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The Best All-Natural Multi-Purpose Cleaners

Last updated on June 10, 2024

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Our Picks For The Top All Natural Household Cleaners

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Best Overall

Better Life Unscented All Natural Household Cleaner, 32-Oz

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Better Life

Unscented All Natural Household Cleaner

This cleaner is ideal for surfaces and users that are chemically sensitive. The product contains no petroleum solvent, parabens or other harmful chemicals, and the scent-free formula requires no synthetic fragrances. It cleans grease and heavy stains well on a variety of surfaces.

Overall Take

Odor-Free CleanerA powerful but simple cleaner that has no need for fragrances or dyes.

 Plant-Based Pick

Home Made Simple All Natural Household Cleaner Lemon Scent, 54-Oz

Home Made Simple

All Natural Household Cleaner Lemon Scent

Most of the short list of ingredients in this bottle are derived from plants. That makes it safe for most allergies and pets, and the company doubles down on the green commitment with a fully recyclable bottle. It wipes off clean with no residue, and the scent is subtle and natural.

Overall Take

Plant-Based FormulaThis plant-derived product goes on smooth with no residue and no harmful ingredients.

 Best Scent

Sapadilla All-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate

Sapadilla

All-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate

The range of natural essential oil scents is a highlight of this eco-friendly product. The cleaner is a concentrate, so can be diluted with water and still work effectively on counters, floors and more. An effective and biodegradable tool in any cleaning arsenal.

Overall Take

Pleasing Natural OdorThis concentrated cleaner has a great essential oil scent.

 Best Floor Cleaner

Begley’s Multi-Purpose Floor Cleaner

Begley's

Multi-Purpose Floor Cleaner

This plant-based, multi-surface floor cleaner cuts through grease with a fresh citrus scent. The streak-free formula works on a variety of different flooring types including wood, tile, concrete and marble finishes.

Overall Take

Streak FreeMost reviewers love the citrus scent, that it's plant-based, and that it really is streak free as advertised.

Buying Guide

The trend toward eco-friendly products has spurred a lot of innovation in the area of household cleansers. Even popular name brands have retooled their products to be more environmentally friendly or produced offshoot lines of cleaners that appeal to that demographic.

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So what makes a cleaning product “all-natural”? The first thing to know is that you can’t count on the name alone, or on a brightly-colored declaration on the bottle. Any product can call itself natural because the term has no legal meaning. Likewise for the advertising buzzwords “green,” “eco-friendly,” “non-toxic” and many others.

If you’re short on time, the best thing you can do is look for certifications. There are a number of organizations that require manufacturers to go through rigorous testing to earn their stamp of approval, and the Environmental Protection Agency is one of the biggest. Their “Safer Choice” seal was implemented in 2015 (revised from the obsolete DfE Standard for Safer Products), and it certifies that every ingredient in the product has been reviewed by EPA scientists. That means that even trace substances like dyes and fragrances do not pose a significant risk to human health or the environment.

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There’s also the Green Seal certification, which is awarded by an independent monitoring organization. If you’re especially worried about the effects of your cleaning routine on pets, you might look for the Leaping Bunny certification awarded by a coalition of animal advocacy organizations. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) is another good resource for background on harmful or questionable products.

If you really want to be sure about what’s in your cleaner, though, an informed look at the ingredient list on the back will tell the tale. But hunting for harmful chemicals and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) isn’t as easy as picking out anything with a long chemical name. Most of the chemicals might be perfectly fine for the environment and your health, but there are some red flags to look out for.

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Triclosan is one antibacterial agent to watch out for, as it can actually promote the growth of more resistant bacteria. It’s been banned by the EPA, but you may still find it in older products. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds can cause the same problems and are also found in many antibacterials.

Sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) can irritate sensitive skin and be harmful to the environment long term. If you’re especially health-conscious, watch out for 2-Butoxyethanol and any phthalates. If your scented cleaning product doesn’t specifically say that it omits these substances, there’s a good chance they are in the catchall group of chemicals referred to as “fragrances.”

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But enough about ingredients. What about performance? Word of mouth is usually the best way to cut through a product’s bold claims of cleaning power. Just make sure you’re using the right cleaner for the surface. Glass cleaners won’t work as well on wood, and vice versa — and all-purpose cleaners, while effective, might not be the best thing for either one. Get a good look at the approved surfaces on the bottle, and plan your cleaning routine accordingly.

What to Look For

  • Are you cleaning upholstery? Even the smoothest vinyl material might react badly to the wrong chemical. Make sure your furniture is safe for general cleaning products by checking it for a “W” or “W/S” designation on the tag. That means it should be compatible with most water-based products.
  • Want to make those countertops really shine? Instead of a plain rag or paper towel, invest in a good microfiber towel. They’re great at picking up any stray dirt or residue left behind by your cleaning solution.
  • Are you looking to specifically protect your household surfaces from COVID-19 and other viruses? There’s no need to get any complicated antibacterial cleansers. Isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will do the job, provided the surface is compatible with those chemicals. Even plain soap and water will do the job with a little elbow grease.

More to Explore

5 Ways to Clean Your House Naturally

1. Use Olive Oil To Wipe Up Fingerprints

A drop or two of olive oil can help you wipe up fingerprints from the fridge or any other stainless steel surface. Best of all, it won’t leave behind any stench of cleaning products.

2. Use Vinegar To Clean The Microwave

Microwaved a bowl of soup without a cover? There’s an easy way to fix splatters and spills in the microwave, even if they have cooked and hardened. Put vinegar, lemon and water into a microwave-safe bowl, then set the microwave for five to 10 minutes.

When it’s done, the set-on stains and bits of food will be softened. Hence, you can simply wipe up with a sponge quickly, instead of scrubbing away or using chemical-laden cleaners.

3. Make Your Oven Sparkle With Baking Soda & Vinegar

A dirty oven doesn’t just look gross, it can give off foul odors that could even seep into your food. Ew! Luckily, it is so easy to clean your oven, even if you have baked-on gunk from three Thanksgivings ago. Mix a solution of equal parts baking soda, vinegar and water in an oven-safe bowl. Swipe some on the bottom of the stove and on the racks if they are messy, too. When it’s done, let the oven cool a bit, then simply wipe up the mess with a sponge. Yep, it’s really that easy. Watch the full video from Cleverly below.

4. Clean Faucets & Hard Water Stains With Lemons

Don’t scrub and scrub at hard-water stains with smelly cleaners full of bleach and other harsh chemicals. Instead, go all-natural. Cut a lemon in half and rub it all over any sinks, faucets or other areas in your home that have hard-water buildup.

The acid in the lemons will naturally break down that grime and leave your home sparkling—and smelling fresh!

5. Soak The Shower Head In Vinegar

The shower is where you are supposed to wipe off the dirt and sweat from the day, but if your shower head is filthy, it can definitely ruin that relaxing mood. But, it is possible to clean your shower head with minimal effort.

Easily get rid of that nasty gunk by tying a Ziploc baggie of vinegar around the shower head. The next morning, you should easily be able to wipe off that built-up goo.

– by Bridget Sharkey

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