The 8 Best Natural Cleaning Products in 2022

Natural Cleaners FAQ


Jenny McGrath / Insider


What is a natural cleaning product?

Natural and green cleaners can mean different things to different people. Some only consider lemon, baking soda and other natural elements to be truly label-eligible. Others also accept cleansers with plant-based ingredients. Overall, the types of products that many consider natural or green contain fewer harmful or toxic chemicals than many traditional cleaners.


What are the main certifications and are they important?

So many companies offer cleaning products that they label as natural or eco-friendly that it can be difficult to tell the difference between the legitimately less toxic options and the eco-friendly versions that may still pollute the environment. EPA’s Safer Choice certification, Green Seal certification, and UL Ecologo certification all have clearly defined criteria for ingredients that include efficacy, human health, and environmental standards. You can read more about them below.


Why buy natural cleaning products?

According to the EPA, many traditional cleaning products release VOCs, pollute the air and water, and can injure eyes or skin. Truly greener cleaning products attempt to reduce or eliminate all of these effects. Natural cleaning products are also ideal for people with allergies or sensitive skin, pregnant women, pet owners and people with children or who are pregnant.


What is EPA Safer Choice Certification?

Products with the Safer Choice certification meet the EPA’s Safer Choice standard. Ingredients meet health and environmental safety criteria, including carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment. Products must also meet performance standards. There are over 2,000 products in the database.


What is Green Seal Certification?

A Green Seal certified product meets standards for human health (including toxicity, carcinogenicity, skin sensitization and flammability), environmental effects (including acute aquatic toxicity and bioaccumulation) and waste minimization (including packaging recyclability and product effectiveness).


What is UL Ecologo Certification?

Underwriters’ Laboratories, or UL, certifies a range of products for safety. Its Ecologo mark indicates that a product meets third-party environmental standards in several areas, including materials, workmanship, health, environment and performance.


What is USDA BioPreferred Certified?

This voluntary labeling program through the USDA helps customers identify products made with renewable agricultural materials, renewable chemicals, and forestry materials, as opposed to petroleum-derived products.


What is the Environmental Working Group?

The EWG is a non-profit organization that rates products on whether or not they contain ingredients they deem unsafe. Some scientists have criticized the group’s methodology.


What is a surfactant?

Surfactants help reduce the surface tension of water, allowing soap or detergent to mix and hold dirt.


What is an emulsifier?

Emulsifiers help mix substances, like oil and water, that don’t usually combine on their own.


What are parabens?

Parabens are chemicals that have often been used as preservatives in cosmetics, cleansers, foods, and medications. Studies have linked their presence to damage to corals.


What are phthalates?

Phthalates are chemicals used to make plastic more durable. There are indications that they harm the reproductive system of animals.


What are sulphates?

Sulfates are detergents that help cleansers and cosmetics lather and hold dirt. Some people find that they irritate their skin or dry out their hair.

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