There are literally hundreds of household cleaners on the market and it can be difficult to look in depth at each of them. In the search for the best all natural cleaners, it would be helpful to have some sort of grading system or maybe a simple app that would do the work for us. After all, who has time to read every label? And, of course, there’s the fact that the government doesn’t require companies to include many of the toxic ingredients found in our common household cleaners on their label. So how are we supposed to make the move toward greener, all natural household cleaners without having to do all the time-consuming work? Well, luckily there actually is a grading system as well as apps to cut through the grease and grime (pun intended) of finding the natural cleaners that will allow us to reduce toxins in our home.
The Report Card On Natural Cleaning Products
Just like when we were back in school, there is an A through F grading system, courtesy of The Environmental Working Group (EWG) that can help us find the natural cleaning products that are safest for our homes. The EWG website grades the cleaning products for us and takes the guesswork out of finding eco-friendly cleaning products that meet our standards. There are a number of things that can be determined about a cleaning product on the EWG website. You can see the exact ingredients in a product and whether those ingredients are toxic. There is a group of products that have been awarded the distinction of being labeled “green products” by the site and you will be able to see if your product falls into that category. The EWG also tells you how forthcoming a company is with their ingredient list or if they choose to omit it from their label. According to their website, the fewest number of products were graded with either an “A” or “B” while the vast majority received a measly “D”. Sadly, the number of cleaning products receiving a failing grade didn’t fall far behind those “D” grades. The products that pass with flying colors and receive an A are the least toxic and therefor the safest for use in your home. Conversely, those that received a big fat F should be avoided because of their high toxicity levels.
The Natural Cleaner A-List
Only 59 of over 500 all-purpose cleaners received an “A” according to the EWG rating system. The EWG website gives a detailed explanation of how they grade the cleaning products. The following is a list of the “dean’s list” cleaning products.
- Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster & Household Cleaner
- Aspen All Purpose Cleaner
- AspenClean All-in-One Concentrate
- AspenClean Glass Cleaner
- AspenClean SuperScrub Powder
- Attitude All Purpose Eco Cleaner
- Attitude Little Ones Toy & Surface Cleaner, Fragrance Free
- Attitude Window & Mirror Eco Cleaner
- Aussan Natural all-purpose cleaner
- Aussan Natural nursery all-purpose cleaner
- Babyganics All Purpose Surface Wipes, Fragrance Free
- Biokleen All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate
- Bon Ami Powder Cleanser
- BuggyLOVE Organic Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Sweet Orange Scent
- BuggyLOVE Organic Stroller Frame & Accessory Cleaner, Sweet Orange Scent
- Citra Solv Citra-Solv Citra Clear Window & Glass Cleaner
- Concrobium Mold Control
- Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap Baby Mild
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap, Baby Unscented
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap, Eucaluptus, Lavender, Tea Tree
- Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner
- Earth Friendly Products Orange Plus All Purpose Everyday Cleaner
- Eco-Me Scrub Cleanser, Emily
- Ecover Cream Scrub
- Fit Organic Cleaner and Degreaser
- Green Shield Organic All-Purpose Cleaner Degreaser, Fresh
- Green Shield Organic Biodegradable Surface Wipes, Fresh
- Green Shield Organic Glass Cleaner, Fresh
- Heinz Vinegar Distilled White Vinegar
- iGOZEN Everyday Cleaner
- Imus GTC Greening The Cleaning All Purpose Cleaner, Citrus Sage
- Lion Bear Naked Soap Co. Every Thing Cleaner, Rosemary-Lavender
- Lion Bear Naked Soap Co. Nuttin But Suds, Unscented
- MamaSuds All Purpose Cleaner
- MamaSuds Castile Soap
- Murchison-Hume Premium Glass Polish, Fragrance Free
- Ology Glass Cleaner
- Oology Pure Castile Soap, Peppermint
- Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner, Green Tea & Lime
- Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lemongrass Citrus
- Simple Green Naturals Glass & Surface Care, Rosemary Mint
- Sun & Earth All Purpose Cleaner, Light Citrus
- Sun & Earth Glass Cleaner, Light Citrus
- Truce All-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate Refills, Peppermint
- Truce All-Purpose Cleaner, Peppermint
- Whole Foods Market all-purpose cleaner, citrus
- Whole Foods Market all-purpose concentrated cleaner, pine
- Whole Foods Market glass cleaner, unscented
- Whole Foods Market green MISSION Organic All-Purpose Spray Cleaner & Degreaser, Lemon Zest
- Whole Foods Market green MISSION Surface Cleaning Wipes, Minty Fresh
I am personally a huge fan of all Dr. Bronner’s products, in particular, the mint castille soap. It is worthwhile to note that there wasn’t a single oven cleaner that received an “A”. In fact, every oven cleaner rated by the EWG received either a “D” or an “F”.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products…There’s An App For That!
While there still isn’t an app that will do the cleaning for us, there are apps out there that will help determine the safety of your cleaning product. Take for example the cleverly named “Think Dirty” app. where you simply scan the bar code on your cleaning product and it is rated on a scale of 1-10. Each product is rated for three categories under the “Dirty meter” for Carcinogenicity, Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity, and Allergies & Immunotoxicities. Products that receive a 0-2 are labeled Neutral, those with a 3-6 are considered Half N’ Half, and the Dirty cleaning products are in the red with a 7-10. Products are then assigned an overall rating and the best scenerio is that your cleaning product is “in the green” with an overall rating of 2 or below. So what happens if your cleaning product falls short? This app will suggest products that are intended for the same job but have a much better rating in terms of overall safety. You then have the option to click on that product for buying options.
Natural Cleaning Products From Scratch
If you’re still skeptical about the labels and have some extra time on your hands, you can always make your natural cleaning products from scratch. Most of the highly rated concoctions out there contain vinegar, baking soda, water, and sometimes a high quality Castille soap such as Dr. Bronner’s. Below is a common natural all-purpose cleaner recipe.
All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use as you would your traditional all-purpose cleaner.
Obviously, it is more time-consuming to make your own products but this method not only removes dirt and grime, but it also removes the worry. There are a wealth of recipes out there, including ones that add essential oils for a fresh, clean scent.
Clean and Green Without The Guesswork
Hmm…maybe it’s not so challenging to “Go Green” after all. There are plenty of resources out there to evaluate the cleaning products you are using and to help you choose more natural and eco friendly products if yours don’t quite make the grade. Tap into the many available resources to clean green without the stress. With comprehensive websites for an in depth analysis of our cleaning products we can gain a full understanding of our product safety. The ease of an app allows us to get a quick snapshot of a cleaning products toxicity while offering less toxic alternatives. The information is out there, which allows us to make more eco-friendly choices with the ease of clicking a button.