These 10 Natural & Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products Leave Others in the Dust
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Do you know what’s in your cleaning products? 😬
If you’re like me, you may have an assortment of specialized soaps, detergents, bleaching products, softeners, polishes, and cleaners on hand to keep your home sparkling. ✨ But while the chemicals in many cleaners may make our floors, toilets, and countertops gleaming and germ-free, many also are poisonous if ingested, contribute to indoor air pollution, and can be harmful if inhaled or touched.
Most of the time, simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, water, or Borax can handle most of your household cleaning needs and can save you a lot of money, too! BUT which cleaning products are the safest to use, work the best, and won’t eat a hole in your wallet (or sink)?
We’ve rounded up 10 popular cleaning brands, as well as their all-natural, eco-friendly counterparts — complete with their EWG ratings — as well as a DIY option that uses safe, simple ingredients.
NOTE: The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an American environmental organization specializing in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability. The ratings for the products below are from the EWG site.
1. Glass Cleaner
There’s nothing better than a squeaky clean mirror or shiny window that you can see yourself in! However, most conventional glass cleaners are made with solvents like toxic alcohols (typically poisonous), ammonia (a respiratory irritant), or glycol ethers (which can cause systemic organ damage). Yikes!
- Popular Brand: Windex Glass Cleaner (EWG rating: D)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Aunt Fannie’s Glass and Window Vinegar Wash (EWG rating: A)
DIY Option: Fill a spray bottle with water + 1/4 cup white vinegar (OR 1 TB lemon juice).
2. Furniture Polish
Looking to keep your wood furniture clean, polished, and not greasy? You’ve likely heard of Pledge Furniture spray and may even swear by it. But before adding that yellow bottle to your shopping cart, consider purchasing this non-toxic Truce Wood Cleaner as it contains only four ingredients: olive oil, distilled white vinegar, guar gum, and aroma-therapeutic essential oils! Just add water, shake, & spray!
- Popular Brand: Pledge Furniture Spray (EWG rating: C)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Truce Wood Cleaner (EWG rating: A)
DIY Option: Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1 teaspoon olive oil. You can also add in your favorite essential oils, too!
3. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Conventional toilet bowl cleaners contain synthetic dyes, chlorine bleach, petroleum-derived ingredients, ammonia, and other harmful substances, like Triclosan 😧. So before flushing Lysol down the toilet, consider grabbing a plant-based cleaner that’s safe for the environment yet still adds a sparkle to your toilet. Seventh Generation Cleaner is completely free of chlorine, synthetic fragrances, dyes, & ammonia, which means it won’t fill your bathroom with intense fumes — it’s also a cruelty-free product.
- Popular Brand(s): Lysol or Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner (EWG rating: F)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Seventh Generation Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner (EWG rating: A)
DIY Option: Mix 1 cup of Borax and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar or lemon juice into the toilet bowl. Let sit for a few hours, then scrub with a toilet brush and flush.
4. Dish Soap
Many conventional dish soap brands contain cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde, sulphuric acid, fragrances, and other substances. Before reaching for popular brands like Dawn or Palmolive, consider an option that’s friendlier on the environment and also non-toxic, plant-based, & family-safe.
- Popular Brand(s): Palmolive or Dawn Dish Soap (EWG rating: D/F)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Puracy Natural Dish Soap (EWG rating: A)
DIY Option: Add 1/4 cup grated Castile soap with 1 1/4 cups boiling water and stir until dissolved. Then add 1 TB washing soda and stir. Add 1/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile liquid soap and stir. Let mixture cool, then add essential oils (optional).
5. Dishwasher Detergent
Although Cascade may be the #1 recommended dishwasher brand in North America, you may want to dig a little deeper to see if it’s the best cleaner for your health and the environment. Consider picking up Better Life Dishwasher Gel as it is 100% plant & mineral derived from coconut, corn, and natural minerals. It doesn’t contain phosphates, bleach, fragrances, dyes, SLES, or SLS — just the good stuff!
- Popular Brand(s): Cascade Gel Dishwasher Detergent (EWG rating: D)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Better Life Dishwasher Gel (EWG rating: A)
DIY Option: Mix 1 cup washing soda with 1 cup baking soda, 3 packages unsweetened lemonade drink mix, 1 cup kosher salt, and 1 cup water. Mix and spoon it into ice cube trays. Let dry. Add one cube per load.
6. Scouring Powder
Scouring powder is great for getting the nitty, and especially the gritty, off your showers, tubs, and sinks. But most conventional brands emit harmful chemicals, including some that have been linked to cancer, asthma, and reproductive disorders. So instead of Comet or Ajax, consider Bon Ami, which uses natural ingredients, is hypoallergenic, and contains no chlorine, perfume, or dye — sweet!
- Popular Brand(s): Comet or Ajax Cleaning Powder (EWG rating: D/F)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Bon Ami Cleaning Powder (EWG rating: A)
DIY Option: Baking soda scours away most grime on tubs, showers, toilets, and countertops.
7. Surface Wipes
When looking at disinfecting wipes brands, avoid those with synthetic fragrances, ammonium chlorides, ammonia, and other unnatural ingredients. Also, be sure not to use disinfecting wipes for more than one surface or you might spread germs instead of kill them.
If soap/water or washing your hands isn’t enough to keep germs at bay, wipe surfaces or toys with a safer option like Babyganics All Purpose Surface Wipes which contain no ammonia, bleach, phosphates, phthalates, sulfates, artificial fragrances, or dyes — especially great if you have little ones running around 👶!
- Popular Brand(s): Clorox or Lysol Disinfecting Wipes (EWG rating: D)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Babyganics All Purpose Surface Wipes (EWG rating: A)
Are you a visual learner? Collin made homemade wipes in this old video from 2014.
8. Multi-Surface Cleaner
Many multi-surface cleaners are great for tackling just about everything — they cut through grease and easily wipe up grime without leaving residue behind. However, they may also contain ingredients that are harmful to your health and the environment, so check the labels before buying.
- Popular Brand: Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner (EWG rating: D)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner (EWG rating: A)
9. Cream Cleanser
Many cream cleansers are corrosive and may contain ingredients with the potential for negative respiratory side effects. So if you’re looking for a better cleanser that safely scrubs tough spots on your tubs, tile and grout, toilet bowls, stove tops, ovens, and more, consider snagging this Better Life Kitchen and Bath Scrubber… oh, and it’s free of VOCs, alkyphenol surfactants, and petroleum, too!
- Popular Brand(s): Soft Scrub Bath & Kitchen Cleanser (EWG rating: D)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Better Life Kitchen and Bath Scrubber (EWG rating: not rated)
10. Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Keep your wood floors clean and looking like new without harsh chemicals found in many popular floor cleaners, including Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. Simple Green Naturals Floor Care contains 100% naturally-derived ingredients and relies on plant-based extracts and essential oils to remove dirt, stains, and more from unwaxed hard floors,* like finished wood, laminate, tile, and linoleum.
- Popular Brand(s): Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner (EWG rating: F)
- Eco-Friendly Brand: Simple Green Naturals Floor Care (EWG rating: A)
DIY Option: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 TB Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile liquid soap, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, and 2 cups warm water.
*Note: Don’t use castile soap on waxed wood floors as it will break down the wax.
⚠ WARNING: AVOID these toxic ingredients:
- Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs)
- Antibacterials & Disinfectants
- Butyl Cellosolve (also known as butyl glycol, ethylene glycol, monobutyl)
- Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite)
- Glycol Ethers (ethylene glycol mono-butyl ether, EGBE or 2-Butoxyethanol)
- Monoethanolamine (MEA) Diethanolamine (DEA) & triethanolamine (TEA)
- Petroleum Solvents
- Phthalates (Fragrances)
- And products with labels containing the words: “hazardous”, “corrosive”, “warning”, “danger”, “irritant”, or “inflammable”.
Environmental Working Group’s investigation of more than 2,000 cleaning supplies on the American market has found that many contain substances like the ones above which are linked to serious health problems.
Want to see where other cleaners rank and how safe/unsafe they are for your health and the environment? 🍃 Be sure to check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website.
Happy Green Cleaning! ✨
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Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off Jesus, running long distance, bargain shopping, warm Texas weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She also loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.