Plastic free washing up

Why Plastic Free Washing Up ?

So, why should you change to plastic free washing up?

We all know the problem with single use plastics.  And, most kitchen scourers / sponges and dish brushes are made from plastic that will be used a few times and then thrown away where they’ll end up in landfill. 

However, that’s not the only problem with plastic sponges etc.  Every time you use a plastic scourer or dish brush you could be washing tiny particles of plastic down the drain.  These particles are small enough to get through the filtration systems at water treatment plants, and can end up in waterways and oceans.

Now that you know the reasons why you should change, here are my 5 tips for plastic free washing up.

Washing Up Liquid

Washing up liquid usually comes in a plastic bottle so that’s a great place to start trying to reduce your washing up related plastic.

There are a number of ways you can reduce the amount plastic washing up bottles you buy.  Firstly, if you have a Zero Waste shop nearby they probably have washing up refills where you can take your own container along to refill.

If you don’t have a refill shop you may want to consider switching to a solid soap block.  I love the No Tox Life dishwashing block which is perfect for washing the dishes and lots of other cleaning jobs around the house.  And, just one block can last up to 6 months and not a bit of plastic in sight. 

Or, you may want to try making your own natural washing up liquid.  If you do here’s my recipe:


  • Empty bottle
  • ¼ cup grated castile soap bar
  • 1 Tbsp washing soda
  • ¼ cup liquid castile soap
  • 1 ¼ cups hot water
  • 20 drops of essential oils, lavender and tea tree work well


  • Dissolve the grated castile soap in the hot water
  • Pour in the liquid castile soap and mix thoroughly
  • Add the washing soda to the mixture and stir well
  • Add the essential oils, if using, when the liquid has cooled
  • Pour into your empty bottle ready to use

The washing soda thickens the mixture so you may need to add a bit more to achieve the consistency you want.  If it gets too thick just add some more warm water. Washing Soda can sometimes irritate the skin so you may want to wear gloves for washing up, it’s not harmful but highly alkaline.


Say goodbye to plastic sponges and switch to an Unsponge made from 100% cotton with a waffle base, triple flannel core and a cotton print top.

You can wash your Unsponge with your normal laundry and be happy that you’re not washing any plastic particles into the water system whilst your using it or washing it.  Once, it’s reached the end of it’s useful life you can just pop it in the compost bin.

Natural Scourer

Say Goodbye to Plastic Scourers and Say Hello to a 100% Coconut Hair Scrub Pad.

Why use a plastic scourer that will scratch your lovely shiny pans when you can have a biodegradable non-scratch Coconut Hair Scouring Pad. Made from the hair of a coconut and bonded with a natural latex.

They are fully compostable and made from natural coconut fibres.

I use the Safix coconut scrub pads and not only are they great for cleaning pots and pans you can also use them to scrub your veggies.

Or, you could try a copper scourer.  A plastic free copper scourer easily cleans pots, pans, sinks, ovens, ceramic cooktops, glass, stainless steel and more. Whilst being extremely tough, it is also very gentle on delicate surfaces thanks to the soft, non-abrasive nature of copper, leaving no scratches on enamel or ceramic worktops.

The pads will remove rust from cutlery and are perfect for cleaning and polishing glass, chrome and aluminium . The fine copper threads loosen even the most stubborn dirt carefully and should ALWAYS be used wet, ideally with warm, soapy water.

Dishwashing Cloths

Rather than using a microfibre or plastic dish cloth you can easily switch to a 100% cotton dishcloth. 

Or, if you’re looking for something that is slightly more absorbent look out for compostable sponge cleaning cloths.  You can buy ones which are 100% plastic-free and made from natural renewable resources, cotton, wood pulp & flax.

Dishwashing Brushes

Wooden dishwashing brushes are not only so much better for the environment but they also look so much nicer.  And, remember a dish brush with plastic bristles can shed plastic hairs that can end up in the ocean, plant based bristles are 100% biodegradable.

You can buy wooden dishwashing brushes with Tampico fibre bristles or coconut bristles. Tampico is a very robust fibre from the yellow leaf of the agave cactus, which grows only in the highlands of northern Mexico. Tampico has great water-retaining properties, is resistant and hard-wearing, and keeps its shape without softening.

I hope this has given you some ideas on how to reduce plastic when you’re washing the dishes.

Enjoy your plastic free washing up.

Written by 

Hi, I’m Frankie. This is my blog (Thoroughly Modern Grandma) about blending old fashioned values with modern technology, whilst trying to reduce our waste and be a little kinder to our Planet.

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