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Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more

Feeling overwhelmed from doomscrolling? Take a deep breath. The world or the climate won’t get fixed in a day.

What you can do is set a few realistic goals to improve the world around you one day at a time — like shopping vintage or snacking on locally grown foods.

Another simple way to reduce your global footprint is to swap conventional cleaning products for greener alternatives. Here are the deets.

Green cleaning 101

Going green with your cleaning routine can be easy. Try to avoid products that contain harsh chemicals or are packaged in excess plastic or containers that can’t be recycled. Instead, look for natural, biodegradable ingredients.

Bonus: Being eco-friendly can be easy on your wallet!

Ever gotten an instant headache from scrubbing the shower? It’s not just in your head. The chemicals in many cleaning products can mess with your skin, aggravate allergies, affect your breathing, and irritate sensitive areas like your eyes, nose, or mouth.

According to Clean Water Action, even antibacterial soaps and sponges can be bad for your health since they kill good bacteria too.

Going green with your cleaning just means choosing products made from ingredients that are safe for you and your fellow humans — even kids or folks with compromised immune systems.

Of course, it’s also good for the planet. Avoid chemicals that pollute the water or air around you. And remember to look for recyclable (or already recycled!) packaging.

There are countless “natural” cleaning products on the market, so how do you know which ones are legit?

Clean Water Action offers a handy list of things to keep in mind during your quest for green cleaning products:

  • Is this product biodegradable?
  • Are the ingredients nontoxic?
  • Does it come in bulk packaging?
  • What about recyclable packaging or packaging made from recycled materials?
  • Is the product free of phosphates, dyes, hypochlorite, and chlorine?
  • Are the yummy-smelling sprays and scrubs scented with natural fragrances?
  • Does the product label fully disclose all active and inactive ingredients?

Keeping this list in mind, we scoured the internet for products recommended by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit that reports on and grades green cleaning products.

Cool, so what do they cost?

The items on our list will set you back anywhere from 99 cents (hello there, baking soda!) to $27 (we see you, Poofy).

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–20
  • $$$ = over $20

Let’s start with the all-stars. Use these products to get squeaky-clean digs without the chemical hangover.

Poofy Home All-Purpose Cleaner Refill, Medieval Blend

Key points:

  • concentrated formula for maximum effect with minimum packaging
  • label with full disclosure of all active and inactive ingredients
  • natural fragrances
  • USDA organic

The deets: This 4-ounce bottle rings up at $27.50, but that’s because it’s a concentrate that yields twelve 16-ounce bottles of all-purpose cleaner. Talk about bulk packaging. It’s also packed with natural fragrances like lemon, rosemary, and fir to make your home smell fresh and clean.

Price: $$$

Buy Poofy All-Purpose Cleaner Refill (Medieval Blend) here.

Earth Friendly Products ECOS Cream Cleanser, Lemon

Key points:

  • label with full disclosure of all active and inactive ingredients
  • nontoxic
  • no dyes, parabens, phosphates, or phthalates

The deets: This cleanser uses finely ground limestone to scrub grime and scaly buildup from hard surfaces. The creamy texture comes from xanthan gum, a food-grade thickener.

Online reviews highlight its ability to remove grease as effectively as chemical cleaners.

Price: $$

Buy Earth Friendly Products ECOS Cream Cleanser, Lemon here.

Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash Concentrate, Eucalyptus

Key points:

  • nontoxic
  • bulk packaging
  • label with full disclosure of all active and inactive ingredients
  • received an “A” rating for safety from EWG

The deets: Could you mix up a vinegar-and-oils all-purpose floor cleaner at home? Sure, but it would take time to get the perfect ratio of grease-cutting vinegar and antiseptic, aromatic oils.

Because this is a concentrate, a little bit of packaging (and product) goes a long way.

Price: $

Buy Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash Concentrate, Eucalyptus here.

Bathroom messes can be, shall we say, special. It takes a tough product to clean stained grout, toilet rings, and scummy tubs.

Seventh Generation Tub & Tile Natural Cleaner, Emerald Cypress & Fir

Key points:

  • natural fragrances
  • chlorine-free and dye-free
  • cruelty-free

The deets: The plant-based ingredients in this shower cleaner help dissolve soap scum, though some reviewers mention that the smell from these essential oils can be overpowering.

Price: $$

Buy Seventh Generation Tub & Tile Natural Cleaner (Emerald Cypress & Fir) here.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Tub and Tile, Lemon Verbena

Key points:

  • recyclable packaging that’s also made from recycled materials
  • natural fragrances
  • free of phthalates and chlorine

The deets: This product’s packaging is made with at least 30 percent post-consumer plastic and is recyclable once you’re done with it.

Price: $

Buy Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Tub and Tile (Lemon Verbena) here.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Tub and Tile, Lavender

Key points:

  • recyclable packaging that’s also made from recycled materials
  • natural fragrances
  • free of phthalates and chlorine

The deets: The lavender scent could make your bathroom feel like a calming spa. And just as the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Tub and Tile (Lemon Verbena) does, this Mrs. Meyer’s product helps keep tiles sparkling without relying on chlorine or other harsh chemicals.

Price: $

Buy Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Tub and Tile (Lavender) here.

Put your money where your mouth is — literally. Scrub your plates and silverware with dish soap that won’t harm your health.

Attitude Dishwasher Eco-Pouches

Key points:

  • biodegradable
  • nontoxic
  • CO2-neutral
  • label with full disclosure of all active and inactive ingredients

The deets: Animal lovers, you’ll appreciate that these little cleaning pouches are vegan and PETA-certified. The pods, which come in cardboard packaging, completely dissolve in the dishwasher.

Price: $$

Buy Attitude Dishwasher Eco-Pouches here.

AspenClean Dish Soap, Eucalyptus & Rosemary

Key points:

  • biodegradable
  • nontoxic
  • packaging from recycled materials
  • label with full disclosure of all active and inactive ingredients
  • natural fragrances

The deets: These dish soap bottles are made from 100 percent recycled plastic. The soap inside is equally impressive — biodegradable, septic-safe, hypoallergenic, and free of artificial fragrances. It’s a great choice for folks with sensitive skin.

Price: $

Buy AspenClean Dish Soap (Eucalyptus and Rosemary) here.

biokleen Natural Dish Liquid, Lemon Thyme

Key points:

  • nontoxic
  • recyclable packaging
  • phosphate-free
  • natural fragrances
  • free of dyes and chlorine

The deets: Though this dish soap will not work in your mechanical dishwasher, it’s perfectly gentle and nontoxic for human dishwashers. The lemon and thyme scent is fresh and completely natural.

Price: $$

Buy biokleen Natural Dish Liquid (Lemon Thyme) here.

Arm & Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer Baking Soda

Key points:

  • nontoxic
  • recyclable packaging
  • label with full disclosure of all active and inactive ingredients

The deets: It doesn’t get much more simple and natural than baking soda. One ingredient, one basic paperboard package.

Price: $ (under a dollar!)

Buy Arm & Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer Baking Soda here.

Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Mist, Lavender

Key points:

  • paraben-free
  • nontoxic
  • natural fragrances
  • free of dyes

The deets: While baking soda absorbs the stink of last week’s takeout, this aromatherapy mist masks the odor with the soothing smell of lavender.

Small enough to slip into your purse or handbag, this air freshener comes in handy in the bathroom, the bedroom, and maaaaybe even your cubicle (just check with your desk neighbor about potential allergies first).

Price: $

Buy Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Mist (Lavender) here.

Earth Friendly Products Eco Breeze Fabric Refresher, Lavender Mint

Key points:

  • nontoxic
  • biodegradable
  • label with full disclosure of all active and inactive ingredients

The deets: Don’t let the clunky package design dissuade you — this green cleaning freshener has a light, airy scent. Reviewers note that the spray freshens up rooms without lingering for too long.

Price: $

Buy Earth Friendly Products Eco Breeze Fabric Refresher (Lavender Mint) here.

You can whip up several homemade cleaning products in your kitchen or bathroom. With DIY concoctions, you can breathe easy knowing exactly what you’re spraying on your countertops.

These natural cleaning agents won’t leach any nasty chemicals into the environment or your home:

The Green Building Alliance and the Environmental Working Group both offer a handful of green cleaning recipes on their websites. Here are a few you could whip up today:

All-purpose spray

Fill a spray bottle halfway with water, and then fill it to the top with vinegar and give it a shake. Use it to clean everyday hard surfaces.

All-purpose scrub

Mix up water and baking soda to make a thick paste, and voila! You’ve got a gritty yet gentle scrub to clean up sinks, stoves, tubs, and other hard surfaces. Add sea salt if you need more grit or lemon juice if you need to cut through soap scum. Rinse the area with water afterward to avoid residue.

Disinfectant

Shake or stir together 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap, and 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil. The soap and oil will smell great and kill off germs.

Glass cleaner

Pour 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into a spray bottle. Shake well. Use it to clean glass surfaces such as windows, mirrors, and electric stovetops.

Air freshener

Make your home smell like fresh-baked cookies by boiling water with vanilla and cinnamon. Or get festive by boiling water with lemon or orange slices and spices. Rose petals, fruit, herbs and spices — the sky’s the limit with this method.

Deodorizer

Banish serious stank in small spaces (like your fridge or closet) by leaving baking soda in an open bowl. If your carpet stinks, sprinkle it with baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes, and then vacuum up the powder (and the odor!).

Drain cleaner

If your drain is clogged with soap scum, grease, or other dissolvable gunk, skip the toxic chemicals. Just pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Wait at least 15 minutes before chasing it all down with boiling water.

Laundry detergent

Yep, you can totally mix up a detergent that’s better for the planet, your clothes, and your wallet. Stir together 1 cup of soap flakes, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and 1/2 cup of washing soda. If you have a super grimy load, add a spoonful or two of oxygen bleach.

Yes, harsh chemicals can unclog your drain in minutes. And sure, your toilet cleaner burns off the stank — plus your nose hairs. But when you use conventional cleaning products for years, you risk harming your health and the environment.

Here’s what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say:

  • Regular cleaning products can contain ingredients known to irritate eyes and skin.
  • Chemical cleaners contain volatile organic compounds, which diminish air quality.
  • Dumping unused chemicals can pollute waterways.
  • Folks who use conventional cleaning products on the reg risk prolonged exposure to toxic, dangerous ingredients.

Some of the side effects you could get from non-green cleaning chemicals:

  • sore or irritated throat
  • red, swollen, teary, or otherwise irritated eyes
  • headaches
  • asthma

The EWG gets real serious, listing these potential risks of exposure to everyday cleaning chemicals:

  • chemical burns
  • poisoning
  • exposure to carcinogens (known cancer-causers) like 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde
  • asthma caused by certain chemical fumes
  • fetal development issues due to exposure to cleaning chemicals during pregnancy

On top of those known risks, you could be exposed to an ingredient not listed on the label. Not every cleaning product label lists all the active and inactive ingredients.

Wanna show love to yourself and the environment? Go green! Green cleaning products tend to use gentler, nontoxic ingredients that are safer for humans, animals, and the world.

If you want to give your cleaning products an eco-friendly overhaul, here’s where to start:

  • Look for product labels that list both active and inactive ingredients.
  • Look for nontoxic, biodegradable ingredients.
  • Look for cleaning supplies that don’t have dyes or artificial fragrances.
  • Mix up your own cleaning products with household ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap.

Finally, remember that a “green” label doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. Store your cleaning products somewhere that’s safe from children and pets and where they won’t contaminate your food.