Are you looking to keep your home clean without harsh chemicals? Here’s the lowdown on safe and sustainable cleaning products that really do the trick. It’s all about finding the best products for you and the environment.

Decoding ‘Natural’ and What to Avoid

The word ‘natural’ on a label might look good, but it doesn’t always mean much. Samara Geller from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says that ‘natural’ products can still pack a bunch of hazardous chemicals. The same goes for terms like eco-friendly and plant-based. Instead, look for the USDA organic seal, which means something.

Molecular toxicologist Rhea Mehta, Ph.D., warns against ingredients like 1,4-dioxanes, ethylene oxides, ammonium chlorides, and fragrances that can cause health issues. Geller also suggests steering clear of bleach, hydrochloric acid, boric acid, borates, and VOCs. The key takeaway? Read those ingredient lists carefully.

Finding the Right Products

In the U.S., companies aren’t required to list all ingredients, but some states are pushing for more transparency. Look for third-party certifications like Green Seal, USDA Organic, and Safer Choice to help guide you.

EWG’s Healthy Cleaning Guide is a handy tool to check the safety rating of a product’s ingredients. Also, keep in mind that natural ingredients are often better for the environment, especially for products like laundry detergents that end up in the water system.

Top Picks for Healthy Cleaning Products

Here are some of the best cleaning products that are both safe and effective:

  • Best All-Purpose: Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner, BioKleen (any product)
  • Eco-Friendly Pick: BioKleen All Purpose Concentrate
  • Best for the Bathroom: Bon Ami
  • Best Smelling: Just add 100% natural essential oils
  • Budget-Friendly: BioKleen All Purpose Cleaner (buy one gallon on Amazon)
  • Best Cleaning Wipes: Seventh Generation wipes

DIY Cleaning Recipes

For a more hands-on approach, try these DIY recipes:

  • For Windows and Glass: Mix distilled water and white vinegar equally, with optional 4-5 drops lemon essential oil.
  • For Granite and Marble: Use washing soda, Castile soap, distilled water, and optional essential oils.

Using Natural Cleaners Effectively

Always read the directions before using any product. Essential oils are highly concentrated and some people are allergic to some plants. Natural cleaners usually have a shelf life of about two years. Store them at room temperature and away from children and heat sources. And even with safe products, it’s a good idea to ventilate the area while cleaning.

And remember, never mix different cleaners. You can keep your home spotlessly clean and chemical-free with the right products and know-how!