14 Non-Toxic Cleaning Brands For Your Home

August 2, 2023

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I'm Madeleine!

I’m the girlfriend you text when you’re scratching your head reading labels in the grocery store, the confidante you blurt your “I can’t tell anyone else!” bathroom shenanigans to and the handy science nerd who comes through with the best cost-cutting, time-saving health tips you don’t know how you ever lived without.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Did you know the cleaning products we use to keep our home spotless and germ-free are often packed with hazardous chemicals? Chemicals that are both harmful to our health and our environment. Finding products that are both non-toxic and eco-friendly that actually work can sometimes be a bit of a trial and error. To help make things easier for you, I’ve not only listed more than 14 non-toxic cleaning brands but explored the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting (because yes, there is a difference and it does matter!).

Deciphering Ingredient Labels

I don’t know about you when but when I flip a cleaning bottle over to read the ingredients (if they’re even listed) I feel like a kindergartner learning to read for the first time, stuttering as I read through letters that create words such as “butoxydiglycol,” which can be found in products such as Lysol’s Bathroom Cleaner.

Pronunciation aside (because there are non-toxic chemicals I can’t pronounce either, ha), many of the ingredients found in most commercial cleaning products can be pretty hazardous. Take butoxydiglycol, for example, a solvent cleaning agent that can be found in household cleaners and degreasers (it’s particularly good at removing soap scum). This chemical was banned by the EU at concentrations above 3% in aerosol cleaners as it’s been proven to irritate and inflame human lungs.

Another ingredient you might come across in household cleaners is 2-Butoxyethanol. This substance, which is used as a solvent, is toxic if inhaled, harmful if swallowed, and can cause serious eye and skin irritation. You’re likely to find 2-Butoxyethanol in products such as Lysol Bathroom Cleaner Sprays, Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Foamer, etc.

You can read more how harmful cleaning chemicals impact your health here.

What ingredients should I be avoiding and how can I avoid them?

It’s hard for consumers to know exactly what ingredients are being used in our cleaning products and what the labels actually mean. To better assist us, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Working Group have compiled a thorough list of safer cleaning products that we should be using.

Look for EPA’s “Safer Choice” approved products here or EWG’s safer cleaning products here. You can also search the EPA’s Safer Choice Ingredients List.

Not sure how to decode the labels on your cleaning products? Check out EWG’s Decoding the Labels.

Do non-toxic cleaning brands work?

This was something I struggled with for a while. My concern was that the non-toxic products I bought, or the DIY all-purpose cleaners I was making, weren’t going to work as well as the harsh chemical sprays I was used to using.

The reality is when it comes to keeping your home clean on a day to day basis, antibacterial and harsh cleansers are usually unnecessary. Or as experts shared here, “you don’t need weapons of mass disinfection to keep your home clean.” Of course I am not saying that these cleaners aren’t effective, they are. But, they’re often not necessary.

In order to better understand this I had to do some digging. 

What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfecting & sanitizing?

Knowing the difference will help you select which cleaning products to use and when.

So let’s define them.

Here’s how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines them.

Cleaning: removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects (doesn’t necessarily kill them). Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Sanitizing: lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting: kills germs on surfaces or objects (inactivates 99.999% of germs). This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

For instance, you want to clean/sanitize countertops before and after food preparation and clean eating utensils and/or kids’ toys after use. But you should use disinfectant on high-risk areas that collect lots of germs, such as doorknobs, cabinet handles, areas exposed to feces, etc.

So what does this mean?

When it comes to your day-to-day cleaning and sanitizing in your home (I am not referring to hospitals here) you most likely don’t need to use harsh chemicals. This is where eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaners are extremely useful.

A simple all-purpose cleaner will effectively and beautifully wash your mirrors, windows, counter tops, floors, etc. Yes, you might need to use a bit more elbow grease while cleaning your tub with non-toxic cleaners but at least you know you’re not inhaling toxic fumes, polluting the waterways, or harming your kids.

NOTE: This is not to say that all-natural cleaners are completely non-toxic. Essential oils used in certain “green” cleaners can equally be irritating to skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract. Just because it’s labeled “all-natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe to ingest.

What to be on the lookout for: 

According to the EPA when it comes to choosing safer cleaning products you should look for the following:

  • Products that are third-party certified.
  • The signal word Warning rather than danger on the label.
  • Non-aerosol.
  • Fragrance-free and dye-free.
  • All ingredients listed on the label or a website.
  • No overwhelming chemical odor.

When choosing safer disinfectants look for the following: 

  • EPA registration number.
  • 0 rating on the Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) health rating scale.
  • The signal word Caution or Warning rather than Danger on the product label.
  • Hospital-grade classification (this is a requirement of child care licensing agencies in most states).
  • Short dwell time or the time the disinfectant must be left visibly wet on the surface.

What ingredients do you want to avoid?
Some of the most common ingredients to avoid/be on the lookout for include nonylphenol ethoxylates (look for “nonylphen” or “nonoxynol” within the ingredient name) and 2-butoxyethanol, butoxydiglycol, ethylene- or diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, diethylene glycol monomethyl ether or methoxydiglycol, Artificial Dyes, Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Undisclosed Fragrance/Perfume, Benzophenone, Dimethicone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, and Methylisothiazolinone.

Cleaning Tips

  1. Always clean before you disinfect! Soil and grease interfere with any disinfectant’s germ-killing abilities.
  2. Keep an old toothbrush to scrub the counter and those hard-to-clean tile corners.
  3. Consider investing in a microfiber cloth. These are not only reusable but, according to the EPA, help to remove organic matter (dirt, oils, grease) as well as germs (up to 99%) from surfaces. (Note: it does create micro-plastics in the wash — we will talk about how to avoid that next week).
  4. If you want to use a sponge, microwave it for two minutes every day (make sure your sponge is wet and doesn’t contain any metal), or put it in the dishwasher every time you run it.

Also recommend you check out EWGs Safer Cleaning Supplies For Your Home Tip Sheet while you’re at it. Full of helpful tips as you transition to a more “natural” cleaning routine.

14 Non-Toxic Cleaning Brands

1. Aspen Clean

Doing Good:

  • Family owned 
  • 100% Ingredient Transparency, 
  • scented only with organic essential oils
  • Biodegradable, 
  • recyclable and plastic-free packaging 
  • received an A-rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
  • Septic tank-safe 
  • EcoCert® certified – guarantees products are organic and ensures the genuine practice of environmental respect throughout the formulation and manufacturing of products.

Products: Laundry Detergent, Dish Detergents & Soaps, All Purpose Cleaners, Microfiber Cloths, Concentrates and Refills, Tub & Tile Cleaners

2. Common Good

Doing Good:

  • Refill option
  • recyclable packaging
  • Closed-loop program for plastic liners! 
  • Carbon neutral shipping via Route’s Package Protection
  • Palm oil is certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. 
  • 100% ingredient transparency

Products: Glass cleaner, all-purpose, bathroom cleaner, laundry detergent, dish soap, dishwasher tablets, personal care 

3. Dr Bronner’s 

Doing Good:

  • Just introduced Pure-Castile Liquid Soap Refill Carton to replace their PCR bottles. The Soap Refill Carton is packaged in an FSC-certified paper carton with minimal plastic & aluminum lining for shelf stability. They can be recycled anywhere paper milk cartons are accepted.
  • Regenerative Organic Certified, USDA Organic Certified, Fair Trade Certified
  • Only use the purest organic and fair trade ingredients 
  • No synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives.
  • 100% ingredient transparency

Products: Soaps, Biodegradable cleaner, hair care, sanitizers, + chocolate and regenerative coconut oil

4. Molly’s Suds

Doing Good:

  • Certified Cruelty-Free by Leaping Bunny (since 2011) 
  • Natural fragrances derived from natural plant essences and oils. 
  • Safer Choice and ISO-9235 compliant
  • free of petrochemicals, solvents, dyes, and pesticides
  • Palm oil is certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. 
  • Pouches made of recycled #7 plastic and use non-toxic inks.
  • 100% Ingredient transparency

Products: Dishwasher pods, dish soap, sink cleaner, all purpose cleaner, stain solutions, laundry detergent, and accessories

5. Public Goods

Doing Good:

  • Compostable packaging
  • Refill option
  • Organic ingredients 
  • Bottles made from 100% recycled, post-consumer plastic.
  • Every shipment is carbon offset + plant a tree for every order placed.
  • Give back and donations programs include Eden Reforestation and St. Mary’s Food Bank and Community Food Bank

Products: Surface cleaner, dish soap, multi-surface cleaner, glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner

6. Puracy

Doing Good:

  • Plant-based natural ingredients 
  • Products are biodegradable
  • Recyclable bottles are recyclable
  • Refill option for most products (recyclable pouches & cans)
  • Charity donation with every sale
  • Made in USA
  • Hand-drawn artwork on each bottle supports local artists
  • 100% ingredient transparency
  • Offers a disinfecting spray – Puracy’s Disinfectant Surface Cleaner is EPA-listed and CDC-approved.

Products: Hand soap, dish soap, surface cleaner concentrate, carpet & upholstery shampoo, disinfectant surface cleaner, body and baby products

7. Blueland

Doing Good:

  • Compostable paper-based packaging for refill
  • recyclable packaging box
  • Climate neutral certified 
  • B-Corp 
  • EPA safer choice
  • Made Safe Certified, EWG Verified, and Cradle to cradle certified 
  • Refill option
  • Make your own cleaner with water and tablets. 

Products: Laundry, skincare, dish soap, glass spray, bathroom spray, and accessories 

8. Clean Cult

Doing Good:

  • All products are free from harsh chemicals⁠
  • Paper-based box refills⁠ using FSC certified paper
  • Refill boxes are 100% recyclable. 
  • Plastic Neutral Certified 
  • 90% less plastic than ordinary single-use plastic packaging⁠
  • 100% ingredient transparency

Products:  Dish soap, bar soap, dishwasher tablets refill, liquid hand soap, liquid laundry refill

9. Rebel Green

Doing Good:

  • B-Corp certified and women-owned
  • Give back programs 
  • Plant-based ingredients and use essential oils as fragrance
  • No synthetic dyes 
  • Recyclable packaging 

Products: Laundry detergent, all-purpose spray, dish soap, tub and tile cleaner, glass spray, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent sheets, fruit & veggie cleaner

10. Branch Basics

Doing Good:

  • Products made from plant and mineral based natural ingredients
  • Fragrance-free 
  • Made Safe Certified
  • EWG Verified 
  • Family-Owned 

Products: concentrate multi-purpose cleaner, oxygen boost, laundry 

11. Forces of Nature

Doing Good:

  • Powerful multi-purpose cleaner that replaces kitchen, bathroom, glass, toilet, floor and rug cleaners, sanitizers, disinfectants, bleach and deodorizers!
  • Evaluated by 3rd party independent labs for cleaning performance, ingredient safety, and environmental impact 
  • Green Seal Certified and carbon neutral certified by ClimatePartner 
  • The only disinfectant and cleaner to earn the Clean Label Project Purity Award
  • Force of Nature is a federal EPA registered medical-grade disinfectant and sanitizer!
  • no dyes, fragrances, preservatives, surfactants, bleach, alcohol, quats, hydrogen peroxide or any other harmful chemicals. 
  • Force of Nature is the first product that allows you to make electrolyzed water at home, right on your countertop.

Products: powerful multi-purpose cleaner, electrolyzer appliance, reusable glass bottle, recyclable activator capsules

12. Attitude

Doing Good:

  • EWG verified
  • ECOLOGO® Certified. The seal indicates household and personal care products have undergone rigorous scientific testing and/or exhaustive auditing to comply with stringent, third-party environmental performance standards. 
  • Refill option
  • Made with essential oils and natural origin ingredients.

Products: All purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, dishwashing liquid/tablets, laundry detergent, air purifiers

13. Koala Eco

Doing Good:

  • Made in the USA with Australian Essential Oils.
  • Bottles are recycled, recyclable and reusable
  • Donate to the charity One Percent for the Planet 
  • Support WWF Australia’s Partners in Purpose program which aims to rehabilitate and restore wildlife and habitats, and future-proof Australia against climate disasters.
  • 100% Ingredient transparency 
  • No synthetic fragrance 
  • Products are independently lab tested
  • Australian Certified Toxic-Free
  • Independently certified by Safe Cosmetics Australia Made Safe guidelines

Products: Multi-purpose bathroom cleaner, multi-purpose kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, dish soap, fruit & veggie wash, body wash, dog wash, and accessories

14. Pure

Doing Good:

  • Made Safe Certified
  • Refill Option
  • hypo-allergenic, free from dyes and perfumes
  • 100% ingredient transparency

Products: Multipurpose cleaner, hand soap, dish soap

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