Ammonia makes you cough and choke, Comet smells like the bathrooms of Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. But you want to make your home or apartment shine like the top of the Chrysler building! You just want everything to smell like French lavender or figs and pomegranates, not airway-damaging chemicals. Enter all-natural cleaning products with the scents and safety of your dreams. Of course, you can always make your own from simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, water, and essential oils, but when you don’t have the time or the inclination to do it yourself, pick up one of these scrubs, soaps, or sprays and get to making everything sparkle.
My mom and I have loved and used Method products for years. Their hand soaps all smell delicious - vanilla chai, Honeycrisp apple, and sweet water are faves - and their complete lines of laundry detergents, dish and dishwasher soap, and specialty cleaners for every room of your house. Any unpronounceable ingredients are defined on their site with details about how they biodegrade. Method even has a line of foaming, moisturizing, and refreshing body washes in scents like ruby orange, cucumber mint, and magnolia so you can clean up when cleaning house has gotten you all dirty. Bonus: not only are Method’s cleaning products safe and eco-friendly, but their packaging is recycled (ocean plastic and post-consumer recycled plastic) and recyclable, they built the industry’s first LEED platinum-certified plant, and they define all the “green” terminology on their website (so you know they’re not just slapping an “all-natural” sticker on a bottle and calling it a day).
If you love aromatherapy, Mrs. Meyer’s is definitely the cleaning product line for you. A while ago a friend of mine was moving and gave me a full bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s geranium scented floor cleaner before she went away. More than a year later, I’m still using it every week to scrub my floor, because it’s absolutely perfect: a little goes a long way, the smell is lovely and delicate, and it leaves my floors sparkling clean (until the baby tosses spaghetti from their high chair - AGAIN). Their complete line of household cleaners, laundry products, and air fresheners now includes body products as well (try rhubarb or parsley hand soap!). One of my favorite things about Mrs. Meyer’s is how all of their scents are based in simple, down-on-the-farm nature; for example, their popular dish soaps come in basil, radish, red clover, rosemary, and honeysuckle (among others).
Your friends who love Dr. Bronner’s have already raved about the certified organic, Fair Trade soap in ecstatic, nearly religious terms (“I clean my sink, toilet, tub, body, and dog with it!!”), which either horrified or intrigued you. I assure you it should be the latter. Have no fear, it’s not REALLY quite as all-in-one as some people say it is. Dr. Bronner’s does make extremely versatile castile soap in popular scents like peppermint, almond, and eucalyptus, but for your body there’s a whole different line of products including lotions, shaving soaps, toothpaste, hair rinse and creme, and more. (They also offer organic virgin coconut oils if you enjoy using that ever-popular item for your scalp, hair, or hands.) They ethically source all of their natural ingredients from Fair Trade sources around the world, so you can feel good about the way that Dr. Bronner’s is made as well as how great a job it does getting things clean.
Haven’s most popular item is probably their lemon scrub, pictured above (and who doesn’t have something in their home that needs a serious scrubbing?). Their simple Laundry Suds combine pure soap flakes, scotch pine, cedar, and lavender essential oils, and a few other easy to pronounce ingredients packaged in a metal bucket with a wooden scoop. And you won’t be pouring any harsh synthetic dyes or fragrances in with your clothing. They even have all-purpose cleaners in scents like lime basil and lemon mint for use in every room of your house. I love how Haven is very focused on providing large refill sizes so that you only have to purchase the small size once and can then fill it up again with something in bulk, eco-friendly packaging. Haven products are cruelty-free and never include parabens, surfactants, detergents, or ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
Seventh Generation has been around for as long as I can remember (officially 27 years, so, yep, as long as I can remember); I know my sheets were washed in it regularly when I was a little girl growing up in the country. Their product line was more limited then, but now they offer almost everything you could possibly need for cleaning your home or your body - even baby wipes for your little one and feminine products for your period (both tampons and pads in several varieties - check out their hilarious commercial with Maya Rudolph). What I love about Seventh Generation is that they’re total activists and encourage their customers to support initiatives like the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, which requires companies who make cleaning products to disclose all their ingredients on their labels and websites (I know, shouldn’t that be a requirement already?!). No dyes, no fragrances, and no strange residues will make you fall in love with Seventh Generation all over again (or become a believer for the very first time).
Caldrea is perhaps one of the most luxurious natural product lines for your home and body - you might have noticed it being sold at an upscale specialty grocery store or in a boutique. If you really want to be transported to another place through the scent of your hand soap or countertop spray, Caldrea is for you. For example, their featured scent right now is No. 22 Black Peppercorn Lime, which they describe this way: “Open-air and moonlit. Dewy ferns and fresh limes gently deepen into more exotic hints of fennel and caraway, Koa woods and peppercorn. Wanderlust rewarded.” You can experience it in a hand balm, all-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, fabric softener, countertop spray, hand soap, and candle. Dahlia Red Currant, Tangelo Palm Frond, Rosewater Driftwood, and Sea Salt Neroli are just a few of their other incredible options. They also offer a special Sweet Pea line of products for your baby’s nursery. Caldrea calls their philosophy “Aromatherapeutic Homekeeping” so you know they’re serious about products that smell wonderful. They use a combination of natural essential oils and safe synthetics and disclose all of the ingredients they use on their website so you can know exactly what you’re getting.