Let’s face it, toxic chemicals have made their way in to our everyday household products quietly and unadvertised. It is extremely important for the health of our entire family that we learn to buy all-natural cleaning products with the best safety ratings and non-toxic ingredients.
With heath issues on the rise in recent years, it is more important than ever to know what we are indirectly putting on our skin and what scents we are breathing in.
Recent studies of over 2,000 cleaning products in the American market today found that many contain substances linked to serious health problems.
The American Lung Association claims that many cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or throat, or cause headaches and other health problems, including cancer.
I must admit, the search for natural cleaning products can be overwhelming. After all there are thousands of products to choose from.
And what’s worse, even if we wanted to look in-store for the ingredients of the cleaning product of our choice, we wouldn’t find it.
That is because cleaning product manufactures are not required to list all ingredients they use in their formulations. They use the excuse of “they don’t want other companies copying their top-secret formula”.
Did you know that U.S. law allows manufacturers of cleaning products to use almost any ingredient they wish, including known carcinogens and toxic substances?
Yup, that happens. All the time. Right under of our noses.
Neither does the government review the safety of products before they’re sold. That it is why it is so important to be informed and know what products are safe to purchase and use for the entire family.
You can even opt to make your own cleaning products at home to have complete control over the ingredients.
However, if you are busy mom like me, and creating your cleaning products isn’t in your schedule, read on…
My Natural Cleaning Product Story
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 24 (currently 34).
I am extremely blessed that I am able to keep it at bay without medication, by watching what I eat and living a healthier lifestyle. But that wasn’t always the case.
When my second child was born, I opted to exclusively breastfeed. At two months of age she developed a rash which her pediatrician diagnosed as baby eczema.
The pediatrician recommended I eliminated all dairy from my diet as that could be a trigger to her eczema as milk protein passes through breast milk.
One week after my dairy restrictions, my daughter’s skin cleared completely.
The breakthrough was that for those 7 months that I avoided not only daily but every other ingredient related to it (yogurt, butter, ice cream, pastries, cereals, even some breads), I felt the best I ever had physically!
That opened Pandora’s box! Not only for my well-being, but the well-being of my entire household (husband and kids).
That experience and my nursing background pushed me to dig deeper not only in the food that we were consuming but in the products we were using.
It was a frustrating and overwhelming ordeal.
Until I came across EWG.
They made it so easy for me to educate myself and be able to be confident in the products we were purchasing and using on our children.
After all of my research, I threw away bags full of food, make-up, personal care products, baby products, and cleaning products.
Products that are highly popular and advertised, and that american families rely in their uses on a daily basis. But, that have the potential of being extremely hazardous to our health and our children’s health.
I must say I went through a period of rage.
I was upset at our government for allowing harmful chemicals to be used in human products and I was upset at myself for trusting the system.
What is EWG?
EWG (The Environmental Working Group) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.
Their mission is to use the power of information to protect human health and the environment.
EWG has different databases that help you to easily check a product’s hazards score based in their extensive ingredient research. Their databases include cosmetics, food, and cleaning products.
The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning gives you practical solutions to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to potentially harmful chemicals.
As EWG explains, “EWG’s staff scientists compared the ingredients listed on cleaning product labels, websites and worker safety documents with the information available in the top government, industry and academic toxicity databases and the scientific literature on health and environmental problems tied to cleaning products”.
EWG Scoring System?
EWG created a scoring system using the extensive data collected and organized on product attributes, ingredients and toxicity. This scoring system gives consumers the best information available to make informed, healthy choices.
The final score for a cleaning product ranges from “A” to “F”.
A letter grade of “A” indicates very low hazard to health and the environment with robust disclosure of ingredients.
A letter grade of “F” signifies that the product is highly hazardous or provides little to no ingredient disclosure.
Letter “C” score indicates an average cleaner that poses no overt hazards and provides some disclosure of ingredients.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the EWG and their hazard rating system, let’s get to the easy part.
Next, we’ll go over the top safest cleaning products based on the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning hazard ratings and my personal favorites which fit that criteria.
The Best Natural Cleaning Products
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Although air fresheners aren’t a “cleaning product” per say, they are commonly used in nearly every household as a way to keep the house smelling fresh and clean. They are also one of the many harmful things we use daily.
However, as Wikipedia explains, “many air fresheners employ carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and known toxins such as phthalate esters in their formulas.”
A University of Washington study of top-selling air fresheners and laundry products, found that all products tested gave off chemicals regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, including carcinogens with no safe exposure level. But, none of these chemicals were listed on any of the product labels or Material Safety Data Sheets.
Chemicals included acetone (paint thinner and nail polish remover ingredient), chloromethane (a neuro and respiratory toxin) and acetaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane (two known carcinogens). In addition, a plug-in air freshener contained more than 20 different volatile organic compounds, with more than one-third classified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws.
Again, another reason to be extremely selective with the products we decide to purchase and expose our entire family to.
There are not many “safe” options when it comes to air fresheners. Even those classified as “A” on EWG hazard rating system, pose some sort of health threat.
So, are we forced to leave our house smelling like a high school’s boys locker-room?
The best solution is to use good old baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in closed spaces (fridge, closets, even shoes) and diffuse organic essential oils.
Please note: NOT ALL essential oils are good for you either. Even those which claim to be “natural” and “healing”. Make sure you use organic essential oils, as many scented oils are made from petroleum and other chemicals. Always look of the “USDA” organic seal.
If you don’t have an essential oils diffuser, this Amazon’s Choice product is super inexpensive and has over 31,000 happy customer reviews on Amazon.
Doing the dishes is a daily chore, but with that also comes exposure to some very common and toxic chemicals.
Next, are great choices for the entire family for washing dishes safely.
Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap (Green Tea and Lime) is a personal favorite. Not only does it have an EWG “A” rating but it is an Amazon’s Choice product and hold an almost 5 start consumer reviews of more than 2,000 happy customers.
I always buy the refill option on Amazon and don’t have to worry about buying more for months (plus, you save more money buying in bulk).
Seventh Generation Fragrance Free Dishwasher Detergent also has an EWG “A” rating and it is an Amazon’s Choice product.
One of the most common household products associated with harmful toxins is laundry detergent.
Not only can you come in contact with toxic chemicals via your clothing, but you can breathe them into your lungs once they become airborne in the process of doing your laundry.
Popular brand detergents come with a big list of hazardous chemicals, some of which the manufacturer doesn’t even have to list on the label. That makes it even harder for the general public to ever discover what’s in there.
Next, is a safer product list based on EWG’s hazard rating system.
Better Life Natural 4X Concentrated Laundry Detergent. This plant-based, lavender grapefruit laundry detergent is good for up to 64 loads, it is sulfate-free and is color safe. It also has an EWG “A” letter score.
ATTITUDE Sensitive Skin Baby Laundry Detergent is hypoallergenic, fragrance free, and score a “A” on EWG’s hazard rating system. ATTITUDE is one of our favorite companies and we purchase a lot of their products because of their use of clean and safe ingredients.
Grab Green Natural 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Pods are fragrance-free with organic enzymes and are plant and mineral based. They score an “A” in EWG’s hazard ratings system and are an Amazon’s Choice product.
General Multi-Surface Cleaners
Just like all other categories, multi–surface sprays and cleaners contain toxins that be potentially harmful.
Whether they come in contact with our skin, or whether we breath them in… the threat it is still present.
Next, are better multi-surface/multi-use cleaning options for your health, your family’s health, and the planet.
Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-surface Cleaner Lemon Citrus Scent. I personally love and use this products and it has a EWG “A” hazard rating.
Attitude All Purpose Citrus Zest Hypoallergenic Cleaner is perfect to clean toys and play areas. It has an EWG’s “A” hazard score.
General Bathroom Cleaner
Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner is a great option. It has an EWG grade letter “A” and it has great reviews on Amazon.
Remember, just because a product is labeled “all-natural” or “eco-friendly” doesn’t mean that it is.
Ensure you do you research and be informed about what it is exactly that you are buying and using around yourself and those you love.
The products listed here are some of the best products in the market today based on EWG’s hazard rating system, products customer reviews, and personal experience.
But, feel free to do your own research as well.
Make sure you save this article in your browser, or pin it to Pinterest as I will be adding more products to this list in the next few weeks.
What natural cleaning products do you use?
The safety of products suggested by Lovely Momhood are based on the Environmental Working Group rating system. This by no means implies that any given products is 100% safe. It just means that based on EWG’s extensive research on every single ingredient that goes in to any particular product, it is given a certain “hazard score”. The “hazard score” does not reflect efficacy or quality. The value is simply a determination of a hazard score based on the product’s ingredients. Any product on this list can be researched on the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning for specific details on each ingredient and their health concerns, (if any).