This January, instead of making the usual resolutions that we’ve given up on by the end of the month, we decided to break it up by dividing some big goals into manageable chunks.
Each month, we invite you to overhaul one aspect of your life to reduce toxins, improve health, and increase your peace of mind. Our promise is that these changes will be easy to implement, helping you avoid resolution overwhelm.
(If you’re just joining us, here is January’s mini resolution on upgrading junk foods, February’s with a medicine cabinet detox, and March’s on improving indoor air quality.)
By April, resolutions feel like a distant memory, don’t they? But stick with us, because this month we are taking on a SUPER important one: non-toxic cleaning products. For one thing, April is, in theory, when many of us take on spring cleaning projects. For another, there has been a recent flurry of news articles about how regular exposure to conventional cleaning products is as bad for you as smoking a pack a day. I believe it!
With all the greenwashing and Sneaky Stuff out there, how can you be sure you are using truly non-toxic cleaning products?
5 Ways to Find Effective Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
You don’t have to make your own cleaning products.
Of course, you can totally make your own non-toxic cleaning products–and there are tons of online resources that tell you how. I have finally, at nearly 40 years old, accepted that I am not a DIYer, in pretty much any aspect of my life (see: that time I tried to become a no-pooer.)
So, I’m still buying cleaning products and probably always will. The good news that is you can totally buy non-toxic cleaning products that are just as safe as what you can make at home.
Avoid the most toxic ingredients.
Rather than trying to memorize every single problematic ingredient out there, which gets overwhelming REALLY quickly (see: sodium lauryl sulfate vs. sodium laureth sulfate), focus on the ones that are often found in “natural” cleaning products.
Here are the three most common dangerous ingredients:
1) Fragrance, which can contain hundreds of undisclosed chemicals.
2) Methylisothiasolinone, a preservative favored by greenwashed brands.
3) Cocamidopropyl betaine, an endocrine-disrupting, “naturally derived” foaming agent.
(If you’re sticking to brands that are at least marketing themselves as being non-toxic, they aren’t going to have the most common Bad Stuff, such as parabens, BHA, chlorine bleach, and triclosan, so don’t worry about remembering those.)
Set it and forget it with subscription cleaning products.
One thing that’s so frustrating about trying to find non-toxic cleaning products is that there are very few brands that make across-the-board Good Stuff. Once you find something that you know is safe and that works well, I recommend subscribing so that you never find yourself in the cleaning aisle of Whole Foods, trying to remember which products are Sneaky Stuff.
Of course, you can always shop from our online store, where I’ve vetted every single item. We also offer subscription services for our non-toxic cleaning products, or you can set it up recurring deliveries on Amazon.
Sneaky Stuff is better than Bad Stuff!
When it comes to shopping for non-toxic cleaning products, the most important thing you can do is avoid the Bad Stuff. This means staying away from all conventional cleaning products–think Tide, Windex, Clorox, and Mr. Clean (with this exception).
Even brands that we have deemed Sneaky Stuff–like Mrs. Meyers, Babyganics, and Method–are way better than the ones that don’t even claim to make non-toxic cleaning products. So when in doubt, choose anything in a natural foods store over a drug store.
Remember these three brands.
In many cases, certain products by one brand will be Good Stuff, while others will be Sneaky (Seventh Generation is big with this). Here are three brands that make only truly non-toxic cleaning products: MamaSuds, Eco-Me, and Sonett. You can’t go wrong with anything made by these three.
I hope that these tips will make it easier to switch over to only non-toxic cleaning products. Please share your own favorite brands–or recipes if you are a DIYer–below.
P.S. Download a cheat sheet of all my favorite cleaning products–from floor cleaners to dishwasher rinse aids–here.