A Search for Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Earth Day can be everyday and it can be easy to live a non-toxic lifestyle. Not only is recycling and reusing products important for our planet but also knowing what’s in our products can make a difference in our health. After my second diagnosis with breast cancer, I started investigating what might advance cancer and found a ton of information on toxic chemicals in our beauty and household cleansing products. I made quick changes and continue to investigate new products to see what works and what doesn’t. Now that I’ve spent the past few years paying more attention to the ingredients in my cleaning products and making sure they are non-toxic, it’s become second nature.

I actually was surprised. As an avid Whole Foods shopper, I often grabbed well-known brands like Method. After scouring the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning database and reading many of the suggested links, I came up with these general conclusions to help guide my future shopping trips.

A search for non-toxic cleaning products

Findings for Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

5. All natural isn’t necessarily good:

Just because a product says all natural, free or clear, it could still have tons of toxins that irritate allergies, promote cancer cells and are horrible for the environment. My favorite cleansers such as Method products and ALL Free and Clear laundry pods, scored horribly. Look for labels that say, “petroleum-free,” “biodegradable,” “phosphate-free,” “VOC-free,” and “solvent-free.”

4. Fragrances are bad:

From laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaners, fragrances and perfumes often promote skin irritation, allergies and possibly nervous system and respiratory effects. Try opening the windows or using baking soda in an open box (for small areas) to reduce smells.

3. Brands that consistently scored well:

(Most received an “A.” This equals a low level of allergens, mostly non-toxic and free of harsh chemicals)

  • Green Shield Organics: Their fabric softeners, laundry detergents, dishwasher detergents, dishwasher automatic packs, all-purpose cleaners and bathroom cleaners consistently received “A’s.” This brand is easy to find at a Whole Foods or health food market, too.
  • Seventh Generation: My runner-up brand for laundry detergent, dishwasher pods and toilet bowl cleaners is Seventh Generation. About half of their products scored well. I will check out the database before I buy other products. (I’m not as concerned about the allergens as I am carcinogens or toxic chemicals.)
  • Branch Basics: Branch Basics creates multi-purpose concentrates that are simple, affordable and sustainable. All their products are plant and mineral based and free of harmful preservatives.
A few surprises:

I should note that a few conventional brands seen in traditional shopping stores that scored well include: Martha Stewart Clean and Oxy Clean Baby. They both received high marks overall, mostly non-toxic for most products.

2. Making household cleaners can be easy, cheap and very low in toxicity:
  • White distilled vinegar: Put an equal ratio of water with white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and use as an all-purpose cleaner for the countertops, showers and wood floors.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice can be utilized to dissolve hard water deposits and soap scum.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda can be used as a non-abrasive cleaner and air freshener.
1. Clean the Air – Use Air Filters:

The quality of air we breathe is important for our overall health. Clean air can also lead to a number of benefits including increased energy, better blood circulation and a stronger immune system. Without an air purifier, many homes harbor dust and germs that lead to allergies and other health problems. Air purifiers help remove dust, bacteria, mold and more. I use The PURE COMPANY Large Room True HEPA Air PurifierIt’s a true HEPA filter with 360-degree air intake and filtration. It’s air quality sensor constantly monitors the air and self-adjusts (especially when I burn vegetables it cranks up to remove odor and filter the smokey air.) It also has an aromatherapy feature if I feel like adding essential oils.

There are also plants that can help filter the air:

  • Crysanthemums remove ammonia and other toxins though only purify if the plant is blooming
  • Kimberly Queen fern removes formaldehyde and is considered a natural humidifier.
  • Gerbera daisies are ideal for removing toxic gases.

To see us in action, check out our WTNH-TV Wellness Wednesday segment on non-toxic spring cleaning. 

What are your favorite house cleansers? If so, please comment.

Some of my favorite non-toxic cleaning products for 2019:



This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a commission with no costs to you. I pro-actively try various products and then affiliate myself with these items that I already use and love.


  1. Ann Dunne

    This is one area that I struggle with sometimes. I use almost all of the Seventh Generation products now and still try new ones from time to time. Thanks for the great info!

  2. Thanks for this! I don’t like using harsh cleaners, but I also hate to use something that I’m not sure is actually cleaning and/or disinfecting. I’ll have to try the lemon juice; I didn’t know about that one.
    Lauren recently posted…9 Self-Help Skills Your Child Should Know Before Starting Kindergarten

    • I use lemons as sponges, too. They smell good and are easy to rub on grease and then dispose. I love to make hot water and lemon in the morning, then I throw the used lemons in the sink. Have a great weekend.

  3. Great list! Other than baking soda, lemon and vinegar, I have started using thieves from YL. I love that stuff, it can clean anything! Other cleaners just give me a headache.
    Jen recently posted…Jen’s Kitchen: It’s Time To Pucker Up For Peaches!

    • I haven’t heard of thieves. What does it smell like? I love ginger oil, too. Not so much to clean, but on my body smells great.

  4. Definitely don’t buy cleaning products at TARGET if you want non-toxic! LOL! I was just there….. And they all look pretty toxic to me, LOL
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Taking On Taiwan

  5. I make my household cleaners because quite frankly, the toxins in many of the cleaners terrify me. Plus, like you mentioned some you think would be good, aren’t! I especially like your first point:
    “All natural isn’t necessarily good”.

    I love my fragrances – so I always add a couple drops of essential oils to my cleaners.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Currently… In This Moment

  6. thanks for the list and all your tips love them!! i really like green shield and seventh generation products (although my cleaning lady does not). I am going to try and make my own cleaners with essential oils… I recently made an “ant” repellent for my mom to use (cinnamon, orange, lemon, grapefruit, clove) and ants are gone!

    • I have heard that cinnamon does wonders with ants and other bugs. I still love vinegar to disinfect. Though the smell is strong, essential oils will mask it a bit. I do think that bleach is powerful and I know that many love to clean with it. Once it a while I do use it but try to keep the rest of my cleaning arsenal all natural. Have a great weekend. xoxo

  7. Wow! It’s amazing how brands use key words to make us think that certain products are better than others when in many ways they’re not. Thanks for the great info!
    Elizabeth (Rock-A-Bye Parents) recently posted…Letters To My Son – August 2015

    • Yes. Marketing is powerful. I’d like to think that companies want to promote their strengths, but sometimes it is all about targeting an audience and pitching them to use the product at any cost.

  8. What a great list! I need to check out Green Shield Organics :)
    Akaleistar recently posted…Summer Reading

  9. Nice and very neat natural cleaning guide! Congrats, really good job! I am a ”green” maniac and I like reading and searching for appropriate information. I think I’ve become a semi-chemist and a semi-biologist of reading so much scientific articles about this topic! However, I like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Also, I add sea salt and essential oils in some of my cleaning recipes. For polishing the furniture I add olive oil. Thanks for sharing! Keep up the great work!

    • Have you read any of Sophie Uliano’s books. I love her. I was reading Gorgeously Green before we moved into our new home and it was really helpful. Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by. I just wrote on our move in process and some of the “green measures” I used…I would love your thoughts knowing that you are an expert now.

  10. How did I miss this one? Thanks for this resource! I am making my own vinegar solution today!
    Kristen recently posted…Immune Boosting Smoothie Recipe

    • I use DIY cleaners all the time. For the upstairs I add lavender or peppermint essential oils so it smells better. I’m glad you enjoyed the ideas.

  11. sheila ressel

    I use vinegar and baking soda to do all of my household cleaning. It always does the job.

    • Awesome. I love to use vinegar and water to clean, as well. Do you use any essential oils with it? I love adding lemon to mine.

  12. WOW! lovely like this post. What a great review. it’s really amazing.

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