2024’s 7 Best Green Cleaners for Your Home (and 4 to avoid)

Are all green cleaners created equally? Heck no! There are seven formulas that shine (see what I did there?) and four that fall flat.

A graphic illustrating all of my favorite green cleaners.

I am a huge fan of making my own green cleaners, but let’s be honest here. There are only so many hours in a day. Sometimes you just want to grab a bottle of cleaner off a shelf. Are all green cleaners created equally? Heck no! 

I’ve tried a lot of brands, and it’s not as simple as saying, ‘Choose this brand.’ There are some formulas that shine (see what I did there?) and some that fall flat. Before we get into which ones gained my seal of approval for 2024, let’s chat a bit about why cleaning with green products is so important.

What is a green cleaner?

Most people assume that a green cleaner uses environmentally-friendly ingredients. While that is true, that’s not the only reason you should be buying them. Not only are these products free from toxic chemicals, but the way they are manufactured, packaged, and distributed is also eco-friendly. From start to finish, these products keep our planet safer and healthier. Yay for green!

Another big difference between green cleaners and other cleaners is that green cleaners must be fully transparent with their ingredient lists, whereas other cleaners don’t. In order to be deemed eco-friendly according to the US government, all ingredients must be on the package and tested for safety.

Why is green cleaning important?

On a grand scale, going green when cleaning can lessen water pollution, air pollution, climate change, and ozone depletion. On a smaller scale, going green makes your home a healthier place to be. We’ve all seen the warnings plastered all over the chemical-riddled bottles. Toxic! Caution! Warning! If you have to keep it under lock and key, why on earth would you want to use it? 

Even when used according to the instructions, these chemicals are downright hazardous. 

“Volatile Organic Compounds – also known as “VOCs” – are chemicals that vaporize at room temperature.  Most VOCs are released into the air when we use products and materials containing VOCs. Breathing in VOCs can be harmful to health. 

VOCs, like formaldehyde, benzene and ethylene glycol are found in thousands of products that we use every day – cleaning products, air fresheners, cosmetics and personal care products, paints, markers, glues and much more.”

American Lung Association

VOCs have been associated with a host of health problems, like damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. These compounds stay in the air long after use. Yuck!

Do green cleaning products actually work?

Much like your regular cleaners, some brands are good and others aren’t. When you find a good one, it will clean as well, if not better, than it’s chemical counterpart. Here are the green cleaners I have found that stack up to the competition…

Method laundry products laid out on a table.

Laundry Detergent: Method

Gentle on clothes, tough on stains, and smells great to boot! One thing to note if you use Method’s detergents is that they are highly concentrated. A little bit goes a long way. I was a bit heavy handed the first time I used it, and it didn’t completely rinse out. I’m glad I gave it another try (realizing it was really my error and not theirs). When I used the appropriate amount, the clothes came out soft and clean. I personally like the Lavender Cedar scent, but they have a fragrance-free type if that’s what you prefer. It’s cloth diaper and HE-washer safe.

Seventh Generation all-purpose cleaner being used to clean kitchen.

All Purpose Cleaner: Seventh Generation

For just about every surface cleaning job you might have, Seventh Generation can probably handle it. The only thing it’s not good for is wood. That’s a shame since we have oak counter tops. It still doesn’t knock it out of first place as an all-purpose green cleaner for me, though. I just use a squirt of dish detergent on a damp unpaper towel to wash down the counters. It passed the grease splash test with flying colors. It also removes dirty kiddo hand prints from the wall without taking off the sheen or color of the paint. 

Ecos dish soap being poured on a sponge.

Dish Soap + Dishwasher Detergent: Ecos

Ecos wins not only for their hand-washing dish soap but for their dishwasher detergent as well. The dish soap is super gentle on the hands (in fact, I dare say it’s moisturizing). The dishwasher detergent keeps those weird water spots off the dishes. I am notorious for burning food onto the edges of our dishes, and a quick 5-minute soak seems to do the trick. Really, this stuff is a powerhouse. 

Toilet bowl cleaner on a shelf in the bathroom.

Toilet Cleaner: J.R. Watkins

J.R. Watkins handles rust and hard water stains better than any product I’ve ever used (yes, including the toxic ones). I’m going to be really real with you for a minute here. I live with three boys. No disrespect to the male population, but boys have aim issues, and their urine has a particular smell to it. I love them dearly, but we are a one bathroom home, and sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. J.R. Watkins deodorizes so well! It doesn’t have a scent, so you know the odors are really gone and not just masked. After a quick scrub, I don’t have to cringe when guests ask to use our restroom.

A jug of Common Good floor cleaner sitting on a wooden floor.

Floor Cleaner: Common Good

Common Good is good for all types of flooring—stone, wood, tile, linoleum, bamboo—which is one of the biggest reasons it’s at the top of the green cleaner list for me. There are very targeted eco-friendly floor cleaners, but who wants four bottles for their four kinds of flooring when you can have one bottle that does it all? What I love about Common Ground’s formula is that it doesn’t leave a residue behind. I was sad to find that a lot of them did. This was especially true on our tiled kitchen floor. It looked super clean, and then a few hours later, shoe prints were showing up. That doesn’t happen with this cleaner.

Better Life glass cleaner spray and concentrate on a shelf.

Glass Cleaner: Better Life

Honestly, the first time I bought this, it was purely an aesthetic choice. Their bottle is cute, and I thought the ‘I can see clearly, wow!’ was funny. After trying it out, I bought it because it was effective. Better Life doesn’t leave streaks, and it handles fingerprints, doggy nose prints, and the odd food that, for some unknown reason, ends up on the kitchen windows. Make sure that when you’re cleaning your windows, you’re doing it correctly. That makes a big difference.

Nature's Miracle line of stain removers and odor neutralizers.

Stain/Odor Remover: Nature’s Miracle

If you have a pet, you’re probably familiar with the name Nature’s Miracle. This is the hands-down best product that exists for removing pet stains and odors. It doesn’t stop there, though. Stinky boy clothes found in the bottom of their closet or backpack? Add some Nature’s Miracle to the laundry. Renting or buying a new home that used to belong to smokers? Add it to a spritz bottle and go wild. Stinky car after a dump run? Yup, it can handle it.

Mrs. Meyer's lineup of cleaning products.

Does Everything Great: Mrs. Meyer’s

This is an important disclaimer right here: I do not advocate “sniffing” cleaners, green or otherwise. Having said that, Mrs. Meyer’s cleaners smell divine! And they have special holiday scents that come out every year. These aren’t those harsh artificial scents, either. I cleaned the whole house with peppermint before the holidays last year. People commented on how great everything smelled. For real. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of Mrs. Meyer’s products, and the best part is that they are available at pretty much every local market, from grocery stores to big box stores. Often, I can find it at Target and TJ Maxx too.

Tip: Start small by replacing one or two of your most frequently used conventional cleaners with their green counterparts, focusing on those areas or tasks where you can make the most immediate impact, like laundry detergents or all-purpose cleaners. This allows you to gradually adjust to new products and assess their effectiveness without overwhelming yourself or your budget.

Don’t Waste Your Money on These

These ones are getting a big thumbs down from me: Ecover, Green Works, Puracy, and Eco Me. 

Ecover didn’t live up to its promises, struggling to tackle the everyday messes around our home effectively. Green Works, despite its eco-friendly branding, failed to deliver the deep clean I was hoping for, particularly on tougher grime. Puracy, while gentle and safe, fell short in performance when it came to dealing with stubborn stains and odors. Eco Me seemed promising with its natural ingredients, but it just didn’t provide the cleaning power I need.

Maybe my kids are especially dirty. Maybe our dishes are exceptionally gungy. I didn’t find these brands stacked up for our family’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

While many green cleaners are versatile and safe for a variety of surfaces, some may not be suitable for specific materials like wood or marble. It’s important to read the label or test in a small, inconspicuous area first.

Initially, green cleaning products might seem more costly, but many are highly concentrated, offering more uses per bottle, which can actually save money in the long run. Plus, considering their health and environmental benefits, they’re often worth the extra penny.

Look for products with certifications like EcoLogo, Green Seal, or the EPA’s Safer Choice label. These certifications ensure that the products meet strict environmental and health standards, including transparency in ingredient listing and low environmental impact.

Yes, some eco-friendly cleaners are designed to disinfect as effectively as traditional chemical cleaners. However, it’s essential to check if they are EPA-registered as disinfectants and to follow the usage instructions for them to be effective against microbes.

If you find yourself with some spare time and energy and are interested in diving into the world of DIY green cleaning, I have just the thing for you. I’d love to share some of my favorite recipes that cover everything from getting your oven and stovetop sparkling clean naturally, to creating a range of cleaning products from scratch that can be used throughout your entire house. I also share about the exciting world of soap nuts, which can be used not just for laundry but as a base for a variety of DIY cleaners. These recipes are a great starting point for anyone looking to reduce their environmental footprint and embrace a more sustainable way of living.

If you’ve found value in this blog post and enjoyed reading it, why not share it with your Pinterest community? Pin the image below and spread the love!

A Pinterest-friendly graphic for my list of favorite green cleaners that actually work.

Navigating the world of green cleaners can be a bit of a mixed bag, but finding the right eco-friendly products for your home is definitely worth the effort. While not all options on the market will meet your cleaning needs, the gems that do shine through make a significant difference, both in the cleanliness of your living space and in your environmental footprint. Remember, the best green cleaner is one that balances effectiveness with sustainability.

What are your favorite natural cleaners you’ve used in your home? Let me know in the comments below.

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