best natural cleaners

12 Best Natural Cleaners and Cleaning Products of 2020

Store-bought natural cleaners and cleaning products have been on the market for over 130 years, attracting consumers to fresh-smelling products. Now, there’s a kind of re-evolution in consumer demand not only for sustainable products—but sustainable manufacturers, too.

There are two simple, quick ways to know if you’re using the best natural cleaners and cleaning products. One, sustainable companies want you to know what’s in their product, so they actively list the ingredients. And two, if you’ve never heard of the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning before, check it out. You’ll find product ratings like you might find on a BBB website. 

Our Top Picks:

Here are our quick picks for the best natural cleaners.

Best All Natural Cleaners

1. NaturOil Soap Nuts

USDA Organic Pick Best Natural Cleaners

NaturOli:Green innovation in household cleaning products | Fragrance: Fresh, unscented | Size: 16 oz. | Uses: 240 loads | Price:

Is it me, or does it seem like soap nuts have become the superfood of laundry, cleaning and natural beauty products? Still, cooking with kale or using blue cactus oil seems relatively self-explanatory compared to the ‘tricky,’ sticky soap nut. Are they really one of the best natural cleaners? Read on because we’re going to troubleshoot with this unique nut because greening up has never been more critical.

  • Warm or hot water activates the soap nut saponins, but not all fabrics can handle the heat. Check out this link from Mountain Rose Herbs for a recipe, including step-by-step instructions to create your own soap nut liquid detergent. 
  • Soap nuts (and most detergents) don’t work well in hard water. So, before you throw in the towel, try adding some borax. You could try vinegar, too, but that could eat at your washing machine hoses over time.
  • If you’ve got some stains that require bleach, soap nuts may not cut it. But if you’re not one to give up easily, add a little non-GMO citric acid or lemon juice to your liquid soap.
  • High-efficiency (HE) machines don’t use enough water for soap nuts unless you are manually reprogramming it to increase the waterline. Alternatively, you can try adding a heavy, wet towel to trick the sensors.

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Hypoallergenic and Fragrance-free
  • Economical
  • Gentle enough to use on delicate or organic fabrics

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Didn’t clean well
  • Hard to use

2. Biokleen All-Purpose Cleaner

The Plant-Based Pick

Biokleen:Understanding the power of plants | Fragrance: Natural Citrus | Size: 128 oz. | Uses: Multiple | Price:

The founder and developer of Biokleen products began in his garage, where all good company missions and stories begin. The result is a product that uses grapefruit seed and citrus to clean your home top to bottom. Not only is Biokleen plant-based, but they’re also:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Packaged in numbers 1 & 2 plastics
  • Non-toxic, free of artificial colors and fragrances
  • Environmentally friendly

Don’t want to pay for shipping? Enter in a keyword search in your browser, then click on the map that pops up. Visit any one of the company websites to see if they carry what you need.

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Gets rid of cat urine smells
  • Works on hardwoods
  • Doesn’t bother asthma

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Minimal scent
  • Refill seems soapier than the original.

3. Heinz All-Natural Cleaning Vinegar

The Mother-Knows-Best Pick

Heinz: All natural vinegar from sun-ripened grain and crystal clear water | FragranceVinegar | Size64 oz. | UsesMultiple Price:

Science fact: a 1% increase in acetic acid makes vinegar 20 times stronger! That means two things. Cleaning vinegar is potent; you’ll want to be careful with sensitive surfaces in your home. Additionally, avoid using vinegar to clean stone countertops, hardwood and laminate floors, electronic screens, small metal appliances (rust), and washing machines.

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Kills germs
  • Never disappoints

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • The smell

Best All-Natural Powdered Cleaners

4. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda

The Greatest Versatility Pick

Bob’s Red Mill: Non-GMO, vegan versatile, organic, effective and affordable | Fragrance: None | Size: 1 lb. Bag | Uses: Multiple | Price:

Baking soda is one of the best versatile, eco-friendly cleaners and DIY care products available. Check out its many uses:

  • Whiten and brighten surfaces in your kitchen, bathroom, deck, or garage. 
  • Add it to your laundry for extra cleaning power. 
  • Sprinkle it on your carpet, mattresses or cat litter to neutralize odors.
  • Use it to make homemade toothpaste, soap, bath bombs, deodorant, or facial products. 
  • Use it to help alleviate heartburn and indigestion.

So, what’s the catch? Obtaining baking soda requires extractive methods, leading to additional unsustainable conversations. Given that, why does this author choose a plastic package over the well-known cardboard box? 

Three reasons: Bob’s Red Mill is cruelty-free; they are employee-owned and are actively working towards net-zero sustainability. Changes in their plastic policies are just around the corner!

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Revived vitality in my mom
  • Not tested on animals
  • Used on hair, teeth, and more

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Poor quality plastic bags

5. Meliora Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub

The Socially Conscious Pick

Meliora: People- and Planet-Friendly | FragrancePeppermint Tea Tree | Size12 oz. | UsesMultiple Price:

Meliora products are suitable for most bathrooms and kitchen surfaces. Still, the company suggests that you conduct an inconspicuous trial on any surface beforehand. 

Best of all, you can pronounce all of the ingredients, including:

  • Plastic-, cruelty- and palm oil-free
  • Sustainable ingredients & transparency
  • Sustainable sourcing & packaging
  • Environmentally-safe
  • Refill Options
  • 1% of profits go to environmental programs

How does a product this good wind up in the number two slot? When a company uses more external ingredients, that increases the overall number of manufacturing and shipping processes, making it less sustainable. Still, the company is actively decreasing its in-house manufacturing footprint to accommodate outside product purchases.

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Cleans thoroughly and fast
  • Powerful but safe

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • More expensive than similar products

6. Bon Ami

The Tried & True Pick

Bon Ami: America’s Original Natural Home Cleaner | Fragrance: None | Size: 14 oz. | Uses: Multiple | Price:

HONORABLE MENTIONBon Ami The Tried and True Pick

View on Amazon and View on Target

Bon Ami started up over 130 years ago, lending to the credibility of their product and image. They adhere to a simple ingredient policy. For example they’ve refused to use bleach, dyes and perfumes. Over a century later, Bon Ami is still producing cleaning products that are:

  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic
  • Natural abrasives
  • Odor-absorbing

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Doesn’t scratch or burn
  • Never disappoints

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Packaging problems when using middle-person distribution 

Best All-Natural Cleaning Products

7. Grove Collaborative Zero Plastic Complete Bundle

The Best All Natural Cleaner Bundle

Grove Collaborative: At home, at ease, with Grove | Fragrance: None | Size: 6-11 oz. canisters | Uses: Multiple | Price:

Seventh Generation and the Grove Collaborative deeply consider the impact they’re making seven generations down the line. For example, Grove Collaborative replants forests, reduces its plastic footprint, and improves inclusivity at every level within the company. You can read about it all in their most recent Sustainability Impact Report.  

Not only that, they’re reducing their water usage (and yours), too. Whether you’re using one of the Zero Plastic cleaners in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry, you’ll need a lot less water to be equally as effective as other comparable products. Not only that, these products are:

  • Leaping Bunny Certified, vegan
  • Sulfate-, BPA-, paraben- and Fragrance-free
  • Sustainable sourcing & packaging
  • Environmentally-safe, no chlorine bleach
  • Zero waste

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • It’s sustainable
  • Packaged in a recyclable container

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Powder takes a while to dissolve
  • Leaves streaks
  • Wonky lid

8. Heinz All-Natural Cleaning Vinegar

The Mother-Knows-Best Pick

Grove Collaborative: At home, at ease, with Grove | Fragrance: n/a | Size: Scrub Brush | Uses: Multiple | Price:

Looking for the perfect partner to your best all natural cleaner? For example, take a look at this perfect scrub brush.

Grove Collaborative is a Certified B Corporation and is “legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.” To become a “B Corp” member, a specific nonprofit will investigate the company from top to bottom, seeking transparency in social and environmental impact and performances.

B Corp labels give consumers the peace of mind that they’re not getting greenwashed. So, when you see that label, you know that the natural fiber brush isn’t potentially “eco-friendly.” It carries the weight of sustainable farming practices, manufacturing, but the ethical behavior for people’s treatment, too. 

Now that you understand what a “B Corp” is, you can appreciate that every step of the way when making The Grunge Buster Brush has been sustainable and ethical.

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Works on porcelain
  • Great for corners
  • Sturdy

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Poorly designed
  • Hard to hold

9. Superscandi Swedish Dishcloths

The Best Towels for Quick Drying

SUPERSCANDI: Earth-friendly paper towel replacement | Fragrance: n/a | Size: 1 Cloth = 15 Rolls of Paper Towels | Uses: Multiple | Price:

The SUPERSCANDI towel makers engineered it to be super absorbent, durable, sturdy, but gentle. They come in 31 different colors and patterns suitable for any decorating style. And you can wash each towel up to 200 washes – with five towels per pack. 

That’s 1000 sustainable cleaning adventures inside your home. 

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Family-run business
  • Long-lasting

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Nothing mentioned Yet

Best All-Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

10. Seventh Generation All-Purpose Cleaner

Best All Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

Seventh Generation: Generation good | Fragrance: Morning Meadow | Size: 23 oz. | Uses: Multiple | Price:

Seventh Generations lists each product’s ingredients on its packaging, including the company website. But this Certified B Corporation goes one step further to list the ingredients on something called a Smart Label. This is a special product page that details them in terms anybody can understand. 

So, what’s really inside this all-natural, all-purpose cleanser? 91% of biobased products, all essential oils, and best of all, no cruelty whatsoever. You can use it on both kitchen and bathroom surfaces. However, you should always test some hidden spots with new cleaners just in case.

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Gets rid of the serious dog stains—ahem 
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Cleans like magic

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Not a favorite scent

11. Branch Basics Concentrate

The Socially Conscious Pick

Branch Basics: Helping people toss the toxins and live healthy lives | Fragrance: None | Size: 34 oz. | Uses: Multiple | Price:

Here’s a quick tip for those of you starting on a sustainable journey. Don’t go out and replace everything at once. Replace the items as you would usually when they run out, but with sustainable items. This way, you won’t break the bank. Furthermore, you get to research products like Branch Basics without feeling rushed for answers.

Look for the MADE SAFE® seal on their label, too. That seal means Branch Basics refuses to add any of the 5000 unsafe caustic agents you’ll find in many products today. Instead, they are:

  • Plant and natural based
  • Fragrance-free
  • Preservative-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Non-GMO

Check out their website for tips and tricks to clean like a pro in any room of your house. 

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • A versatile alternative to chemical cleaners
  • Powerful but safe

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Too expensive
  • Didn’t work as well without the Oxygen boost

12. Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap

Saving the Author’s Pick for Last

Dr. Bronner’s: 18-in-1 for body home and Earth | Fragrances: Peppermint, Baby Unscented, Lavender, Almond, Citrus, Tea Tree, Rose and Eucalyptus | Size: 32 oz. | Uses: Multiple | Price:

I discovered Dr. Bronner’s nearly twenty years ago, mesmerized by the message on every bottle. They’re serious about putting their money where their mouth is regarding health and faith. All of their ingredients are fair trade, so that means they care about people around the world, too. Now, they are producing using ‘Regenerative Organic Certification” which means they care about the soil, this planet, and everyone who lives here.

In short: buy in bulk to save money and go online for a dilution cheat sheet.

REVIEWERS LIKE

  • Been using for 20 years—it’s the best
  • A go-to product

REVIEWERS DISLIKE

  • Allergic to citric acid