Cleaning products often fall into one of two categories; they’re either highly effective but incredibly toxic, or they’re great for safety but bad at cleaning. Eco-friendly cleaners are becoming increasingly more effective and far easier to find, but now the trouble is sifting through which ones are worth buying. I personally invested in a whole system of cleaners – tabs, wipes, spray bottles with funny nozzles – only to find out that they were basically just good at making messes smell nice.
A good, all-natural cleaner will have ingredients that won’t harm your family or your pets, won’t damage what they clean and are made from non-toxic, natural ingredients. Things like vinegar, citrus extracts, and pine oil are all great to have in an eco-friendly cleaner because they work, smell nice, and won’t harm you. Basically, you want an effective cleaner that:
- Is full of natural ingredients – this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to pronounce all the ingredients, as some extracts of plants are “all-natural” but are also chemicals. The primary concern should be if the ingredients are synthetic or derived from non-toxic, natural sources.
- Should be biodegradable. Many solvents and cleaners are non-toxic to humans but can kill plants, animals, or insects, and improperly disposing of them can cause environmental harm.
- Actually works! You shouldn’t waste money on a cleaner that doesn’t clean.
We’ve put together a list of the best all-natural cleaners that get the job done without poisoning your house. These aren’t the only ones on the market, but they are some of the best all-natural, all-purpose cleaners you can find. We will evaluate them on ingredients, effectiveness and eco-friendliness.
HAUS Naturals All-Purpose All-Natural Cleaner
So you can clean your house with chemical-based cleaners only to add toxins to your home. Are you ahead? Arguably not. In fact, arguably you do more harm.
That’s where our favorite all-natural all-purpose cleaner comes into play – it cleans with a beautiful scent while being all-natural, eco-friendly, biodegradable and chemical-free.
Better Life cleaners are unscented, which is a rare feat in a world where all-natural cleaners tend to be based with powerfully smelling extracts, like pine or citrus. This can be a neutral trait, depending on how much you want your house to smell like a forest or fruit grove, or if scents bother you, then it’s a big plus. The primary effective ingredient is soap made from coconut bark, and it functions pretty well for cleaning.
The ingredient list is short here – vegetable, coconut and amino-acid derived surfactants, which is the cleaning power in the product. There’s also a stabilizer to keep it from separating and being ineffective. These ingredients are known for cleaning just about anything from crayon to toilet grime, which makes this an effective cleaner for the whole house. The only downside is it’s not very good at cleaning caked-on messes, like a neglected stovetop.
Coconut bark extracts work a lot like traditional detergents, in that they break up fat and oil-based messes fairly easily. While it’s not the best disinfectant in existence, for spills, messes and everyday cleaning, it’s very effective.
All of the ingredients are biodegradable and completely non-toxic. You shouldn’t spray it into your mouth, but you won’t get sick if you do. Additionally, the packaging is all post-consumer recycling, and the product itself is made mostly with green energy, primarily solar. It would be difficult to make a more planet-friendly product for cleaning.
CitraSolv All-Purpose Cleaner
Made from d-limonene as a base – which is a potent, clear liquid extracted from orange peel – CitraSolv is incredibly powerful at cutting through oil-based grease and grime. It’s bolstered by more plant-based surfactants and extremely concentrated orange oil, so ultimately if you love the smell of oranges, you’re already starting great.
There are only three ingredients here – the d-limonene, orange extract, and plant surfactants. It’s simple and effective, and everything is safe and biodegradable.
The oil extracts and d-limonene are incredibly potent at cleaning and leave a really pleasant smell. It doesn’t take much, either, so a bottle will last for a while, or about 3 days if you have kids.
This is pretty much everything you can extract from an orange, put into a bottle. It’s very environmentally friendly and non-toxic. They do warn that it’s flammable, but that’s a given since it’s all oils.
Method has a wide range of cleaning products for all surfaces in your home that can potentially get dirty. This is their all-purpose cleaner, made from corn surfactants and soda ash, and it works amazingly well for a variety of messes. It cuts through grease exceptionally well but also leaves a streak-free clean on your windows and glass.
The primary ingredients are corn surfactants and extracts, as well as soda ash and corn-derived salts. All of these work together to gently clean while still being safe and non-toxic. It’s mildly scented but not in a cloying or overpowering manner, and everything is biodegradable.
Method All-Purpose is a highly effective cleaner. It’s great for small messes but can tackle larger, stickier problems as well. The inclusion of soda ash and corn salts makes it more abrasive but not in a damaging way; it simply makes it better at cleaning than completely oil-derived products.
Method does no animal testing, sources their ingredients ethically and everything is non-toxic. Their packaging is recyclable, and in some cases, plant-based and biodegradable. This is a company with extreme commitment to their eco-friendly goals.
Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds All-Purpose Cleaner
Source: DR. BRONNER’S
This is a pretty unique product, in that it’s sold in large quantities because it’s useful in a huge amount of applications. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds can be used as a normal cleaner, but also as dish and laundry detergent, and a little goes a long way. It smells amazing, as it’s lightly scented with evergreen extracts, and is completely safe to use. Finally, it’s all biodegradable and non-toxic, which means you can even wash your kids’ clothes in it. It’s one of the most all-purpose products in this review.
Sal Suds is filled with natural plant surfactants and extracts, and the formulation makes tremendous amounts of suds, true to its name, which many natural cleaners cannot do. It’s free of phthalates, dyes, and parabens, as well as synthetic scents and colors.
This soap is amazing and can be used just about anywhere you’d want to clean in your house. From dishes to denim, countertops to cloth, Sal Suds is an effective, gentle, non-toxic cleaning product. It’s less useful on clear glass surfaces like window or oven doors since it can streak, but it’s otherwise broadly applicable to household cleaning.
Another extremely adherent to their eco-friendly beliefs, Dr. Bronner’s products are biodegradable, non-toxic and plant-sourced. They do not test on animals and ethically source their ingredients from family farms. Additionally, the company invests back into the farms that produce their ingredients, teaching them how to create sustainable products and product-creation, literally reinvesting into the planet.
Bio Green All-Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
Source: Bio Green Clean
Bio Green is another catch-all cleaning product, as useful in the garage or boat as it is in the home. It has a large number of cleaning applications and comes in a highly concentrated bottle, so diluting with water keeps it effective and makes it last for a long time. Additionally, this product functions well on wood, which many solvents do not.
Bio Green is primarily coconut, corn, and citrus surfactants, working well to clean up most messes without damaging sensitive surfaces underneath. The color comes from all-natural ingredients and it’s safe to use inside the home and out.
This is a very effective cleaning product, especially for an all-natural cleaner. The fact that this preserves wood just as well as it does concrete is a big benefit, as even vinegar-based products – while natural and non-toxic – can be damaging to porous surfaces.
This is a biodegradable, all-natural and non-toxic formulation, even in its concentrated form. It’s made from natural plant ingredients and in a sustainable way. This doesn’t cut down on the functionality of the product, though, and the best part is if you need a bit more “oomph” to your cleaning, you simply dilute it less.
Meyer’s Clean Day
Meyer’s is a product that smells utterly incredible and is backed up by years of delivering high-quality cleaners. Like Bio Green, it comes in a concentrate and a little goes a long way. Their formulation excludes anything synthetic and works amazingly well to clean all surfaces, including wood.
Created entirely from plant-derived surfactants, Meyer’s is a leader and veteran in the all-natural cleaning game. Using a variety of extracts and botanicals, they have created a product that is designed to make cleaning an aromatherapy experience. Since it’s free of chlorine, chemicals, dyes, parabens, and phthalates, it’s safe to use in every corner of your home.
Highly concentrated, you can dilute it to your liking but it’s exceptionally effective on all manner of jobs. Originally created by a homemaker who was intent on making a product that wasn’t unpleasant to use (and safe for her children), Meyer’s has been tested on just about every kind of mess a busy household can create.
Ethically sourced, biodegradable, potent yet non-toxic and plant-derived, Meyer’s sets the bar for eco-friendliness. They do not test on animals and their ingredient providers are fair-trade and sustainable.
Limonene Extract Cleaner And Degreaser
Formulated from d-limonene extract, this is a very effective cleaner, based on the fact that d-limonene is incredibly powerful at cutting through grease and dirt. The one downside – and it’s minor – to this product is that it’s not very good to keep in a plastic spray bottle. D-limonene is great to clean with, yes, but it’s hard on certain plastics and gaskets. Glass is best but the bottle it comes in is designed to house it safely and effectively.
Primarily d-limonene extract, citrus extract, and plant surfactants, Limonene is a powerful cleaner while still being non-toxic and planet-friendly. The ingredients speak for themselves and need no extraneous dyes, scents, or colors to be an effective, pleasant-smelling natural cleaner.
This is a highly effective product, but care needs to be taken when you’re cleaning – do not leave it on plastic or resin surfaces for long or it can mildly damage them. It’s a great wood cleaner, as many citrus oils are.
Made entirely from natural ingredients and totally non-toxic, this is a very eco-friendly product. It can be an irritant, however, so you should use gloves and eyewear when spraying it. This doesn’t mean it’s toxic; you wouldn’t want lemon or orange juice in your eye, either and this is a highly concentrated form of that, essentially.
Formulated from alcohols, sodium carbonate, and water, Charlie’s Soap is effective, if…well, stinky. Though it’s got a pungent odor, it’s safe, biodegradable, and effective at cleaning just about everything. The bottle even has dilution rates for cleaning everything from fiberglass boats to carpets, which is an impressive resume for an all-natural cleaner.
Ethoxylated alcohols are safe and natural, though not in the same way that plant-derived extracts are and the smell is a definite giveaway. Though technically non-toxic, it’s best to clean with Charlie’s Soap in a well-ventilated area. Otherwise, the only other ingredients are sodium carbonate and water, so overall it’s quite a simple product.
Charlie’s Soap is great for cleaning just about anything – from fabric to fiberglass. It can even be used to wash clothes, though the formulation works best on cleaning stains and not biological smells, so you might get your clothes white and beautiful, but they might still smell like sweat. It’s best when used on surfaces around the house.
Everything in Charlie’s Soap breaks down harmlessly and is non-toxic. It’s very environmentally friendly and doesn’t require unsustainable methods to produce. While it’s not as fancy as other green cleaners on this list, it does its job without hurting you, the planet, or animals, which is good.
Whip-It Stain-Fighting Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Whip-It is one of the oldest cleaners on the market, having been invented back in 1931, and it’s all-natural, too. Made from eucalyptus and lemon, lime, and orange extracts, it’s also a functional disinfectant to a certain degree, which sets it apart from other products on this list. Finally, it simply smells really good, which is one of the secondary benefits of natural cleaners – no harsh, chemical smells or unnatural scents.
Lime, lemon and orange extracts, and eucalyptus oils make this a highly green, very eco-friendly product. It’s all-natural, smells great, and actually cleans just about everything, from strong stains to oil, mud, and marker.
Whip-It is very effective, cutting through stains on clothes after repeated treatments. It’s very good at pre-soaking stains and then running them through the wash to break them up when detergent wouldn’t handle them on its own. It’s another product that typically comes concentrated and can be diluted to your needed preferences.
Made from ethically sourced, all-natural plant products and with over 85 years of refining, this is one of the most “eco-friendly” products in this review. The fact that it was all-natural when people didn’t really care about that says a lot about the company, even more so that they’ve been in business for that long with an all-natural product. Whip-It is fumeless, non-toxic, plant, and animal safe and biodegradable.
Melaleuca Ecosense Tough And Tender All-Purpose Cleaner
Melaleuca has a huge line of eco-friendly, all-natural products, and this is their all-purpose cleaner. It’s environmentally friendly, safe, non-toxic, and does a great job at cleaning up everyday messes. It’s a great blend of a quality cleaner that is dedicated to the business model of sustainable crafting and ecological care.
Derived from plant extracts, carnauba wax, and herb oils like thyme, Melaleuca avoids ammonia, chlorine, and other harsh solvents. It’s eco-friendly, pleasant smelling, and safe to use around animals and children, with no harsh fumes.
Melaleuca cleans well, period. It does a great job in the kitchen and cleaning up leather in your car as well, but it just shines best as an everyday cleaner for your home. It’s not great for grease on the stovetop or stains that have been sitting, but the company actually has different formulations for those situations. Specifically, their grease-cutting formula is highly effective at cleaning stovetops.
All-natural ingredients, derived from plants, and formulated in a way that’s not toxic or damaging to the environment. In fact, Melaleuca’s entire line of products is made sustainably and free from synthetic ingredients and animal testing. They’re committed to their promise of eco-friendliness for sure.