Give me your best sustainable products for the self and home
September 8, 2021 12:23 AM   Subscribe

What are your go-to brands or products for affordable and sustainable self-care and home & garden upkeep? UK-based preferably, but if it's economical and sustainable to ship, further-afield suggestions are welcome too.

I recently discovered Smyle toothpaste tablets and LastSwab ear buds. I'd like to add even more ways to replace single-use items or switch to innovative, sustainably designed goods.
posted by iamkimiam to Shopping (14 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would not say it's innovative... rather the opposite: Aleppo soap is a traditional soap with very few ingredients that can be used to wash hands, body and hair. I've started using it instead of shampoo and shower gel, and my skin is happy. It often comes in cardboard or paper and a 200 gram block lasts me for 4 months.

I bet you can buy it locally.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:39 AM on September 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Neither has actually shipped yet, but two to keep an eye on:

Kiima deodorant
Made-Up Gossip soap

And not home or garden related but might be of interest:

Freitag upcycled bags and luggage.
posted by dobbs at 5:14 AM on September 8, 2021

Also, be careful with those LastSwabs. I tried a different brand of the same thing and the ends were not fastened to the stick. One came off in my ear and I had to get a friend to remove it with tweezers.
posted by dobbs at 5:15 AM on September 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Vinegar.
posted by Miko at 5:27 AM on September 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I really like my Wild deodorant, and the Origins shampoo bars.

I also like everything from Green People, but it's plastic packaging, so I'm trying to move away from that these days.

I bought stainless steel oven trays instead of non-stick, and now I can scrub them properly and they should last me a lifetime. Highly recommend.
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:47 AM on September 8, 2021

Best answer: I'm pretty happy with smol laundry tabs, but couldn't stand the smell of their fabric conditioner, which was a shame - super-strong.

Eco Bravo kitchen cleaning and floor cleaning soluble tablets seem good. The print on the labels/instructions is insanely small, and the floor cleaner instructions are contradictory - on the label it tells you to use one tab per wash, on the website it says mix it up in a bottle and keep it and add a few squirts to your bucket each time. I've done the latter and it seems fine.

Superfly soap's mango conditioning bar is great - so much better than anything I've tried from Lush, even worked on my hair when it had colour/bleach in and needed a lot of conditioning.

Scrubber deodorant - I was suckered in by the design but fortunately like the product too! The Ylang and Rose one is quite sweet-smelling, but it seems to work.

I get Ecover washing up liquid refills locally, I generally like Ecover stuff but it's hard to get other refills near me.

Great question, will be eagerly reading for other recommendations!
posted by penguin pie at 6:19 AM on September 8, 2021

Best answer: I recently started using Tru Earth laundry strips and they seem to work well. More convenient than powder. No plastic jugs and nothing heavy to ship/carry around.
posted by brachiopod at 6:21 AM on September 8, 2021

Best answer: I use Georganics dental floss, which is compostable and comes in a little glass container. Not quite as unbreakable as whatever regular floss is made from, but hold it a bit less taut and it'll get the job done.
posted by bassomatic at 6:37 AM on September 8, 2021

Best answer: UK consumer here.

I use smol laundry products, which are excellent and good value. It's easy to change the delivery frequency if you're about to run out or have an excess.

Also seconding Aleppo soap, which I've been using for a while now. It has a clean, medicinal scent and it's done my skin the world of good.

I don't have the storage space for it, but a couple of my neighbours use Who Gives A Crap, and find it to be good quality. I do my bit on the toilet front by using a hygiene bottle to rinse, meaning I only need to use a tiny bit of toilet paper to dry myself with.
posted by essexjan at 7:29 AM on September 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Menstrual cups.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:52 AM on September 8, 2021 [4 favorites]

Oh, I also really like my Spruce cleaning bottles! They're coloured aluminium and they make me happy when I use them. Their refills are also fine, but I currently refill mine with a mix of vinegar and diluted Dr Bronners.
posted by stillnocturnal at 1:36 PM on September 10, 2021

Best answer: I'm in Europe, so I'm not sure about US availability, but..

This is great, strong dental floss made of silk and beeswax, and they sell refills so you don't have to buy a new case every time. For cases, there's one made of wood and a more traditional-looking one made of (eventually) compostable plastic.

I've tried a bunch of toothpaste tablets and these are by far my favorite. The same company also sells not-disposable safety razors, which I've switched to and love.

Seconding vinegar. And for a level up -- you can buy powdered citric acid, thereby eliminating the glass or plastic bottle and reducing shipping weight.

Baking soda as a scouring powder will make your sink sparkle. To polish pots, pans, and your kettle, make a paste of baking soda and dish detergent. It's also amazing for cleaning a refrigerator. It doesn't leave weird chemical smells.

Don't use baking soda and vinegar/citric acid at the same time, and walk away from any site that has homemade products containing both in the same product. Acid + base = water and salt. The two will just be inactivating each other. Although, an acidic rinse after you've scrubbed the sinks with baking soda will eliminate water spots.

For keeping a shower clean and free of soap scum: rinse the walls well after your shower (you need a handheld shower attachment for this, but it's worth it). That way you're not leaving splashed soap and skin cells all over the walls to build up.

Wool dryer balls (there's lots of sources). In my experience these do cut drying time. The first couple of times you use them your lint trap will be packed with wool, but that stops happening quickly. In lieu of dryer sheets I put a drop of peppermint essential oil (or whatever you like) on a clean washcloth and throw that in with the clothes to dry. You can also give your towels a light spritz of dilute vinegar before tossing them in the dryer to soften them. The vinegar smell doesn't linger.

Two things I won't do homemade: dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent. Commercial products have enzymes that efficiently break down the organic materials that make up most of the smelly yuck, and your diy version won't. I do buy these products as powders in cardboard boxes, however. The local mom-and-pop appliance installer and repairer warned me not to use pods in the laundry, and this video from the Technology Connections guy convinced me not to use them in the dishwasher, either.
posted by antinomia at 7:34 AM on September 14, 2021

Oh, I see now you're actually in the UK. Ok, so for gardens -- worm bins are great! They don't smell because the worms eat all the smelly parts, and they turn your vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds and used tea bags into a wonderful compost. I had this one in my apartment and it worked great, although the trays can be heavy to rotate when full. Since then we've moved to a house with a roof deck, and my partner build me a continuous flow bin out of pallets, and it's perfect. Trimmings go in at the top, a grating of copper pipes at the bottom hold back the finished compost until to you rake it into a bin with a hand rake, and the worms stay happily in the middle between the fresh trimmings and finished compost, so you don't have to deal with moving trays around or picking worms out of your finished compost.
posted by antinomia at 7:41 AM on September 14, 2021

These reusable swedish dish cloths are the absolute best.
posted by moons in june at 8:40 PM on September 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

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