Stop guessing which products are truly non-toxic, safe to use, and better for the environment. I’ve rounded up the top non-toxic cleaning products in every category of the home, so that you can make an easy switch to safer cleaning products.
After struggling with hormones, and gut issues, I decided to make some major changes in my environment. One of the most important ones I made was switching to non-toxic and safe cleaning products.
I was the one who used Clorox wipes, Febreze, candles, and toxic laundry detergent (that left me constant skin irritation and rashes), like it was my job. I had no idea the products I was using was harmful to my health, the environment, and my poor dog.
Making the switch was fairly easy, but knowing which products were actually safe to use, was not. There are so many products out there claiming they are “natural” and “Eco-friendly”, however when I investigated further they were far from it.
How Do I Know If My Cleaning Products Are Safe?
A good start to knowing if your cleaning products is to visit EWG.org’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Type in your product and see how it ranks from a score of A— lowest concern with few/no known or suspected hazards to health or the environment to F—potentially significant hazards to health or the environment or poor ingredient disclosure. Some products are even EWG certified which means it meets very strict criteria.
After you find your product you can then click on it to see its scoring factors. Each product ingredient will be listed out with a list of concerns as well. EWG scores products based on four questions.
- Does the product contain hazardous substances?
- Do we know all the ingredients?
- Do other factors come into play?
- How does this product rate overall?
At this time this is the best way to know if your cleaning products are safe. You can also search products on the website by category such as: bathroom, kitchen, and laundry to find out the best cleaners for your specific needs.
Where To Buy Natural Cleaning Products
I stick to getting my natural cleaning products from Branch Basics ($10 off using my code), Thrive Market (my review here), and Amazon. I’ve found that a lot of big box stores such as Target or Walmart don’t carry safe cleaning products.
“Natural” Doesn’t Mean Non-Toxic
Watch out for marketing. If you see words on the packaging like: “natural”, “non toxic plant-based”, “free and clear”, “safer choice”, “botanical”, “made for sensitive skin”, “green”, or “Eco-friendly” this doesn’t mean the product is safe to use.
Unfortunately, there are no federal regulations over the ingredients in cleaning supplies. Companies can use any ingredients they want in their products, even those known to pose health or environmental hazards, AND they don’t have to disclose that information to consumers.
If you look at the ingredients list in the cleaning products you have in your household right now, there probably isn’t one! Cleaning products are not required by federal law to disclose a list of ingredients.
Some companies have started to list the ingredients on their website, however you aren’t able to see them at the store. This is a serious issue because most cleaning products contain chemicals that are linked to cancer, can cause asthma attacks, and severe skin rashes.
Top Products To Avoid
EWG recommends avoiding the products below because they are not necessary and are no safer than the alternatives.
- Air Fresheners – Air wick, Glade plug-ins, candles, febreze, Bath and Body works products, etc. Stay away from air fresheners as they contain secret fragrance mixture that can trigger allergies and asthma. Don’t buy any product that has the word or ingredient “fragrance” on it. Instead of using air fresheners I stick with diffusing essential oils in an essential oil diffuser.
- Antibacterial (antiseptic, or antimicrobial) Products – Lysol, Dial Soap, Mr. Clean, Clorox, Dawn, Purell, Method, etc. Many of these products contain Triclosan which is harmful to the immune system and endocrine system. Stay away from these products unless you have a specific medical condition. Antibacterial products can spur development of drug-resistant superbugs. Remember these products are no better at eliminating bacteria than plain soaps, or detergents. A good alternative is using a non toxic hand soap to wash your hands. Hand soaps should be without the ingredients: “fragrance”, preservatives such as (parabens, methylisothiazolinone, and methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT)), and surfactants: (sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)).
- Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets – The chemicals in dryer sheets and fabric softeners are considered the most toxic of household cleaning products. They contain pernicious chemicals combined with a hefty dose of fragrance. Anything that you put on your body enters through your skin, and gets into your body. You might as well be eating the chemicals. They contain chemicals that are known to cause cancer, damage lungs, brain and nerves. A good alternative to fabric softener is adding 1/2-1 cup baking soda to your washing machine. For dryer sheets use wool dryer balls instead. If you find yourself having skin or allergy issues, this is likely the culprit.
- Drain Cleaners and Oven Cleaners – Contain chemicals that cause eyes and skin to burn. You can make your own oven cleaner with baking soda, salt and water by making a paste, applying it to the oven, and letting it sit for 5 minutes before wiping it off.
The Best Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Non-Toxic Laundry Products
Everything you wash and dry eventually touches your skin, so it is extremely important to use a non toxic laundry detergent. Commercial detergents are loaded with chemicals that are harmful to your health, pets, and environment.
Not only are fabric softeners and dryer sheets one of the most toxic household cleaning products (see above), but they are also unnecessary. Here are my favorite non-toxic laundry must-haves:
Non-Toxic Bathroom Products
It’s important to keep a clean bathroom, however you don’t need to use antibacterial or chemical laden products to properly clean. These are terrible to breathe in and can irritate the lungs, burn the eyes and skin. The products below are just as effective and don’t leave you with a headache afterward.
Non-Toxic Kitchen Products
The kitchen is a very important place to keep clean because it’s where you cook and prepare food. The products below are effective and truly non toxic so you can feel safe about using them in a place where you eat! I recommend avoiding stove top cleaner, oven cleaner, dish washer cleaner, and granite/stone cleaner (specific products) as there are not many that are without harmful ingredients.
Non-Toxic Floor & Carpet Cleaners
Non-Toxic All Purpose Cleaners
Use these cleaners anywhere! I try to stay away from “disinfectant wipes”, or wipes in general because they are not environmentally friendly. However, I listed an option below because they can be very convenient for traveling or a quick clean.
Non-Toxic Air Fresheners
Air fresheners are extremely harmful to your health, children, pregnant women, and pets. If a product says “fragrance”, stay away. This includes candles, aerosol spray bottles (Febreze, glade, Airwick), car fresheners, etc. These cause allergies and hormone issues in the body. There are very few products that contain fragrances that are actually non-toxic. Stick with more natural fragrances like pure essential oils, or fresh flowers.
Cleaning Tools & Accessories
These eco-friendly cleaning tools and accessories are great to use in combination with non-toxic cleaning products. Prioritize items that are reusable, instead of those that are used once and thrown in the trash.
- Amber Glass Spray Bottles – great alternative to plastic spray bottles, and they’re prettier!
- Full Circle Dish Brush + Dispenser
- Microfiber Spray Mop – ditch the toxic Swiffer mop pads which are full of chemicals and fill this mop with your own cleaning solution.
- Steam Mop – great to use for a quick mop, and sanitizes without the harsh chemicals.
- Vacuum for carpet and hard floor – this vacuum is a lifesaver! Especially if you have extra dust or pets in your house.
- Microfiber Duster
- Full Circle Bottle Brush
- Kitchen Dish Brush with Bamboo Handle – love this reusable dish brush with a handle to clean dishes and pans.
- Linen Rags– use these instead of paper towels.
- Scrub Sponge
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