When using cleaning products, many people assume what they are using is wholly safe to be around.
More than half of cleaning products contain ingredients that could damage some part of the body, namely the lungs.
To help make sure you can get used to using safer and more reliable home cleaning products, this guide should help you to find the best non-toxic cleaning solutions.
In this post we'll cover:
- Be Careful When Buying Cleaning Products
- Using Homemade Cleaning Products
- Best Natural Disinfectants
- Best Non-toxic Cleaning Products for All Household Cleaning Tasks
- Multipurpose Cleaners
- Mold Removers
- Air Fresheners
- Carpet Cleaners
- Grease Removers
- Refrigerator Cleaner
- Microwave Cleaner
- Dish Washing Detergent
- Stain Removers
- Glass Cleaners
- Other Nontoxic Cleaners
- Furniture Cleaners
- Wall Cleaners
- Metal Surface Cleaners + Polishes
- Bathroom Cleaners
- Toilet Bowl Cleaners
- Wood Surface Cleaners
- Non-toxic Disinfectant Wipes For Children’s Toys & Furniture
Be Careful When Buying Cleaning Products
Cleaning your home should keep you safe. But with less than a tenth of all cleaning products telling you exactly what it is in the solution, it’s vital to put safety first. The collection of toxic ingredients can be harmful to your health. It could cause you many problems later down the line if you don’t adjust the kind of cleaning utensils and tools you use to get the job done.
Avoiding products with the likes of glycol ethers, chlorine, butyl cellosolve, ethanolamines, formaldehyde, sodium sulfate, and various other volatile organic compounds is a must for your health.
Since these products tend to bypass the liver and kidney, most of these cleaning products can contribute to illness and poor health. The issue is that they bypass the filtering organs, the part of your body that directly deals with toxins, making the damage even worse!
The chemicals are everywhere
Just think about how many chemicals we come into contact with on a daily basis as we clean our house. From the toilet bowl cleaner to the floor detergent, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, and even air fresheners.
Even if you’re careful about what types of foods you eat, and you try to keep a healthy lifestyle, these chemicals may be standing in your way. They always set you back on your clean living journey.
The chemicals in cleaning products get into the water, into the air in our homes, and even our food. The harmful substances contaminate food and thus get into your body. For this reason, it’s very important to use natural and non-toxic cleaners, especially in the kitchen.
Non-toxic: What is it and how to tell
Unfortunately, nontoxic is an all-encompassing term these days. Brands use this word to describe all kinds of organic and natural products, but sometimes it is misleading. There is a difference between green, organic, natural, and nontoxic products.
The general umbrella term for nontoxic cleaning products is “green” or “eco-friendly,” which implies the products are not harmful or not AS harmful to the environment.
But, it’s best to keep an eye out for the product’s ingredients, as greenwashing is still a popular marketing tactic.
In America, but in many other countries, there are no strict regulations for product labeling and ‘non-toxic’ products. The only real way to know what’s in your products is to make them yourself.
Non-toxic, as a general term, refers to products that don’t contain chemicals, especially harsh ones.
Using Homemade Cleaning Products
Many people skip on commercial cleaning products, out of frugality, but also due to health reasons.
Instead, we recommend that you save money on expensive cleaning products and start making your own. This allows you to get the same cleanliness level without any of the disheartening and toxic ingredients listed above.
Be careful with essential oils
If you have pets in your home, you need to be careful when using essential oils.
Here are some essential oils that are toxic to animals, especially dogs:
- Citrus (d-limonene)
- Sweet birch.
- Tea tree (melaleuca)
This list is not exhaustive and there are many more, so if you’re unsure, skip on the essential oil in your cleaning solutions.
Top Reasons why Non-toxic Cleaning Products are Better:
1. Safe for use around children and pets
Unless you lock up chemical cleaning products with a lock and key, they’re never really safely stored away from kids and pets.
Did you know that certain cleaning agents increase the risk of lung disease and asthma in young children? The reason is that these cleaning products are full of harsh chemicals. A lot of the time, it’s the toxic fragrances that cause the most harm. There’s a common misconception that your home needs to “smell” clean, so we choose all kinds of cleaners with strong fragrances. In most cases, the fragrances are synthetic, which means they are chemicals.
As well, you risk kids ingesting these deadly toxic products. Even skin exposure can lead to all kinds of rashes and allergic reactions, so you need to keep children and animals far away from chemicals.
2. Cleaner Air
Many of the cleaning products’ chemicals are airborne, meaning they will linger in the air inside your home. This is potentially dangerous, especially for your lungs. When you breathe in all the chemicals, you are making yourself ill.
Breathing in fumes is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. Since we use many chemicals daily, our homes’ air quality can be worse than the polluted air outdoors.
3. Cost Efficient
Let’s be honest; many cleaning products are actually quite expensive. When you add up all the different products you buy for all the different cleaning tasks, you end up with a hefty bill.
If you choose to make your own or use a natural multi-purpose cleaner, you save lots of money. Frugal moms know what they’re talking about when they tell you to skip the toxic cleaners. If you buy your natural ingredients in bulk, you can make tons of cleaning solutions, and the cost comes down to pennies and dimes.
4. Non-toxic cleaners are better for the environment
The chemicals inside the most common household cleaning products eventually seep into the ground. Waste treatment plants make an effort to clean the water and remove toxic chemicals and residue. However, due to the immense volume of substances, a lot still pollutes the earth, seeping into the soil, water, and atmosphere. This poses a huge risk to wildlife around the world.
Non-toxic and natural cleaning solutions break down easily, and they are not heavy pollutants. Thus, they are much better for the environment.
Best Natural Disinfectants
There are 5 great natural disinfectants that kill most germs effectively, so you can keep your home clean.
- Alcohol – it’s the best alternative to chemical disinfectants
- Hydrogen Peroxide – this liquid bubbles up and removes all kinds of stains and grease
- Hot water – you can use hot water to remove stains and clean up messes
- Vinegar – white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are cheap natural disinfectants which kill germs
- Essential Oils – some oils are so powerful they can eliminate odors and germs
What are the most dangerous household chemicals?
Did you know that are 5 extremely toxic household chemicals you should stay away from?
- Ammonia: it has powerful and harmful fumes that irritate your skin, eyes, and nose. But they can also damage your throat and lungs when inhaled.
- Bleach: I bet you use this chemical to disinfect your home, but it’s very toxic and harmful for the human body.
- Air Fresheners: these products are full of formaldehyde, which is very harmful to the body, especially children.
- Drain Cleaners: these toxic products need to break down greasy chunks and gunk, so they are full of alkaline compounds, including lye. It’s one of the most toxic chemicals and should be avoided. It irritates the skin and eyes.
- Antifreeze: This substance damages your internal organs and even inhaling it is completely harmful.
Best Non-toxic Cleaning Products for All Household Cleaning Tasks
- A general cleaner is one you’ll be used to using and might find it hard to work without. Instead, simply mix together ½ a cup of vinegar, a ¼ cup of baking soda, and a ½ g of water and mix it all. This is great for getting rid of everything from water stains to cleaning windows and mirrors. In general, though, this solution could be used for most general cleaning issues.
What’s better than a cheap all-purpose plant-based spray cleaner? It’s very easy to use and a little bit goes a long way. All you need is a few spritzes and it can remove all kinds of dirt, grease, and stains.
The spray has a pleasant natural sage and citrus scent that freshens up the home without being too overpowering or irritating.
You can use this cleaner to wipe down everything, including countertops, furniture, carpets, sinks, toilets, walls, floors, and even toys. It’s completely safe for use around kids and pets, so you don’t need to worry if they accidentally touch it!
- One of the most common reasons to use cleaning products is to get rid of mold, and you can do that yourself by mixing one-part hydrogen peroxide (3% only) and two parts water. This will work well enough to clean up even the worst of mold; spray it with the solution, come back in an hour, and it should all come off without much trouble.
- To combat signs of architectural mold, get some white vinegar & some full-power lemon juice and mix it together and use that to help defeat the mold and mildew before it gets worse.
When your home smells fresh, it feels more welcoming and relaxing to be in. One of the major sources of odor is pets. They can make messes and get smelly, especially if you have litter boxes around the home. Even dogs can have that “wet dog” smell after walking outdoors. Therefore, you need to use air fresheners.
- Got a ghastly smell in the air? Then mix together a combination of some lemon juice with baking soda or vinegar to lift up most negative odors in the air. Vinegar is a great solution that removes smells in general, from the smell in the oven to lingering smells of the food you cooked. Vinegar and soap water is usually enough to lift such horrible smells.
- Add in some essential oils to the mix if you want a specific scent. But, if you have pets make sure the essential oils are pet-friendly. Some essential oils are toxic to animals.
A natural and non-toxic room spray is the fastest way to tackle unpleasant odors around your home. This concentrated formula neutralizes the odors instantly so all you can smell is the fresh smell of unwashed cotton. It has a light yet refreshing scent and this spray is allergen-free, so you’re not breathing in toxic fumes and chemicals.
- We recommend that a bottle of vinegar mixed with water is usually enough to do the trick to clean a carpet. Stains that have damaged the carpet for a while, though, usually need to be leafed with the help of a mixture of borax (around a ¼ cup) with some salt and vinegar. When left on the carpet, this turns into a thick paste and can sook up all the mess before vacuuming up for a nice, quick solution.
- To lift any kind of grease, we find that some corn starch can lift up most grease – especially if it has landed on a carpet. Give it half an hour and come back with the vacuum to scoop it all up.
- Your oven needs to be cleaned, and the best way to clean out an oven, we found, is to use a ½ cup of baking soda with 3 tablespoons of water with some vinegar added for good effect.
Cleaning the kitchen usually requires some heavy-handed scrubbing. Grease and grime tend to stick on to all surfaces and once you start cleaning you can struggle to get rid of it all. That’s when you feel like you need to go in with a powerful chemical cleaner. But, that’s not true because a gentle scrubbing powder like Meliora does an excellent job at removing stains and grease.
You can use it on all kitchen surfaces, including tiles, ceramics, stainless steel, furniture, cabinets, sinks, and stoves. Therefore, it’s a truly versatile and multi-purpose cleaning powder.
It doesn’t contain any synthetic fragrances. Instead, it has a natural peppermint tea tree scent and it leaves the kitchen smelling super fresh for a long time.
You store food in your fridge, so there is absolutely no reason for chemicals to go in there. The last thing you want is to contaminate the food and then ingest these harmful substances.
- Clean the refrigerator bins and shelves with a simple combination of 1 cup warm water and some baking soda. Use a sponge to wipe down all the surfaces in your fridge.
The microwave is full of baked-on spills and greasy foods. Therefore it starts to smell and it’s very gross when you want to use a dirty microwave oven.
- Here’s how to clean it in less than 5 minutes. In a bowl, put a cup of water and microwave it for 2 0r 3 minutes. The water releases steam which loosens the dirt and grease. Wipe it clean with a cloth or rag. Then add some lemon juice to the water and run the microwave for another minute. The lemon removes odors and gives it a fresh scent.
Dish Washing Detergent
- For washing dishes and things like chopping boards, we recommend that you create your own cleaning solution. Simply use full-strength vinegar to clean the product down with (vinegar battles bacteria well, making it a great disinfectant) and then get a half-lemon and rub the board down with the lemon to make sure it’s spotless. Soak stains that won’t budge for 5-10 mins with lemon juice, then give it a go.
- Another good dishwasher DIY is to combine together 2 tablespoons of vinegar into a cup of warm, soapy water.
Amazon Buy: Ecover Zero Dish Soap, Fragrance-Free
If you want a gentle and hypoallergenic dish soap, the Ecover Zero is best because it’s safe for kids to use. Therefore, you can start teaching your young children how to wash dishes without worrying about irritating their sensitive skin. It suds like other similar detergents so you can use a small quantity to clean a whole heap of dishes.
This plant-based dish detergent is so gentle, yet so powerful at removing grease. It cuts grease just like other dishwasher soaps that are full of chemicals.
I recommend this product because it’s fragrance-free, and the formula is non-toxic and biodegradable, which means that it doesn’t harm the ecosystem.
- For general stains from cups and drinks, we recommend that you use a simple sponge and soak it in vinegar to wipe down the stained glass, mug, or cup. If you need to clean down a kettle or similar appliance, a batch of water with some vinegar thrown in and then boiled can be enough to work with. Just make sure it’s cooled down first, or you might get scolded!
Pets and children like to touch glass, especially mirrors and glass doors. Dogs lick glass doors and kids put their hands as they like to leave their little handprints. But imagine if they are touching that surface and it’s full of chemicals! To make sure they are safe, always use a non-toxic and natural glass cleaning solution.
- Windows and mirrors get dirty quite quickly, so every household needs some trusty glass cleaning solution in an easy-to-use spray bottle. The easiest way to make a glass cleaner is to mix 2 cups of water, with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and about 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil.
Other Nontoxic Cleaners
- To help clean out products that are beginning to get a rancid smell, we recommend that you get some warm water with some baking soda and scrub, scrub, scrub!
- We heartily recommend that you clean out any kind of appliance like your garbage disposal with some orange peel throws in there; this will add a bit of zesty freshness and lift a lot of the garbage that gets stuck begins to decay.
Of course, this only covers some parts of the house – what about appliances and other more specific areas that need a regular clean?
- For example, your furniture. To clean furniture like wooden tables, we recommend using a mix of lemon oil and some warm water and spray that on, wiping down with a microfiber cloth to get rid of any streaks or excess.
- Your walls may need to be cleaned down, too, if the kids decide to get creative and use the living room wall as a canvas. What you need to do here is get a damp sponge and dip it in some baking soda, then use a towel to wipe it down.
Metal Surface Cleaners + Polishes
- For metals, you can use a whole host of different solutions. Gold, for example, will clean up with a mix of salt, vinegar and flour. Silver cleans with boiling water, a tablespoon of salt, and some aluminum foil. Trust us, it works! Stainless steel cleans best with a large helping (3-4 tablespoons) of baking soda mixed with some water.
- Of course, what of the toilet? To clean a toilet, we recommend 2 parts Borax and 1-part lemon juice; mix them together and use that as your cleaner. This should pick up even the most horrifying of toilet stains and smells.
Powder cleansers are an excellent option because they foam, and you get a lot of use out of a small amount of powder. This particular powder is best used in kitchens and bathrooms. It removes all types of grime and dirt without scratches. Therefore, you can use it on appliances, faucets, radiators, and even bathroom furniture. It doesn’t leave behind any marks, residue, or scratches.
As well, this is a scrubbing product, so you can use it on tiles and floors in both the bathroom and kitchen. Don’t forget to scrub the bathtub too, to eliminate any bacteria or mold.
Even though it’s stronger than baking soda, this is a non-toxic product. If you check the ingredients, you’ll see it’s free from chlorine, dyes, and artificial perfumes. Therefore it’s an excellent hypoallergenic cleaner that’s safe to use around kids and pets.
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
We all know how dirty and messy the toilet bowl gets. There’s nothing worse than stubborn stains and calcification which makes it virtually impossible to get the toilet bowl white and spotless. I usually spend a good 10 minutes scrubbing intensely. Not only is it a waste of time, but it’s dangerous. Imagine how toxic the fumes from chemical cleaners are and you’re breathing them in!
- You can make a DIY toilet bowl cleaner by mixing some cheap ingredients. In a bottle, mix 1 cup of distilled water, 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of Castille soap, and a bit of hydrogen peroxide for the bubbling effect. If you want the liquid to have a fresh scent, add in 20 or 30 drops of your favorite essential oil like peppermint or lavender.
Amazon Buy: Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner Pine Fresh
This natural and biodegradable formula is best if you want to remove limescale and calcified gunk from your toilet bowl. It also removes stains effectively.
The scent is a natural pine fragrance but it’s non-irritating. Since it decalcifies and freshens your toilet, you don’t need to do too much manual scrubbing. Many people worry that natural products aren’t effective toilet cleaner but the truth is that they work very well. The product is also safe for septic tanks and the environment.
Wood Surface Cleaners
Many of us have wooden floors and lots of wooden furniture in our homes. Unfortunately, dust deposits on wooden surfaces very quickly, so they need to be cleaned frequently.
Dust is a major cause of allergies, especially nasty dust mites. So, it’s essential that you clean wooden surfaces regularly.
- To make your own wood cleaner, mix 1 cup of distilled water with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. The oil gives the wood that polished effect without the use of harsh chemicals. If you want to make this solution smell nice, add in 10 drops of lemon essential oil.
Murphy’s Oil Soap is an old classic non-toxic wood cleaning solution. It contains 99% natural ingredients and it is biodegradable. It makes your hardwood floors shiny and clean without leaving behind that slippery film residue. Since it’s a concentrated formula, you can dilute it and get lots of use out of just one bottle.
You can actually use it to clean many types of surfaces, including tile. I like to put some on a microfiber cloth and wipe off my wooden countertops and the wooden furniture in my home.
Non-toxic Disinfectant Wipes For Children’s Toys & Furniture
When you’re on a tight schedule, you might not have time to pull out the cloth and cleaner. If you have babies and toddlers, you constantly have to clean everything they touch, especially toys and their tables and eating spaces. Babies put their hands in their mouths all the time, so surfaces must be cleaned with a non-toxic solution. Wipes are ideal because you can just grab one, wipe down the surfaces, and dispose of them.
Therefore, every household should have some non-toxic disinfectant wipes.
Moist wipes are a must-have if you have babies and young children. Babyganics Toy and Table Wipes are ideal for wiping down your baby’s table, highchair, crib, and toys. This non-toxic formula is free of chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and sulfates, so you are not endangering your child’s health when cleaning.
Overall, you might find that using this kind of system can be just what you need to try and lift some of those god-awful smells and tastes that linger around the home. You can usually find that a variety of these products, when combined together, can work as a natural cleaner for just about anything; vinegar and citrus-based oils tend to do the trick for most general-purpose cleaning.
Don’t accept that you need to keep using the store cleaning devices. With the ideas above, you can combat most household issues without having to resort to chemicals.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.