The Best Toxin-Free Household Cleaners | Food Confidence

Nutrition Strategies

The Best Toxin-Free Household Cleaners

As an integrative dietitian and empowerment coach with 20+ years of experience, my main goal is to help women age well, feel confident in their bodies, and create the healthy lifestyle they desire and deserve.
danielle omar


While working to adopt a “cleaner” lifestyle, we sometimes overlook the dozens of chemicals hiding out under our sink — all with the potential to affect the air quality inside our home. I’m amazed that for years I used cleaning products made with harmful chemicals — stuff I would never let my child play with, yet I brought them home and sprayed them on my counters and floors. It’s crazy when you think about it.

Disinfecting sprays are the most common culprits. These products are loaded with toxic ingredients! They pose a hefty threat to our health, yet we continue to use them for no good reason (as they are totally unnecessary).  It’s not just me who’s concerned, the Environmental Protection Agency has stated that indoor air pollution can be 2-5 times worse and as much as 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. They even ranked indoor air pollution among it’s top five environmental dangers, especially in schools.

Most people assume the products they use to clean their home are safe, but the chemicals in household cleaners are both unregulated and untested. Companies can use whatever chemicals they want, and they don’t have to test them for safety OR list all the ingredients on the label.

What can you do?

A super basic safety tip that can help you decide if you want to buy a product or not, is to look for the words DANGER, WARNING or CAUTION.

These words are a very lose guide to indicate the level of potential harm from the product, as they illustrate a sliding scale of toxicity.

Caution is the mildest of the ratings; one ounce to one pint of the product being harmful or fatal to a 180- pound man, which is the standard of measurement

Warning means that 1 teaspoon to 1 ounce may be harmful or fatal to a 180 pound man

Danger means that one taste to 1 teaspoon can be harmful or fatal to a 180 pound man

This is great information for my husband, but what about me and my daughter?  We aren’t anywhere close to 180 pounds and I do most of the household cleaning, not him.

Because of the lack of regulation around these cleaning products, I’m always looking for ways to reduce the number of environmental toxins I’m exposed to. Luckily, there are many new products on the market that make attempts to reduce in-home pollution.

Are you open to exploring alternatives that are safer for you and your family? Here’s my list of the best lower-toxin household cleaners, including two simple, all-purpose DIY recipes!

Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose Cleaner

I love Mrs. Meyer’s brand products because they’re SUPER effective, yet made with naturally-derived aromatherapeutic formulas. All of their cleaning products are biodegradable and most of their packaging is made from recycled materials. I love that they incorporate essential oils into all of their products, giving them a fantastic variety of scents including mint, rosemary, lemon verbena, and lavender. You can use the all purpose cleaner all over the house, and the Kitchen Basics Set (which includes multi-surface cleaner, dish soap, and hand soap) is a staple in my kitchen.

Better Life Stainless Steel Polish

It can be nearly impossible to find natural specialty cleaners – but Better Life’s stainless steel polish is an exception! I use it to wipe down appliances, and it works beautifully without any chemical smell. All Better Life products are made from plant-derived cleaning agents with botanical extracts for scent, leaving out perfumes, dyes, sulfates, bleach, parabens, and other harsh chemicals. I’m a fan of most of their other cleaning products as well, like all-purpose cleaner, dish soap, floor cleaner, and more – and I love that they offer bulk refill packaging to cut down on plastic waste!

Method Daily Shower Cleaner

I love the eucalyptus mint scent of this cleaner – it’s relaxing and makes my shower feel like a spa, unlike than the harsh bleach scent of most other shower cleaners. I also love that it doesn’t require rinsing and is packaged in a 100% recycled plastic bottle! Method is another company at the top of my list – it’s a certified B corporation, which means they use profits to help solve social and environmental problems (they use renewable energy in manufacturing, never test on animals, and work with other environmentally conscious companies to source ingredients). Their grapefruit scented all-purpose cleaner is another one of my favorites – such a fresh scent!

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs

I love the convenience of dishwasher detergent packs, but not the harsh fragrances and toxic chemicals they spread all over my dishes. These biodegradable Seventh Generation packs are effective at washing dishes without leaving streaks or residue without using chlorine, phosphates, or synthetic fragrances. I also love that Seventh Generation discloses all ingredients in their products (which isn’t actually required by law!) and are working to make the cleaning product industry more transparent about ingredient lists. Seventh generation also goes beyond household cleaners and has lines of natural baby products like diapers and wipes, feminine care products, and household products like toilet paper and paper towels!

NatureZway Bamboo Perforated Towels

These towels are reusable up to 100 times, and are super absorbent and durable, so they help to cut back on waste from paper towels when cleaning! If you hate throwing away a paper towel after using it to wipe up just one spill, and don’t always have a stocked dish towel drawer, these washable bamboo towels can make all the difference. It’s great that they’re disposable if you use them to scrub up something really grimy, but I find that they wash out in the sink really easily and last longer than I expected!

DIY Cleaner Recipes

If you’re looking to cut the ingredient list way back on your cleaning supplies, you can’t get cleaner than making your own. It’s surprisingly easy to make DIY cleaning products, so don’t get scared away by the thought of mixing your own! Here are a few DIY household cleaner recipes to get you started:

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

This simple all-purpose cleaner is great for wiping down surfaces and scrubbing away grease! The essential oil scent completely masks any vinegar smell, so no need to worry about spraying vinegar all over your house.

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 10 drops lemon or orange essential oil

Place all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and stir gently to combine.

(Note: Don’t use this cleaner on granite or marble countertops! The vinegar can roughen the surface.)

DIY Granite Cleaner

This cleaner is made without vinegar, so it’s safe for granite and marble surfaces. Feel free to use it on other surfaces as an all-purpose cleaner as well!

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 1 tablespoon castille soap
  • 10 drops lemon or orange essential oil

Place all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and stir gently to combine.


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