The best natural cleaning products according to the experts may not be what you think.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has compiled a list of cleaners that they consider safer for your family’s health due to their low toxicity rating. These are also more environmentally friendly when it comes down to disposal because they’re less likely to cause harm when flushed or put into landfills.
So, without further ado, let’s begin our journey!
What is an all-natural cleaner?
All-natural cleaning products typically include plant or mineral-based ingredients that are safe for humans and pets. Many of these products have been used as traditional cleaning agents around the world for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years.
What kind of impact can chemicals have on our health?
Chemicals in cleaning products may cause respiratory problems, allergies, skin irritations, increased risk of cancer, birth defects, hormone disruptions, central nervous system disorders, and more.
Some of the most popular products on shelves today are actually considered by many to be among the worst offenders in terms of toxic chemicals. They’ve been linked to allergies, asthma, cancer, and even developmental delays in children.
6 ways chemical-based cleaning products are harming the environment
Before we dive into the best all-natural cleaners, let’s take a look at how chemical cleaners are harming our environment.
1. Polluting our waterways
Unregulated or improperly disposed cleaning products often end up in our waterways through flushing, septic systems, and illegal dumping. Unnaturally high levels of toxins have been found in fish from around the world, which leads to a number of serious health problems for humans.
2. Affecting our ability to reproduce
Some chemicals used in household cleaners can have a negative impact on sperm count and mobility. In women, some ingredients have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and cancer
3. polluting the air around us
Studies have shown that indoor air quality can be seriously affected by chemical cleaners. Many of the chemicals used in these products are volatile. When these fumes are inhaled, they can cause respiratory problems and even cancer.
4. Contributing to climate change
The production of chemical-based cleaners consumes significant amounts of energy and resources, which affect the environment in a number of ways. These include deforestation, water pollution, wastewater contamination, hazardous waste disposal issues, and more.
5. harming our health through ingestion or contact
Many cleaning products are poisonous if ingested or even come into contact with the skin. This includes oral poisoning, central nervous system problems, increased risk of cancer, and more.
6. Depleting our groundwater supplies
Chemical-based cleaning agents can harm beneficial bacteria that help break down organic material, creating a strain on natural resources as we try to provide enough clean water for our growing population.
What makes a great natural cleaning product?
The best all-natural cleaning products contain plant-based and mineral ingredients (such as lemon juice and vinegar) that work as powerfully as synthetics without harmful side effects.
Natural products must clean effectively, be free of toxic chemicals that adversely affect our health and the environment, be safe to handle and store, and be minimally packaged to reduce waste.
Another great benefit of good natural cleaners is they smell great. Many people prefer the subtle, refreshing scents of natural essential oils over chemical-based fragrances.
Finally, the best natural cleaning products are made with ingredients that don’t damage our health through ingestion or contact, such as oral poisoning, central nervous system problems, increased risk of cancer, and more.
Expert’s picks for the best Natural Cleaning Products
Best All-purpose: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
This is a multi-purpose soap that comes in 4 different varieties: Baby Mild, Citrus Orange, Lavender, and Peppermint. All are USDA Certified Organic and this soap is also biodegradable, vegan, cruelty-free, certified fair trade, and made with fair wage labor.
Best for floors: Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash
This product is ideal for linoleum, tile, sealed hardwood, and laminated floors. If you have stone or marble floors, it is best to first try this product on a small area first to test for color-fastness.
Best for Toilets: ECOS Toilet Kleener
ECOS Toilet Kleener is very highly rated because it’s easy to use and it does the job. Use this product in place of your current toilet bowl cleaner. The product is not harsh on septic systems, plumbing, or septic tanks.
ECOS also has other products that are certainly worth trying, such as laundry detergent and dish soap.
Best for Glass: Aunt Fannie’s Glass & Window Cleaning Vinegar Wash
Though there are other glass and window cleaners available in this article, Aunt Fannie’s excels in that it is safe to use for cleaning glass cooktops.
Molly’s Suds is very well-reviewed by users, though some people may find the “suds” to be excessive.
This product is highly concentrated so you can use less of it than other cleaners. There are also several different varieties available that address all kinds of laundry needs.
If you’re looking for something that’s scent-free, this is the product for you.
Best Dish Soap: Common Good Dish Soap
Customers prefer this dish soap over other natural options because it has a great lather that easily cuts through grease. There are also several different varieties to choose from such as lavender and watermelon and others.
ATTITUDE Hypoallergenic Kitchen Multi-Purpose Cleaner is a non-toxic multi-purpose cleaner that has been designed specifically for those with sensitive skin.
It can be used on everything from counters and cooktops to walls, appliances, and floors.
Some reviewers complain about the product’s strong odor but there are several different varieties available that address this concern.
Best for Bathrooms: Method Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner
This product can be used on countertops, tiles, toilets, sinks, and more. It doesn’t have the usual “scrubbing bubbles” so it’s ideal for those who are looking to take a more gentle approach.
Our Top Picks
Seventh Generation Professional Concentrated Floor Cleaner is a very good option for those who are looking to take a more gentle approach. This product is plant-derived, biodegradable, and non-toxic.
Customers who’ve tried this product say that it works great on laminate, linoleum, tile, sealed hardwood, and more.
Best for Stains: Puracy Stain Remover
This product has the ability to break down proteins, fats, and oils in addition to most tough stains that are found around the home.
Some people who’ve used this product claim that it successfully removes stubborn stains such as crayons and markers, gum, soda, coffee stains, and more.
Better Life Natural All-purpose Cleaning Wipes are an all-natural, biodegradable, non-toxic option. These wipes use plant-based ingredients and don’t contain any chemicals or toxins.
These wipes can be used for anything from counters to toilets so they’re incredibly versatile. Customers also say that these wipes smell very pleasant. With multiple scents to choose from, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a scent that works for you.
Best for Glass & Windows: Better Life Natural Streak Free Glass Cleaner
Yet another versatile environmentally-friendly product from Better Life is the Natural Streak Free Glass Cleaner. This glass cleaner is formulated to shine, streak, and be lint-free, saving you time when it comes to cleaning windows.
Although this product has received rave reviews from customers who’ve tried it, some people complain that it smells like vinegar.
To overcome this, you can try spraying the product on a rag first to avoid breathing in the strong fumes.
Although TriNova Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner is a little pricier, it’s very highly rated by reviewers on Amazon.com and it’s certified USDA organic.
This product can be used to clean countertops, cabinets, appliances, showers, tubs, and more.
Customers love this cleaner because it has a pleasant citrus scent and it’s safe to use around children and pets.
Best for Cookware: Grab Green Natural Cookware & Bakeware Cleaner Pods
One of the best products to use on cookware and bakeware is Grab Green Natural Cookware & Bakeware Cleaner Pods. These pods are formulated from plant-derived ingredients so they’re safe for your environment – unlike many other brands.
In addition, these pods can be used on all kinds of dishware including Pyrex, stainless steel, glassware, porcelain, pots, and pans.
Customers love these pods because they’re effective at removing baked-on food without having to scrub too hard.
If you’re looking for an all-purpose toilet cleaner, look no further than Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner. This product is non-toxic and has a pleasant lemon scent.
This product can be used in combination with your favorite scrubbing brush or it can stand alone.
Customers who’ve tried this product love its fresh lemony scent and that it doesn’t leave a chemical residue.
10 Tips for choosing eco-friendly household cleaners
Here are some tips to help you choose the best eco-friendly household cleaners for your home.
1. Consider Your Needs
Before choosing one type of cleaner over another, consider what your needs are. For example, if you need something that can remove tough stains, look for a product that is specifically designed to do so.
2. Check the Label
Always check the label on a cleaner to make sure that it’s eco-friendly and safe for your family and for the environment. This tip holds true even if you aren’t trying to choose eco-friendly cleaners – you never know what chemicals might be hiding inside a seemingly harmless bottle.
3. Look for Natural Ingredients
Natural ingredients are typically easier on the environment and on your family so look for cleaners with green, biodegradable ingredients such as lemon juice and baking soda. Natural cleaning products also tend to have fewer chemical fumes and use natural scents such as essential oils.
4. Scan the Reviews
Read through some of the reviews for a product before you make your purchase. Since many online reviewers are willing to be honest about their experiences, you can get a better idea of how well a product works and whether or not it smells pleasant.
5. Price Doesn’t Matter
Lastly, remember that price doesn’t matter when it comes to choosing the best natural cleaners. The cheapest option isn’t always better than the pricier brand and you shouldn’t settle for less than what you want or need.
6. Avoid Harsh Fumes
To avoid harsh fumes associated with chemical cleaners, look for sustainable options that are naturally scented. Many companies now offer air fresheners and other products to combat tough odors so take advantage of them!
7. Make Your Own Cleaners
Do you prefer to make your own cleaners instead of buying them? If so, you can make the most environmentally-friendly cleaners with ingredients from your own kitchen.
8. Keep Your Old Candles
Don’t throw out half-burned candles – keep them around to use as a cleaner. Simply light a candle and let it burn until about an inch of wax remains in the holder. Once it has cooled, dip a cotton ball in the wax and use the waxy end to scrub away tough stains on your bathroom or kitchen counters.
9. Use Microfiber Cloths
Instead of using paper towels to clean your glass and mirrors, look for microfiber cloths instead. When you’re finished wiping down your surfaces, you can simply throw them in the washing machine and reuse them a few times over before they need to be replaced.
10. Choose a Method of Delivery
Many cleaning products come in different forms including sprays, gels, liquids, cleaning powder, and wipes. Although some types work better than others for certain jobs, choose the form that you prefer that will work best for your needs, whether it be a spray bottle, or in powder form.
10 reasons why natural cleaning products are better
If you’re looking for healthier and more eco-friendly cleaning products, don’t compromise on quality. Some natural products might cost a bit more than other options but they last longer and are well worth it when you consider all of their benefits:
1. Better for the Environment
Natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda have a much smaller impact on the environment than chemical cleaners. This is because plant-based ingredients are naturally biodegradable and can be broken down by microorganisms in the soil. In contrast, chemical cleaners contain manmade chemicals that remain toxic even after they’ve been flushed away from your home.
2. Better for Human Health
Since natural cleaners aren’t made from harsh chemicals, they’re much better for your personal health. Chemicals like chlorine bleach and ammonia in your regular laundry detergent can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. In contrast, chemical-free ingredients, paired with scents from natural essential oils, are gentle to use around children and pets.
3. Work as Well as Chemicals
Natural cleaning products work just as well as chemical cleaners do. For example, borax is an all-purpose cleaner that can kill dust mites, remove stains and get rid of odors, but is toxic around pets and children. In contrast, baking soda has the same cleaning power but is much safer to be around.
4. Less Expensive in the Long Run
Natural ingredients are relatively expensive compared to the price of some chemical cleaners but require a far less amount to effectively clean compared to chemical cleaners. You’ll save money in the long run as a single spray bottle made from plant-based ingredients can last longer than 3 chemical-based cleaning bottles.
5. No Harsh Fumes
Since natural cleaners don’t contain harsh chemicals, they don’t emit unpleasant fumes like other types of cleaners. This means you won’t suffer from headaches or experience respiratory problems when using these types of products.
6. Don’t Damage the Environment When Discarded
Natural cleaning products are easy on the environment so they don’t damage landfills when discarded. Chemical cleaners often include toxic chemicals and wasteful packaging that never breaks down and can be dangerous to people and wildlife.
7. Easily Biodegradable
Natural ingredients are easily biodegradable so these types of products quickly break down in the soil. Chemical cleaners, on the other hand, never break down and can stay toxic for hundreds of years.
8. Naturally Preserved
Natural cleaning ingredients like vinegar and baking soda are naturally preserved so they don’t require harsh chemicals to stay stable. Chemicals aren’t always easily absorbed though so chemical preservatives are often added to natural cleaners.
9. No Unnecessary Additives
Some chemical cleaners contain additives like perfumes and dyes that may irritate the skin and lungs so it’s best to avoid these types of unnecessary ingredients. Eco-friendly cleaning products typically don’t contain any unnecessary additives, which means you can clean safely without worrying about negative effects on your health.
10. Plant-Based Ingredients are Easy to Find
Most natural cleaning products can be found in grocery stores and online retailers so you may not have to search as hard to find the right product for your home. Chemical cleaners, on the other hand, can only be purchased from specialty shops or hardware stores.
If you want to improve your home and reduce the environmental impact of your cleaning products, don’t settle for less. Natural ingredients are easy on the environment and they’re gentle on your skin so use eco-friendly ingredients as much as possible. Finally, keep in mind that not all natural cleaners are equal so only choose the best brands for your home.