How to Swap to Natural Cleaning Products

Almost three years ago, I began my own “journey” to reduce the number of harmful ingredients in my makeup, skincare and cleaning products in our home. I started small and swapped one thing at a time. Today, I want to share a guide for anyone looking to create a cleaner, greener home in small steps.

This post is sponsored by Grove Collaborative, a website that sells natural cleaning products and personal care items. I have been trying it out for the past few months and have found a lot of new favorite products that I’ve never been able to find locally. At the bottom of this post, I’ll share a special freebie that Grove has for you, too!Here are my three tips for getting started with swapping to natural cleaning products: 

1. Stop buying any products that have artificial fragrance (if you check the ingredients and it says ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum,’ it’s probably an artificial fragrance). This small step completely changed my life.

When you see ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on a label, this ingredient isn’t just one ingredient used to make your product smell nice or to mask less desirable scents. It can act as way for companies to use other additives that don’t need to be disclosed on the label. When tested, among these “hidden chemicals” are known hormone disruptors, petrochemicals, and many haven’t even been assessed for safety in personal care products. This is known by the industry as “the fragrance loophole,” because fragrance is a protected ingredient for proprietary reasons and the details don’t need to be disclosed on the label. Looking for products that are scented with essential oils or with an asterisk by ‘fragrance’ that says something like ‘proprietary blend of essential oils’ is a great way to start.

Bottom line, swapping to cleaning products that are unscented or naturally scented using essential oils is the way to go!

2. Find your own go-to brands. I have found that choosing brands you like and trust is a shortcut to add new items to your routine without feeling like you have to fully research each purchase. In our home, most of my cleaning products are Seventh Generation and now Grove products.

I do the same thing with our skincare products and cosmetics. When I find a brand that is ingredient conscious across the board, I tend to become pretty loyal!

3. Swap one product at a time.

Don’t let yourself feel guilty or overwhelmed. Just swap one thing at a time as you run out of it! This was and is a huge key to my process. Even after three years, I am still making tweaks to the products we buy. And that’s OK!

I firmly believe it’s better to make small steps than no steps at all.

Above are some products I have tried and loved. You can find all of these products here. I make a lot of my own cleaning sprays, so these reusable bottles are amazing!I LOVE making my own cleaning sprays either with Grove’s cleaning concentrates or with castile soap and essential oils.

This bamboo brush that bubbles up is so great! You just add soap and water to the bottom of the container and it’s always ready to use.I want to take a minute to share some other things that I have loved from Grove as well (more in the personal care category). I love the brand Babyganics (we use their wipes and their sunscreen as well). Finding clean products for Nova is something I am extremely passionate about. I was shocked to learn that many products made for kids and marketed as “gentle” have very bad scores (I use the Think Dirty app and the EWG website to score products). It freaked me out a bit, but I’ve since found so many amazing companies that make great products for kids! There’s a whole section on Grove for babies and kids.

Jeremy loves and uses this deodorant. I use this cleansing oil. I carry this hand sanitizer spray in my bag. And I absolutely love this sheet mask. I use this soap to add essential oils to my bubble baths in a safe way.If you would like to try any of these products from Grove Collaborative, you can use this link and you’ll get a free gift with any $20 purchase!

There will be a few favorite items automatically added to your cart, but it’s completely editable and you can change anything you want!

Doing some spring cleaning? Check out Spring Cleaning Checklist!

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson.
  • Can you possibly do another post with cleaning supplies and tell me what reusable gloves you suggest for cleaning and / dishes? I need to know what the healthier option is while trying to protect my hands!

  • This is an awesome post! I am trying to be more sustainable in my daily habits (the end aim is basically zero waste as of now!), so this is uber helpful. 🙂 Great blog!
    -Jenna <3
    Follow me back? The Chic Cupcake

  • Hey, I was really excited about this, but felt I had to comment about my experience because I don’t want anyone else to have the same stress. I know it’s mentioned in the post, but not nearly to the extent I was ever expecting.

    My friend saw this post and sent it my way and I wanted to take advantage of the current Grove offer for some free products with your first purchase. Everything was fine until my friend saw that she was automatically subscribed to a random assortment of products to be purchased and delivered on her behalf without permission, and that products were added to her cart without her doing so as well. Items she had not even looked at on the website.

    I checked my account and the same thing had happened. This is sneaky and unfair to those who are not aware of products being added to subscriptions and carts without their doing so. I am lucky my friend spotted it and could warn me. Also, you need to request that you are not a VIP after six months or they will charge you automatically for this too.

    It ended up being a big hassel to ensure that I was not subscribed to, purchasing or renewing anything they had signed me up for without my permission. I’m waiting for my first order to come (just shipped today after a full week) and then asking that they remove VIP status and possibly delete the account. You can get almost all of the items on the website at places like Target or your local grocery store, it’s not worth the ordeal.

    I think this is a nice idea, but the brand isn’t honest with how things work when you create an account. It takes a lot of effort across your account to check that you won’t be charged for anything you get signed up for. It’s not just checking your cart after that first purchase.

    I think if they changed this approach, I’d be a much happier customer.

    • It is a subscription type of service, but it emails you before your shipment every month and you can choose to skip the month or change your cart completely.

      I totally understand your initial reaction- I can be the same way about subscriptions with auto billing, but once you know how it works it really is not a big deal (at least not in my experience). I don’t think it’s meant to be sneaky. Hope that helps!

  • Everyone please keep in mind that essential oils, even in trace amounts can be toxic to pets to be careful about using anything that contains them on your surfaces (tubs and sink included) or in the air in your homes.

    • Hi Kelly, I strongly encourage you to read the Oui Fresh FAQ page because I think you may be misinformed about EOs. The internet is full of misinformation and we’ve consulted with multiple reputable sources (including Veterinarians) to get better information on this issue as we are all pet-owners and lovers ourselves. 🙂

  • I love this easy to follow post and suggestion list. And can you please tell me about your awesome faucet?!? ❤️

  • is the jadeite pitcher a remake or vintage? i’d love to find one like it!

  • These are my favorite posts! Thanks so much for this awesome deal! SO excited to get all my stuff. Super excited about the spray bottle and cleaning concentrates 🙂

  • Oh! Thank you so much for sharing.
    I for sure want to use more natural products, especially because I have a bengal right now and he is very sensitive to all the cleaning chemicals.

  • I’M ORDERING IT ALLLLL. And. I was BLOWN AWAY by all the free stuff they are sending with it! Such an amazing deal. Thank you for partnering with them to jumpstart my hop over to more natural products 🙂

  • Just a heads-up, Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox which is not environmentally friendly or cruelty free ????????

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m working on making some of my own cleaning products and switching others, but’s it’s hard to figure out what works. I use grape seed oil mixed with other stuff as a replacement for 409, and that works incredibly well! Windex replacement is next! I love that bamboo scrubber though!

  • What a great idea! Although I don’t have that many cleaning products in my home, I’ve always thought about starting to make them completely myself. But buying natural cleaning products is a good first step I think!

  • I really like Grove Collaberative, I’ve been using it for almost a year now (I love that sponge top brush!)

    Babyganics makes a great, alcohol free, foaming hand sanitizer, I keep one in my diaper bag at all times.

  • All of my fave podcasts are sponsored by grove! XD That bamboo brush looks great, I find it much more comfortable to wash dishes using something with a handle rather than a sponge

  • Awesome deal grabbed it for sure and got things I need to switch out at a deep discount! Will have to read the fine print and details to see if I will keep after the trial but glad you spotlighted anything that can make the transition easier!

  • Thank you for these recommendations! We’re moving into our first house in a few weeks and I’m using that as an opportunity to switch over to more natural products. I can’t wait to try these out!

  • I had no idea there was such a thing as a fragrance loophole! That is really a scary thought that they can pump whatever they want into the product. I get migraines so I’m very sensitive to fragrances and I tend to avoid them because they irritate me. I appreciate your gentle approach and sharing the insight to change one item at a time because scaring people into throwing everything away at once seems so destructive. I’m definitely going to be paying attention to what I buy from now on.

    Eva |

    • Yeah- brands don’t have to disclose every ingredient in fragrance or in proprietary blends.

      Totally! It’s not realistic to change everything at once. And when you do it over time, you are able to put more thought and research into each new product. Not that they all need research, but at times I like to make sure I’m using the best on for our needs (especially things we use a lot of). xx!

  • This is such a great post! I’ll have to check Grove out, I’m always looking for ways to make my cleaning routine more natural.

  • Thank you for this post and recommendations, Elsie. It’s so good to read that you’ve made such a positive change. Very inspiring and motivating, I’m trying to do the same too! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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