cleaning makeover 1

For the longest time, many of us used typical household cleaning products without thinking twice about what nasty chemicals we might be adding to our indoor air. (Perhaps a hint was how many of us had to hold our breath when cleaning!) Turns out, most household cleaning products are full of irritants that you don’t want to breathe or get on your skin.

Whether you love cleaning or not, it’s something we all to do keep our homes looking nice and feeling comfortable and we want to know we’re making our environment safer and cleaner. But cleaning with toxic chemicals actually adds pollutants to our home. With non-toxic cleaning products you can keep your surfaces and air clean and safe!

Honest is continuously expanding its line of cleaning products. For those of us who enjoy cleaning (or at least enjoy lounging in a clean house when we’re done!), we’ve come up with some non-toxic DIY solutions, too.

But first, let’s break down some of the harmful ingredients in the most popular cleaners:

The nasty chemicals in typical cleaning products include fragrances (serious toxins!), VOCs, dyes, formaldehyde, and many more substances that are harmful to humans and the environment. Women’s Voices for the Earth commissioned an independent study of 20 popular cleaning products from five companies. The analysis shows there were harmful chemicals in many of these products, and sometimes the manufacturer didn’t even list those chemicals on the product (like allergens in fragrance-free products). Check out what else is in some popular cleaning products:

Popular glass cleaners may contain:

2-Hexoxyethanol- A cleaning agent link to central nervous system depression and is an upper respiratory irritant.

Sodium C14-17 Sec-Alkyl Sulfonate- A wetting agent that is hazardous to the environment and an irritant to skin and eyes.

2-Butoxyethanol- Confirmed animal carcinogen. Irritant for human’s eyes, skin, and lungs.

Popular all-purpose sprays may contain:

Phthalates – Even at very low doses, phthalates can cause hormone disruption and reproductive harm including birth defects.

Toluene – Toluene exposure has been linked to pregnancy complications, birth defects and developmental delays in children.

Ethanolamine – Human skin and respiratory irritant. Limited evidence of gastrointestinal or liver toxicity.

Popular wood polish/oil may contain:

Trisodium NTA – This corrosive substance causes injury to eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. It’s a possible human carcinogen.

Formaldehyde – Known human carcinogen. Respiratory and skin allergen.

Swap Out Guide

Considering what you now know about all the nasty chemicals in typical cleaning products, we bet you’re eager to swap those old cleaners out with new, non-toxic ones. Give your cleaning supplies cabinet a makeover with safe products like the ones below in this cleaning makeover guide.


Instead of typical glass cleaner use:

cleaning makeover glass

Honest Glass + Window Cleaner contains: water, alcohol denat. (corn-derived solvent), caprylyl/myristyl, glucoside (plant-based surfactant), acetic acid (plant-based vinegar).

(You can read about the ingredients we use, as well as some we don’t, and why in our Ingredients 101 series every Wednesday.)


Instead of typical dish washing soap use:

cleaning makeover dish soap

Honest Dish Soap contains: purified water, cocamidopropyl betaine (coconut-based cleanser), sodium coco-sulfate (coconut-based cleanser), cocamidopropylamine oxide (coconut-based cleanser), phenoxyethanol (pH-sensitive preservative), methylisothiazolinone (preservative), litsea cubeba oil, citrus limonum (lemon) peel oil, canarium luzonicum gum oil.


Instead of typical all-purpose cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover multipurpose

Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner contains: Purified water, sodium coco sulfate (coconut-based cleanser), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), phenoxyethanol (pH-sensitive preservative), citrus grandis oil (N.O.P. certified organic grapefruit oil), PPG-4 laureth/Myreth-5 (coconut-based cleanser), alcohol (fermented from corn sugars), methylisothiazolinone (preservative).


Instead of typical toilet cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover toilet

Honest Toilet Cleaner contains: Water, citric acid (plant-based pH regulator), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), gluconic acid (plant-based pH regulator), xanthan gum (natural viscosity enhancer), potassium sorbate (plant-based preservative), lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.


Instead of typical bathroom cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover bthroom

Honest Bathroom Cleaner contains: water, ethyl alcohol (fermented from corn sugar), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), sodium gluconate (plant-based water-softener), sodium citrate (plant-based water-softener), potassium sorbate (plant-based preservative), citric acid (plant- based pH regulator), aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, mentha arvensis (wild mint) leaf oil, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.


You can also make your own cleaners with things in your pantry:

  • To remove soap scum from a shower curtain, apply a paste of baking soda and a small amount of water, scrub with a brush.

  • To remove grease stains from cloth pour boiling water over the stain. For non-washable cloth, mix cornstarch, baking soda, and a small amount of water to form a paste. Apply to a grease stain and brush off when dry.

  • To naturally deodorize air without using a generic freshening spray, which typically contain all sorts of things you don’t want to breath, like phthalates and synthetic fragrances. In The Honest Life, Jessica Alba recommends mixing vodka with a few drops of essential oil and putting the mixture in a spray bottle. Vodka contains ethyl alcohol, which absorbs odors.

  • For alcohol, coffee, and tea stains, mix 1/3 cup white vinegar with 1/3 cup water, dab onto stain with a clean rag and wipe off.

  • To remove a tough fabric stain or carpet stain try mixing our liquid laundry soap with water and using a clean toothbrush to scrub the stain out. Wipe clean with a wet cloth.

  • Clean copper pots with lemons and salt, or cover in ketchup and scrub with a scouring pad.

  • To clean stains from glass cookware, soak in a mixture of hot water and baking soda for about 20 minutes then scrub clean.

What are your safe cleaning tricks and tips? Also, we’d love to know which Honest cleaning products are your favorites! Tell us in the comments!

This post was revised as of 4/26/2016.

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79 thoughts on “Make the Swap to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products (+ Giveaway!)

  1. We are making the switch to more natural cleaning products (honest laundry soap sold us on the company!), but are also going to be swapping out (recycling) our stash of plastic containers for recycled glass storage containers instead.

  2. We have been slowly switching over to non-toxic. Currently we use non-toxic products from the grocery store but I have been considering making my own cleaning spray. I would like to try out the honest cleaning products.

  3. as an essentials bundle subscriber we use all your products but have yet to try the glass cleaner. have been using multi-surface on our windows!!

  4. I am in love with this brand and can’t wait to get started using some of their products! I follow them on Facebook and Pinterest as well. (=

  5. I love the diapers and wipes. I adore the cleaners that make me feel good about cleaning products with my baby around. And I can’t wait to try the we deodorant coming!

  6. I’m really wanting to try these cleaning products out! I haven’t tried any product of honest but have been very interested for at least a year!

  7. I have a diapers bundle for my little one, and have been purchasing some cleaners from the store that are supposedly all natural, but I decided to switch today and start getting the essentials bundle to try all of the other wonderful products Honest has to offer! I want a clean and safe environment for my little guy and Honest can help with that! Thank you!

  8. I’ve already thrown out all toxic cleaners & switched to Honest Products!!!!! Winning this giveaway would be awesome & a money saver:)

  9. I’ve been making a switch to non-toxic cleaners! I use Honest products for my laundry and have been using vinegar to clean things around my home. Love the Honest Company and all the products I’ve tried!!

  10. After switching all of my skincare products to non-toxic and organic alternatives after developing allergies, it only made sense to continue on with other areas of my life. I absolutely love the Honest laundry detergent and dryer sheets and even my cat is in love with the smell of the cleaners and shampoo and lotion. It’s nice knowing that even while I’m cleaning to create a healthier environment for myself and the others I live with, but I’m not causing more harm than good during the actual cleaning process!

  11. When I use the honest diapers and wipes, I feel like I am doing something great for my family and our planet. So to be able to convert my household to all honest products would make me feel amazing. I have asthma and allergies so to clean without having to open all the windows because of the chemicals would be awesome.

  12. We’ve started using a lot of Honest Products, including diapers, shampoos, and the miracle Healing Balm. My husband was weary but he’s very happy with all the products and loves the hand soap. We are definitely moving into the cleaning products now. They really make it easier for my hubby to help clean with his heart condition and allows me to have baby in the sling when I wipe down counters.

  13. I haven’t tried your products yet even though I read your blog weekly but winning your products would be a great way to start!!!

  14. I’ve been switching out our cleaning products since having our little girl 5 months ago. I’m just not sure what to do with the pile of old cleaning products that I am no longer using.

  15. We’ve cloth diapered for two years (using Honest diapers in the first few months) and I am slowly switching our cleaning products to homemade ones. Also, growing a veg garden so we don’t have to buy from the grocery!

  16. I have just discovered the Honest Company products and I love them already. I have over the last year and a half been transitioning to natural cleaning and beauty products, as well as moving towards a cleaner diet. I want to start using green and sustainable fabrics that are free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals as well. These products are helping me reach my goal of a healthier home and lifestyle.

  17. I don’t have kids yet, but I’ve switched to using Honest laundry products and love them! Also use the counter top spray, and am going to order Honest bathroom cleaning supplies. I love knowing my home is both clean and a non-toxic environment. Good practice too for when I do have kids!

  18. I use only non-toxic cleaning products in my home and make a lot of my own cleaning products, as well (using baking soda, vinegar, etc). We’ve also switched to reusable snack bags and pouches with my toddler (who uses your diapers, which we love!).

  19. I’m slowly changing out all our cleaning supplies to natural ones. My closet looks like an honest ad! I love that I can finally clean house without an asthma attack from the chemicals. I also buy baking soda in bulk and use it for a lot! I have a 2 month old and am trying to make his environment less toxic than what I grew up with. I especially love your stain remover, having a new baby in the house.

  20. We strive to use natural as much as possible… with a kiddo who has asthma, I want to make her air as ‘natural’ as possible.

  21. This post was seriously eye opening. As a new, young mom, I’m becoming more and more aware of harmful chemicals found in the things we use everyday. As soon as I heard and researched about Honest, I immediately switched my son’s diapers and wipes. After ordering, I also switched his bubble bath, teething ring, shampoo… I even switched to the Honest diaper bag! I am in full support of this company and I think the mission is great. I love to see it expanding to more products and I can’t wait to try them all. Winning this giveaway would be a great start!

  22. This was a great read and very insightful. As a college student it is difficult at times to be 100% Eco-friendly but I am slowly switching over to natural cleaners and other products. I think that The Honest Company is doing amazing things for families and the environment!

  23. We actually switched many of our cleaning products to all natural, cruelty-free choices. There are some we still need to find alternatives for

  24. I have been making the switch for a while now…I used to wear a face mask when I cleaned because the fumes were so strong and I no longer need to use one and my sons allergies have disappeared. I will forever use these products…thanks for the convenience and the variety.

  25. Ever since I was two months pregnant with my first daughter Quinn, that is now four months old, I really started taking toxins seriously. I had just started reading “The Honest Life” and im so thrilled that I did! The book really motivated me to help my family live life in a healthy way and to create a healthy enviroment to live in. We’ve started ordering honest bundles as much as we can, and Ive been practicing making our own simple cleaners! It turns out its actually a lot of fun. Thanks Honest for making life better in so many ways!!

  26. I have gone green because of the Honest Life. I have switched all of my personal care and cleaning products, some homemade and some from the honest company. I
    plan on getting pregnant this year and being chemical free is really important to me. I am also a teacher and I plan on using strictly green products around my students as well.

  27. I started switching out with little steps…first was the handsoap since the kids are in contact with it every day.

  28. We use mostly Honest Company products. For the few products Honest Co doesn’t offer, we’ve found less toxic, more eco-friendly versions. For instance instead of using Comet with bleach to scrub tubs and sinks, we use a bleach-free scrub that contains natural ingredients.

  29. I’ actually swapping harsh chemicals to non-toxic ones your the Honest line. They are amazing and I feel safe when I use them because I don’t have to worry about being exposed to bad chemicals. If I had to chose one product is that I’m using the Honest Hand Sanitizer when I’m out in public and it helps when I can’t get to a restroom to wash my hands.

  30. I’m honestly going non-toxic with cleaning by switching to all the Honest products. I’ve tried all and love them, especially since I can trust The Honest Company in making products safe for my family 🙂

  31. We switched to non toxic cleaning products many years ago, and i was thrilled when the Honest Company started. Great products, shipped to me every month. So easy and affordable!

  32. I started making baby steps in switching to non-toxic/natural products just a couple years ago, but really had only swapped out a couple products because I couldn’t find natural ones that “got the job done” as well as the old products. Honest Company has changed that! I’ve found eco-friendly, non-toxic family and household products that really work well! If I had to pick a favorite item that I’ve swapped for, it would be the Stain Remover, and we also can’t get enough of the Healing Balm–I’ve started including Honest products in every Baby Shower or Housewarming gift I give. 🙂

  33. My first step was switching out hand soaps and cleaning products. Then I was shocked and never thought for a second that chemicals in shampoo could harm our water supply. It is getting easier to access non harmful shampoo and conditioner but I am still in the process of learning so I can make the proper changes for my health and our environments health. I am a recent college graduate and only realized these harmed our water sources and ourselves while in college studying environmental management. I had my mom and our household make the switch as well. She worked in the ER and we had always since I was young used anti bacterial soap, even for our bar soaps, and am now with recent widespread news of the harm I am making the switch there too.

  34. My first swap out was trying out Honest dishwasher pods, then laundry pods, then laundry detergent. I’m VERY allergic to various cleaners, and haven’t had any reactions to your stuff! I’m excited to try your disinfecting cleaning spray and toilet bowl cleaner, because with the normal stuff, I have to hold my breath, and if I breathe it, I feel like someone has taken a microplane grater to my lungs. Not fun!

  35. We’re just switching over to Honest products, and I love them! The bathroom cleaner actually did a better job at cleaning my shower than the chemically laden store brand, and I didn’t need a respirator to do it.

  36. I started using the hand sanitizer and the multi surface cleaner I love that it doesn’t have a strong smell I would always get headaches with other cleaners.

  37. After suffering an allergic reaction and sinus infection due to the chemicals in other products I am turning everything in my home Honest and DIY. I will never go back!

  38. I have 2 children and both have irritable skin and asthma. I am on a mission to be able to make our home a better place for them to live comfortably! Easier to breathe with no irritants, no irritated skin and rashes. I want them to live as worry free as possible and I am so gla I have found the Honest company! I can’t wait to turn everything in my house to Honest!

  39. I am trying to make the switch to healthier non-toxic products not only for myself but also for my family. As well as trying to educate my friends on how they can make a better environment for their little ones, by simply changing the air they breathe and using non-toxic cleaning products as opposed to common brands.

  40. I have always used the commercialized cleaners before I had my daughter. Now that I am mom, I have put more thought into mine and my family’s health and well being. I have become more concerned with going green and eliminating my use of harsh chemicals.

  41. I just went and tosses pretty much all of my cleaning supplies away and we are switching to Honest. My son has multiple skin problems we are trying to clear up. First we tried the diapers and wipes, then I got the sample essentials pack. I’ve started using the healing balm for his bad diaper rash and the multipurpose cleaner for a number of other things. And both work so well. I’m expecting to get my monthly cleaning products subscription soon and I can’t wait. Thank you for caring about what goes into your products and what people are using. 🙂

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