When I first started looking into natural cleaning products, the process felt very overwhelming. The green chemical-free varieties all felt so much more expensive than their chemical-filled counterparts. I couldn’t tell what would work and be worth the price or what was just a big flop.
A few years of tweaking and I now have my go-to favorites.
Here is what I look for in a natural cleaning product
- Affordable: I want it to be worth the money I spend
- Available: I don’t want to hike a mountain to the only health food store 2 states away or have to rely on a friend (direct marketing) *This is totally personal preference, and I will still mention a direct marketing option that I believe is worth it if you know a distributor
- Works: Because why bother with a product that doesn’t get the job done!
- Worth it: I want it to be worth my money, and also my time… this means that there are no DIY recipes in here that take 2 days to prep OR any products that are insanely expensive.
Okay, with that groundwork in place, let’s dive into the good stuff.
Natural Cleaning Products I’m Loving Now
Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose Cleaner
At least once a week I still want that fresh clean scent to accompany my scrubbing action. That’s when I rely on my all purpose cleaner. It helps to cut through the extra grime on the kitchen table that comes naturally with 2 toddlers. It makes my sink and my glass stovetop sparkle. Personally, the Rosemary scent is my favorite, but there are several good choices that are not your typical “lemon pine”.
Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray
If you haven’t read the label on your Lysol disinfectant spray, you should. The chemicals create such a toxic residue that you are technically supposed to spray it and then go back and rinse with warm water to remove the residue.
I don’t think there’s actual statistics on how many people do that, but I’m pretty sure it’s less than 2% of people who use Lysol.
And I get it- that one extra step is just too much!
My solution is 7th Generation. Their spray does not create the same toxic residue, so no need to rinse it off.
To be clear, I limit the use of this spray to when we really need to clear out the bad stuff. It is not a daily use, or even a weekly use item at my house!
Instead I try to let the family get the benefits of germs most of the year and use this when we are cleaning up after a sick spell or dealing with some intense germs.
Easy DIY Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent costs so much these days. And if you want to find a chemical-free variety, you will often be paying even more.
But most DIY recipes call for grating bar soap and simmering and all other kinds of fancy steps… um, no.
Thankfully, about 7 years ago I found the easiest DIY laundry detergent ever! (thanks One Good Thing by Jillee!)
I know this one might sound crazy at first, but it’s only 3 ingredients (other than water). I make 3 gallons at a time which last my family of 4 about 2-3 months. It takes me roughly 10-15 minutes to make it and the shaking at the end is a great workout.
Note: I didn’t personally do the math, but she claims in the comments that you can make a gallon of this stuff for under $2.50 which sounds about right to me. If you are pinching pennies, this is a no-brainer move!
Wool Dryer Balls
Fabric softener is filled with disgusting chemicals. I have not found any alternatives that I really believe are good for you that are also worth it.
Instead, we have started using wool dryer balls. I’m not a stickler for one brand over another, but I do prefer organic wool if possible. Check out the laundry area at all your local stores or you can hit up Amazon if you want.
For lighter loads, use 2-3. For heavier loads, use 5-6.
If you want some scent to them, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil before putting in the dryer.
If it looks like a ball needs freshening up, you can toss it in an old sock and put it in the washer then take it out of the sock and dry as usual.
Bonus: You buy this once and it lasts a long time!
High Quality Microfiber Cloths
If you haven’t invested in a high quality microfiber cloth, this post might just change your life. Am I overstating that? Maybe a little, but they are fantastic things that can clean using ONLY WATER! Talk about affordable! And I love that my little ones can help clean safely!
In general, there are two companies I recommend.
Norwex is actually a direct marketing company, meaning that you need to go through a distributor to obtain their products. If you know a distributor, you should consider this an option because they have a very high quality, long lasting and durable product. All of their varieties have a silver mesh interwoven into the microfiber which makes it antibacterial. They have studies to back up the effectiveness and it lasts a really long time.
Personally, I tend to avoid direct marketing companies (just due to my own baggage, nothing against them), so I have tried finding a good alternative.
Overall, microfiber cloths have been great additions to my natural cleaning toolbox! I use them often and enjoy them quite a bit. I’m actually considering buying each of the kids their own to start using around the house this summer when they will be spending a bit more time with me.
Personally, I prefer to use white distilled vinegar for cleaning and apple cider vinegar for nutrition, but both are acceptable for cleaning.
There are so many things that vinegar is useful for, but my favorites include:
- Cleaning appliances
- Adding to the washer (especially with those potent clothes from toilet training accidents!)
- Defrosting windshields (I used this more when I didn’t live in West Texas)
- Get water marks off of stainless steel
- I do occasionally use a vinegar based hair rinse (and yes, once it dries it does not smell like vinegar!)
Shark Steam Mop
We have tile in parts of our house that can be so difficult to maintain. Vacuuming helps but it just isn’t enough.
Enter the steam mop.
While it is far from perfect, what this little contraption can do with just water to clean my floor in a relatively short period of time is unbelievable.
Overall I have found that we go through a new pad every 6-12 months. This is with us typically using it once a week.
Recommended Criteria for Evaluating Natural Chemical-Free Products
There are obviously lots of other good options out there.
Personally, I’m still looking for a really good dishwasher detergent option. The last one I tried took months of scrubbing to recover for some of my glassware! Yikes!
Overall, I recommend at least 3 levels of interrogation before trying a new natural product:
- Research Ratings: Check out the score on the Environmental Working Group. Use the search bar to look up the ingredients and safety information.
- Research Consumer Reviews: Check out Amazon reviews, Consumer Reports, and other relatively reliable review sources.
- Look up the Brand. Personally, I tend to trust brands that have all of their product line natural and chemical-free over a brand that has a wide variety including a line of natural products. It just seems more authentic to their mission and helps me feel like they might be less likely to cut corners because of production costs.
So what are your favorites?
Let me know what your favorites are in the comments below. Do you have any others you would recommend? What about a DIY you love- feel free to link it up below if it’s an online recipe.