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The Daily Dish Home and Design

Green Cleaning 101: Natural Products That Are Good for You and the Planet

These nontoxic cleaners get the job done. 

By Patricia Cunningham

You know what’s kind of funny? Juicing, cleansing, eating clean, spinning, HIITing, planking, turning your nose up at anything that’s not organic or fresh, sleeping on virgin linen threads — and then turning around and cleaning your space with chemical agents strong enough to kill a horse! Yes, we all want our living spaces free of dirt and germs, but that doesn’t mean we need to bathe it (and ourselves) in a toxic stew of harsh and harmful chemicals.

There are so many alternatives to conventional cleaners on the market now that getting the job done without putting your health or that of the environment at risk is super easy. I recently did a full audit of what I am using at home and came up with list of earth- and people-friendly substitutes. The bonus is many of these products use all natural essential oils for amazing fragrance-like scents, which makes them a pleasure to use. Get ready for that clean feeling inside and out.  

Seventh Generation Disinfecting MultiSurface Cleaner - Lemongrass

This is a nontoxic multi-purpose cleaner with some serious mettle. It kills 99.99% of household germs botanically using patented technology based on thyme oil. It’s also effective against the influenza A virus including H1N1 and rhinovirus. It's great go-to cleaner for all non-porous surfaces.

Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Dish Soap – Lemon Verbena

I could work myself up into a lather extolling the virtues of this aromatically addicting dish soap all day! Good that it’s sold in 3-packs. It removes grease, dirt, and residue, and works on stains. It rinses clean and is free of phthalates, glycol solvents, chlorine, formaldehyde, artificial colors, and parabens.

Nature Clean Dishwasher Pacs - Unscented

Dishes and utensils are the last place you want harmful chemical residue. These dishwasher packs are free of chlorine, sulphates, perfumes and dyes, and are biodegradable.

Bon Ami All Natural Powder Cleanser

For more than 125 years, Bon Ami has been using the same five natural ingredients to get things clean. A mild abrasive, it's perfect for cleaning pots and pans, the kitchen sink, bathroom tile, and other hard surfaces. And it’s retro cool.

Seventh Generation Granite Cleaner - Mandarin

Etch your expensive marble and granite with a harmful cleaning agent, quelle horreur! This gentle, nontoxic cleaner shines and restores stone surfaces to like-new condition.

Better Life All Purpose Cleaner Wipes

"Safer for the mess makers (not the mess)" — I think Better Life’s motto just says it all. Created by two dads, these wipes work on all surfaces. No rinsing is required. Just wipe and you’re good.

Attitude Window and Mirror Cleaner - Citrus

Attitude’s products are developed to be safe for people and the environment. This glass cleaner is made with plant- and mineral-based ingredients and is non carcinogenic, hypoallergenic and free of ammonia and artificial fragrances. Your vegan friends will be really impressed.

Truce Wood Cleaner - Citrus

Truce is mega serious about eliminating harmful chemicals from our lives. This product is safe on wood and laminate furniture, cabinets, and floors, as well as painted and stainless steel surfaces. It can even clean leather. The ingredients are so basic, you can practically eat them!

Mrs. Meyer’s Tub and Tile Cleaner – Lemon Verbena

This is great on all bathroom surfaces and tough on the dreaded soap scum, too.

Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Emerald Cypress and Fir

Get your toilet bowl squeaky clean while not polluting waterways. This plant-based formula contains no chlorine, synthetic fragrances, dyes, or ammonia.

Aunt Fannie's Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash - Sweet Mandarin

Get back to basics with Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner. It's made the old-fashioned way with food-based ingredients including vinegar and grapefruit oil — yet, it's of commercial grade power.

Biokleen Carpet & Rug Shampoo Concentrate

Carpets are notorious for trapping dirt and skeevy bacteria. This rug shampoo uses surfactants such as lime extract and grapefruit extract to cut through dirt and remove stains. It's safe for kids and pets.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Laundry Detergent - Basil

Mrs. Meyer’s, I can’t quit you. This hardworking cleaner contains agents from plant-derived sources, dirt and stain-fighting enzymes, and essential oils for its one-of-a-kind fragrance. Mmmm, ahhh. It's also biodegradable and HE compatible.

Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach

Chlorine bleach can be rough on the environment and its use can impact the health of people and wildlife. Get your whites white with this safe, non-chlorine alternative from Seventh Generation instead.

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