• 8 Best Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaners in 2022 (Environmental Scientist-Reviewed) 1
  • 8 Best Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaners in 2022 (Environmental Scientist-Reviewed) 2
  • 8 Best Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaners in 2022 (Environmental Scientist-Reviewed) 3
  • 8 Best Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaners in 2022 (Environmental Scientist-Reviewed) 4
  • 8 Best Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaners in 2022 (Environmental Scientist-Reviewed) 5

8 Best Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaners in 2022 (Environmental Scientist-Reviewed)

We’ve long been fed this idea that cleaning our homes has to be an almost dangerous endeavor, that toxic chemicals are necessary to kill all the germs that could be lurking around. But that’s simply not true, and toxic cleaners aren’t just bad for bacteria, they’re harmful to us and the environment, too.

Luckily, there is an increasing number of eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaners that get the job done just as well. But if you’re new to the world of eco-friendly cleaners, it can be hard to know where to start. In this guide reviewed by an environmental scientist, we’ll talk about the main factors to consider when choosing the best cleaner for you. We’ve also got a list of our 8 favorites to help you begin your search.

Featured in this article

Gwen Lynn
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-21-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose an Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaner - Buying Guide

Since all-purpose cleaners could literally touch every surface of your home, it’s important to consider both the makeup of the cleaner as well as your own situation.

Make Sure Labeling Is Transparent About Ingredients and Cleanable Surfaces

One of the worst things about cleaning products is that they are not required to disclose ingredients, so we really have no way of knowing what’s in them. If a cleaner has ingredients on the bottle, you already know that it’s head and shoulders above the rest.

For the Most Natural Cleaners, Look for Familiar Ingredients

For the Most Natural Cleaners, Look for Familiar Ingredients

You don’t actually need dangerous chemicals to clean things effectively. In fact, some of the best cleaners include ingredients that you might be able to buy yourself. Some ingredients that you might find are baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and good old-fashioned soap.

Just be aware that vinegar and some essential oils may be unsuitable for certain surfaces, so always check to see the usage instructions before you get to cleaning your whole house. This is especially important for those looking to clean easily damageable surfaces like leather and unfinished wood.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Artificial Fragrances and Dyes

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Artificial Fragrances and Dyes
It’s hard to say “avoid chemicals” since even the cleanest, greenest cleaners will likely have a few chemical-y or scientific-sounding ingredients on their label, and it’s impossible to decipher every single one. Some commonly known chemicals to avoid include ammonia and bleach.

Luckily, by checking to see if the cleaner even has an ingredients list, you’re likely cutting out the worst chemicals for you - because the ones that are full of harmful chemicals usually don’t want you to know exactly what’s in them.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Artificial Fragrances and Dyes
But there are still a couple of seemingly benign things to avoid including artificial fragrances and dyes

Artificial fragrances are full of phthalates, which are known hormone disruptors, as well as volatile organic compounds that can cause headaches and respiratory distress. Dyes, on the other hand, are simply added chemicals without added benefits.

Look for Reputable Stamps and Certifications

Greenwashing is when a product claims to be more healthful than it really is in order to look more appealing. This happens all the time in food products, but did you know that it can also happen in cleaning products?

Official Seals Guarantee the Product Has Been Rigorously Tested

Official Seals Guarantee the Product Has Been Rigorously Tested

It’s kind of trendy to be eco-friendly right now – that may even be the reason you’re here. In response to that, a lot of products now claim to be “natural,” “green,” or “organic.” But unlike food items, there’s no regulatory system to define what these terms mean for cleaning products.

A lot of times, these “green” versions of chemical-laden products are simply the same formulation minus one or two ingredients. So in order to really figure out what’s good and what’s not, you’re going to have to look past the appealing organic-looking labels, no matter how enticing they may be.
An easy way to cut past the greenwashing is to look for reputable stamps and certifications. Some examples of stamps to look for are Green Seal, EcoLogo label, or EPA Safer Choice Label. All of these involve high standards and rigorous testing.

Environmental Working Group Ratings: A Simple Guide to Toxicity and Transparency

Environmental Working Group Ratings: A Simple Guide to Toxicity and Transparency

The Environmental Working Group is an environmental advocacy group that conducts research and oversight on agriculture, toxins, and corporate accountability. To get a quick, simple overview of how green a product is, look towards the EWG’s A through F rating system available on their website.

The EWG considers a number of factors when coming up with a product’s grade including ingredients, transparency, and government toxicity datasets.
While it isn’t perfect—not all products are rated, products can be penalized for listing general ingredients instead of specific ones, and these ratings are based on calculations rather than testing—it’s a decent measure of how “green” you can expect a product’s ingredients to be.

Don’t Choose Antibacterial Unless You’re Immunocompromised

Don’t Choose Antibacterial Unless You’re Immunocompromised
Many scientists think that the next big health crisis is going to be antibacterial-resistant bacteria due to our overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial cleaners. We’ve been tricked into thinking that bacteria equals dirty and dangerous, when in fact the majority of bacteria have no effect on us or are even helpful.
So on top of creating antibacterial-resistant strains of the bad bugs, using too many antibacterial products actually disrupts the good bacteria too. Unless someone in your household has a compromised immune system and requires a squeaky clean environment, you can put the antibacterials away and stop freaking out about germs.

8 Best Eco-Friendly All-Purpose Cleaners

Here are our favorite eco-friendly all-purpose cleaners. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Gwen Lynn. For more on our selection process, check out our content policy. Prices were gathered from respective EC sites on August 4, 2022.

Image
1
Green Gobbler Cold Pressed Orange Oil Concentrate 1

Green Gobbler

2
ECOS Parsley All Purpose Cleaner 1

ECOS

3
Aunt Fannie’s All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar - Eucalyptus 1

Aunt Fannie’s

4
Biokleen All Purpose Cleaner, Super Concentrated 1

Biokleen

6
Method All Purpose Cleaner, French Lavender 1

Method

6
Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Clary Sage & Citrus (3 pack) 1

Better Life

7
Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner (2 pack) 1

Puracy

8
CleanSmart Daily Surface Cleaner (2 pack) 1

CleanSmart

Name

Cold Pressed Orange Oil Concentrate

Parsley All Purpose Cleaner

All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar - Eucalyptus

All Purpose Cleaner, Super Concentrated

All Purpose Cleaner, French Lavender

Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Clary Sage & Citrus (3 pack)

Natural All Purpose Cleaner (2 pack)

Daily Surface Cleaner (2 pack)

Features

2 Ingredients Do Just About Everything

A Green Cleaner That Leaves the House Smelling Fresh

Vinegar-Based Cleaner to Protect Your Microbiome

Concentrated Cleaner Makes Up to 32 Gallons

Effective, Non-Toxic Cleaner in Bulk

A Super Tough, Truly All-Purpose Cleaner

Plant-Based and Works Well for Everyday Messes

Non-Toxic Disinfectant for Families With Children or Pets

Price$21.98$9.59$8.99$12.56$3.58$18.39$11.97$15.99
CleansAll surfacesAll surfacesMost surfaces except stone and some woodsMost surfacesCounters, tile, stone, wood, glassAll surfacesAll surfacesAny non-porous surface
CertificationsEPA BfE, USDA Biopreferred
EWG ratingBAABCA
AntibacterialNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
Link
1

Green GobblerCold Pressed Orange Oil Concentrate

$21.98

CleansAll surfaces
Certifications
EWG rating
AntibacterialNo
2

ECOSParsley All Purpose Cleaner

$9.59

CleansAll surfaces
CertificationsEPA BfE, USDA Biopreferred
EWG ratingB
AntibacterialNo
3

Aunt Fannie’sAll Purpose Cleaning Vinegar - Eucalyptus

$8.99

CleansMost surfaces except stone and some woods
Certifications
EWG ratingA
AntibacterialNo
4

BiokleenAll Purpose Cleaner, Super Concentrated

$12.56

CleansMost surfaces
Certifications
EWG ratingA
AntibacterialNo
6

Better LifeNatural All-Purpose Cleaner, Clary Sage & Citrus (3 pack)

$18.39

CleansAll surfaces
Certifications
EWG ratingC
AntibacterialNo
6
CleansCounters, tile, stone, wood, glass
Certifications
EWG ratingB
AntibacterialNo
7

PuracyNatural All Purpose Cleaner (2 pack)

$11.97

CleansAll surfaces
Certifications
EWG ratingA
AntibacterialNo
8

CleanSmartDaily Surface Cleaner (2 pack)

$15.99

CleansAny non-porous surface
Certifications
EWG rating
AntibacterialYes

Are Eco-Friendly Cleaners Effective?

Are Eco-Friendly Cleaners Effective?

There is a pervasive idea that although eco-friendly cleaners are better for us and the environment, they aren’t very great at cleaning.

While it may be true that some traditional cleaning products are super effective because they’re toxic (the chemicals in oven cleaners, for example, melt fat and protein - the stuff that humans are actually made of!), that doesn’t mean that eco-friendly options aren’t effective.

Many are just as effective as their toxic counterparts right off the bat. Those that are not may require more setting time or an extra layer of product, but they work in the end. And ultimately, isn’t it worth a little extra effort for a cleaner that isn’t going to harm you?

More Ways to Live Sustainably

Thinking about changing your lifestyle to be more eco-friendly all around? It can be hard when getting started - there's a lot of information to sift through - so when you need help on finding clean alternatives, take a look at one of our other buying guides!

Buying Guide Reviewed by Environmental Scientist Gwen Lynn

Gwen Lynn
Environmental Health & Safety Scientist
Gwen Lynn

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Author: Jacqueline Oshiro

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