Looking to switch to natural cleaning products for your home? Look no further than this list of the best non-toxic cleaning products and what to look for in your cleaning products and what to avoid.
Here’s a confession that won’t surprise anyone: I’m a total order freak. Actually, I should say cleaning freak because I’m much more likely to spend an hour scrubbing the floors than folding my clothes or organizing my closet. It’s no secret that I love keeping things clean…a habit I 100% attribute to my mom, who is meticulous about her cleaning (she’s famous for her baking soda tricks!).
Let me get one thing straight: there is no such thing as a spotless home. I do my best to keep things tidy, but I’m human and life happens, so keeping a perfectly clean home will never be, and doesn’t have to be, my top priority.
BUT I feel really happier and more comfortable in a clean home, so I make it a point to keep up with that. And given my passion for natural beauty, it’s only natural that I also choose natural cleaning products for my home. So I thought I’d spend this post breaking down why I use natural cleansing products, my cleansing schedule, and the best natural cleansing products I’ve found on the market.
Why clean your home with natural cleaning products?
If you want to take a look at the products you are currently using to clean your home, visit the Environmental Working Group’s website and search for these products! They give each product a grade of AF, where F = fail. The EWG considers the effects of the harsh chemicals on our respiratory system, skin irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer concerns, and environmental impacts. It’s pretty amazing to look at popular cleaning products.
Non-toxic cleaning products are not only better for your health, they are also better for the environment. Flushing toxic chemicals down the drain pollutes our waterways and many traditional cleaning products are made with ingredients that are toxic, hazardous, non-biodegradable and non-renewable resources like petroleum that harm our ecosystems.
The main things to look out for are the following:
1. Phthalates: Often found in many scented household products, like air fresheners, dish soap, and even toilet paper. Due to property laws, companies are not required to disclose what is in their fragrances, so you won’t find phthalates on a label. If you see the word “fragrance” on a label, there’s a good chance it contains phthalates. THIS IS A BIG ONE – especially for women with hormonal imbalances or reproductive issues.
2. Perchlorethylene (PERC): Found in chemical cleaning solutions, stain removers, and carpets and upholstery.
3. 2-Butoxyethanol: Commonly found in window, kitchen and multi-purpose cleaners.
4. Triclosan: Mainly found in liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial”.
5. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS): Fabric softener liquids and towels, most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial”.
6. Ammonia: Find them in polishes for bathroom fixtures, sinks, and jewelry; also in the glass cleaner.
7. Chlorine: You’ll find this in toilet cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whiteners, and household water.
Do natural products really clean?!
YES SIR!! Yes Yes Yes. I understand why people think you need the worst smelling, most intense cleaning products to deep clean your home, but the truth is, the non-toxic counterparts are just just as effective, if not more.
Some traditional cleaning products can leave a residue that accumulates over time and can collect more dust and dirt. Many are also powerfully antibacterial, and there are long-term side effects from constantly wiping out your home’s microbiome. We need a healthy amount of bacteria to prevent disease, so it’s time to ditch bleach.
How to switch to natural cleaning products
While you might want to look up your cleaning products and ditch and change everything right away, my advice is the same as going green beauty — you don’t have to do everything at once. If you run out of a specific cleaning product, switch to a non-toxic option.
One of the best solutions I’ve found to make the switch is Branch Basics. I actually received your cleaning kit in the mail a year and a half ago and found it so hard to believe it could actually be effective that I let it collect dust. I have since broken out the entire kit and tried all the products. I love them 100% and what makes them especially great is that you can reuse the bottles! All you have to do is buy the cleaning concentrate and refill the spray bottles with the appropriate ratio of concentrate to water.
FYI: This post is NOT sponsored by them. I have since become an affiliate with them because I am impressed with many of their products, but as you will see below I use many other brands as well. I just wanted to mention them as they are a great starter kit for anyone looking to switch to natural cleaning products.
Industry Basics Products
I wanted to first highlight the products I use from branch basics as there are several of them. As I mentioned above Branch Basics has a $69 starter kit that includes all-purpose cleaning spray, bathroom spray, streak-free spray, and bottles of hand soap and cleaning concentrate. You simply fill the bottles with water up to the appropriate line and top up with the cleaning concentrate.
If you run out of a bottle, simply fill it up with water and the concentrate. It helps reduce waste by reusing the bottles and saves you money by only having to buy back the concentrate. Here are the products I love:
- All-purpose cleaning spray
- All purpose bathroom spray
- Streak-free window and mirror cleaner
- hand soap
- Laundry detergent*
*I have not used their detergent before but since adding the Oxygen Boost I am so impressed with how well it cleans our clothes! It takes a bit of getting used to the consistency of the detergent (it’s quite runny) but after testing it on some very dirty dishcloths I can safely say the formula removes stains and cleans! I also use a wool dryer instead of fabric softener.
GET THE STARTER KIT HERE
I’ve listed all the other products we use for non-toxic cleaning below. Keep in mind that not all of these are perfect. Switching to natural cleansing products is a process for me and until some of the cleaner ones become more effective I’ll stick with that middle ground. Whenever possible, we order large refill bottles and reuse the original bottles.
Laundry detergent: Branch Basics Laundry Detergent + Oxygen Boost (I also use wool dryer balls instead of fabric softener.)
Dishwashing liquid: Ecover Zero dishwasher tabs
detergent: Free and clear seventh generation fragrance-free dishwashing liquids
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Seventh generation toilet cleaner
Floor Cleaner: Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Wash (with this reusable floor wipe)*
*We were able to reuse our old Swiffer mop by attaching Velcro to the top and sides of the reusable wipe as shown below on our floors and tiles.
DIY all-purpose cleaner
I wanted to add that making your own is very easy DIY all-purpose cleaner at home. The reason I don’t use it is because I’m special and REALLY don’t like the smell of vinegar. Yes, you can use essential oils to mask it, but my nose knows everything. However if you are on a budget then this is a great option for you and can be easily refilled to reduce your waste.
The first thing you need to know is this Vinegar should be diluted with water in a ratio of 1:4. So for 1/2 cup of white vinegar use 2 cups of water. The sky is the limit when it comes to essential oils, but the most effective for cleansing are lemon, peppermint, and lavender.
Here is a recipe for DIY all-purpose cleaner:
1/2 cup white vinegar*
2 cups of water
2-3 drops of lavender essential oil
2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil
1-2 drops of tea tree oil
Combine everything in a glass spray jar and shake. Spray onto the counter and wipe off with a tea towel.
*Note: If you are very sensitive to the smell of vinegar, I recommend infusing it with citrus peel and/or herbs for a week or two before straining it through a sieve to remove the materials. Use fortified vinegar instead of the white vinegar mentioned above.
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