If you factor in the post-pandemic rise in environmental awareness of the existing Green Movement, it’s easy to see why the demand for environmentally-friendly ways to live life is growing. More and more people want to give Mother Earth the helping hand she needs, be it by driving an electric car or switching to reusable straws. If you’re searching for an easy and effective way to play your part, try switching out chemical-filled cleaners with plant-based, natural cleaning products.
Previously, we’ve written about ways to go entirely plastic-free in the bathroom, and natural cleaning products can also help make your everyday habits more eco-friendly. The best natural cleaning products and plant-based cleaners offer homeowners a more environmentally-friendly way to perform chores without the need for harsh, destructive chemicals — or do they? Well, yes. For the most part, switching to natural cleaners is a step in the right direction. But be warned, it is a path filled with meaningless marketing speak and several clever tricks from product manufacturers to convince you that the product you’re buying is different from what you had before, when it may not be.
To help you find worthwhile natural cleaning products, which are more friendly to the environment, we’ll first show you what to look out for and avoid before providing you with a carefully selected range of natural cleaning products that deserve a place in your kitchen cupboards.
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What Is a Natural Cleaning Product?
First, we have to talk about the elephant in the room — what does “natural” mean in this context? To pick the best natural cleaning products, we need to understand the marketing jargon which accompanies them. The truth is, there’s no regulation that would stop companies from marketing their products as “natural,” which is why there are so many so-called natural products.
Search the internet for “natural products,” and you’ll be inundated with thousands of products, each proclaiming how much better for the environment it is than their chemical-filled competitors. Expect words like “natural” and “biodegradable” thrown around at will.
One of the biggest problems in this situation is that, technically, companies may not be lying. “Natural” is a word widely open to interpretation, so printing it on the side of a cleaning product isn’t something that requires much thought. For example, it’s perfectly correct to say plastic is made from natural materials. Another good example is “biodegradable” plastic bags. Yes, they are biodegradable, but what is an appropriate amount of time for them to degrade?
As we mentioned above, a second problem with this category is non-existant regulation. The most commonly used terms, such as “natural” and “biodegradable,” don’t have to go through any regulator to be printed on a bottle. The result is that trusting these words alone can lead to misinformed purchases.
So what’s the conclusion? You have to define “natural” for yourself. For our purposes, we’re looking for plant-based cleaners that use ingredients found in nature. We also looked for companies that have generally environmentally friendly practices or environmental certifications.
1. Method All-Purpose Cleaner Spray
For an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner for your home, it’s hard to beat this Method All-Purpose Cleaner Spray. The versatile cleaning product is great for wiping away grease and grime on counters, tiles, stone and most non-porous surfaces. The bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic. The cleaner also features an appealing scent of bergamot, purple sage and chamomile. In addition, the biodegradable spray boasts more than 7,000 five-star ratings from Amazon users who love what it can do.
2. BLUELAND Clean Home Kit
What’s great about the BLUELAND Clean Home Kit is that it includes everything you need to start a collection of natural cleaning products. The three-cleaner set comes with three reusable bottles and accompanying tablet refills which can be added to create the various products. Add warm water to the bottle, put a tablet in, let it dissolve and then start cleaning. This set has a bathroom cleaner, a multi-surface cleaner and a foaming hand soap. Our product reviewers have tested Blueland cleaners and laundry detergent, and it’s a great brand for eco-conscious consumers.
Related: Our Editors’ Favorite Eco-Friendly Cleaners
3. Biokleen Bac-Out Stain Remover
BEST FOR PET STAINS
If you live with an accident-prone pet or particularly clumsy partner, this Biokleen Bac-Out Stain Remover could be the godsend you’ve been looking for. This plant-based cleaner tackles stains and odors using bio-enzymatic action, breaking them down in the process. It’s excellent for food, dirt, wine, pet mess and other stains on a wide range of surfaces, such as carpet, furniture and laundry. Additionally, the USA-made remover is free of artificial fragrances, dyes, phosphates, chlorine and ammonia.
4. Aunt Fannie’s All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar
Aunt Fannie’s All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar is an excellent option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly and versatile cleaning agent. The extra-strength formula has a 6% acidity and can be used to neutralize odors and remove grime from a range of surfaces. Once applied to any wood, metal, plastic or stone, the vinegar removes dirt and doesn’t leave any residue or need wiping away. This is an excellent option for homes with pets and/or kids.
5. Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray
BEST FOR HARDWOOD
Bona’s Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray is a tried-and-tested answer to cleaning and restoring a natural shine to hardwood flooring. The spray, backed by over 6,000 five-star ratings, comes in unscented, rosemary and cedar wood scents. It’s made from water-based and biodegradable ingredients that clean without leaving residue. The spray is also ready to use from the bottle, dries quickly and is Safer Choice certified, meaning it’s better for the environment and safer for use around your family and pets.
6. Krud Kutter Original Cleaner Spray
BEST FOR DEGREASING
If you’re looking for a natural cleaning product to deal with kitchen, bathroom and other household grease, stains and general crud, this Krud Kutter Original Cleaner Spray could be your answer. The spray is both non-toxic and biodegradable and comes in an easy-spray bottle for greater accuracy and easier distribution. This earth-friendly cleaning product can be used on grime, grease, oil, tar, wax and other tough-to-shift stains.
7. Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner
BEST FOR TOILETS
No one likes cleaning toilets, so ensuring you have a reliable toilet cleaner to complete the task as quickly and efficiently as possible makes sense. We suggest investing in this Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner. This popular cleaning product is made from renewable and plant-based ingredients that freshen and decalcify the dirt and grime build-up in your toilet bowl. Apply the cleaner before brushing and flushing your toilet. In addition, the bottle is recyclable and made from plant plastic.
8. Method Glass Cleaner
BEST GLASS CLEANER
Switching to a natural glass cleaner is an easy first step to creating an all-natural arsenal of cleaning products. This Method Glass Cleaner delivers noticeable cleaning power, which won’t leave streaks or stank behind after you’ve wiped it clear. It’s great for general window dirt, hand prints and other attention-stealing stains. Additionally, the cleaner features a minty fragrance to ensure it’s not just your eyes that enjoy the results of this effective glass cleaner.
9. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner
Thanks to its ability to clean floors, dishes and laundry, the Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner has to rank as one of the most versatile cleaning products on our list. It uses a balanced formula that fights grease and dirt without dyes, fragrances or preservatives. The cleaner has also not been tested on animals and uses fir and spruce essential oils to create an appealing scent to constantly remind you how clean your home is.
10. Bon Ami Powder Cleanser
The Bon Ami Powder Cleanser is another popular multi-surface product used to clean, absorb odors and polish. The powder sports a hypoallergenic formula that is free of chlorine, perfume and dyes and safe for use in kitchens and around your family. It works great on various surfaces, such as ceramic, chrome, stainless steel and copper, meaning it can cover most bathroom, kitchen and cookware cleaning needs.
11. Tide Purclean Natural Laundry Detergent
If you’re serious about switching to natural cleaning products, a plant-based laundry detergent should be included. Tide’s Purclean Natural Laundry Detergent ticks all the right boxes and even comes in an eco-box that uses 50% less plastic than standard plastic packaging. This EPA Safer Choice product uses 100% renewable energy and only features plant-based ingredients in its makeup. Additionally, the concentrated detergent uses less water but still maintains the impressive cleaning power of Tide.
12. Ecover Naturally Derived Liquid Dish Soap
BEST DISH SOAP
With its plant-free ingredients and biodegradable formula, the Ecover Naturally Derived Liquid Dish Soap is an easy way to clean your dishes in an environmentally friendly way. You can choose between fragrance-free or lemon and geranium scents as the soap gets to work cutting through grease on your dirty dishes. Furthermore, the bottle is made from recycled plastic and Plantplastic.
Read More: Mother Nature Knows: The Best Natural Soaps for Sensitive Skin
Why Choose Natural Cleaning Products?
There are several good reasons to switch to plant-based cleaning products in your home. They include:
- Less Environmental Harm: The best natural and plant-based cleaning products feature ingredient lists free of harmful and toxic ingredients. This means that once you’re done cleaning your home, washing them down the drain has less impact on the environment than their chemical-laden kin.
- Friendlier to Skin: Natural cleaning products are an excellent option for homeowners with particularly sensitive skin. They are less likely to cause unpleasant redness or irritation and require less worry when used in family or pet-filled environments.
- Cost Effectiveness: If you’re looking to save money on your natural cleaning products, it’s possible to make your own. Plus, there’s a good chance you already have a lot of natural ingredients in your kitchen cupboards. These homemade cleaning products are quick to produce and can save you money in the long run.
How We Chose the Best Natural Cleaning Products
As mentioned above, finding genuinely natural, biodegradable and trustworthy cleaning products can be troublesome. That’s why we did it for you. To ensure you can trust us, here are the selection criteria we used to find the products which made it onto the list:
- Trustworthy Ingredients: We have inspected the ingredient list of each product to ensure it contains naturally derived, non-toxic and safe ingredients.
- Recommendations, Testing and Certifications – Where possible, the products included on the list come with the backing or approval of organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Environmental Working Group (EWG) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). We also checked that they aren’t tested on animals.
- Ratings & Reviews: It’s pointless having the world’s most environmentally friendly cleaning product if it’s incapable of cleaning. For this reason, we checked the product’s accompanying reviews and ratings to ensure they do the job they’re supposed to do.
- Manufacturer Reputation: Several of the products included on our list are made by manufacturers with established and respected reputations.
Below you’ll find our top 12 picks for the best plant-based cleaners available online. We’ve tried to include a natural cleaning product for every household chore, meaning harsh, chemical-filled cleaners can become a thing of the past.
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