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Replace ALL of your everyday toxic cleaning products with natural products (for less than $100!)

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Pinterest Image: Replace ALL your TOXIC cleaning products with non-toxic NATURAL cleaning products for less than $100
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I still remember the day I made the decision to stop buying the “Big Brand” cleaning products and switch to more natural, healthier products. I was cleaning my bathroom with some common bathroom cleaner, and I found myself holding my breath and taking breaks by going into a different room to BREATHE! The fumes were so strong I couldn’t stop coughing, so my solution was… just don’t breathe. It was then that I realized, “This is not right. This cannot be good for me.”

It was also around that time when my husband and I decided to start trying for children. I became acutely aware of what I was putting on my body and in my home that could affect my fertility as well as the health of my future babies.

Fast forward to us having an infant who was always on the floor, exploring anything and everything with her hands and mouth. Making sure my cleaning products were extra-safe became even more important. I didn’t want to have to be worried that my babies were going to put something in their mouth that I had just sprayed with Lysol, be drinking the bathwater after I’d earlier doused it with Scrubbing Bubbles, or somehow get ahold of a stray dishwasher tablet and eat it. Parenthood is worrisome enough, and this was one area where I could make a change and not have to worry about it.


I didn’t want to have to be worried that my babies were going to put something in their mouth that I had just sprayed with Lysol, be drinking the bathwater after I’d earlier doused it with Scrubbing Bubbles, or somehow get ahold of a stray dishwasher tablet and eat it.


It took me a couple years to fully make the switch to natural household products (well almost fully, I’m not perfect. I do still occasionally use things like a Magic Eraser… I’ve yet to find a good replacement for that wizardry).

It took me so long because completely switching to natural products felt so overwhelming. And expensive! But it doesn’t have to be! 

You can swap out ALL of your basic home cleaning products very simply and affordably. And I’m going to show you below how to do it for under $100.

But first, I always want to educate with research and provide facts more reliable than my personal opinion…

What’s so wrong with my Windex and 409?

Over the years of making the switch to healthier products for healthier living, I have done a lot of research regarding what ingredients are harmful, why they’re harmful, what their effects are, and why they’re allowed to be sold in the first place.

So, specifically in regards to cleaning products, I’d like to share with you five important facts I’ve learned:

  1. The federal government does not require cleaning product manufacturers to disclose their full ingredient list to the public, nor are they required to test their ingredients for safety (EWG & Consumer Product Safety Commission). In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) even admits that, “[cleaning products] may contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues… For example, alkylphenol ethoxylates, a common surfactant ingredient in cleaners, have been shown in laboratory studies to function as an ‘endocrine disrupter…'” (This applies to “natural products” as well, so research what you’re buying before you buy it!)
  2. Antibacterial cleaning products are not necessary in normal, healthy households (WebMD). Soap and water are just as effective, healthier, and cheaper. Antibacterial products not only kill bad bacteria, but also kill good bacteria, which could be harmful if the ratio of good to bad bacteria is disturbed. Further, antibacterials may contribute to strains of bacteria becoming resistant to antibacterials or antibiotics (Better Health Channel). While there are some instances where there is a serious risk of illness transmission where EPA-recommended antimicrobial disinfectants are necessary, the normal household does not need them.
  3. Just because someone is allowed to sell it, doesn’t mean it’s been proven to be safe. Because of the reasons mentioned in learning #1, there are a lot of products out there with ingredients linked to all sorts of health issues including asthma and other respiratory issues, development of allergies, reproductive issues, skin irritation and dermatitis, developmental issues, birth defects, etc. Just take a look at some of the specific products and their related health concerns in the sections below. (For more information on why it is so common to have ingredients with well-established health or environmental concerns still remain in widely-sold products, check out the Environmental Working Group’s article and Scientific American’s article).
  4. The nice fresh smell of conventional cleaning products may not be as pleasant to your health as they are to your nose. “Fragrance” is likely the ingredient making it smell nice and is an undisclosed black hole of unknown ingredients. Fragrance often contains phthalates, which “researchers have linked to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues” (The Guardian).
  5. You don’t have to buy the expensive stuff to be effective. Almost half of what I use on a regular basis is mostly made up of plain water, vinegar or baking soda… all very affordable ingredients. Plus, there are plenty of brands with effective, yet still affordable, natural cleaning products (many mentioned below). Don’t get sucked into the idea that more expensive is better.

All the Basic Natural Cleaning Products You Need, Under $100

Honestly, you don’t need a whole lot to keep your house clean. The big brands make it seem like you need at least 4 different products per room! One of my favorite unintentional consequences of ditching all the harmful chemicals was that I simplified my cleaning products significantly. Fewer chemicals AND less clutter. Winning!

So while this list may seem short, you can keep it simple and still be very effective. 

The grand total at the time of this post, comes out to about $90 for all the products you need. And it really could be even less! You can save 5-15% on several of these products by using Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. Also, there are a few products that are cheaper if you can find them in-store (noted where applicable), but I wanted to give the price I knew would be available to all.

I’ve also put together an easy Amazon shopping list with all the necessary products discussed below for one-stop shopping. (I did not include vinegar, distilled water or baking soda on the Amazon list since they’re widely available and much cheaper at the grocery store).

Disclaimer: Prices are subject to change and the estimated totals are based on prices at the time of this post.


General Household CleaningTotal $36

1. All-Purpose Cleaner

Health Concerns: Beware of “antibacterial” all-purpose cleaners. According to Cleveland Clinic, “Antibacterial cleaners usually contain water, a fragrance, a surfactant (to break up dirt), and a pesticide. The pesticides commonly used in antibacterial cleaners are quaternary ammonium (quats) or phenolic chemicals.” Quats are associated with asthma, and reduced fertility and birth defects in animals.

EWG ratings of popular brands*:

*EWG stands for Environmental Working Group. They are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to researching the ingredient safety of household products, cosmetics and more.

My Recommendation: ECOS Orange Plus All-Purpose Cleaner

This all-purpose cleaner is an all-around winner… Safe plant-based ingredients, very effective, cheap, AND it has that nice fresh scent of citrus that we love in our cleaning products (without the harmful ingredients of “fragrance”).

It also boasts the EPA’s Safer Choice label, which means the EPA has reviewed every ingredient, and it must meet strict standards. ECOS products are very environmentally-friendly, too.

EWG Rating: A
Where to Buy Online: Amazon (pack of two). This is a Subscribe & Save item so you can get it up to 15% off.
Where to Buy In-Store: Some Walmarts & grocery stores carry it. I saw it at Walmart recently for $2.38 for one. Find a Retailer.

2. Glass Cleaner

Health Concerns: “The basic ingredients of window/glass cleaners are ammonia and isopropanol. These products may be irritating to the eyes, skin, nose, and throat. If swallowed, they may cause drowsiness, unconsciousness or death” (Cleveland Clinic).

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: Aunt Fannie’s Glass & Window

This was a recent suggestion from a friend, and I love it! I’ve used it on mirrors, windows, faucet fixtures and our appliances (which are not stainless steel) with great results. There is no strong scent like you get with Windex, either.

EWG Rating: A
Where to Buy Online: Amazon where this is a Subscribe & Save item eligible for up to 10% off. Or AuntFannies.com if you’re buying several of their products (free shipping on $20+ orders).
Where to Buy In-Store: Varies based on location. Find a Retailer.

3. Dusting

Health Concerns: Dusting sprays or dusting wipes usually contain the ingredient “fragrance,” which typically contains phthalates. Phthalates have a number of documented, very concerning health issues discussed in Learning #4 in the intro of this post. Some sprays can also damage your furniture or degrade its finish over time.

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: Microfiber Dusting Cloths

I use these and only these to dust with. They’re effective and washable so they’re much more budget-friendly and eco-friendly than the Swiffer Dusters I used to use. The microfiber cloths are also what I use to clean all surfaces (in combination with a cleaning agent) that don’t need to be scrubbed with something more abrasive like a brush or Brillo pad. They’re also great for washing your car!

Where to Buy Online: Amazon
Where to Buy In-Store: Any home store will have these including Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and grocery stores. I got a huge pack at Costco that has lasted me years.

4. Floor Cleaner

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner

This was also a recent home-run suggestion from my super clean, all-natural bestie. I just love it! It gets my floors nice and clean, has a very mild pleasant scent with zero noxious fumes like other floor cleaners, requires no rinsing and leaves no weird sticky residue behind. Plus, this one little container makes 16 GALLONS of floor cleaner. Now I probably don’t clean my floors as often as I should (shh, don’t tell my mother-in-law!), but this might just last me until the end of time.

EWG Rating: A
Where to Buy Online: Amazon where this is a Subscribe & Save item eligible for up to 10% off. Or AuntFannies.com if you’re buying several of their products (free shipping on $20+ orders).
Where to Buy In-Store: Varies based on location. Find a Retailer.

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SUPER SAVVY TIP

If you used to use a Swiffer and you don’t own a mop, just place a microfiber cloth on your Swiffer as you would a Swiffer cloth… tada! Instant mop! Swiffer sweepers also make great safe-distance spider smushers for my fellow arachnophobes…


Bathroom Products Total $5

All of the “General Household” products mentioned above are used in my bathroom. Countertops, sinks, showers, bathtubs, outsides of toilets are cleaned with the all-purpose cleaner. Mirrors and shower doors are cleaned with the glass cleaner, and floors get the floor cleaner. The only additional products I regularly use in the bathroom are baking soda and vinegar… read below for details.

5. Shower & Tub Cleaner

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: Baking Soda & Distilled White Vinegar

Baking soda is known for its gentle abrasiveness and odor-neutralizing powers, making it a great cleaning agent. Check out some other cleaning uses for baking soda.

Vinegar’s acidity is what makes it a powerful cleaner that can bust through soap scum, clean up sticky messes, etc. Here’s a great article on all the ways to use vinegar in your cleaning regimen.

Typically I use my all-purpose cleaner for the shower and tub, but occasionally I do a deeper clean and sprinkle down some baking soda, spray on a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water (you can add some essential oil, too, for scent) and go to town with a scrub brush. It works great and is about as cheap as you can get!

Price: About $5 total
EWG Rating: A
Where to Buy: Any grocery store

(I’ve also heard good things about ECOS’ Shower Cleaner, but have not yet tried it myself).

6. Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Health Concerns: Toilet cleaners typically contain the chemicals sodium hypochlorite (chlorine), hydrochloric acid or bleach (Cleveland Clinic). Hydrochloric acid is a corrosive chemical that can cause skin burns and irritation and can be toxic if inhaled (PubChem). Chlorine and bleach, if inhaled, can produce “severe bronchial irritation and pulmonary edema and can irritate eyes and skin if they come in contact with the chemical” (PubChem).

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: Baking Soda & Distilled White Vinegar

Again, super cheap and effective. For the inside of the toilet bowl, just sprinkle in a little baking soda, spray with your vinegar/water mixture and scrub with a toilet brush. To clean the outside of the toilet I use my All-Purpose Cleaner.

Price: Already budgeted for above
EWG Rating: A
Where to Buy: Any grocery store


Kitchen Products Total $48

7. Counter Cleaner

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: DIY Vinegar-Based Spray

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You honestly don’t even have to make this one. The all-purpose cleaner would work just fine, but I like the cost-effectiveness of this solution and that it looks nice sitting out in a pretty bottle on my counter. The up-front price seems like a lot, but you get two reusable bottles and plenty of lemon essential oil that can be used in many different ways. You can use this spray anywhere in place if the all-purpose cleaner as well. Here’s the recipe:

Supplies:
16 oz. Glass spray bottles, pack of 2 – (up-to-date price on ad below)
– Distilled white vinegar – (budgeted for above)
– Distilled water – $1 at the grocery store
Lemon Essential Oil – (up-to-date price on ad below)

Directions:
Fill your bottle halfway with the vinegar, and fill the rest (with a little room to spare) with distilled water. Add 20-30 drops of lemon essential oil, seal, shake, and DONE!

Price: ~$21
Where to Buy: Bottles and Lemon Essential Oil on Amazon, vinegar and water at the grocery store. These particular bottles and lemon oil can be purchased as part of your Subscribe & Save program and you can save up to 15%.

8. Liquid Dish Detergent

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: ECOS Dish Soap

I really like this dish soap. It cuts through grease really well, but doesn’t leave your hands super dry. This particular one doesn’t really have any scent at all, but there are scented options. Not much else to say… it just does the job!

EWG Rating: A
Where to Buy Online: Amazon. Another Subscribe & Save item eligible for up to 15% off.
Where to Buy In-Store: Some Walmarts & grocery stores carry it. Find a Retailer.

9. Dishwasher Detergent

EWG ratings of popular brands:

My Recommendation: Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Powder

For a while I had trouble finding a dishwashing detergent that checked off all of my requirements: safe, effective and affordable. I even made my own for several months. But I finally found this, and I won’t go back. It cleans well, leaves pretty much no residue (there are occasionally some little flecks on my glasses, but nothing major), and it is affordable. I know the price tag seems expensive but this pack of 2 has lasted me over 6 months and I still have maybe 1/8 of a box left, so it’s actually really cost-effective (less than $3/month). You can also sometimes find it cheaper in stores like Walmart, Target, and grocery stores (I know my Sprouts carries it for around $8/box).

EWG Rating: A
Where to Buy Online: Amazon
Where to Buy In-Store:

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT BRANDS

Even within a brand, there may be super-safe products as well as not-so-safe products. For example, Seventh Generation has the dishwasher powder above and dishwasher pods that are A-Rated by EWG, but they also have a dishwasher gel that gets a C. So be sure to check product by product. Some conventional brands may even have well-rated products in their lineup.


And that’s it! Around $90 to ditch ALL of your everyday toxic cleaning products for healthier, safer options for you and your family. Remember to check out the Amazon Shopping List to see all the products in one place (except vinegar, water and baking soda that I recommend you get at the grocery store).

Also, be sure to properly dispose of the old products. Check out this article for some information and ideas.

Note: I have not included specialized or occasional-use cleaning products on this list. For example: stainless steel appliance cleaners, specialized wood cleaning products, hard-core oven/stovetop cleaner, etc. This list was intended to address things that pretty much everyone will need on a daily-weekly basis.


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