Zero Waste Swap #1 – Laundry Detergent, Toothpaste + Conditioner


While I would love to completely overhaul my entire house and kit everything out zero waste style, this isn’t the best way to sustainably transition to a zero waste lifestyle.

The concept of being less wasteful is simple. It means that you should be using up products and items in your home before replacing them thoughtfully, or not at all. As such, instead of buying everything new and throwing out a lot of plastic items and being wasteful, I am slowly using them up and trying to recycle/up-cycle items as required.

I wanted to start a series on the blog concentrating on the small changes I’ve been able to make around the home, and hopefully inspire you to finish up the last of your regular items and make small changes towards a better earth <3

Laundry Detergent –> Soapberries

Something I was very excited about using was That Red House Soap Berries. I was previously using Earth Choice Laundry Detergent, which is still a pretty great product! It’s cruelty free, vegan, and safe for our water ways. I do realise that the plastic container is recyclable, and made from recycled materials. However, I am wanting to reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic in my home regardless. 🙂

Enter That Red House Soap Berries (RRP $ 25.95). Soapberries, or soap nuts, are an organic, natural way to launder your clothes without any plastic packaging. They have other uses too which I am keen to explore. The berry contains saponin, a naturally occurring soapy substance that when you activate the berry with water, it gets all sudsy. You simply place five of the berries in one of the calico bags, and add it to your washing machine. If you use cold water to wash your clothes like I do, you can activate the berries in the bag beforehand by placing it in a jar of hot water for about 5 minutes.

Once your washing load is complete, you remove the bag and let dry before starting again. You get anywhere from 5-10 washes from the berries before you need to use another round. As they are just natural berries, you can add them to your compost. For white clothing, I’ve also been adding some white vinegar to my wash for an extra helping hand.

Toothpaste –> DIY Toothpaste

You can read all about how I created a DIY Toothpaste here, and I also included some links as to the benefits of using a natural toothpaste as opposed to conventional toothpastes. Again, I could use a natural toothpaste from the store, but again, I am trying to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging. I’ve been using this toothpaste for about two weeks and while it was a bit weird at first, especially the taste! I have since gotten used to it and don’t really notice it. So if you do try it, I recommend sticking it out for a week before you pack it in 🙂

Conditioner –> Hair Rinses and Coconut Oil

While Shannon and I are still using up our current shampoo, we have run out of conditioner first. Isn’t that always the way? I am interested in moving towards a low-poo or no-poo hair routine (let me know if you want me to do a post on this!) so I have been trying to reduce the amount of times I wash my hair during the week. I’m down to about once or twice a week which is a lot better than I used to.

Back to the conditioning treatments, every fortnight I’ve been treating my hair to a coconut oil mask. I’ve done this in the past when I had completely bleach hair. As I still have bleach in the ends of my hair, it’s doing a world of good. I simply massage the coconut oil into the ends of my hair and leave in, and then shampoo it out.

Every time I wash my hair, I have been making various hair rinses to use. I use apple cider vinegar, rosewater hair rinse (DIY Rosewater post here) and also a couple of others I’ve been experimenting with. I am planning on a more in depth post on hair rinses, so leave a comment if you’re keen to learn more.

Let me know if you’ve been making any small changes in your home and your experiences.

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  • Sharni

    Oooooh soap berries! Never even heard of these. I’m gonna keep an eye out on my next visit to The Source.

    Sharni xo
    A Girl & Grey

    • Kate Flint

      Definitely keep your eye out, they are fantastic!

  • Ironic Minimalist

    I’m so excited to see all the Zero Waste swaps! I recently got some soap berries too – but I haven’t used them yet, and I am really excited to use them. Bit of a weird thing to be excited about. But that’s a Zero Waste lifestyle!

    Jenna //

    • Kate Flint

      Haha I get excited about it too don’t worry 🙂 It’s good to know I’m not the only one excited by soap berries 😛

  • Sarah | Bows & Pleats

    Wow, you’re so creative with all of your DIY experiments! Some of these sound really interesting! I’m keen to read some more in depth posts about each. Where are your favourite places to find eco-friendly, zero-waste products? x