Keeping your house clean and sanitized is essential, probably even more so due to Covid-19, especially during cold and flu season when germs run wild. We all have our favorite cleaning products that we turn to for different surfaces and situations. However, many cleaners on the market contain harmful ingredients that can be hazardous to your health and the environment. We came up with a list of natural cleaning products you can use instead that are easily available at your local store if you’re unsure about safer options.
To better care for yourself, your family, and the environment, you can switch out some of your favorite products for natural cleaning products that don’t contain harsh chemicals. Many of the natural cleaning products we list below are plant-based, so if you get some on your hands or your child comes in contact with it, they won’t be exposed to poison.
Natural Cleaning Products
1. Floor Cleaner
Swap: Pine-Sol -> For: Grove Co. Floor Cleaner Concentrate
Pine-Sol has several fragrances that many people are sensitive to, such as hexyl cinnamal, found naturally in chamomile oil. It also has C10-12 alcohol ethoxylates which, even though it can be formulated as non-irritating, is still a strong chemical that could affect a person’s digestive or nervous systems.1,2,3
Floor Cleaner Concentrate by Grove Co. is 96% plant-based. Different scents are made with natural fragrances or a Free & Clear cleaner, which is fragrance-free. It’s free of phosphates and harsh chemicals and is biodegradable.
2. Multi-Surface Cleaner
Swap: Formula 409 Multi-Surface Cleaner -> For: Mrs. Meyers Multi-Surface Cleaner Concentrate
Formula 409 is a kitchen cleaner staple for many households. The active ingredient in this cleaner is Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride, which is toxic if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes, inhaled or swallowed.4,5
Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Cleaner Concentrate is free of harsh chemicals. It is made with all-natural and biodegradable ingredients like lemon peel oil and fir leaf oil, making it safe to use on all non-porous surfaces in your home.
3. Toilet Cleaner
Swap: Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner -> For: Seventh Generation Natural Toilet Cleaner
The active ingredient of Lysol toilet cleaner is hydrogen chloride. It is a chemical that can irritate the skin, nose, eyes, and throat. This cleaner comes with a poison warning and should be used with caution. It generally isn’t safe around children or pets.6,7
Seventh Generation toilet cleaner is much safer to use. It is plant-based and free of harmful chemicals, using various plant oils like balsam fir, lime, and cypress. The formula is biodegradable, safe for the septic tank, and has no synthetic fragrances or bleach.8
4. Dishwasher Pods
Swap: Cascade Platinum Action Pacs -> For: Mrs. Meyer’s Automatic Dish Pacs
Cascade dishwasher pods contain some chemicals, too. While they have some plant-based oils, they also have artificial fragrances like dimethyl-7-octen-2-ol as a citrus oil alternative. Some of the product’s chemicals are potentially harmful, like the metal protectant benzotriazole, which can be harmful if swallowed, inhaled, or encounters your eyes.9,10
When it comes to Mrs. Meyer’s dishwasher tabs, they can be used safely in any dishwasher. They are made with all-natural fragrances and without animal derivative ingredients.
5. Bathroom Cleaner
Swap: Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer Disinfecting Spray -> For: Method Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner
The active ingredient in Scrubbing Bubbles is sodium hypochlorite. This is concentrated bleach which can be irritating and corrosive to the skin and cause eye damage.11,12
Method’s products are always BPA-free and paraben-free. This natural bathroom cleaning product is antibacterial without harsh chemicals. It includes a natural fragrance; its only active ingredient is citric acid. It kills bacteria that cause flu, staph, and even E. coli.
Swap: Easy Off Degreaser -> For: Method Heavy Duty Degreaser
Sodium hydroxide is the main ingredient of the Easy Off Degreaser, typically used to clean the inside of your oven. This ingredient is a chemical solvent that can be harmful to your skin and cause eye damage.13,14
The main ingredient of the degreaser made by Method is cetyl betaine, of which there is a concern for skin allergic reactions and irritation. However, it and other ingredients in the degreaser are of plant or mineral origin, making it a safer alternative.15
Swap: Clorox Bleach -> For: Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Bleach
We all know about the warning labels when it comes to chlorine bleach. It must be used cautiously as it is highly flammable and toxic if it meets your skin or is swallowed. Clorox also has a strong odor that can be overwhelming when used in small spaces, even when diluted with water.16,17
Seventh Generation created a natural bleach cleaning product that doesn’t use chlorine. It is also free of fragrances, dyes, and phosphates. It also has hydrogen peroxide as a safer whitening agent.
8. Dish Soap
Swap: Dawn Dish Soap -> For: Puracy Natural Dish Soap
Dawn dish soap is a popular household name. Its active ingredient is a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate. It is a common ingredient used as a foaming agent in cleaning products and some cosmetics. Although not technically harmful, it is not organic or biodegradable.18,19
Made with natural fragrance and citric acid, Puracy soaps are safe for dishes and the skin. It is made with plant-based ingredients, and the formula is biodegradable.20
9. Laundry Detergent
Swap: Tide Detergent -> For: Dropps Ultra Concentrated Detergent
Laundry detergents like Tide contain lauryl sulfates like Dawn, used as chemical foaming agents. Many varieties of these soaps also contain artificial fragrances, which can sometimes irritate the skin.19,21,22
Dropps detergent is a natural cleaning product with plant-based ingredients like glycerin, balsam fir needle oil, and various enzymes that are safe for you and the environment.23
10. Disinfecting Wipes
Swap: Clorox Wipes -> For: Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar Wipes
Dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride is the active ingredient in popular disinfecting wipes like Clorox. It is toxic if ingested, highly irritating, and corrosive if it comes into contact with the skin.24,25
Aunt Fannie’s wipes are plant-based, hypoallergenic, and alcohol-free. They are lightly scented with natural essential oils; distilled white vinegar is the main cleaning ingredient. This product kills germs and can cut through tough messes.
11. Stain Remover
Swap: Resolve Spot and Stain Remover -> For: Puracy Free & Clear Natural Stain Remover
One of the active ingredients of Resolve stain remover is tetrasodium iminodisuccinate. It acts as a washing agent in industrial cleaners. Even though it’s not toxic, it is still not a natural ingredient.26,27
Puracy stain remover is a natural cleaning product with plant enzymes that break down and remove stubborn stains that are old or new. It’s free of bleach, chemicals, and sulfates.
12. Disinfectant Spray
Swap: Lysol Disinfectant Spray -> For: Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray
Lysol spray contains the flammable ingredient butane and ethanolamine, which makes certain soaps. It is thick and smells like ammonia. The active ingredient that kills germs and bacteria is benzalkonium chloride, a surfactant and a skin and eye irritant.28,29,30
Seventh Generation disinfectant spray’s active ingredient is thymol, which kills 99.9% of germs. It comes from thyme oil, a botanical oil made from a natural herb with low risk to people.31
You can do many things to protect the environment and keep the people closest to you healthy. It can start simply by switching out some of the harmful cleaning products in your home for safer, eco-friendly natural cleaning products that won’t make you sick.
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