Green Cleaning, Green Home, Home

Natural All-Purpose Cleaners – The Best Choice For Your Home

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More and more people are becoming increasingly concerned about the types of chemicals that are in various home products. Knowing that there are links between various chemicals and certain types of cancers (among other health issues), it makes sense that people are starting to look for natural all-purpose cleaners to use in their home.

I have spent a lot of time looking into various cleaners for my home. I wanted my home to be a safe haven for my family, meaning that we really only use harsh chemicals when necessary, and more natural and gentle cleaners the rest of the time. I have also tried a number of products and found many great ones (and some not-so-great ones, too). As I was evaluating products for use in my own home, here were the standards I considered:

  • How natural the product is (meaning what percentage from the product is made from natural ingredients)
  • If the product contained any carcinogens or other concerning ingredients
  • What the fragrances are made from
  • Price of the product compared to similar products
  • Other’s reviews of the product
  • How easy the product is to get
  • How ethical the company is

The products I am showcasing below are:

  1. All products I have personally used and loved
  2. Products that are easy to find and/or order
  3. Products that meet my personal health & environmental standards
  4. Reasonably priced

Force of Nature Cleaner

Force of Nature is my number one pick. It is a bit of an upfront investment, but you can definitely save money in the long run with this product.

The Force of Nature cleaning appliance creates electrolyzed water (hypochlorous acid and sodium hydroxide) which kills 99.9% of germs, including Staph, MRSA, Norovirus, E. Coli, Influenza A, and much more.

Electrolyzed water has been used for disinfecting in the industrial space for a long time. You can now make this solution right in your own home with this appliance! It hasn’t always been possible to do that because the equipment needed was costly, but thanks to Force of Nature this is now a realistic option for many homes.

I love it because it is 100% safe. I do not have to worry about my toddler grabbing it and harming himself. I do not have to worry about it hurting my pets. This cleaner is truly all-purpose and is up for almost any job, whether it be deodorizing, removing stains, or just cleaning up your kitchen sink! There are absolutely NO added fragrances, which is a huge perk for many people. It does have a very light, pleasant, and natural “clean” scent.

See my full review on Force of Nature here. That review will tell you how to get it for the best price and teach you even more about this awesome product. You can purchase Force of Nature here.

Method All Purpose Cleaner

natural-all-purpose-cleaner-methodWhile Force of Nature is my number one choice, I know that many people prefer to use a cleaner that doesn’t require an upfront investment.

Method All Purpose Cleaner is a great product choice to have in your home. I have tried many products by Method and I love them! I have only come across one scent I didn’t love (stay away from Spearmint, though I hear the Eucalyptus Mint is awesome!) but all the rest have smelled amazing!

Method is a great choice because it is made from biodegradable ingredients. Method does not test on animals, is non-toxic, and makes its bottles from recycled materials. This brand really cares about its consumer and the planet, making it a brand you can feel good spending your money on.

Another perk of the Method products is that they are economical! They aren’t priced the same way many other green products are priced (ie their price isn’t greatly inflated). Their price is right in line with similar products, meaning you aren’t paying more for this brand (though it would be worth it even if it was more expensive!)

The most recent scent I tried was Honeycrisp Apple–I love it! It smells so fresh and homey. It’s great for a festive fall scent, but it’s not so “fall-like” that it would smell “off” other times of the year. Even though it’s apples, I think it would be a fabulous spring/summer scent, too.

Side note: Method makes amazing wood cleaning products. Their wood cleaner and wood polish are both phenomenal–our dining room table is an Amish-made wooden table built in the ’50s that we inherited from my husband’s grandparents. These are the only cleaners I trust on it! Our coffee table is also an antique wooden table, and these two things do a fabulous job cleaning it up and making it shiny without being greasy. We also love the almond-scented wood floor cleaner–we use it on our laminate (it is safe for that).

Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner

natural-all-purpose-cleaners-mrs-meyersMrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner is another popular choice for green home cleaners. The story behind the start of this company is very nostalgic. Mrs. Thelma Meyer was a mother of nine from Iowa. As she and her daughters recognized how many harsh chemicals there were in the store cleaners, she decided she wanted to create her own line of cleaners that smelled like her mother’s garden, worked great, and were in line with her views on a healthy lifestyle.

These gentle cleaners work great and smell AWESOME. I love the earthy-type scents they leave behind, and I love knowing that I’m not leaving harsh chemicals all over my counter.

This brand of cleaner is free from harsh chemicals like ammonia, formaldehyde, parabens, and petroleum. The fragrances are derived from essential oils, but also some synthetic ingredients, meaning this brand may not be the right choice for everyone.

The synthetic ingredients are carefully chosen with safety in mind. However, the synthetic fragrance ingredients are one con about this product, but overall I trust its safety.

I also really love Mrs. Meyer’s dish soaps. Especially since we are washing items that will hold food that goes into our bodies, I really want to make sure that I feel good about the soap used. I try to rinse off all residue when washing dishes so that it’s not really a concern, but you never know what you might have missed or what is still lingering.

The dish soaps work great and also smell awesome–it makes standing at the sink scrubbing stuff not so bad!

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner

natural-all-purpose-cleaners-seventh-generationSeventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner is a must have during cold and flu season. It’s formula is naturally disinfecting with a “CleanWell” blend rooted in Thyme Oil. It claims to kill 99.9% of household germs botanically.

This cleaner isn’t my go-to every day cleaner because I prefer a few other options for that, but when someone in my house has been sick, this has been my go-to at times (though I mostly use Force of Nature as that go-to now).

It’s also a great cleaner to have on hand for things like garbage cans, diaper pails, high chairs, and hard toys if you do not have Force of Nature.

You can use this as a regular cleaner where you spray and wipe clean, but to use as a disinfectant, you spray the surface evenly and allow to air dry.

The downside for me to this particular cleaner is the scent (pretty strong). But the pros of this cleaner (germ killing) make it worth it when needed. Seventh Generation has another all-purpose cleaner that is unscented and very economically priced, but without the level of disinfectant ingredients if you’re interested.

Norwex EnviroCloth

natural-all-purpose-cleaners-norwexMy last all purpose cleaner I want to mention isn’t really a true cleaner, but a cloth. The Norwex Envirocloth is a multi-purpose microfiber cleaning cloth that removes up to 99% of bacteria from surfaces. The cloth can be used dry for dusting, as well as wet for general cleaning.

This cloth does an awesome job removing dirt and grime from surfaces. The microfiber really grips dirt and removes it well. It does a pretty good job cleaning my stainless steel, too.

I use my Norwex Envirocloths every day, but unlike some, the Envirocloths have not completely replaced all my other cleaners. You may have heard that the Envirocloths have something called “BacLock” inside of them (essentially a layer of microsilver) that enables the cloth to self-clean/disinfect. After you use it, you are just supposed to hang it to dry and it will kill any germs on it’s own.

While studies have proven that Norwex (and microfiber cleaning cloths in general) indeed do pick up about 99% of bacteria from surfaces, studies have also shown that the “BacLock” technology is not really effective, and the towels do not self-clean. Some Norwex sellers claim that BacLock never claimed to kill germs on the towel, but rather just prevent new germs from forming on the towel.

I don’t really see how it makes a difference, though–either way, you can’t just hang them up to dry, right? You actually need to boil them every few days for about 10 minutes to completely kill the germs, and throw them in the laundry to freshen them up.

All in all, I love these cloths. They work amazing at cleaning surfaces when used properly, and they do better on stainless steel than any other general cleaning product I own. However, I still have to use some other cleaners (these often smell funky after they dry even if you rinsed it out well and hung it properly, so they need to be washed often and are too expensive to really get a large stash of). Also, I do kind of miss the scents of different cleaners sometimes. These rags obviously have no scent, which is awesome for so many reasons, but sometimes I just love a good, botanical scent when I’m cleaning.

Here is a video giving a little more information about the Envirocloths:

You can get Norwex Envirocloths on Amazon. Norwex can be purchased a few bucks cheaper through a consultant, but you do have to pay for shipping. If you have Amazon Prime, the shipping is free, so you will come out a bit ahead. But if you want to make a big Norwex order, it makes sense to find a consultant.

Another Norwex product I love is the window cloth. Check out my post on those here.

Which Should You Choose?

Which cleaners you need depends on your cleaning style and what you will be using your all-purpose cleaner for in your home. Here are the items where each product shines to help you make your decision:

Force of Nature: Awesome for almost ANYTHING. I do prefer to use my Norwex Envirocloths on stainless steel because it shines it up nicely, but other than that I have been using Force of Nature for everything nowadays. Great for bathrooms, cleaning after illness, cleaning up after raw meat, cleaning produce, counters, sinks…everything! See some other unique uses here.

Method: Great for granite counter tops (actually feels smooth when I’m done cleaning, not gritty like some other cleaners) & stove tops; plus, their wood cleaners are the best I’ve used for wood!

Mrs. Meyers: Great for bathroom cleaning (and I love their dish soaps!)

Seventh Generation: Great for disinfecting

Norwex: Great for removing bacteria from surfaces, stainless steel cleaning & polishing, and stuck on dirt and grime from surfaces

I hope this helps you decide on a natural and healthy all-purpose cleaner for your home. You can’t go wrong with any of these products.

Which one sounds the best for your home? Let me know in the comments!

Holly Lee

I'm Holly and I'm the mom of two awesome young boys. We have been cloth diapering for 5 years. My family and I live in Minnesota with our dog, Ruby, and cat, Gherkin. Outside of Rocking the Cloth, I am also a middle school teacher. Thank you for visiting Rocking the Cloth--feel free to email me at holly@rockingthecloth.com if you have any questions or concerns. I'd love to help!

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24 Comments

  1. This is a very thorough review of natural cleaning products. I have been on the journey to natural cleaning as well. It’s worth it to take time to find out what’s in your home cleaners. Thanks for this great info!

    1. Thanks Keiona! Glad you found it helpful.

  2. You mentioned all of my favorite products! It’s great to have all these better options available to us, verses 5-10 years ago when there was nothing.
    Now I feel like I should go clean something!

    1. Thanks, Trisha! I agree, what an amazing time we live in!

  3. I use Norwex cloths myself to get clean, and wash dishes. I did not know the steps that you need to take to clean them though. Thanks for sharing! Based on your suggestion, I will be checking out the method cleaner now!

    1. Glad it helped you out, Christen! I didn’t know the steps at first, either. I decided to look it up when I noticed that my rags were still smelling a bit funky, even when hung to dry. Then I realized that the bacteria doesn’t really leave the rags, so that’s why you have the smell. The sources I read recommended boiling, so I just try to do that every few days. It makes a huge difference and they smell so much better after I do that! I just throw it in a pot of water on the stove and turn it on while I clean up the kitchen, then move the pot to the sink and run cold water over it once it has finished boiling.

  4. I also own some wooden furniture that I was not sure how to clean. One table’s finish is very sensitive and gets white stains from water. I need to try Method’s products for wood, hope they’ll do the job.

    I also like microfiber cloths as they don’t leave marks on the surfaces. I didn’t know I’m supposed to boil them. How do you do it? Just a pot on the stove?

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Mary! I know what you mean about the white spots from water or other cleaners–Method is perfect for that issue!

      Yes, all I do is fill a pot with water and throw my Norwex cloths in the pot and turn on the stove. I go about doing other things, like cleaning the kitchen or something, and after it has boiled for 10 minutes, I take it off the stove and then bring it to the sink and run cold water over it. It smells so much better when I’m done!

  5. I love this article! I’ve been trying to switch over to more natural household products so the information you gave was very helpful. I love the Mrs. Meyers products!

    1. Thanks, Victoria. I’m glad you found it helpful!

  6. Hooray!  Your post is a validation that the natural all-purpose cleaners I’ve gravitated towards are, indeed, great green products.  Of the three brands you’ve featured, my favorite is Mrs. Meyers products with Method as close second.  Method is quite economical and I just like the way the Mrs. Meyers products smell.  

    1. Holly Lee says:

      I agree, Netta! They have awesome scents!

  7. This is so important, the chemicals that are out today are terrible.  I am a fan of most of these products. I use meyers mostly.  I have been for years. its gentle on my home.  I had to because I was having problems with using the other brands that are so strong and started researching about them.  I couldn’t believe how many different chemicals are in them and how harmful they are on our children and pets.  I started to steer clear away from them.   I like the cloths too they easy to keep clean, I may get a few more for backup.  I have had them for a while and they wash well. 

    1. Holly Lee says:

      That’s awesome, Nancy! I’m glad you’ve been using these with good results. I love that they are gentler, too, and I also love the microfiber cloths!

  8. Jag Randa says:

    These are great recommendations. We are a family that is trying to go all natural with cleaning products. In our household we deal with Asthma, cancer and allergies. So these types of products would be perfect for us. The harsh smell of bleach or chemically based floor cleaners is tough on some of our lungs. Thanks for some great suggestions. 

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Glad you found it helpful, Jag!

  9. Billy.W. says:

    Hey Holly, great article here,I really liked it and this is why:

    Good work discussing the negative health side effects of some cleaners on the market today.

    Great simple layout and easy to read conversational style writing.

    Great images and links off to alternative products.

    Any article on any topic that helps to raise a general awareness in a community is good work.

    Great work here Holly,do keep it up :))

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks, Billy! Glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Hi Holly. Great review! I never knew that there are some cleaning products that are free from chemicals and all natural ingredients. This products are great for my home because I have two children and I don’t want them to be exposed to some cleaning chemicals. I will recommend this to my wife because she likes to clean a lot. Very helpful. Thanks holly..

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hello! These are definitely gentler products, but not necessarily chemical free. Free from harsh chemicals is probably a better phrase for these.

  11. Mahmood says:

    I’m glad that someone like you who spent a lot of time with cleaning chemicals is here and “showing off” his know-how in a good way that helps people decide what to choose. Between very carefully chosen list, you’ve presented a rational comparison between these products. Thanks to you for sharing !

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Glad you found it helpful!

  12. Ha Roda says:

    Wow! Thank you for the thorough article on the natural all-purpose product cleaners. That is definitely good to know. I am like you. I love the smell of a clean house.

    The Norwex towels sounds great. I have a hard time finding a good towel that would do a good job in cleaning. Wondering how well are the cleaners against toilet or sink stains.

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hello! Norwex towels do great with water stains–I use them to get the water stains off my dishwasher (stainless steel), so I think it would do awesome for the sink. I’ve never tried it on a toilet, though!

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