When shopping for healthy and environmentally safe bathroom cleaning products, you know to expect greenwashing. Companies claim that their cleaning products are natural or even made from organic ingredients, when really they may contain one organic ingredient and are also filled with petroleum-derived components and toxic chemicals. Even the supposed “green” brands often make unsubstantiated claims about their products’ safety and eco-friendliness. What’s a health-conscious person with a dirty bathroom to do?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released 10 top-scoring bathroom cleaning products from its database of cleaners. Find out what makes these store-bought bathroom products the best of the best.
For a fresh bathroom without the toxic chemicals, clean with Green Shield Organic Bathroom Cleaner. This cleaner earned an A from the EWG. It’s even USDA-certified organic! The ingredients in this cleaner include: water, organic citric acid, organic acetic acid, L-malic acid, organic soybean oil, organic glycerin and organic lemon extract. The only slightly iffy ingredients are L-malic acid and lemon extract. L-malic acid may pose a low environmental risk and lemon extract, or d-limonene, can cause skin irritation.
Scrub away mold and mildew from your shower with this non-petroleum based shower cleaner. You can use it to clean glass, tub, tile and fixtures. Its formula includes mold-busting ingredients, like tea tree oil and lavender oil. This cleaner also uses plant-based water softeners to prevent hard water stains and to eliminate scum buildup. Earth Friendly Products Shower Kleener earned an A from the EWG.
Bust through calcium and lime deposits, and rust stains too, with this naturally-based cleaner. (You wouldn’t usually expect a rust cleaner to contain natural ingredients, huh?) The ingredients for this cleaner include water, lactic acid, gluconic acid, lauramine oxide and propylene glycol butyl ether. The last ingredient received a C for some concern for skin irritation and allergies, but overall the product scored an A from the EWG.
Cleaning the toilet is no fun. It’s a little bit better if you know you’re cleaning with a healthy product though, right? Seventh Generation’s Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner doesn’t emit any nasty toxic fumes while you’re scrubbing the bowl and you can feel good about flushing the biodegradable formula down the toilet. It earned an A from the EWG.
Scrub your porcelain throne with this natural cedar oil-based product. This non-toxic cleaner uses cedar oil and citric acid to remove water stains and to make your toilet gleam. It does contain one non-specific ingredient labeled as “coconut-derived surfactant.” Earth Friendly Products Toilet Kleener scored an A from the EWG.
Get rid of that gross toilet bowl ring with a product that won’t contaminate the waterways. The formula for Green Shield Organic Toilet Bowl Cleaner includes antimicrobial cleansing agents that remove bacteria and odors. The ingredients in this product include just acetic acid, vegetable glycerin, water, citric acid, malic acid, xanthan gum and ursolic acid. It earned an A from the EWG.
Seventh Generation’s Natural Tub & Tile Cleaner can clean every surface in your bathroom—naturally. It’s safe for use on ceramic tile, shower doors, plastic, chrome, fiberglass, porcelain, stainless steel and more. Made with plant-derived cleaning agents and scented with natural botanicals and essential oils, this cleaner is healthy for you and the environment. It earned an A from the EWG.
Lysol earned a B rating from the EWG? It’s true. Lysol’s Professional Disinfectant Basin Tub & Tile Cleaner contains some suspect ingredients, including fragrance, but overall scores better than many conventional bathroom cleaners. Take a look at the ingredients here.
This all-purpose bathroom cleaner from Mrs. Meyer’s cleans showers, tiles, toilet seats, sinks, countertops and everything in between. It contains antibacterial essential oils, including orange and lavender. Although the cleaner only has seven ingredients (usually a good sign), it earned a B, not an A rating, from the EWG. (Still a good rating, though). This product mostly earned a B because of its use of fragrance, which is a vague term. The Mrs. Meyer’s website says that the product uses a “mixture of natural, high-quality essential oils and safe synthetic fragrance ingredients.” Maybe so, but the EWG won’t give a higher rating without full disclosure of ingredients.
Keep your loo clean and fresh with Ecover’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner. This nontoxic cleaner comes in a plastic bottle, but it’s not your usual plastic. Ecover’s plastic packaging is made from sugar cane, not crude oil. Cool, huh? What about what’s inside the packaging? The formula for Ecover’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner earned a B rating from EWG, likely because the cleaner includes “fragrance.” Fragrance is a vague term that doesn’t disclose all of the ingredients in the product.
This is just a sampling of products in the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning database. Visit the database for more information.
image: Jess Rivera