Roundup of the best non-toxic cleaning sprays – including a homemade version!
Take a look under my kitchen sink and you’ll find a jumble of bottles and jars with colorful graphics, along with a bunch of random sponges and reusable cleaning cloths – just like most people.
Unlike most people, instead of the traditional cleaning products that were always under the sink when I was growing up, I’ve filled mine with newer brands (+ a homemade version), made with safe, non-toxic ingredients.
Switching out my cleaning products was one of first steps I took to detox my home many years ago, but believe me, it did not happen overnight. It’s been a process, and sometimes a challenge to find cleaning products that work well and are not simply greenwashing disguised as natural.
Today we’re talking about the most basic of cleaning products – but probably the one you use most often: the all-purpose cleaning spray. Over the years, I’ve had many different all-purpose cleaning sprays under my sink, but only a handful that make it back time after time. Find out which ones made the cut (+ a few that didn’t ) and why below!
Why It Matters
Aside from your garage or basement storage room, the worst chemicals in your home are probably underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. The chemicals in those products may be good for scrubbing but they are not healthy housemates.
Most traditional cleaning products contain active ingredients and fragrances that are linked to asthma, allergies, hormone disruption and even cancer. In fact, many popular cleaning sprays – like Lysol and Formula 409 rate an F (the worst rating) on EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Trust me, you do not want to be spraying those things around for your family to breathe!
Conventional cleaning products aren’t good for the environment either – the ingredients cause harm to marine life and drinking water, and continue our reliance on petroleum.
Think reading the label will help you identify safer products? Sadly that’s not the case for most cleaning products. Unlike food or beauty products, manufacturers of household cleaning products are not required to list ingredients on the label. And from what we’ve learned here, those “patented” cleaning formulas are secret for a reason.
Criteria for Non-Toxic Cleaning Sprays
So now that we know why we should avoid traditional cleaning sprays, let’s figure out how to find safer ones! These are the things I look for in an all-purpose cleaning spray:
- Transparency – all ingredients listed on packaging
- Plant derived – ingredients from plants instead of petroleum
- Free from – parabens, phthalates, tricolsan, 1,4 dioxane, formaldehyde, chlorine bleach, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfates), or SLES, phosphates, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, harsh solvents, VOCs
- Biodegradable – all ingredients will biodegrade completely
- Cruelty free – no animal testing
- Light natural scent or unscented – some “natural” brands like Mrs. Meyers and Method have scents that are too overpowering for my liking
Favorite Non-Toxic Cleaning Sprays
(There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase through a link, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Mindful Momma if you do!)
Like I said, finding non-toxic cleaning sprays that actually work well has been a process. So to keep you from having to go through those same trials, I’m only sharing the all-purpose cleaning sprays that I have liked enough to repurchase over and over again. I love these brands! And if you’re a DIY’er you’ll be happy to see my homemade cleaning spray on the list!
Buying tip: I’ve found that some of the best prices for non-toxic cleaning sprays are online – target.com, Vitacost, and Thrive Market are good sources. Amazon can be good too, but do some comparison shopping before you buy, because sometimes their prices are high for this particular category.
1. Earth Friendly Products / ECOS
Product: ECOS All Purpose Cleaner Citrus Plus
Ingredients: Water, caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-derived surfactant), alcohol denat. (corn-derived solvent), potassium sorbate (plant-derived, food grade preservative), citric acid (plant-derived pH adjuster), limonene (orange) oil
- Uses power of orange oil to clean
- Concentrate available for spray bottle refills
- Parsley scent also available – which sounds strange but smells fantastically fresh!
Price: $3.69 for 22-oz bottle
2. Better Life
Ingredients: Purified water, decyl glucoside (plant derived), lauryl glucoside (plant derived), disodium cocoyl glutamate (plant derived), quillaja saponaria bark (soap bark) extract, citrus limon (lemon) peel extract, salvia sclarea (clary sage) extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel extract, methylisothiazolinone (preservative, less than 0.01%)
- Available at some Target and Whole Foods locations and many food co-ops and local grocery stores
- New Pomegranate scent available on company website only (so far)
Price: $4.99 for 32-oz bottle
3. Thrive Market
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), laureth-7, caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-derived cleaning agent), dimethyl 9-decenamide (plant-derived cleaning agent), citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, sodium citrate (plant-derived water softener), tetrasodium glutamate diacetate (plant-derived chelating agent), citric acid (plant-derived pH adjuster)
- Comes in the mail with all your other goodies from Thrive Market
- Can sign up for auto-ship if that interests you
Price: $3.29 for 22-oz bottle
4. Seventh Generation
Ingredients: Water, caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-derived cleaning agent), lauramine oxide (plant-based cleaning agent), sodium gluconate (plant-derived water softener), sodium carbonate (mineral-based alkalinity builder), benzisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone (synthetic preservatives)
- Easy to find at many local stores
- Lowest price
- Unscented (if that’s what you prefer)
- Company is a certified B Corp
Price: $2.69 for 32-oz
Product: Everyday Spray, from my book, Practically Green: Your Guide to EcoFriendly Decision-Making.
2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
1 teaspoon washing soda or borax
20 drops essential oil (tea tree, grapefruit seed and lemon are natural disinfectants)
Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle (I prefer glass spray bottles). Shake well to mix before using.
Pros: Super inexpensive!
Ready to clean up that jumble underneath your kitchen sink? Let’s do this!
Found this post helpful? Here are even more posts on green cleaning!