By Bud Coburn
These green cleaners are staff favorites that bust dirt and grime just as well—if not better—than their traditional counterparts
When it comes time to clean house, fewer and fewer homeowners are turning to harsh chemicals to get the job done. Most of us happily use at least one natural soap or scrub at home. Here, we’ve rounded up some standouts you’ll want to stock in various spots around your house. Not only do these staff favorites bust dirt and grime just as well—if not better—than their traditional counterparts, they’re safer for us and for the environment, too.
For the Kitchen: Counters
While this biodegradable spray does a solid job cutting grease, essential-oil-infused scent.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Countertop Spray, about $4 for 16 ounces
For the Kitchen: Sinks
There’s a reason we think this gentle, mineral-based scrub is a classic. In addition to shining up tile, it eliminates dirt and food particles on soapstone, enameled cast iron, and stainless steel without scratching.
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser, about $1.30 for 14 ounces
For the Kitchen: Dishes
These keep their shape much better than rusty steel wool and are less likely to splinter. These nonabrasive pads are made from recycled bottles. And they won’t scratch your nonstick cookware, either.
Scotch-Brite Soap Loaded Scrubbers, about $2.40 for six
For the Kitchen: Sealed Stone
You can polishes marble counters with this spray, which relies on cleansers made from coconut and vegetable oils.
Howard Naturals Granite & Marble Cleaner, about $8 for 12 ounces
For the Utility Closet: Multipurpose
A longtime health-food-store staple (and a favorite of campers everywhere), this dirt-dissolving, biodegradable soap works on floors, in the laundry, “even on you! Try it in your next bath.”
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap, about $15 for 32 ounces
For the Utility Closet: Laundry
Most people who’s had to haul dirty clothes to a hard-to-reach machine loves the compact size of this ultraconcentrated detergent, the only one to have received Cradle 2 Cradle certification (one of the most stringent third-party “green” seals).
Method Laundry Detergent, about $15 for 20 ounces
For the Utility Closet: Stains
Chocolate, grease, and mud messes prove no match for this plant-based stain remover. We like its fruity scent—and the fact that it represents a move by a major cleaning-products company, S.C. Johnson, to “green up” one of its classics.
Shout Nature’s Source Laundry Stain Remover, about $3.40 for 26 ounces
For the Utility Closet: Windows
Use this odorless concentrate on grills, stoves, even driveways—but it really shines on windows. “Most green cleaners fall down on the job when it comes to glass. This one delivers a streak-free shine.”
Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate, about $12 for 16 ounces; shaklee.com
For the Bathroom: Hands
Light and foamy, this antibacterial soap kills 99.99 percent of germs without the chemical Triclosan—and is gentle on hands. Plus the orange-cream-soda scent makes kids happier to wash up for dinner.
CleanWell All-Natural Antibacterial Foaming Handsoap, about $5 for 9.5 ounces
For the Bathroom: Tile and Porcelain
If you’re worried about spreading germs, follow photo editor Allison Chin’s lead and reach for these versatile wipes, which eliminate odors and disinfect, thanks to a plant-based formula.
Method Antibac Wipes, about $3 for 35
For the Bathroom: Grout
More than one staffer will attest to this tip: For a fast-acting antidote to dirt and mildew between tiles, mix this nonchlorine powder bleach into a paste with water, and scrub with a stiff-bristle brush.
Oxi Clean, about $8 for 56 ounces
For the Bathroom: Toilet Bowls
This bleach-free liquid is endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Natural Product Association. Just as important, it removes lime and rust stains in only a few minutes.
Green Works Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner, about $2.80 for 24 ounces