Refill cleaning products


You would maybe think that after several years on the plastic minimalism train, I would have plastic-free solutions for everything. As much as I would like this to be the case, the truth is that I still have some plastic waste on a regular basis. Among this are plastic bottles of dish washing detergent.

Previously, I wrote about how I used vinegar and baking powder to do the dishes. At that time, I had only a tiny kitchen and therefore only cooked simple meals, so dishes were quite limited. Now that I live at a bigger house, with a bigger kitchen, the piles of dishes have also grown larger. Add to this that I move to a place where vinegar usually comes in plastic bottles and not in glass bottles, I had to find a new plastic free solution for dish washing soap.

With a new year just started, it’s time to tackle this issue. On the internet, I did some research to find out what my options are. It turns out that Ecover, a manufacturer of cleaning products, has refill stations across the Netherlands and one of them turns out to be in a city nearby the village where I live. So yesterday I got on my bike and went there to refill my empty detergent bottles.

Such an easy solution! Just bring a bottle, fill it, pay for it, and go home. That’s it!

The only minor issue was that I brought bottles from a different brand to refill, which confused the lady at the cashier because normally customers refill the original Ecover bottle that they previously purchased. The store preferred it if people do it this way, because they can then simply scan the bar code (you get a 10% discount for reusing the bottle!). So if you go to this or a different Ecover refill station, make sure to check what kind of bottles you are supposed to use.

What new solutions will you explore this year?


About Author


In 2013, after reading yet another article about plastic soup, Annemieke started her Dutch blog Plasticminimalism where she documented her small steps towards life with less plastic. To create more awareness about the adverse impacts of our plastic consumption, she launched Plastic-Free Tuesday in spring 2014. She strongly believes that building a better world starts by changing our own behavior. Annemieke is trained in environmental science and policy. She alternates living in the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, and China.


  1. Is Ecover really that eco? I checked the contents of some dishwashing liquid and spotted laurilsulfate on it. Is it safe for the environment?
    I’m looking for a safe dish washing detergent and Ecover was my initial chioce, but now I have some doubts about it’s safety.
    Thank you

    • Guest bloggers

      Thanks for stopping by, Anna! Like you, I have some concerns over Ecover, but since there are no other alternatives available on the market, I now buy Ecover. I don’t like that the Ecover dishwash soap contains perfume, because I don’t think it is necessary to add substances like this that may be harmful to the environment. Previously I simply used vinegar for dish washing, but I wasn’t satisfied with the results. I also tried making my own, but again I wasn’t very satisfied with how clean my dishes got + one of the ingredients came in a plastic bottle… so at the moment I settle for the Ecover refill option.

  2. We had a bio store with a refilling station, but it closed 🙁
    The ecover bottles are easier to refill because they fit the green ‘bottle holder’ of the refilling station. I also tried another bottle but it turned out to be a challenge to fill the bottle and not spill half of it on the floor 🙂

    Ecover rules btw 🙂 I use it for the dishwasher, cleaning and washing machine. They now even have a limited edition of detergent with bottles made of ‘plastic soup’-plastic.

    • Guest bloggers

      Sorry to hear that the refilling station has been closed. Do you know why it closed? I should plan another visit to refill my bottles before I run out of dishwash soap.

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