One day 12 years ago, I found myself on my knees, scrubbing the walls of my house. It was during the nesting phase of my pregnancy that I realized how much smoke had an effect on me. Back then, non-toxic cleaning products weren’t as readily available as they are now, but from that point on, I’ve been on a mission to find chemical-free cleaners that are safe for my kids and for the environment. Sometimes that also means you have to ditch the good vinegar and soda bicarb.
But thankfully, brands are finally catching up to consumer demand, and the market for “clean” cleaning products is booming. Awareness and education about the health effects of harmful chemicals have also led us to choose cleaner beauty products and non-toxic cookware. But with so many brands to choose from, which would you buy?
Before that, we shared some of our favorite non-toxic cleaning products that actually work (including a brand that five of our editors use!) along with the chemicals you use. should stay away!
image of Kristen Kilpatrick
If you’re ready to swap to cleaning products, it’s time to get rid of harmful chemicals once and for all. That means anything with components like:
Methylisothiazolinone, ammonia, butyl cellosolve/glycol ether, parabens, phosphates, synthetic fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, 1-4 Dioxane, fragrance, dye, synthetic foaming agent, unnatural preservative, water softener, pH regulator, formaldehyde, bleach, artificial color and buffer.
Just like your food or beauty ingredient list, always do your research. Look up the names of ingredients you’re not sure about, keep a list of those you want to avoid in your phone’s notes app, and usually (but not always) have as few ingredients listed as possible.
When possible, choose fragrance-free or all-natural organic products. Instead, look for essential oils that are on the ingredient list for fragrance (but choose not to use them at all if you’re sensitive to fragrances). Use simple soaps and detergents with short ingredient lists, and avoid antibacterial products with triclosan for home use.
White vinegar is always a great choice for general cleaning, and can also replace your dryer’s fabric softener or linens — or your wool dryer’s shade of choice. (Biokleen Laundry Oxygen Bleach Plus uses the power of hydrogen peroxide to remove stains from your clothes and carpets.)
Tea tree oil is also another great antifungal, antibacterial alternative to chemical disinfectants. In fact, if you’re looking for an effective all-purpose germ-killing cleaner, simply add a few drops of tea tree oil and a tablespoon of vinegar to a little water (optionally add your favorite essential oils to help with the cleaning process). fragrance), then Mix it all together in a spray bottle and start cleaning!
For stubborn surfaces like the bathroom, sink or stovetop, I always go for Bon Ami unscented powder. It’s made from natural ingredients like ground feldspar and baking soda with no added bleach, chlorine, dyes or fragrances. It also won’t scratch the surface, which is very important when you have white surfaces like mine! Also, a good tip for cleaning toilet bowls, mix some vinegar with Borax powder.
Read on for more healthy swaps…
If you’ve switched, let us know in the comments what’s your favorite non-toxic cleaning product!
This post was originally published on January 20, 2021, and has since been updated.