We’ve all heard of spring cleaning - but what about green cleaning?
As consumers become more tuned into greenwashing, manufacturers can no longer simply use a green color scheme, a picture of a tree, and words like “natural” or “plant-based ingredients” to convince us their product is eco-friendly.
They actually need to produce an eco-friendly product!
NEWS FLASH: Most manufacturers don’t give a damn about being eco-friendly for the sake of the environment! They care about making profits and keeping shareholders happy!
Fortunately for use as eco-friendly consumers - and the planet! - the market for green cleaning products is growing so fast that manufacturers have to adapt to claim their share.
According to GlobeNewswire, “The global green cleaning products market accounted for US$ 3.9 billion in 2019 and is estimated to be US$ 11.6 billion by 2029”.
This is fantastic news on multiple fronts.
Later in this article, I’ll dive deeper into exactly what ingredients should and, more importantly, should not, go into a green cleaning product.
Before I do that, let’s look at the best eco-friendly cleaning products giving you the best green bang for your buck.
I’ve already compared the best eco-friendly laundry detergent for your washing machine, and I plan to dedicate an article to dish soap at some point soon.
So, this article will focus on more general non toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products.
They Say: Our Starter Kit has all you need to make the powerful multi-purpose cleaner that cuts through grease, grime, soap scum & sticky messes with squeaky clean, sparkling results. It kills 99.9% of germs and is on the EPA’s List N, the disinfectants approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.
Even tough odors don’t stand a chance. Our multi-tasking powerhouse replaces kitchen, bath, glass cleaners, disinfectants & deodorizers. Each bottle you make keeps its disinfecting power for 2 weeks. Light, clean scent, no added fragrances. We promise you’ll love it! 100% Happiness Guaranteed.
We Say: I thought long and hard about picking this as my overall winner.
I love a good gadget but am mindful of unnecessarily buying electronic devices and adding to the growing issue of e-waste.
After weighing up the pros and cons, I decided this is definitely an eco-friendly cleaning product.
Not only that...it’s an eco-friendly cleaning product that cleans incredibly well at a fraction of the cost of some of its rivals (excluding the initial starter kit cost). Allow me to explain.
The initial cost of this product is high for a cleaning product because you’re buying a device that turns tap water into an anti-bacterial all-purpose cleaner.
Wait! What? HOW?!
When you add salt and vinegar to water and pass an electric charge through it, it transforms the solution into Sodium Hydroxide (for cleaning) and Hypochlorous Acid (for disinfecting).
These might sound like scary chemicals, but they’re really not. They’re safe enough to be used around children and pets.
This video explains it much better than I ever could.
I was initially skeptical, but the cleaning solution produced is incredibly effective all around the home.
The starter kit comes with enough capsules to make five 12oz bottles of cleaner.
Once you’ve run out, you can simply reorder more capsules, costing less than $1 each.
No single-use bottles. No shipping bulky bottles of cleaning liquid that are mainly just water. This reduces costs and carbon emissions.
I’ve not yet found a surface that this stuff won’t clean effectively. It even works as a mirror and glass cleaner.
One point to note, once you make a 12oz bottle of Force of Nature, you have to use it within two weeks. After which time it loses its effectiveness, and you need to dispose of it down the sink.
A light on the unit’s base tells you when two weeks have passed since you produced your last batch. This does mean keeping the unit permanently plugged in, which unnecessarily draws power, so I prefer to unplug the unit when not in use and set a reminder on my phone.
There are a few ‘recipes’ online for making your own vinegar/salt solution at home. I’ll try some of them once I’ve used up my initial five capsules and report back if successful.
It might sound too good to be true...but it really does work.
There’s a 30 day trial period, so you can test it out for yourself and return for a full refund if you’re not impressed. You’ll need to cover the cost of the return shipping.
They Say: The best natural cleaner. Cleaning supplies don’t have to be filled with chlorine bleach, ammonia, and optical brighteners to work. Behold, the best natural, cleaning alternative, our All Purpose Cleaner. This eco-friendly cleaner works fantastically on all non-porous surfaces; tile floors or walls, countertops or porcelain.
We Say: This concentrated all-purpose cleaner comes in three scent options (bergamot, tea tree, lavender) and cuts through grease and grime without the need for harsh and toxic chemicals.
I tested the tea tree variant and liked the smell. The amount of essential oil used is spot on for me. Clean and fresh, without being overpowering or artificially.
The supplied bottle is reusable so, when you run out, you can go for the refill pouch, save money, and reduce your plastic use by 86%.
They Say: Tackle dirt, grime and grease in every corner of your home with our all-purpose cleaner. This formula uses plant-powered ingredients to clean up even the toughest of residue. Powered by orange oil, one of nature’s toughest degreasers, this citrus-infused formula is a must-have for every cleaning pantry.
We Say: This EPA safer choice certified all-purpose cleaner is made in the U.S. and not tested on animals.
I’ve always loved the smell of orange, so the scent of this cleaner is definitely to my liking.
Orange has not just been chosen for its scent; it’s one of the toughest natural degreasers found in nature.
There is a list of over 500 human and environmental toxins they promise to never use in any of their products on the ECOS website. The list is ever-evolving and expanding as they research more and improve their ‘Clean Chemistry’ ideals.
ECOS is a family-run company that has been championing eco-friendly products for over 50 years. They’re carbon-neutral, zero-waste, and carbon-neutral.
In addition to purpose cleaner, they also make eco-friendly laundry products, dishwasher products, hand soap, baby care, pet care, and tree-free paper. Our pooch smells lovely after a wash with the peppermint pet shampoo.
They Say: A clean that's truly worth the (w)hype. Our plant-derived formula cleans, deodorizes, and disinfects in one step, no rinse required. Yes, even on food contact surfaces and children's toys. We know, mind: blown.
We Say: Ok. This might be a bit of a controversial one.
I appreciate that single-use disposable wipes are not the most eco-friendly options out there.
However, in this brave new world we’re living in, where we’re paranoid that viruses lurk on every surface we touch, these wipes are handy when you’re out and about, especially if you have children.
The active ingredient, Thymol, is EPA certified to kill bacteria and viruses on hard, non-porous surfaces within ten minutes. Simply wipe and allow to dry. No rinsing or additional wiping is needed, even when used on surfaces that will come into contact with food.
Great peace of mind when using a high chair at a restaurant, for example.
They Say: The Frosch neutral cleaner is an especially economical all-purpose cleaner for floors, wooden, kitchen and bath furnishings, tiles and sanitary facilities. The formula containing plant-based surfactants is kind to skin and materials even with frequent use. The pH-neutral formula is perfectly suited for washing your hands or your delicate handwashable items. It's very good skin compatibility has been dermatologically confirmed.
We Say: This is one seriously versatile all-purpose cleaner from a company that has been a leading light in the eco-friendly marketplace for over 30 years.
Frosch has been awarded EU Ecolabel Certified status thanks to numerous initiatives. A major one is that they own and operate their own water treatment plant to ensure that all water waste during the manufacturing process is treated in the most eco-friendly way possible.
As a floor cleaner is where I feel Frosch Natural pH Neutral Universal All-Purpose Cleaner excels. A small amount in a bucket of water, and our floor tiles are squeaky clean in no time.
They Say: America's original natural home cleaner. Bon Ami Powder Cleanser has been a household favorite since 1886, largely due to our effective, nontoxic formula. Feel confident using Bon Ami around family and pets. Our powder cleanser excels at cleaning everything from dried-on food to scuff marks and is gentle enough for most hard surfaces.
We Say: This absolute classic of a cleaner had to make the list. It’s been around since 1886 and still going strong.
Due to the gentle cleaning nature of the soft mineral main ingredient (feldspar), this should be your go-to cleaner when tackling delicate and shiny areas of the house (partially kitchen and bathroom fittings).
I like to think of myself as a bit of a whizz in the kitchen. However, as Mrs. M likes to point out - AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY - I can be rather messy when it comes to the state of my pots and pans (burnt on food, etc.).
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser is powerful enough to bring them back to a dazzling shine while still being gentle enough not to scratch my more delicate cookware.
There is a very good reason why this stuff has been around since 1886; it just works!
They Say: Tough on bacteria. Easy on you. Bathrooms get a bad rap. From bathroom specific stink to the potent cleaners used to combat them, it can seem like rather cheerless territory. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Eliminate dirt, germs + the accompanying odors with our antibacterial bathroom cleaner. No breath-holding necessary.
We Say: The tough germ-killing bathroom spray contains no nasty hidden ingredients. In fact, it’s made from 5% citric acid and 95% inert ingredients.
Although the least eco-friendly of all the recommendations, I’ve included the 8 x 28oz option from Amazon because, frankly, it’s a bit of a bargain.
Now. Clearly, there is an elephant in the room here in the shape of eight single-use bottles.
However, they don’t need to be single-use. You could repurpose them once empty. Maybe try out some of the tablets from Blueland, for example.
In the U.S., manufacturers of cleaning products aren’t legally required to disclose the ingredients in their products.
This has resulted in an alarming number of toxic chemicals being used in commercially available cleaning products that can negatively impact air quality and cause allergic reactions.
For the sake of your health and the health of the planet, you should try and avoid as many of these as possible.
In a previous article, I uncovered a number of the nasties found in laundry detergent (scroll down to the ‘Why Using The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Matters’, ‘Laundry Detergent Chemicals Affecting Environmental Health’, and ‘Laundry Detergent Chemicals Affecting Human Health’ sections).
There are several things I look for when choosing environmentally friendly household cleaning products, including:
The Force of Nature Starter Kit is a fantastic bit of kit that turns tap water into a multi-surface cleaner that can tackle most jobs around your home.
However, I’ve included some very credible alternatives as I know that one size does not always fit all when it comes to eco-cleaning products.
Whatever you go for, try to look for natural cleaning products using plant-based ingredients made with zero waste manufacturing methods.