3 Questions to Ask When Buying Natural Cleaning Products

Published on May 24, 2024

As we’ve become increasingly aware of the harm chemical-based cleaning products can do to our homes, family, and planet, demand for safer, natural cleaning products has surged. But as many are discovering, a change away from the familiar brands that have been staples in your home for decades toward the foreign world of new, natural, and eco-friendly products can be a daunting task.

It’s a bigger shift than may be apparent on the surface, and there are three key questions that everyone should ask as they consider adopting natural, safer cleaning products in the home:

Is Your “Natural Cleaning Product” Actually Safe?

First, confirm the product you’re considering offers what is best for your individual safety. Natural products often use ingredients like enzymes, essential oils, and plant-based surfactants, which are gentler on the skin and safer for those with allergies or sensitivities (as well as the pipes of your home). Check the label and make sure you’re avoiding harsh chemicals like chlorine, ammonia, and phthalates.

From a wider environmental perspective, the safety of a cleaning product extends beyond its immediate use: the story is really about how the product impacts the environment once it goes down the drain.

Opt for cleaners that are biodegradable and made from renewable resources. These products break down more quickly and safely in the environment, reducing pollution and toxicity in waterways.

Bonus points if the packaging is made from recycled materials and is itself recyclable or biodegradable to minimize your footprint.

Does This Product Work?

Of course, there’s also the minor detail of whether or not the product actually works as a replacement for the products you used previously.

Check to see if the product has undergone independent testing or has certifications from reputable organizations. These are generally a good indicator of efficacy and reliability. There are dozens of certifications which can speak to the quality of a product, including the EPA’s Safer Choice label, which signifies that every ingredient in the product has been reviewed by the EPA to ensure it meets stringent safety and environmental standards. Other certifications like Green Seal or EcoLogo also indicate that a product meets high standards for health and environmental safety throughout its lifecycle, from manufacturing to disposal.

And, of course, there is the wisdom of the crowd. Producers like Earthworm, which provides a natural and family-safe, enzyme-based drain cleaner, have more than 1,300 ratings on Amazon which will give you a good sense of the effectiveness of the product.

In one five-star review, a verified purchaser talks about how they found success deodorizing the drain in their home with old pipes thanks to Earthworm’s natural drain cleaner. Another mentions how it has really helped keep their drain from clogging with hair. Seek out a review that speaks to your specific use-case to get a sense of whether this product will work for you.

Who is Running This Company?

When exploring eco-friendly products, understand they are generally offered by companies that are smaller than you’re used to: there isn’t yet a Tide-equivalent in the green space!

That means you’re offered the opportunity to consider who is behind the scenes. The leadership and ethos of a company can greatly influence its products and business practices.

Take the aforementioned Earthworm, for example. Earthworm stands out as both a family-owned business as well as a certified women-owned business which expresses strong support for equal opportunity on the Earthworm company about page. This aspect underscores a dedication not only to environmental responsibility but also to promoting diversity in the business world.

When purchasing from smaller businesses, you have the opportunity to “vote with your dollar,” supporting the people, business practices, and approaches that resonate with you and your personal values.

The Payoff Can Be Enormous

Embracing natural cleaning products isn’t just about avoiding harmful chemicals – it’s an investment in the health and future of our families and planet. Each purchase is truly one (small) step closer towards cleaner waterways, less toxic waste, and a healthier ecosystem that can support positive changes around the globe.

While the transition may require a little effort up-front, the long-term rewards are clear and substantial.

Newsdesk Editor