Using the best natural cleaning products at home is a great way to keep your domain toxin-free!
By Lora O’Brien
It’s insane. These days, we’re told to wash our hands and keep everything cleaner than clean. Fine. But I’m sick to death – almost literally – of all that toxic cleaning crap that’s forced on us. It’s time to learn where to find the best natural cleaning products!
There’s a common misconception that natural cleaning products don’t get the job done. Many believe that you need harsh, toxic ingredients to kill bacteria and cut through the daily grease and grime. But that’s simply not true. In fact, it was only after the World Wars – when new, harsher chemicals were discovered as literal warfare agents – that we started cleaning our home with chemicals. Before that time, it was all about the Borax, the vinegar, and the baking soda, my friends.
And our great-grannies liked it that way! It was way better for their health, for so many reasons. Exposing yourself to petrochemicals, detergents and chemical disinfectants on a regular basis can actually be seriously harmful to both your health and the environment.
Why You Need Natural Cleaning Products
By using conventional mainstream brands that are hugely toxic, we’re risking the health of ourselves and our loved ones. Whether you’re the one cleaning or someone else is, the products linger in the air and sit on surfaces for hours, or even days.
And why does that matter? Typical cleaning products contain allergens or irritants that can then cause respiratory or sinus irritation. Studies have shown that using a chemical household cleaning spray as little as once a week raises your risk of developing asthma.
The most dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners, according to Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition. The chemicals in these can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if inhaled, on the throat and esophagus.
Fragrances added to many cleaners are nasty, too. They may cause acute effects such as respiratory irritation, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes. Scents found in cleaners and air fresheners can actually interfere with the body’s natural chemical messages, either by blocking or mimicking the actions of hormones. And get this! The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that a whopping 1/3 of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic.
Save your skin!
But that’s not all. Unless you’re using natural cleaning products, you could also be harming your skin. Two common ingredients in cleaners are quite shocking! One is formaldehyde – a known carcinogen. Which is also used to preserve dead bodies. Yipes! The other is bleach. It has been linked to chronic respiratory problems, such as asthma, and it kills basically anything it touches. Including the ‘good’ bacteria on your skin, and that leads to eczema, dermatitis and other skin conditions.
Oh, and if you’re using anything to clean your home that has Triclosan or is labelled as ‘antibacterial’ – just stop it. These are extremely nasty cleaners that not only destroy the good bacteria on your skin (like bleach does), but are even more sinister than that. Triclosan disrupts your hormonal system and thyroid function.
The frequent use of Triclosan and antibacterial ingredients can promote bacterial resistance to antibiotics. And of course, when antibiotics are ineffective, people can die. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that washing with antibacterial soaps isn’t any better than regular soap in terms of making things clean, so don’t threaten your health (and the health of others) by using them.
Let’s go green – and be kind, too
Of course, it’s not just our health at risk by using these cleaning products; they’re super harmful to our planet, too. Sadly, this toxic garbage is released into the environment every time we clean with them.
One of the worst water pollutants is phosphates. This is a water-softening mineral additive that was once widely used in laundry detergents and other cleaners. When phosphates enter waterways, they act as a fertiliser, spawning overgrowth of algae. This overabundance of aquatic plant life eventually depletes the water’s oxygen supply, killing off fish and other organisms.
Although many states have banned phosphates from laundry detergents and some other cleaners, they are still used in automatic dishwasher detergents.
But the truth is, most chemical cleaning products get rinsed down the drain. They then leech into ecosystems. polluting waterways, contaminating our drinking water, killing aquatic life, and harming wildlife.
And speaking of wildlife and animals, did you know that almost all typical commercial cleaners are tested on animals? Yep, that’s right. Think: bleach dripped into the eyes of bunnies and other absolutely heinous, inexcusable, unnecessary ‘tests’.
All the natural cleaning products mentioned below, though, are not only 100% cruelty free, but are vegan, too.
Old school is new again
Making your own natural cleaning products is gaining popularity. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s effective.
Want to give it a try? Check out these easy recipes, below!
How To Make 5 DIY Cleaning Products
I’m sure you’ve heard of this method before, and there’s a reason for that! It works, it’s cheap and efficient. There are loads of natural cleaners, but vinegar definitely tops the charts. You can use white or apple cider vinegar.
Here are just a few examples of what vinegar can clean:
Shower head & curtain
Furniture and decks
Soften fabrics and kill bacteria
It’s important to keep in mind that vinegar should NOT be used to clean things such as:
Carpet odours – although it’s efficient against odours, it would only mask them and not remove them
Stone – vinegar is known to damage stone surfaces. It’s best to check your supplier’s guidelines in order to find the best cleaning product
Waxed floors – the shine will gradually fade if you use vinegar
Hardwood floors – the finish will suffer if you use vinegar
Vinegar works so well because its acid kills bacteria and destroys mold and grease. You may be surprised to know how powerful this cleaning formula is! For that reason, when cleaning with vinegar, it should be diluted with water to a ratio of about 50-50.
TIP: To keep windows sparkling, use newspaper as a ‘rag’. The ink will actually add more shine. Try it!
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate to give it its official name, isn’t just a product used for baking and raising cakes. It’s also one of the most useful natural cleaning products! You can use baking soda to clean pretty much anything, from bathroom sinks and kitchen counters. It even removes tea and coffee stains inside cups and coffee mugs.
Just like vinegar, baking soda should be avoided when cleaning certain surfaces such as glass, because it will easily get scratched with this abrasive cleaner.
Baking soda is also very effective in removing stains like coffee or blood from fabric. Simply blend with a few drops of water, and let sit for a few hours before rinsing out.
It’s also an easy way to remove odours. Put an open box in the fridge to keep it smelling fresh, and place a small dish of baking soda with a few drops of essential oils in the bathroom to remove unpleasant smells.
You can also sprinkle a bit on your carpet before Hoovering to remove nasty smells – it works like a dry shampoo to lift out grease and dirt!
This is my favourite method, mainly because of the fresh smell it leaves! Lemon juice doesn’t have the same cleaning power as vinegar or baking soda, but it’s still a great alternative to toxic cleaning products.
There are quite a few things you can clean with lemon juice, such as:
Although lemon juice is a brilliant natural disinfectant, you should still consider using other cleaning products on places that have been in contact with things such as raw meat. This will prevent you and your family from getting sick. Lemon juice removes stains on plastics efficiently and leaves a fresh smell.
Here’s a tip from my grandma!
Cooking oils are perfect for wooden surfaces as it can ‘revive’ old wood that has been exposed to the sun. I would advise using cheap vegetable oils only for polishing wooden surfaces and leather shoes.
Just add a bit to a rag or cloth and rub it in. Then watch it shine!
Borax is a bit of a miracle. It’s a natural white mineral and is mainly used in glass and ceramic production as an antiseptic. It can also be used for cleaning purposes.
Just like vinegar, Borax is very efficient in killing bacteria and inhibiting mold. You can use borax for cleaning things like:
Simply take 4-5 cups of warm water and add ½ Tbsp borax to it. Stir the solution so that the borax gets dissolved in the water properly. Dip a clean cloth or sponge in this solution, and wipe down almost anything!
However, take note: I wouldn’t use borax for waxed surfaces, as the shine might fade. Stone surfaces should also be avoided, as borax is known to cause corrosion.
The Best Natural Cleaning Products You Can Buy
Not into making your own cleaners? Love an easier life?
Those of us who are lucky enough to have the budget can afford a natural cleaning company like CleanZen Cleaners to come to our homes and get their hands dirty. But for the rest of us mortals, we’ll need to find the best natural cleaning products for the home ourselves.
Lucky for you, I’ve not only done the research for you, I’ve actually tried and tested some of the best natural cleaning products for the home myself. Here are the results!
Non-eco detergents are usually a mixture of synthetic chemicals and additives that can cling to your skin. And did you know that the skin can absorb 60% of the things it comes into contact with? So, if you’re wearing chemically washed clothing, those nasties are sitting on your skin all day, feeding your your bloodstream with traces of chemicals – yikes!
As soon as my daughter was born, I knew I wanted to switch over to a natural fabric conditioner. And Method was the first brand we bought. This is a product truly worth taking your clothes off for!
It uses a smartclean technology that contains five naturally derived, powerful enzymes that tackle dirt and stains and leaves clothes clean, and smelling fabulous. This keeps your whites white, and is made from 98% biodegradable ingredients.
Method’s Fabric Conditioner even doubles up as a stain remover! Simply add a little of the conditioner onto a stain, and massage it in for 5 minutes. Throw it in the washing machine, and voila!
Price: Around $12.00
Best for: Breathing toxic-free life into dirty laundry.
I love that Grab Green is made by a mother who worked with a hands-on small team of artisan chemists and botanical experts to craft their eco-responsible and non-toxic formulas.
Not only does this really work, but it’s much safer, healthier and more effective than mainstream brands that still use a potent mix of toxic chemicals! Grab Green’s laundry pods are easy to use. They work for all temperatures and soften clothing naturally while eliminating odours and fighting stains.
Made from naturally-derived ingredients with a non-toxic formula, they’re also phosphate, chlorine and dye free.
Price: Around $12.00
Best for: Cleaning stains in a toxic-free fashion.
Tru Earth is making it easier than ever to go green with your cleaning! Their eco-strips are an innovative way to clean your clothes. That’s mainly thanks to their pre-measured strips of detergent. You simply toss them in with the clothes, and wash. The low-sudsing formula works in all types of washing machines, and dislodges dirt and stains, naturally.
No measuring, and no mess! Washing your dirty laundry has never been easier, healthier and kinder to our planet, The paraben-free strips are the perfect addition for families looking to swap over to a natural detergent that is also zero-waste. Tru Earth is as kind to your skin as it is to the environment. It’s vegan friendly, cruelty-free and also free from phosphates.
Price: Around $18.00
Best for: Anyone who finds cleaning clothes a chore – you simply just toss it in and hit clean!
The kitchen is a great place to get creative – but it can get super dirty! Often, we think we need industrial products to cut through grime. But natural cleaning products are great for making your kitchen sparkle!
4. The Cheeky Panda Antibacterial Wipes
Whether you have children or it’s just adults, the kitchen is a room in the house that often gets dirty! It’s used daily, sometimes up to three times per day, so it’s not unsurprising that it will need a little TLC to keep it both clean and safe.
The Cheeky Panda’s Bamboo Anti Bacterial Surface Wipes make it easier than ever to keep the home area clean. The 100% biodegradable wipes will clean any surface in seconds and is safe for the whole family. The wipes are free from chlorine and other nasty chemicals, making them a great option if you have little ones.
The pack itself is pretty big for the cost so the 100 wipes will last you a while. These wipes are also fabulous for wiping down high chairs easily.
Price: Around $8 per pack
Best for: A quick and convenient way to wipe down those dirty surfaces!
Looking for the product to help you really cut through grease in your kitchen? Oceansaver Kitchen Degreaser Drop is a really affordable kitchen essential. You just buy an individual drop, then place it into a clean 750ml bottle and fill it up with warm water. Screw the top on and shake! Once the drop has fully dissolved, you’re ready to go to war with dirt!
Oceansaver will help you to wipe away all tough stains from any hard surface in your kitchen. The drop will give your entire kitchen a fresh, citrusy aroma, while leaving it super clean.
All Oceansaver products are vegan-friendly, biodegradable and plastic-free. They’re also free from palm oil, SLS and SLES.
Price: Around $2.00 per drop
Best for: Those on a budget. One drop costs under $2 and will provide you with a whole bottle. Woohoo!
Mainstream washing up liquids are cheap and toxic. And we put food in those plates that we clean with toxic chemicals!
Given that fact, one of the best natural cleaning products you need to use is definitely a washing up liquid. And Tincture London’s will remove dirt, grease and bacteria from all of your kitchen crockery, pans and utensils.
Their eco-friendly formula has been dermatologically tested so it’s kind to any skin it comes into contact with. Free from harsh chemicals and bleach, it boasts a plethora of plant extracts and oils, including thyme, eucalyptus, cinnamon oils and chamomile extracts. The result? A beautifully scented washing up liquid!
It’s so gentle on the skin, you won’t even need to use gloves when doing the washing up. Bonus: any jewellery you’re wearing will also be sparking clean!
Of course, this is vegan, cruelty free, and free from all chemicals, including petrochemicals, phosphates, SLS, parabens, synthetic fragrances and dyes.
Price: Around $7.00
Best for: Leaving those dishes sparkling clean!
Use a dishwasher? Looking for a natural product to cut through grease while leaving your dishes and glassware spot-free? Puracy’s Natural Dishwasher Detergent is for you!
It’s made from plant and mineral-derived ingredients, and boasts advanced plant-derived enzymes that target and break down stubborn food stains. No need to pre-soak or pre-rinse – simply scrape your plates and pot them into your dishwasher!
Puracy works on everything from ceramics and baby bottles, to pots, pans, and even crystal. Interesting story: Puracy sent their formula off to two dozen of their unhappiest customers to be tested with diverse water types, and dishwasher models. The feedback from all testers was unanimous. They loved it. So did I!
Puracy uses zero harsh chemicals and their products are free from phosphates, SLES, parabens, chlorine bleach, petrochemicals, animal by-products, dyes, perfumes, phthalates, caustics, and other harsh ingredients. They’re so confident that you’ll love this product, they’ll offer a 100% refund if you’re not happy.
Best for: Those who are looking for spotless, sparkling, squeaky-clean dishes!
There is no denying the fact bins smell. But no one wants to be reminded of what’s in the garbage every time you open the lid. Clean Living’s Bin Deodoriser attacks the root cause of unwanted odours that come from both indoor and outdoor bins. Their unique formula will work to neutralise stinky bacteria, leaving the scent of fresh cut grass behind.
Whether you’re using it in the kitchen where food is being prepped or in your compost and garden bins, there are no masking agents or chemicals in this. It’s 100% biodegradable, and halts the regrowth of harmful bacteria. It’s also free of sodium hydroxide, phosphates, ammonia and solvents.
Price: Around $12.00
Best for: Everyone! Whether you’re a chef or a homeowner, this is a much-needed product for any kitchen.
It’s not surprising that a bathroom is a home to some serious bacteria. In fact, the average toilet can contain more than 34,000 units of bacteria – ew! That’s why I try to keep my bathroom area as clean and safe for my family as possible. Using natural cleaning products, of course!
Mrs. Meyers has created an effective and powerful toilet cleaning formula which works to freshen up any toilet bowl while removing gross stains at the same time. The biodegradable toilet bowl cleaner is made with essential oils and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients.
Fully cruelty free and vegan, the cleaner is free from phthalates, chlorine, formaldehyde, harsh mineral acids and artificial colours. Safe to use, and it will leave your throne smelling of garden-fresh lavender.
Price: Around $7.00
Best for: Keeping the smelliest room in the house smelling glorious all day long.
Hate cleaning your bathroom? Natural cleaning brand elmkind makes it easy to tackle the dirt and grime that accumulates in your bathtubs and showers, leaving them shiny and smelling like zesty fruits!
Elmkind’s Grapefruit & Palmarosa Bathroom Cleaner uses organic essential oils for its fresh scent. Unlike most cleaning products, all elmkind’s ingredients are clearly labelled, so you know exactly what’s in their products.
This cleaner is suitable for use all over your bathroom. Simply spritz and wipe down, leaving your throne fit for a Queen! Poor 100ml into your all-purpose cleaner bottle and top it up with filtered water. Then get your shake on for 5 seconds, and you’re ready to get to work cleaning your bathroom.
Price: Around $12.00
Best for: Those who love a gorgeously, naturally scented bathroom
There all kinds of pesky areas that require cleaning in our homes, from windows and mirrors to floors and furniture. These products below are ideal, all round natural cleaning products you should always have on hand!
This family ran business combines biodegradable ingredients to create simple, modern and effective eco cleaning and laundry products.
With zero dyes, harsh chemicals and zero plastic, this brand is hoping to encourage less waste by using glass bottles that can be refilled easily!
They sell everything from washing up liquid to bathroom cleaner and fabric conditioner. And once your product has run out, they offer affordable plastic-free refills as an easy way to top them out without repurchasing plastic. Of course, all products contain no harsh chemicals, are biodegradable, cruelty-free and vegan.
Price: Around $24
Best for: Those looking to overhaul their entire cleaning routine; all surfaces and needs.
This is the perfect kit for all your housekeeping needs! It contains three refillable glass bottles and three cleaning tabs which are used to make their Allthings, Baththings and Shinythings products.
Their formulations have been developed to clean each area of your home properly, and they’re really easy to make. Simply drop a tab into lukewarm water and wait for it to mix together to create your cleaning product. They even do an affordable monthly subscription for their tablets, so you’ll never be without.
Allthings will clean surfaces such as quartz, stainless steel, tiles, laminates, stone, granite, marble and sealed wood. Bathings is targeted for shower trays, bathtubs, sinks and taps. Shinythings is perfect for glass, mirrors, reflective surfaces and anything you want to see your reflection in!
Price: Around $37 for the starter back
Best for: Those who love the convenience of natural cleaning products delivered to their door.
Dr. Bronner’s has been a brand we’ve used for years in my household! One of their best natural cleaning products I totally swear by is their Sal Suds.
You may think on first look that it’s a soap, but it’s actually a concentrated hard-surface all-purpose cleaner that is perfect for general household cleaning. It cleans and rinses with exceptional power, yet is mild and gentle on skin.
Whether you’re looking to clean dishes, floors or laundry, this will do the trick! It’s a truly multifunctional product that every household should have on hand.
Sal Suds is made with plant-based surfactants and natural fir needle and spruce essential oils. There are zero synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives. It’s 100% cruelty-free and it will biodegrade rapidly after doing its job.
Price: Around $25.00
Best for: Everything and everyone! Every household should use this multi-functional, holy grail of a product!
Handmade in the UK with non-toxic ingredients, Clean Living’s glass cleaner is one of their best selling products. I’m not surprised! I’ve been using this for weeks now, and my mirrors and windows have never gleamed so much.
This natural glass cleaner effortlessly dissolves grease, lifts dirt and leaves my glossy surfaces streak-free, with shine.
The reusable aluminium container is a godsend when it comes to cutting back on plastic, and it’s super handy because you can just buy reusable sachets of the glass cleaner once you’re empty. This eco-friendly window cleaner works brilliantly on a range of surfaces in your home, such as mirrors, tiles and other high gloss surfaces that are in need of a little sparkle.
Price: Around $12.00
Best for: Bringing the gleam back into shiny objects
Wanting to ditch plastic, as well as use more natural cleaning products? The greenUp subscription box is delivered to your doorstep six times a year. Each box is specially curated for you to redesign one area of your life without plastic.
One of their boxes we love the most is their Clean Home Box. It’s the perfect way to turn your spring cleaning into a plastic-free work of art, reviving life back into your home minus all those pesky chemicals! In the box are a bunch of natural cleaning products, including Meliora laundry stain stick – the perfect way to rid stains from clothing – and TruEarth laundry detergent strips – a dissolvable strip of detergent that you just toss in the wash.
Price: Around $12.00
Best for: Those wanting to overhaul their whole home can do so with this monthly subscription.
Main image credit: livesimply.me