Green Cleaning: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

By Sanda Brown

Eco-friendly cleaning products can keep your home clean and your family safe from harsh chemicals.

Photo: GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

Nobody likes cleaning, but we all have to do it. If you want to keep your home both clean and green, plenty of eco-friendly cleaning products are available for most any chore. But how do you know what you are getting is actually eco-friendly? This helpful guide demystifies what the terms on green cleaning supplies’ product labels actually mean. Then use our list of top eco-friendly cleaning products for every project to help you find what you need to get your new home sparkling.


What Do the Terms Mean?

Cleaning products can boast many claims on their labels that make them seem safe and eco-friendly. Wading through the jargon at the store is overwhelming, and you can still end up buying a product that can trigger allergies, asthma and skin irritation.

Nontoxic: Almost every single product used in the home has nontoxic proudly slapped on the label. This claim is almost meaningless as it only implies the product will not cause bodily harm.

If you care about using eco-friendly and safe cleaning products in your home, look for cleaning supplies that have more to offer than a nontoxic claim on the label.

Natural: Natural is another common label claim that is almost meaningless. It is not the same as organic and can still include harmful ingredients, even if most of them are not petroleum based. Check the ingredients to see if “natural” cleaning supplies will work for you.

USDA Organic: The U.S. government certifies all USDA Organic seals. Certified products have ingredients grown without almost any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, food additives or artificial hormones.

Buying USDA Organic products allows you to support sustainable agriculture and use plant-based products that were not grown with the use of harsh chemicals.

Fair Trade: Fair Trade Certified seals mean one or more ingredients in the product were produced and traded in accordance with Fair Trade USA’s standards to ensure farmers and workers have a safe work environment and get paid fair wages, while protecting the environment.

If you care about empowering workers or global humanitarian projects, cleaning products with Fair Trade Certified seals help you support these sustainable projects while you shop.

Non-GMO Project Verified: The Non-GMO seal is one of the most meaningful markers to look for on a label. This seal indicates that none of the ingredients in your cleaning product have been genetically modified. If you want to support farmers who avoid growing genetically modified plants, keep an eye out for products that have this seal.

Paraben-free: Parabens are cheap chemical preservatives used in almost every type of cleaning product. Products with parabens can cause allergic reactions, increase sensitivity to allergens and harm the immune system.

Paraben-free cleaning products do not have this potentially harmful synthetic preservative, but they will have other preservatives. Make sure you read the ingredient list and choose products that use natural preservatives instead of another synthetic option.

Phosphates: These chemicals used to be common in products like laundry and dishwasher detergents. Phosphates are an irritant and cause harmful algae blooms when discharged into the ocean. While many states ban phosphates, some products still have them, so keep your eyes peeled for a phosphate-free label.

Sulfite-free: Sulfites are a detergent commonly added to products to create a lather or bubbling effect when used. Sulfites can cause skin and eye irritation, so buying sulfite-free products makes cleaning less unpleasant.

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Even when you know what the labels mean, you still have to wade through a litany of products that take up space in the store and claim to be green. HomLuv has curated a list of the top 10 affordable cleaning products to keep your home clean and your life green:

1. Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps


These amazing 18-in-1 liquid soaps smell amazing and clean almost everything in your home. Dr. Bronner’s practically magic soap has been around since the 1960s and only uses organic and fair-trade ingredients.

 
2. Ecos Stain Cleaners 


Ecos, a family-owned and -operated company, has natural and organic pet cleaners and stain removers, so you can clean up after any mess your children or furry family members make. Ecos produces its products in carbon neutral plants, powered by 100 percent renewable energy. 


3. Green Works Compostable Wipes 


Along with making green toilet cleaners, Green Works makes compostable wipes that you can use to keep any surface clean, without feeling guilty about wasting paper towels. The cleaning solution is plant-based and uses no harsh chemicals. 


4. Puracy Natural Carpet Shampoo


If you want to deep clean your carpet but don’t want to scrub harmful chemicals into your favorite rug, Puracy Natural’s carpet shampoo is the product for you. Puracy Natural products are made in the USA and feature local artist on all their packaging. 


5. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent 


Keep your favorite dishes and the earth clean with Seventh Generation’s green dishwasher detergent. Seventh Generation has been in business for over 30 years and has other plant-based cleaning products for the rest of your home. 


6. Ecover Toilet Cleaner 


Nobody likes thinking about cleaning the toilet, but someone has to do it. Ecover’s green toilet cleaner gives you a green alternative to bleach, eliminates stains and mineral deposits, and keeps the toilet fresh and sparkling clean. 


7. Grab Green Lavender Laundry Detergent 


There are scentless laundry detergent options, but if you like your clothing to have a hint of fragrance, Grab Green’s 3-in-1 detergent has just the right amount of scent, without a laundry list of harsh chemicals.


8. Baking Soda and Vinegar  


If you want an eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner for surfaces that need scrubbing and you’re not afraid of DIY products, mix some white vinegar with baking soda to make a foaming past that removes stains and deodorizes. 

 
9. Mrs. Meyer’s Glass Cleaner 


Make your windows and mirrors sparkle with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Glass Cleaner. Free of ammonia, phosphates, chlorine and petroleum, this glass cleaner uses a sustainable plant-based formula that is up to the job without nasty chemicals. 


10. Bon Ami Powder Cleanser 


Bon Ami Powder Cleanser is a fantastic multipurpose cleanser that is biodegradable thanks to its phosphate- and chlorine-free formula.

nlc author image

After graduating in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English, Sanda Brown became a content writer. At Builders Digital Experience (BDX), Sanda helps write and edit articles on HomLuv.com and NewHomeSource.com, writes website copy for builders, and manages a team of freelancers that work on additional content needs.

Related Articles