When you’re your own dishwasher, you get picky about the tools you use. Round wooden bottle brush: the best for cleaning anything, pots or not. Small wooden pot scrubber: too stiff for other uses, it only comes out to clean the cast iron pan. Like choosing compostable wooden brushes over plastic ones, our choice of dish soap is one where we’ve also looked for a more sustainable alternative than those packaged in single-use plastic bottles.
In the absence of options available locally in bulk, for several years now we’ve relied on dish soap from Fillaree, which is shipped to us in a durable plastic bottle that we wash and return for reuse.
Fillaree is based in North Carolina and run by my kind and hard-working friend Alyssa; she and her team hand-make small batches of their bulk, non-toxic cleaning and bath supplies at their Durham storefront. Products are mild and unscented, or scented using only essential oils.
Fillaree stocks local refill stations throughout the country (see if there’s one near you here), and they recently launched a new subscription offering to make it easy to purchase their bulk offerings even if you don’t live nearby one of their refill locations. We can vouch for the Clean Plate Dish Soap, which is the sudsiest we’ve ever tried. (It’s sooo good). I also like that it’s not thick and gloopy, so it easily flows out of a metal pour spout.
Here’s how the subscription works:
-Pick your products. Fillaree offers a hand and body soap, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaning spray. If you want to test one out before committing to a subscription, you can first purchase a glass bottle of any of the products to make sure you like it. Right now, we’re just signed up for the dish soap subscription, as we use bar soap instead of pump soap for our hands and in the shower, and we make our own all-purpose cleaning spray too.
-Pick your time frame. Though you can always change the time between deliveries to suit, select one to start out with. Alyssa recommends starting out with a delivery every three months, but I chose a six-month window since I know that’s closer to how often I need to replace my dish soap.
When we receive our soap in the mail, we decant it into a clean glass bottle with a pour spout, then rinse out the container and let it dry before popping it back in the envelope it came in, slapping on the pre-printed label, and sending it back to Alyssa and the Fillaree crew. They reuse the shipping materials for as long as possible before recycling or composting them at their storefront. The only trash on mine was the backing from the sticker, which they request that you mail back to them along with your empty bottle - they don't currently have a way to recycle the sticker backing, but are collecting and keeping them all in the hopes of being able to find a solution soon! (What a commitment to circular systems!).
When you send the empty container back, you’ll get an $8 coupon code to apply to your next subscription. We’ve found our soap lasts a long time – it’s concentrated and a little bit goes a long way, so a bi-annual delivery is just right for us.
(This post is sponsored by Fillaree, whose mission is to make package-free cleaning products available to all. Thank you so much for reading and supporting Litterless.)