If you’re new to natural cleaning products, it can be a bit overwhelming. Today I’m going to share some tips and resources to help you get started.
There was once a time when we didn’t really have options when it came to cleaning our homes. You bought the couple of products that were proven to work, and that was that. Now, there are entire aisles dedicated to cleaners at the store, which is both a blessing and a curse. Too many options can be a bad thing. Add to that the growing desire for natural cleaning products and it can be hard to know what to buy.
If you’re new to clean living and feel lost or overwhelmed, you’re in the right spot. Keep reading for tips on how (and why) to swap out your cleaners, plus some of my favorite products and recipes to use in my own home.
Why Natural Cleaning Products are Important
There are a lot of reasons to choose cleaner products for your home. They’re better for the environment, better for your health, and you have less worry about kids coming into contact with them.
But, those are all pretty obvious reasons, and they’ve become talked to death.
And, while those reasons are generally enough for me, I want to help you know you’re making the best choice.
It can be really hard to understand why the ingredients matter when you’re not planning on eating or drinking something, but they do.
We’re inhaling these products as we clean. When we wipe down a surface and then touch it, we’re absorbing those ingredients through our skin. And, we’re wiping down food prep surfaces with products labeled not safe for human consumption, and then prepping food on the same surfaces.
What we clean our homes with does matter. Probably a lot more than we think.
These ingredients we’re trying to avoid – ingredients commonly found in conventional household products – are linked with health issues such as:
- skin irritation,
- hormone problems,
- birth defects,
- and chronic fatigue
We can’t keep assuming that just because it’s on a store shelf, that it’s safe. It’s up to us to do the research, learn as much as we can, and make the best choices for our own families.
Ready to get started? Keep reading for tips on how to make the swap without feeling overwhelmed.
How to Swap to Green Cleaners
Switching to natural cleaning products can be easier said than done. With so many options available, and so many marketing terms to navigate, it can be hard to know where to start.
While there are many brands for sale boasting “natural” and “non-toxic” labels, it’s not that simple. The FDA doesn’t regulate those terms, nor does it require cleaning brands to disclose their ingredients on the label.
So, how do you know what to buy??
I’m not the blogger who’s going to tell you to throw everything away and start fresh with better products. If you read the bio in my sidebar, you’ll see I’m not about those kinds of extremes.
While I think those stories are cool, and sometimes inspiring, I don’t think they’re reasonable for most regular people.
First of all, buying all new products isn’t cheap. And second, if you throw everything away and don’t know what to replace it with, you’ll find yourself in a pickle come cleaning day.
Instead, I recommend you start small. As each product runs out, work to find a more natural solution for it. (I’m including some of my favorites further down in this post, so check them out).
Work on replacing one or two products at a time, instead of trying to overhaul your whole life. It’ll take longer, but it’ll be less stressful. And easier on the bank account.
Learn Your Ingredients
There are a lot of apps I see floating around to help you navigate the world of clean living. I’ve even recommended them myself. But honestly, the best thing you can do is learn how to read labels and know the ingredients you should avoid.
Of course, it’s probably impossible to memorize and understand every single ingredient that could cause harm, but some are more noteworthy than others.
Explaining each and every one would require an entire blog post on it’s own, so instead, I’m going to encourage you to do some research on your own. (Check out the “further reading” section in this post). If you need help getting started, I’ve created a printable that you can download for free right here. It has a list of the top ingredients to avoid, which gives you a great jumping point for doing some research.
If there’s one piece of advice I can give those trying to make this change, it’s to prioritize. Throwing out every single thing and starting fresh isn’t an option for most of us.
Figure out which products in your home are the worst for you, your kids, and the environment, and start there.
For me, that was the products I was using to clean my bathrooms. Every time I did a deep clean, I’d get light headed, nauseous, and end up with a headache and an asthma attack. We didn’t have any windows in the bathroom, and even with the fan on, I’d get sick. (Disclaimer: I wasn’t doing anything like mixing my own cleaners that could cause a reaction. I was just using pre-made products like Scrubbing Bubbles and Lysol. You know…the products everyone uses because they’re safe and effective).
It was crucial to find a better option. I couldn’t keep getting that sick just cleaning the bathroom. So, I started there, and found more natural cleaning products. My bathroom was just as clean, smelled great, and I felt so much better.
That one change made a huge impact, and encouraged me to keep making changes as I could. And for you, figuring out that pain point could be just as great! Once you make one small change, it encourages you to make another, and another.
Find Your Favorites
Finally, you can start finding your favorite products for green cleaning. Ask your friends, read blogs, and check out the popular brands to find what works for you.
Personally, I do the best with a combination of homemade cleaners and pre-made. I’ve experimented a lot, tried many different brands, and found my favorites to use in my home. Want some recommendations? Here are some of my favorites!
This post contains affiliate links. That means I could earn a small commission based on your purchases, at no additional cost to you. To learn more, see my full disclosure here.
My Favorite Natural Cleaning Products
Here are some of my favorite cleaning products for my own home. Some are recipes (don’t worry, they’re simple), and some are products you can buy easily. Check them out and find your favorites!
- Branch Basics: This is a newer cleaning concentrate I’ve found that I love. It’s classified as “human safe,” which means not only can you use it in cleaners, but you can also use it in things like hand soaps. Don’t let the concept scare you. When you buy their starter kit, you get bottles for each of the most common cleaners, with fill lines right on the label so you know exactly how much water and concentrate to add.
- Ecover Zero Dishwasher Tabs: These are plant and mineral based, biodegradable dishwasher tabs, and guys. I’m here to tell you they work the same as the conventional brands at getting my dishes clean!
- Baking Soda: Yup. Just baking soda. This was my intro into green cleaning, and I’ve used it ever since. It makes a great scrub for the bathroom even on it’s own, and it’s also a great addition to so many DIY soft scrub recipes.
- Cheap, High Proof Vodka: Vinegar gets touted a lot as the go-to cleaner, but let’s face it. Vinegar stinks. Sometimes I infuse it with citrus (like this) which helps a lot, but the day I decided to do the same thing with a bottle of cheap vodka, my life was changed. It smells amazing, dries fast, and cleans so well. Vodka is a natural disinfectant and degreaser, so it makes a natural choice for cleaning. Check out this recipe for an easy cleaner!
- DIY Cleaning Wipes: All the convenience of store-bought wipes, with less waste and all natural ingredients. Plus, they smell amazing, and since they use vodka, they dry really fast and cut grease. They’re the perfect kitchen or bathroom cleaner, and something I make sure to have on hand all the time.
- Eucalyptus Mint Homemade Soft Scrub: This is my number one bathroom cleaner, and guys, it smells amazing. No more headaches and nausea for me when I clean. Instead, I’m able to disinfect, scrub, and leave my bathroom sparkling clean while smelling like a spa the whole time. It uses simple ingredients most of us have on hand already, and what you don’t have, you can find easily for a great price.
- Wool Dryer Balls: I use these to replace dryer sheets, and love them! They cut the dry time on my clothes, last forever, and with a few drops of essential oil, make my clothes smell great without all the heavy fragrance.
- Shark Steam Mop: It’s not really a cleaner, but since it eliminates the need for mopping solution, I’m counting it!
If you like DIY’s, be sure to also check out my post on DIY Cleaning recipes for your entire home! And be sure to sign up for my newsletter, because you’ll gain access to printable recipes, reference cards, and so much more.
Want to learn a little more about this topic? Below, check out some of my own blog posts on the topic, as well as some of my favorite links from other publications for a really in depth look at natural cleaning:
- Why We Choose Natural Products (Even When it’s Harder)
- How to Avoid Greenwashing
- Things I No Longer Buy to Live a Non-Toxic Life
- 10 Things to Toss Today to Detoxify Your Life
- 8 Hidden Toxins: What’s Lurking in Your Cleaning Products
- EWG’s List of Most Harmful Cleaning Products
- How Toxic Are Your Household Supplies?
Natural Cleaning Products: Make the Switch
Cleaning our homes didn’t used to be this hard. But as the market grows, and more and more people are willing to pay for convenience and a good smell, the industry has grown and evolved. Now, we can no longer just take it at face value that our products are good for us. It’s up to us to do the research on what we bring into our own homes.
I hope this article helped you take that first step into making the swap to natural cleaning products. Because we can have a sparkling clean home without all the nasty side effects that come from some of the most conventional options.
Want more? Be sure to sign up for my newsletter, where you’ll gain access to cleaning recipes, printables, and a bi-weekly email full of tips and inspiration on clean living, all geared towards the average person who doesn’t want to go to any extremes.
More on green cleaning and clean living:
- How to Avoid Greenwashing: 5 Tips to Get You Started
- Essential Oils Don’t Work! (And, What to do About it)
- Things I No Longer Buy to Live a Non Toxic Life
- Must Have Kitchen Tools for the Healthy Cook