The current cleaning market is full of single-use plastic and synthetic chemical ingredients. Not only do these negatively impact the wider environment, but they can also cause issues inside your home and to your personal health.
Spruce are a company on a mission to bring sustainable, toxic-free, eco-friendly cleaning products to households in the UK.
Until I was contacted by Spruce, I hadn’t given much thought to the sustainability and ethical credentials of my cleaning products. But I’m glad they did contact me as I’m now on-board with their ‘refill revolution’.
I’ve been using Spruce for over a year now, including buying extra refills for the spray cans. This Spruce cleaning review will detail what this company are doing, plus the effectiveness of their eco cleaning products.
- Who are Spruce Cleaning?
- What’s so special about these eco-friendly refillable cleaning products?
- Spruce refillable cleaning products I received
- How to use these refillable eco cleaning products?
- Are the eco cleaning refills any good?
The products reviewed were initially were gifted to me from Spruce. I’ve since bought extra refills myself. This review aims to be honest and fair. I will present facts about the products but also give me personal opinion, which will be clearly stated.
Who are Spruce Cleaning?
Spruce are a London start-up founded by Mahira Kalim in 2020.
After a decade of suffering from various health issues, Mahira evolved her lifestyle to lower her exposure to toxic chemicals and plastics. She switched to certified organic food and skincare products, and cut out contact with as much plastic as possible, including the use of food storage containers.
However, when it came to household cleaning products, there were very few alternatives on the market. Even the products that looked more eco-friendly, were in fact being greenwashed by large corporations trying to look more ethical and sustainable.
In reality, businesses have been greenwashing the public by selling single-use plastic bottles that contain 99% water, topped up with toxic chemicals, artificial dyes and fragrances.
With a background in tech and helping brands to reduce plastic pollution throughout their supply chain, the idea was sparked to create Spruce and a real range of eco-friendly cleaning products.
What’s so special about these eco-friendly refillable cleaning products?
I’ve not been one to get excited about cleaning products in the past, but I thought the Spruce set up was fantastic. I have been genuinely impressed.
From lifelong aluminium made bottles and no single use plastics, to compostable refills containing UK sourced ingredients, there really isn’t much not to like!
Because the cleaning refill sachets are dehydrated, the product is lightweight, which means that carbon emissions are cut during shipping. Around 90% of the weight in regular cleaning products is water!
Here’s a summary of why Spruce produce genuinely eco-friendly cleaning products:
- Refillable bottle – Aluminium made bottle that can be used for life
- Non-toxic, vegan, biodegradable ingredients – plant-based or food grade ingredient, plus 100% essential oils used for fragrance
- Effective cleaning – on marks, grime and grease
- No single-use plastics
- Recyclable and compostable packaging
- Lightweight delivery – reduced carbon emissions. The refill sachets only weigh 4 grams, roughly 140 times lighter than a typical 500ml cleaning spray bottle.
- Free-from toxins and nasties – including SLS, BPA, parabens, triclosan, phthalates, palm oil, pesticides, petroleum derivatives, artificial dyes and synthetic scents.
- Made in the UK
The only comment to make is that the top spray nozzle is still made from plastic. However, this is one type of plastic that is highly reusable and not single-use. At the minute, Spruce say is the best alternative out there.
Spruce refillable cleaning products I received
For my Spruce cleaning review, I was delighted to receive a very neat, plastic-free package from Spruce containing the products below:
- 1 x 500ml multi-purpose aluminium eternity bottle
- 1 x 500ml bathroom aluminium eternity bottle
- 1 x compostable multipurpose cleaner refill
- 1 x compostable bathroom cleaner refill
These products were packaged in a right-sized cardboard box, which was packed out with shredded biodegradable cardboard. Not a sheet a plastic in sight!
The bottles themselves also look brilliant with their minimal design and pastel colours. No need for any jazz or in your face claims. The proof is in the product.
Aluminium is a sustainable metal and one of the world’s most recycled material. You can take a look at my blog on how recyclable aluminium is here.
The refillable sachets are mightily impressive. Each one is made from FSC-certified paper, with a thin-layer of plant-based bioplastic and printed with biodegradable ink.
In the right composting conditions, the sachet will breakdown into biomass within 14 weeks – a lot better than the hundreds of years that plastic hangs around for then.
How to use these refillable eco cleaning products?
I was very impressed by how easy the cleaning refills were to use. It was so easy in fact that this section will be incredibly short.
All you have to do is this:
- Cut open the refill packet which contains the cleaning ingredients
- Pour it into the metal Spruce bottle
- Add tap water
- Put the top on and give it a quick swill/shake
I gave my bottle a little swill around and left to stand for a couple of minutes. After that, it was ready to use.
As the refillable packet is made from paper and is plastic-free, it’s also compostable. I just added this to my food waste compost bin, which I thought was excellent and very sustainable.
Once set up, it’s just a case of spraying the cleaning product onto the surface as normal and wiping away. I like to use a reusable compostable sponge for my cleaning.
Are the eco cleaning refills any good?
For these refillable cleaning products to catch on, they have to be able to do their job of cleaning a surface or area. Do they do this?
In my opinion, absolutely.
The multi-purpose cleaner has a natural geranium leaf scent and can be used on kitchen counters, tiles, granite and other surfaces. I’ve been using mine in the kitchen and it’s worked great. Plus, it smells nice and fresh too!
The bathroom eco cleaner has an all-natural organic eucalyptus scent. It can be used on bath tubs, tiles, ceramic, stainless steel and porcelain surfaces. The powerful natural formula will gently remove soap scum and limescale.
A big tick on both eco cleaners for me – effective and smell great!
Spruce cleaning review updated: More than a year on
I first published this blog post in November 2021. And guest what? The Spruce cleaning products are going strong in my home. I’ve still got the Spruce bottles and have bought a number of refills!
I find it very satisfying that I can buy a really minimal refill to put into my existing metal bottle. The fact that the packets are compostable makes it even better.
The cleaning products themselves have also been really good. I like the smell and they are effective in cleaning the surfaces in my kitchen and bathroom. I particular like wiping down the surface with the If You Care compostable and reusable sponge I bought from Ethical Superstore.
What about the Spruce ingredients?
The key ingredients used in the Spruce cleaning products are either natural, plant-based or food grade. This is great as it helps me to run a more eco friendly kitchen.
For example, sodium coco-sulphate is derived from coconut oil and alka polyglycolide comes from sugars.
You also have citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and sodium bicarbonate, which are all food-grade ingredients. A common ingredient for eco cleaning is white vinegar, also known as acetic acid, but this is not present in the Spruce ingredients as they opt for citric acid instead.
The fragrances used tend to come from locally source essential oils, such as geranium leaf and eucalyptus, which contain antimicrobial properties too.
How much do the Spruce cleaning products cost?
The cost for a starter duo kit (like what I received) is just £15.
Once you’ve used the initial cleaning packets, you then just need to buy the refills to use in your existing bottles. Each refill, which creates a 500ml solution, lasts about a month (depending on how often you use it).
On the Spruce website, you can buy two lots of refills for the bathroom and multipurpose spray for £10.99.
If you’re looking to top up just one of the cleaners, it’s only £8.50 for a 3 month supply or £21 for a 12 month supply. These are all available from their online shop.
Personally, I think this is very cost effective and well worth it.
Are Spruce a sustainable company?
Spruce have moved quickly since their formation in 2021.
They are already a Certified B Corporation – a company whose mission is to help the planet and people while making profit – and they have aligned themselves with three UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including:
- SDG 12 – to promote responsible consumption and production
- SDG 13 – climate action
- SDG 14 – to protect life underwater
On SDG 14, Spruce have partnered with Plastic Bank to help remove ocean-bound plastic.
For every Starer Kit order, Spruce will match it with Plastic Bank. This equates to around 25 plastic bottles for every starter kit order – brilliant stuff.
Wrap up on my Spruce cleaning review
And that’s it for my Spruce cleaning review. Before I first had a look around the Spruce website, eco-friendly cleaning products was not high on my agenda. Although I read and write about sustainability every day, I hadn’t really given this area much consideration.
With the Spruce refillable cleaning products, I have been massively converted and I will be buying more eco-friendly, compostable refills for my aluminium bottles.
I’ve also recently converted my laundry cleaning to the more eco friendly laundry detergent sheets and switch to eco washing up liquid.
This goes to show two things: that sustainable living is a gradual journey and the importance of getting good information out there – I hope this blog brings new information to you too!
So, if you’re looking for an ethically-produced, sustainable, eco friendly cleaning product, I’d certainly recommend the Spruce starter kit to you.
If you liked that, read more about eco-friendly home living…
I’m the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home. Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.