Cleaning Essentials

Cleaning Essentials

The world-wide-web-worth of health bloggers loves loves loves to talk about homemade household cleaners.  "If you mix these ten hard-to-find ingredients..."  But can we be honest?  We barely find time to clean, nonetheless make cleaning products.  So, that's not what you'll find here.  But you will find the best non-toxic, affordable, available-in-stores-and-online-options.  'Cause this is real life.  Cleaning sucks.  These products make it a suck a little less.  


Conventional cleaners are riddled with chemicals that are hazardous to your health and the environment.  Think about it: if you use a bleach-based cleanser on the highchair that your kiddo practically licks applesauce off of, isn't it possible he or she is ingesting some chemical residue?  And when you use a harsh chemical-based cleanser on your sink and wash it down the drain, don't those chemicals eventually make their way into our precious eco-system?  

We can't possibly cover all the chemical liabilities associated with cleaners here, but if you want to learn more about the health and environmental risks associated with using chemical-based cleaners, check out Environmental Working Group's Guide to Cleaning Supplies and Your Health.  It's a nail-biter.

The perks of using non-toxic options are abundant.  They're every bit as effective as their conventional counterparts.  They don't cost (much) more.  And best of all, they smell amazingly clean and fresh.  Adios chemical smells that make us gag.


  1. Adjust your expectations.  If you're you're used to products that melt away grime in front of your eyes without the touch of a brush or wipe, please know: these are not those.  But they're also not chock-full of the chemicals that make that possible, either.
  2. You'll need a little elbow grease.  Since you won't be gasping for a breath of fresh air, you can get right in there and scrub away.  Just think: clean bathroom, strong arms.  Win, win.
  3. Embrace "All-Purpose."  Folks thinking they need an arsenal of products to clean their home.  The reality is a few, smartly-selection options will do the work of many.  We tried a multitude of types cleaners -  bathroom, floor, tile, counter, etc. - only to find that the All-Purpose option was more effective across the board.  Plus, when you only have to reach for one, you save time.  And when you only have to buy one, you save money.


We use this on everything.  Granite counters, stainless steel appliances, shower wall tile, you name it.  No offensive smell or VOCs.  Effective, biodegradable formula.  

Seventh Generation All-Purpose Natural Cleaner, Amazon Pantry, $3

We also tried...  Honest Company's Multi-Surface Cleaner smelled great but didn't seem as effective, especially for twice the price.  Method's All Purpose Cleaner works and smells great but scores an "F" from Environmental Working Group.

Glass Cleaner

Cleaning glass can be infuriating.  Using this plant based formula makes it less so.  No film, streaks or chemical smell.  

Boulder Clean Natural Glass and Surface Cleaner, Amazon, Pack of 4, $13

We also tried...  Honest Company's Glass Cleaner came in a close second.  Light scent and does the trick.  But, again, nearly twice the price.  Method's Glass Cleaner works great, but wasn't rated by Environmental Working Group and their other products don't score very well.    

Wood Cleaner

This sweet smelling, non-toxic, biodegradable formula conditions as it cleans, leaving wood surfaces with a non-filmy shine.    

Seventh Generation Wood Cleaner, Amazon, $12

We also tried... Method's Wood For Good works very well but scores a "D" from Environmental Working Group.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

It works.  And it's free of chlorine, ammonia, strong acids, and petroleum-based ingredients.  

Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Amazon Prime Pantry, $3

We also tried... Honest Company's Toilet Cleaner has a nozzle that gets clogged easily, which was exceedingly frustrating.

Carpet Stain Remover

If Mary's three-dog household can survive without Resolve, yours can, too.  She has yet to have a stain she couldn't remove with hydrogen peroxide... sofa, carpet, you name it.  

Essential Oxygen Hydrogen Peroxide, Amazon, Pack of 2, $20

Scrubbing Agent

A little baking soda paste, water and elbow grease will get your tub, grout or whatever looking good as new.  (For super tough stains, try Bon Ami, which is low on the toxicity scale.)  

Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda, Amazon Prime Pantry, $2

cleaning supplies + essentials  /  the best floor cleaner

Floor Cleaner

A 1-4 ratio of distilled white vinegar to water will leave your wood and tile floors squeaky clean and smelling fresh.  It's cheap, natural, and  effective.  

Available at grocery stores.

Wood + Leather Conditioner

Works wonders on wood and leather furniture that needs a little extra love.  100% chemical free.  Delicate scent.  Made in Colorado!  

Humble Suds Revival Organic Wood & Leather Cleaner, $19

Scour Pads

We use scour pads on everything from stainless steel pans to bathtubs.  These are non-scratching but still manage to get grime and stuck-on-ickiness loose.  "Made from plants, not oil."  

Twist Scour Pads, Amazon, Pack of 2, $9

Scrub Brush

Tough bristles for grout, soft for tile.  We love the design as it's easy to hold and can hang to dry.  Made of recycled plastic and bamboo.  

Full Circle Grunge Buster Grout and Tile Brush, Amazon, $7

Cleaning Cloths

These "sponge cloths" are the best of both worlds.  Durable, reusable, and easy to disinfect in the microwave or dishwasher.   

Full Circle, Squeeze Cellulose Cloths Amazon, Set of 3, $4

Big Vacuum

This vacuum ate your vacuum for lunch.  It's easy to empty the bin, easy to clean (like, really clean), and is the only thing that has kept up with Mary's three-dog household. Worth. Every. Penny.  

Dyson Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner, Amazon, $470


You don't need a broom, you need this puppy.  It's easy to use for small jobs, super powerful and comes with a multitude of attachments that address every surface's needs.  

Dyson V6 Animal Cord Free Vacuum, Amazon, $339

Steam Mop

We love the reusable microfiber cloths (it's a good idea to buy extras) and the attached scrubby brush for stuck-on-stuff.  We spray a 1-4 vinegar to water mixture on the floor and mop over it.  Easy, natural, clean.  

Bissell Power Fresh Steam Mop, Amazon, $89

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