You don’t want to eat chemicals in your food—so why would you want to clean your counters, dust your furniture, and wash your clothes with them? The nonprofit Environmental Media Services recommends eschewing household cleaning products with chlorine, phosphates, alkylphenols, and volatile organic compounds. Instead, look for products that are biodegradable and use plant-based ingredients, not petrochemicals. These nontoxic products work just as well, if not better, than conventional cleansers and detergents. Need help deciding? The following five cleansers score high marks on both clean and green.
5 natural options
What it is
Why it's special
Ecos Earth Friendly Furniture Polish
Olive oil, orange oil
This fantastic, nonaerosol polish brings out wood furniture’s natural gleam. Works great on wood, paneling, and vinyl. Its citrus scent makes polishing furniture more of a treat than a chore.
Eco-Products All Purpose Cleaner
Vegetable-based surfactants, orange oil
Orange oil is a powerful degreaser and works especially well in the kitchen. Citrus oils don’t strip protective sealants the way many chemical products do, and they dissolve hard-to-remove stains in a flash.
This cleaner is part of Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear line, so it doesn’t have any perfumes or dyes—perfect for those who suffer from chemical sensitivities. Its dual use as a glass and surface cleaner saves you under-the-sink real estate.