-up of dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, and toilet bowl cleaners.
Come for the cleaners, but stay for the puns. The toilet bowl cleaner is called “Reporting For Doodie.” Ha! The dishwasher detergent is called “Your Dish is My Command,” and the laundry detergent is called “Get a Load of This.” Life is too short to be serious all of the time, so Truman’s gets bonus points for keeping the serious business of cleaning fun.
It’s not just the line-up the Truman’s has tried to simplify. They streamlined their supply chain to make the entire product life cycle more eco-friendly. The line-up is produced in the US, not far from most of the end consumers. They also simplify the business model to focusing on individual customers, rather than on big box-stores. Every Truman’s employee starts in customer service to learn the ropes. The result is a better product for you, as well as a better buying experience.
Truman’s Cleaning Products: How It Works
While we are not sure who the primary innovator was, Truman’s cleaning system is VERY similar to JAWS’s cleaning system. To get started with Truman’s, you fill a refillable bottle with water to a set line, add a pod to the neck of the bottle, and twist the sprayer onto the neck. This will release the concentrate into the water.
The Surface Care Starter Set contains four empty 20 oz bottles and a refill cartridge for each of the four cleaners that Truman’s offers. Truman’s four surface cleaners include Everything and The Kitchen Sink, Floors Truly, The Glass is Always Cleaner, and More Shower To You. If you go with the starter kit, you will also get four of Truman’s cleaning towels, and three of Truman’s sponges. All of the products are non-toxic.
The refills are shipped in packs of four cartridges, utilizing recyclable packaging. There isn’t currently a subscription option, but it might be hard to project how often you might need a refill anyway. After all, spills and grime come in various forms, always at inopportune times. The refill cartridges are sold in 4-packs because it reduces shipping and packaging waste. This is good for the planet and your wallet, but if buying a 4-pack concerns you, it might also be worth noting Truman’s offers a money-back guarantee.
As far as the JAWS comparison, we prefer Truman’s product to the JAWS products. Truman’s has a growing and impressive inventory of household cleaners (Reporting for Doodie! Ha!), and provides a more sophisticated and focused line-up. JAWS, on the other hand, seems limited by its name (Just Add Water System) and brand persona, so the most natural path toward growth is adding more surface cleaners. This might be why JAWS has six separate surface cleaners, but it feels a little gimmicky.
Do Truman’s Cleaning Products Work?
Truman’s sells four effective surface cleaners that are also cost-effective and easy on the planet too. The one disappointment is that Truman’s doesn’t offer a disinfectant, but it is hard to create a non-toxic disinfectant as we have learned. Nonetheless, Truman gets the job done well. Truman’s refill cartridges have well over 1,000 reviews and rank as 5-star quality products. That should be a pretty good indicator of how well Truman’s works.
Which Refillable Cleaning Product Do We Recommend?
There is one cleaner that serves as an all-in-one cleaner, acts as a disinfectant, and is non-toxic, and that cleaner is Force of Nature. Getting started requires an investment in the kit, which includes the appliance, which generates electrolyzed water, but in the long-term, you will save money in a variety of ways. Rather than needing multiple cleaners, you only need one, and the refill capsules are incredibly cheap compared to traditional cleaners. Force of Nature is the only cleaner you need, and it’s both disinfectant and non-toxic! You can even clean baby toys without rinsing, and never worry about whatever residue might be left behind. Force of Nature stands above the rest as the best refillable cleaner.
BONUS: For more information on reducing your plastic footprint, check out our article on solving the plastic problem.
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