Sharing my favorite natural cleaning products with you today. I've had a lot of people recently ask what I use to clean my house with. It may be because spring is here, and spring cleaning is looming over everyone's head. I must say I'm a clean freak by nature. Ask my family, they'll tell you-I can be a little OCD! Oh well, my house is clean. The spring cleaning bug has definitely bit me. I've been de-cluttering our place like crazy! My motto: If it doesn't serve a purpose, toss it. Let's just say I've given away loads of “stuff” these past several weeks and it feels so good.
In the spirit of cleaning, I thought I would share with you my top natural cleaning products. Everything from laundry soap, window cleaner, bleach alternative…well, you get the point. I've compiled this list after over 7 years of testing out natural DIY's, products and everything in between. I finally feel my list meets my standards and is worth sharing. I mean do you know how many laundry soaps I've tried in 7 years?! I think I know every DIY recipe out there. I literally changed mine every couple of months.
I have a full list of all my favorites when it comes to cleaning. Below is a list of products you can find from reading this post- it's chockfull of it all!
Natural Product Swaps-
- Bleach Alternative
- Natural Laundry Detergent
- Window/Mirror Cleaners
- Dish Soap
- Dishwasher Tabs
- Countertop Cleaner
- Bathroom Cleaner
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Natural Dryer Sheet Alternative
- Stainless Steel Cleaner
- Laundry Stain Remover
- Natural Scour Pads
- Natural Hand Soap
What's Really Lurking In Conventional Cleaning Products?
The sad reality is that we use cleaning products to clean our house but then when we are done they leave behind air pollution and poisons. These are products people use day in and day out and often don't think twice about. The toxic load they put on the body is downright scary. Not too mention the accumulative affect they have when used over and over. I'm sure you've experienced initial affects from using conventional cleaning products, such as being light headed, getting a chemical burn or having watery eyes. However, those are minor in comparison to the long term affects associated with consistent use of conventional cleaning products. Cancer being one of the major downsides to constant exposure of toxic cleaning products.
Ingredients To Avoid In Cleaning Products:
- Perchloroethylene or “PERC”
- Sodium Hydroxide
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”
Parabens- (This includes methyl-, propyl- ethyl-,butyl-) This is an ingredient we see often in beauty products but it's also found in cleaning products. It's a hormone disruptor also known as endocrine disruptor. Been known to cause reproductive problems too. Has been found in breast cancer tumors, may cause male infertility and early puberty.
Triclosan- Drying of the skin, skin irritant and has been linked to eczema. Endocrine disruptor and has been found to have 1, 4 dioxane, again cancer causing. Can be found in laundry detergents, hand soaps, dish soaps- anything that gets super sudsy. Avoid any soaps that use the word “antibacterial” on them. They more than likely contain triclosan if they have antibacterial on the label.
Ammonia- Irritation of the eyes, skin and throat. Also can burn the skin when it comes in to contact with it. Excessive exposure may lead to liver and kidney damage. Can be found in bathroom, floor, carpet, glass, upholstery and stain cleaners.
Perchlorethylene of “PERC”- Causes dizziness, headaches, nausea, skin irritations and respiratory issues. Long term effects are neurological problems, liver and kidney damage and cancer. Found in dry cleaning, wood solvents, cleaning solvents, aerosol products and carpet cleaners.
Phthalates- These are found in products that contain fragrance. So many cleaning products contain fragrance. From all purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, air fresheners, laundry detergent and dryer sheets. They cause hormone disruption, and reproductive issues in males and females.
Sodium Hydroxide- Found in many solvents and cleaners. From oven cleaners to drain cleaners. It can cause burning in the eye, throat and skin.
Chlorine- Bad for the lungs, has been linked to thyroid issues, skin irritations, and linked to dementia in the elderly. Can be found in many disinfectant cleaning products. Chlorine bleach and ammonia are big toxic culprits when it comes to cleaning products. They should not be mixed together. If mixed they form chloramine gases which are toxic to the lungs
Bleach- Found in laundry products, toilet cleaners, many whitening cleaning products, and used as a disinfectant too. Causes skin irritations, respiratory issues, liver and kidney damage. Cannot be mixed with other cleaning products as it can cause serious chemical reactions.
Phenols- These are found in any cleaner that has the word “sol” in it. From solvents, to air fresheners, detergents, flame retardants and disinfectants. Can cause liver and kidney damage, as well as skin irritations and central nervous system damage.
Fragrance- Fragrance is also a huge offender when it comes to conventional cleaning products. Companies try and mask the scent by using artificial fragrance. Artificial fragrance is a recipe for a toxic chemical cocktail. Since fragrance is considered a “trade secret by the FDA, companies don't have to share what's in their fragrance. All they have to do is list the word fragrance on a label. So you have no idea what's actually in a product when you see the word fragrance. As mentioned earlier, phthalates are found in fragrance- another toxic offender.
This is an exert taken from The EWG article, “Not So Sexy.”–
“The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.”
Half the products now are loaded with so much fragrance to mask their smell that it practically knocks you off your feet! Artificial fragrance, in my opinion, is one of the worst things-I can smell it a mile away. Have you ever walked into someone's house and the first thought was someone must have been cleaning because the scent is so intense? I know I have. That's artificial fragrance at work.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”- These are found in many disinfectant products. They are meant to kill germs. A lot of people think these are necessary for everyday use but they aren't. Unless you plan on doing something intense like a medical surgery, you don't need these for everyday use. They are lung and skin irritants, have shown to cause reproductive problems, and birth defects in mice. These also create superbugs which end up being resistant to other cleaning products and antibiotics.
Something to keep in mind. The cleaning products are bioaccumulative in nature. Since these are chemicals we use all the time, they build up over time. That's where the real danger comes in as long term affects are not something you want to be dealing with. Isn't it odd that the very products we use to clean our houses with end up causing us more harm than good in the long run? It's time to swap out the cleaning products and save yourself from toxic chemical exposure.
So I've compiled my complete natural cleaning product guide. I'm sharing what I use and what works when it comes to natural products. Trust me, you won't even miss your old stuff!
Natural Cleaning Products
I wanted to give a brief introduction about e-cloth before I continue sharing their products. The basis of e-cloth is that it offers a chemical free cleaning experience using only water. It does this through micro fiber technology, proprietary equipment, and manufacturing techniques. *Also, with many companies on the market offering similar microfiber cloths and products, learn why I chose e-cloth here.
e-cloth Glass & Polishing Cloth– Kitchen/Windows/Mirrors
This cloth has been another winner from e-cloth. One side is more grainy and perfect for getting rid of residue, while the other side is smooth for polishing. Both sides remove 99% of bacteria just using water-I love it! I just spray some water onto the stainless steel, then use the grainy side to remove any residue(make sure you go in the direction of your grain so you don't scratch anything). Then I would use the smooth side to polish. It did clean my stainless steel well, but it didn't leave it sparkling like I wanted. I contacted e-cloth and asked what the solution might be to get the “sparkle” effect.
They recommended the Glass and Polishing Cloth. So I got that, gave it a try, and bam-my stainless steel sparkled like new! The best part is it not only works for shining up stainless steel, but also for cleaning windows and mirrors. I would spray a little water onto my window or mirror and wipe away. No streaky residue. Are you hearing me people?! There was absolutely no chemical used to clean my stainless steel, windows or mirrors! Let's just say I struck gold. I also used the Stainless Steel Cloth to clean my granite counters, and my countertops never shined brighter. I highly recommend these two products. They tackle so many cleaning jobs with no chemicals. Plus, no paper towel was wasted, just wash and re-use! Get E-Cloth 2 Glass & Polishing Cloth.
Thieves Household Cleaner
I've been loving this all purpose cleaner. I use it for my countertops, floors, bathrooms, dusting- really anything! I love that it not only gets things shiny but actually is disinfecting them as well. It makes everything smell fresh and clean too. You get a bottle of the concentrate and then make your spray. It has lasted me so long! I still have half the bottle left and I use it for everything. I bought the bottle in February and it's now May. Check it out here!
I've had this mop for over a year and a half and it's been awesome. I used to have a Shark steam mop. It pushes out really hot steam that cleans your floors. However, I learned that steam can actually get under your wood floors and get moldy. I then was on the hunt for something else and found the Deep Clean Mop.
This mop uses a microfiber cloth to clean the floors. It attached to the mop with velcro. You just get the microfiber cloth wet and then it cleans your floors getting rid of 99% of the bacteria. It is so easy to use! I just throw it in the washer after use. I also will spray some Branch Basics All Purpose Cleaner on the floor as I mop for added benefit. My floors look clean and feel clean! Get it here!
These really work and are clean! They are fragrance free which I love and are so easy to use. Just add one tab to the dishwasher and that's it. My dishes come out clean and streak free. Plus, as I mentioned they're super clean- chlorine free, dye free, phosphate free. Made with plant-based mineral ingredients and biodegradable. Get the Ecover Naturally Derived Automatic Dishwasher Tablets!
Simple Dish Soap Recipe from Live Simply Blog–
This dish soap recipe is my fave! It's so easy to make-literally takes a minute, it's so effective, and it's toxin free! Plus, you're going to save a ton of money, since you're not buying it pre-made. The recipe uses Sal Suds from Dr. Bronner's and love it. I also use it for cleaning my floors sometimes when I want a little soap. For the full dish soap recipe head to Live Simply's Blog here!
Branch Basics All In One Cleaning Kit-
I can't recommend Branch Basics enough if you're looking for an all in one cleaning kit to purchase to swap all your toxic cleaning products over to natural ones. They make it so easy! You buy this kit here and then you have one cleaning solution you use to make each bottle of cleaner. You add water and the solution to make each cleaning solution. From window cleaner, all purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner and even foaming hand soap. Plus they also have a product called an Oxygen Boost. This can be used to add a little extra grit to heavily soiled laundry, clean tile and grout, get out stains and add a little grit when cleaning bathrooms. Once you've used up the solution you just order more solution instead of more bottles. Saving on plastic and waste in the long run. Check out Branch Basics here!
A couple thoughts on natural laundry detergent. I've found different water can effect how well a natural laundry detergent works. Just keep that in mind. Also, if you're used to using conventional detergents that have so much fragrance in them it knocks you over, be warned that these will NOT be the same. Your clothes might not even smell fresh to you for the first few times because you're used to synthetic fragrances.
Synthetic fragrance is so strong and can mask a multitude of things. But here's the thing- it's completely unnatural and you're going to have to retrain yourself when it comes to what smells fresh and clean. So don't give up! Give it time. If you really want some more “smell” to your clothes. Add some pure essential oil drops to some wools dryer balls and add them to your dryer. I'm so used to not having synthetic fragrance around that I can smell it a mile away. Just be aware and don't throw in the towel. You may just need to retrain your nose to what real scent is! Check out my blog post on artificial fragrance and perfume here- it will make you realize you don't want to be near synthetic fragrance in anyway.
ECOS OXO Brite-
I love using this for getting toilets white and removing stains from tile. I mix a little with water to form a paste and add it on. I leave it for a while and then come back and scrub it off. I also add it to laundry loads to keep things extra fresh. Works especially great for laundry that is extra soiled. It's my new favorite cleaning product! It's the natural alternative to Oxi Clean I tell people. Get it here!
EcoNuts Liquid Laundry Detergent-
This is my newest laundry detergent find! It uses soap nuts to clean your clothes. Not related to a nut at all but a berry tree. Instead of leaving it in berry form they make a liquid that's more concentrated. I love that it's in a pump form. I just pump a few pumps into my washer and I'm good to go. It gives my clothes a clean, fresh smell- even towels! Plus, you can get it on Amazon. Check it out here!
Pure Natural Laundry Detergent-
This one is also great! My clothes feel clean but don't feel like they have a build up on them. My hubs approved too! Really good at getting rid of odors. The company even recommends soaking clothes too for tough stains or smells. They also get their cleaning action from the soap berry. This laundry detergent was actually created by a family that had children that were allergic to conventional detergents. They created Pure as a solution! It's especially great for sensitive skin. You can even find it on Amazon. Get it here!
Greenshield Organic Laundry Detergent-
I love how easy this is to use. It feels like a conventional detergent without all the questionable ingredients. This also uses soap berries as the cleaning agent. Great for sensitive skin. They have a free and clear version, a lavender version, and even a baby version. My clothes feel clean and fresh. They also feel soft! I want to try their other cleaning products too. Get it here!
I love this detergent! It really works and is completely natural-what more could you ask for? I love the whole concept of using soap nuts. For one they aren’t nuts, but are actually a berry from a tree, how much more natural can you get?! They’re a sustainable resource and grown organically easily, they’re great for sensitive skin, and hypoallergenic. Not to mention they’re 100% bio-degradeable, and completely safe for water systems. If you’re not sold yet, they actually use less water than conventional detergent, are safe for front loading washers, and they cost less per load too. They’re just a pretty amazing little berry!! How does it actually clean your clothes? It takes the saponin contained in the husk of the natural berry, and uses that to wash and get rid of dirt. Yes, even my husband’s stinky workout clothes smell good! My clothes smell fresh, not artificial and they are clean. I’m addicted to this stuff and almost out- it really is some good stuff. Buy it here!
Thieves Laundry Detergent-
I've fallen hard for this laundry detergent! It works so well. I had my eye on it for a while and kept putting it off because of the price tag. It retails for around $40 for 32 oz. I knew that wouldn't last me long. But then my friend filled me in on a secret. You actually dilute the formula into three 32 oz containers! Which had me sold. I can't recommend this enough if you've been searching for a natural laundry detergent that gets your clothes smelling fresh and clean. It gets all the grubby clothes, plus my hubs workout clothes smelling so good. They use enzymes and the power of Thieves essential oil to clean the clothes. Get it here! Also, I am not a sales rep for them but my friend Steph Duford is. She introduced me to Young Living and so if you do buy it, please buy it from her! Her # is 22470440. Thank you!
I like Molly's Suds but sometimes after a couple months I feel like I need to switch up my laundry detergent and use something else. It feels like my clothes or towels are getting a residue. It could just be me and the water where I live. But just wanted to be honest about my thoughts. I do think they're great! Nice to have a powder option especially for travel. They even have a liquid now too! I haven't tried it but will update when I have. Check it out here!
Molly Sud's Oxygen Whitener-
I really love their Whitener! It works well. The key is to leave your items to soak for a bit. The longer you can leave them soaking in the whitener the better from my experience. This has removed yellow stains from white shirts in the underarm area. It also has removed skincare stains from my white pillow case and freshened my white sheets. Get it! Check it out here!
Puracy Laundry Stain Remover-
This is hands down the best stain remover I've ever found! It works so well. At the end of the day my kid's clothes can look pretty gnarly. This keeps them in tip top shape. I spray it on, let it sit for an hour and then use some water to scrub and get the stain out. As good as new! If you don't want to wait for the stain remover to set in, no problem. I've often just sprayed it on and rubbed it in the stain. It takes a little more elbow grease sometimes but comes out! I've also used this on my carpet and it works great too.
I've had people ask me about the ingredients before because EWG doesn't rate it as good. Remember EWG is a computer system and can't take into consideration all of the things. This is something they missed. Read it here. Get the stain remover on Amazon here!
Wool Dryer Balls-
Say goodbye to fabric softener and fabric sheets. Literally one of the worst things you can use in your house! Filled with toxic chemicals that lead to depression, central nervous system disorder, headaches, dizziness and vomiting. Check out Dr. Axe's full article here on the dangers of fabric sheets and fabric softeners. If you want your clothes to be static free and have a fresh smell, add some wool dryer balls to your dryer. Add a few drops off essential oil to each wool dryer ball. I like Branch Basics Wool Dryer Balls here!
Natural Scour Pads-
Scrub brushes and scour pads can really load up on germs quick. Most people don't change out their scrub brush or pad. The germs and bacteria can build up over time, even parasites. My friend Steph from @stephdufordlifestyle shared with me a tip that she does and I've been hooked ever since! You buy a large pack of natural scour pads. Then cut them up into 6 or 8 squares each. Then just use one new square for each day and throw away the old one at the end of the day. Then it's not harboring bacteria but you're also not going through a sponge a day.
She uses a new one for each meal even. She has multiple allergies in her house so this is not only for sanitation but also safety purposes. I don't have any family allergies so I just use one square per day. I get these Scotch Brite Natural Scour pads. I buy them in a package from Amazon. The scour pads are made from 50% agave plant and packaging is 100% recycled. I used to buy the Twist scour pads but I can't seem to find them in bulk anymore. So I've resorted to the Scotch Brite Natural Scour pads for now since they come in a pack of 12. I don't have to buy them for several months after. Get them here!
I LOVE this hand soap! Best organic, natural hand soap I’ve tried…hands down. I've struggled with finding a hand soap. It either wasn’t pure, or didn’t foam. This baby does it all, and has the best ingredients. Not to mention, it doesn’t dry out my hands! Everyone needs this in your kitchen and bathroom…trust me. They have them in several scents-they all smell good! Buy it here!
I've also picked up a few other natural cleaning product tips and some DIY's if that's our thing!
- Cleaning Microfiber Cloths– I get a separate set of microfiber cloths from Amazon in a pack of 12 or 15 just for cleaning the bathrooms and dusting. I get a different color so I have a set for the kitchen and for bathrooms. Helps keep things more streamlined and then I'm not using the bathroom cloths for the kitchen. Check out the cloths I get here!
- Bleach alternative- I found this recipe on the blog Live Simply. Check out Kristin's blog-it's awesome! She has so many great DIY recipes and they actually work. This one is gold! You just mix hydrogen peroxide, washing soda and hot water. I can't take any credit for it though. I've just used it for everything and I'm here to say it works. I typically soak my stuff overnight, not that you need too, I just forget I'm soaking things sometimes…opps! I've found it works best for things when done right away. Don't wait a month, and then decide you want to whiten something…know what I mean? I had these white tea towels that hadn't ever been whitened, needless to say they were in bad shape. However, they did turn out pretty white with a good soaking…but just get on the soaking asap just for good measure.
- Use the same towels for cleaning each time so there is no need for paper towels. I don't buy paper towels. However, sometimes there are seasons where my hubs pleads with me to buy some. Usually it's when we have a baby. Sometimes convenience wins out. I buy Seventh Generation's recycled paper towels and only allow 1 roll per week. We actually make it longer than a week most of the time. Typically we use these reusable microfiber cloths from Amazon here! Really good deal for a pack of them.
- Here's a recipe for liquid dish soap I like from the blog Mommypotamus, she really knows her stuff and this one is tried and true, and not full of the nasties.
- Here's a recipe for dishwasher detergent from the blog Pins and Procrastinations. I've tried a ton of these recipes, and this one has seemed to work the best as far a DIY version.
Ok, that's a wrap for my natural cleaning product faves! I want to hear from you guys! What do you use? Leave me a comment!
If you liked this post on natural cleaning products, check out past posts below: