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There have never been more choices when it comes to organic, natural, or eco-friendly cleaning products. Knowing which products are certified organic and which ones are just a safer alternative to traditional cleaners is often confusing. And how do you know which ones can really get the job done?
That’s where we come in. To help you choose the safest and most effective nontoxic cleaning products, we’ve put together recommendations of 13 products that fit the bill.
Because the market for USDA certified organic cleaning products is relatively small and some options can be on the pricier side, we’ve also included a few noncertified safer alternatives worthy of consideration.
To curate our list of top-rated cleaning products, we considered many criteria. Some key elements include:
- The types of ingredients in a product. We took a careful look at the ingredients used in each product to make sure they were safe, nontoxic, and naturally derived. We avoided products with ingredients that have the potential to negatively impact the health of your family or the environment.
- Top choices from reputable environmental organizations. Groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publish annual reports on organic and natural cleaning products with rankings from best to worst. We also considered cleaners certified with the Green Seal, which are greener and healthier products.
- A product’s cleaning ability. The best organic cleaning products don’t only need to be safer and less toxic to use. They also need to do a great job at cleaning. We considered how effectively different products cut through dirt, grease, soap scum, or grime.
- The opinion of cleaning experts. We spoke to cleaning experts who regularly use organic and all-natural products. We asked for their input on what ingredients to look for — and avoid — and which products they recommend.
- Awards, user reviews, and customer feedback. We considered feedback from websites that sell organic products and only considered products that had significantly more raves than complaints.
“There are many cleaning products on the market that claim to be organic, but very few have the USDA certified organic label,” says James Scott, co- founder of Dappir, a commercial and residential cleaning company.
“Usually, you’ll see [labels] like natural, all-natural, or plant-based, but these do not necessarily mean organic,” he explains.
While many of these cleaners are excellent options and are a lot safer than chemical-laden cleaning products, if they don’t carry the USDA organic label, they can’t be considered a certified organic cleaner.
If a product isn’t USDA certified organic, we have called that out in our list.
Organic cleaners often cost more than nonorganic products. Also, within the organic cleaning category, it’s not uncommon to see a wide range of prices. With that in mind, here’s how we indicate cost:
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$20
- $$$ = over $20
Greenerways Organic All-Purpose Cleaner
- Price: $$
- Key features: Greenerways Organic All-Purpose Cleaner is an excellent all-around, USDA certified organic cleaner you can use in your kitchen, bathroom, and any other place that needs a good scrub. It has the ability to cut through dirt, soap scum, and grease on many surfaces. It’s quick-drying, doesn’t leave a sticky residue, and is non-GMO verified.
- Considerations: This product has a strong scent, and the spray bottle can be prone to malfunctioning.
FIT Organic Cleaner and Degreaser
- Price: $
- Key features: Made with organic plant oils — including sunflower oil and grapefruit oil — this affordable, all-natural, multi-surface cleaner is a USDA certified organic product. It contains no GMOs and comes in a concentrated formula that makes up to 4 gallons of cleaning solution.
- Considerations: It doesn’t have a scent, and some users have found the spray mechanism breaks easily.
Go by Greenshield Organic Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Price: $
- Key features: Recommended for stainless steel, sealed countertops, tile, as well as painted or plastic surfaces, Go by Greenshield Organic gets the job done at an affordable price. Fragranced with essential oils, this USDA certified organic cleaning formula is also available in multi-surface wipes.
- Considerations: Some users report a strong, sometimes strange, scent after spraying.
Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner
- Price: $$
- Key features: “Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is a top multi-purpose cleaner pick for customers,” says Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, president of ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, an IICRC certified cleaning company. Free of synthetic dyes and preservatives, it works especially well as a hard-surface all-purpose cleaner and comes in a concentrated solution so you can dilute it for your needs.
- Considerations: While not certified organic, this product is certified “green” and earned an “A” rating from the EWG.
FIT Organic Pet Stain & Odor Remover
- Price: $$$
- Key features: For pet stains and odors, Matt Clayton, founder of PetHairPatrol.com, recommends FIT Pet Stain & Odor Remover. “It’s USDA certified organic and totally safe for your pets,” he says. The product contains no artificial perfumes, GMOs, enzymes, dyes, or phosphates. Just spray the stain remover on the stained area and blot with a dry paper towel until the stain is lifted.
- Considerations: This product works best on fresh accidents and stains. It’s also a more expensive option than many other pet stain removers.
Better Life Grease-Kicking Dish Soap
- Price: $
- Key features: Better Life Grease-Kicking dish soap has the ability to cut through grease well while still being gentle on your body and the environment. This affordable product is free of sulfates and contains vitamin E and aloe to help protect your skin.
- Considerations: While not certified organic, this all-natural product did earn an “A” rating from the EWG. This means it has few or no known health or environmental hazards, and the company has good ingredient disclosures.
Eco-Me Dish Soap
- Price: $
- Key features: Eco-Me Dish Soap is a plant-based natural dish soap that’s free of sulfates, perfumes, and harsh preservatives. Gentle on your hands, this soap is safe to use on all dishes, baby bottles, glasses, and silverware.
- Considerations: This product isn’t USDA certified organic, but is rated as a greener, healthier dish soap option on the Green Seal website.
Go by Greenshield Organic Glass Cleaner
- Price: $
- Key features: Unlike other glass cleaners that contain multiple ingredients, Go by Greenshield only has four ingredients: water, acetic acid (organic), ethyl alcohol (organic), and organic fragrance. The spray has a mild fragrance that comes from organic fresh mint. It’s USDA certified organic and is safe to use around pets and children.
- Considerations: You may need to clean glass a few times to eliminate streaks.
ECOS Window Cleaner
- Price: $
- Key features: This affordable, vinegar-based window cleaner does a great job on glass as well as on stainless steel, chrome, vinyl, and linoleum. ECOS Window Cleaner is 100-percent natural, plant-based, and is free of ammonia, phosphates, chlorine, dyes, and petroleum ingredients.
- Considerations: It has a slight vinegar scent and isn’t USDA certified organic.
Better Life Tub and Tile Cleaner
- Price: $
- Key features: Better Life Tub and Tile Cleaner is an affordable plant-based foaming cleaner and a favorite among those who prefer natural, greener cleaning products. It effectively dissolves hard water stains, soap scum, and rust on a variety of bathroom surfaces, including tile, grout, porcelain, and fixtures.
- Considerations: It’s not USDA certified organic and some people find the scent a little strong. It can’t be used on marble.
Go by Greenshield Organic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Price: $$
- Key features: Go by Greenshield Organic Toilet Bowl Cleaner is a favorite among organic cleaning experts. Free of harsh chemicals like bleach and phosphates, this pine-scented toilet bowl cleaner is effective at removing limescale and mineral deposits. It’s also USDA certified organic and is septic tank safe.
- Considerations: It has a strong smell and may need a few extra scrubs to get the toilet clean.
Better Life Naturally Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner
- Price: $
- Key features: Better Life Naturally Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner is a plant-derived floor cleaner that’s safe to use on hardwood, tile, marble, vinyl, laminate, and bamboo surfaces. The cleaner comes ready-to-use and has a pleasant minty-citrus scent. This formula is free of sodium lauryl sulfates, petroleum solvents, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and dyes.
- Considerations: It’s not USDA certified organic and can be sudsy if you use too much of the product on the floor.
FIT Organic Laundry and Carpet Stain Remover
- Price: $
- Key features: The FIT Organic Laundry and Carpet Cleaner has the ability to effectively remove stains from carpets, curtains, and upholstery, and can also tackle stains on your clothes. It’s USDA certified organic and is free of phosphates, dyes, artificial perfumes, and GMOs.
- Considerations: This product isn’t meant for full carpet cleaning and works best in small areas.
To choose the right organic cleaner for your needs, you’ll want to consider factors such as ingredients, cost, how the products are tested, and consumer reviews.
“You’ll want to choose a reputable brand that contains safe ingredients across the board,” says Rodriguez-Zaba.
Before choosing a natural or organic cleaning product, be sure to carefully review the ingredients label. To find the safest, most natural products, cleaning experts recommend staying clear of the following types of ingredients:
- petroleum solvents
- butyl glycol
- ethylene glycol
- alkylphenol surfactants
- synthetic fragrances
- synthetic dyes
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
With regards to product testing, look for products that are labeled as cruelty-free or not tested on animals.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider cross-referencing the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning to see if a particular brand meets its guidelines. The EPA also keeps a list of products that are part of their Safer Choice standard.
Using organic or eco-friendly cleaning products that are safer for your home, children, and pets is just one small step you can take to protect the health of your family.
The key to finding the best organic or all-natural products is to experiment with a few different brands or formulas until you find the ones that work best for your needs.
Carefully read the ingredients label of any cleaning product to be sure they don’t include toxic chemicals or harsh ingredients. When possible, opt for products that are USDA certified organic, or that use 100-percent natural or plant-based ingredients.