Joyce Lue and Catherine Song

Best of Green Awards 2021: Green Cleaning

Looking for cleaning products that are as effective as they are eco-friendly? Our 30 award winners fit the bill.

April is a special time here at Treehugger. With Earth Day month and spring cleaning in full swing, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of planet-friendly cleaning products.

We know green cleaning products are sometimes met with skepticism. We’ve heard countless versions of the question, “Will these gentle products be tough enough to clean my messiest messes?”

The truth, however, is that tough and planet-friendly are not mutually exclusive. For the Best of Green Cleaning awards, we set out to prove it.

Each of our winners cleans exceptionally well – as well as or better than their conventional cousins. The products on our list will vanquish every cleaning foe you face, from the stinkiest smells to the most stubborn stains. And, of course, every single product is safe for pets, people, and the planet.

How We Chose Our Winners

For the cleaning edition of the Best of Green Awards, we partnered with The Spruce, the top home site on the internet. Combining Treehugger's authority in sustainability with The Spruce’s expertise in all things home, we collected nominations from readers, contributors, staff, and outside experts. For round one, our panel carefully vetted each nominee using the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning database as our gold standard – products that received anything less than the guide’s highest safety ratings were not considered. Then, we examined packaging and assessed each product’s individual eco claims. Finally, we rolled up our sleeves to spray, sprinkle, scrub, wash, rinse, and repeat. After all of our research and real-world testing, 30  winners earned our award badge.

The Panel

Headshots of five judges

Illustration by Catherine Song

Melissa Breyer: Editorial Director, Treehugger
Breyer has been making cleaning products at home for most of her adult life, while also trying the wide array of samples that come her way. After testing products for the awards, her house has never been cleaner.

Katherine Martinko: Senior Writer + Green Living Expert, Treehugger
Martinko gave up conventional cleaning products a decade ago and has never looked back. She loves the peace of mind that comes with using natural cleaners around her young children.

Mary Marlowe Leverette: Housekeeping Expert, The Spruce
Leverette is The Spruce’s laundry and housekeeping expert. As a writer and a consultant for detergent manufacturers, her work has appeared in Business Insider, Real Simple, The New York Times, and more. 

Kate Geraghty: Editorial Director, Commerce Home Group, Dotdash
Geraghty believes that green cleaning products and versatile, time-tested solutions like baking soda and vinegar should be a staple in every home’s cleaning rotation.

Christian Cotroneo: Social Media Editor, Treehugger
Living with a houseful of houseplants and an assortment of dogs, Cotroneo always makes sure his abode is spic-and-span and always Instagram-ready.

Best All-Purpose Cleaners

Animated illustration with cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

What to Know: On the market since 1886, Bon Ami still uses the original combination of powdered feldspar, limestone, baking soda, and soda ash to remove stains and keep household hard surfaces sparkling clean. Bon Ami is biodegradable, safe for septic tanks, never tested on animals and has no added fragrance or toxic ingredients. It can be used on stainless steel, porcelain, natural stone, fiberglass, and acrylic surfaces. To use, just sprinkle the powder on a damp sponge, gently rub, and rinse. 

Why We Chose It: “The gentle abrasive quality of Bon Ami tackles stuck-on messes without damaging finishes,” says our panelist, Mary Marlowe Leverette. “Effective in removing rust and hard water stains, the powder can be used to clean pots and pans, countertops, cooktops, toilet bowls, bathtubs, and shower stalls; Bon Ami is the ‘good friend’ you need for cleaning.”

Healthybaby Cleaning Concentrate

What to Know: What began as a way to provide safe, healthy organic food for babies has grown into the Healthybaby (formerly Healthynest) line of cleaning and laundry products, diapers, and personal care products. Their non-toxic Cleaning Concentrate emphasizes a safe home environment for babies, but the formula is equally effective for messes made by adults. Just pour the recommended amount of concentrate (sold in a recyclable glass bottle) into a stainless steel dispenser, shake gently, and start cleaning! A recipient of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) verified seal, Healthybaby products can be purchased by subscription or single order from the website.

 Why We Chose It: In addition to its natural ingredients and cleaning efficacy, Healthybaby Cleaning Concentrate’s versatility offers convenience for busy families. “The product can be used for cleaning hard surfaces, dishwashing, and hand soap depending on how the concentrate is mixed with water,” says Leverette. “The stainless steel bottles are stylish, shatterproof, and color-coded to dispense as a spray, foam, or pump liquid.”

ECOS All-Purpose Cleaner, Orange Plus

What to Know: ECOS All-Purpose Cleaner Orange Plus by Earth Friendly Products cleans away grime, including grease, on hard surfaces using plant-based ingredients. The inclusion of orange oil is the degreasing secret that works so well on kitchen surfaces. Made in the United States and designated a Safer Choice product by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ECOS products are readily available from many online retailers and in most grocery and mass-market stores. It is also available in a refill kit to cut down on packaging.

Why We Chose It: “For kitchen surfaces, ECOS All-Purpose Cleaner with orange oil leaves the counters and cooktop clean with no greasy residue,” says Leverette. “The spray bottle is easy to grip, the product is reasonably-priced, and I feel good knowing the plant-based ingredients are safe to use around my family and pets.”

Best for Dishes

Animated illustration of cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Sqwishful Cleaning Tools

What to Know: Sqwishful’s all-natural cleaning sponges, scrub pads, and brushes can be composted in the backyard when you're done with them. The sponges are made in the United States, using wood pulp sourced sustainably from forests in the Pacific Northwest. The brushes and scrub pads come from China, where they're made from luffa (a type of gourd) and bamboo (a fast-growing grass), both native species that have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Why We Chose It: The products' efficacy is in no way compromised by the fact that they're all-natural and biodegradable. “The sponges have nifty angled corners and are highly absorbent, and the brush bristles retain stiffness after numerous dishwashing sessions,” says our panelist, Katherine Martinko. “The fact that they don’t require 'industrial composting' is refreshing; you can actually snip up the sponge into smaller pieces to put in your backyard compost, and the brush will also break down. This is a great alternative to plastic-based kitchen products, which wear down over time and contaminate the water supply (and our homes) with microplastic waste.”

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs

What to Know: When it comes to dishwasher products, the less you have to say about a product, the better. The formula of Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs is part of what makes them so special. The unscented option is particularly nice, since who needs their dishes to smell clean when they come out of the dishwasher? And unlike some other packs, these are completely powdered, so if they do get a little wet and stick together or leak, the cleanup is minimal. 

Why We Chose It: Panelist Kate Geraghty liked that there’s no messy gel – just a bit of loose detergent powder that can get sprinkled right into the dishwasher with your last pack. With this product, “I could unload my dishwasher without double-checking that all of the ketchup, tea, and oil residue came off of my dishes,” says Geraghty. “If I was running the dishwasher right after a meal, I didn’t even need to rinse the plate – I just scraped any debris off and added my dish to the dishwasher and let the detergent do its thing.”

Etee Zero Dish Soap Concentrate

What to Know: Liquid dish soap that's plastic-free and zero-waste may sound like an impossibility, but Toronto-based company etee shows it can be done. The company has come up with a clever way to package a liquid dish soap concentrate in a tube of natural wax. Simply rip open the tube, squeeze it into a dispenser (you can buy glass jars and accessories separately from etee, or use an old dish soap container), and add water. Then, let it sit for an hour to soften and disperse, shake or whisk it thoroughly to emulsify, and use as you would regular dish soap.

Why We Chose It: Martinko likes that the wax tube can go in the backyard compost bin or the garbage. “It gets nice and soapy on a sponge or washcloth and cuts grease as well as conventional formulas," she says. "For those who don't yet want to give up liquid dish soap and switch to a dish soap bar, this is a great alternative.”

Best Laundry Products

Animated illustration of cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Branch Basics Oxygen Boost

What to Know: Branch Basics Oxygen Boost whitens and brightens laundry as it gently removes stains and odors using 100% natural ingredients. The powdered formula is shelf-stable for years, activated by water, septic and greywater safe, and contains no dyes or fragrances. Available through the Branch Basics website by single purchase or subscription, the company offers a whole line of non-toxic, concentrated cleaning and laundry products.

Why We Chose It: “Oxygen bleach is a must-have in the laundry room and Branch Basics Oxygen Boost is a top choice because it contains no added dyes or fragrances,” says Leverette. “The biodegradable powder when diluted in water acts as an effective presoak for stained laundry or can be added directly to the washer to boost the cleaning power of any laundry detergent. Much more gentle than chlorine bleach, Oxygen Boost is safe to use on white and colored washable fabrics. You can even remove carpet stains and whiten bathroom tile grout.”

Biokleen Cold Water Laundry Liquid

What to Know: Since 1989, Biokleen has offered plant-based household cleaning and laundry products packaged in recyclable containers and that are free of phosphates, chlorine, petroleum solvents, and artificial dyes and fragrances. Their Cold Water Laundry Liquid is formulated to save energy by cleaning in cold water with plant-based enzymes and citrus oils that cut through tough grime. Never tested on animals, the liquid is included in the EPA Safer Choice program and is sold by numerous online retailers and mass-market stores.

 Why We Chose It: Using cold water for laundry can dramatically reduce utility costs, but you must have an enzyme-based detergent to tackle tough stains and odors. Biokleen Cold Water Laundry Liquid’s protease enzyme breaks apart protein stains while the citrus oils cut through greasy residue. “It works well in both standard and high-efficiency washers leaving fabrics clean and soft,” says Leverette. “I particularly like that it is a liquid detergent that can double as a pre-treater to help remove stains. Just work a dab of the product into the stained area with your fingers and let it work for 10 minutes to break apart the stain before tossing the fabric in the washer.”

Dropps Laundry Pods

What to Know: Dropps Laundry Pods pods hit the U.S. market in 2005 as the first single-dose laundry detergent. Once available in retail outlets, the product is now sold on their website along with their other plant-based laundry and kitchen products by subscription or single purchase. Each shipment is packaged in compostable or recyclable cardboard containers to reduce single-use plastics.

Why We Chose It: “Dropps Laundry Pods offer convenience, but what I like the most is that they contain the enzymes protease and amylase necessary to effectively clean clothes,” says Leverette. “By offering two sizes of pods, there is no detergent overdosing of small laundry loads or when hand-washing a single garment. The water-soluble biofilm dissolves quickly in all water temperatures and has a bittering agent added to protect children and pets.”

Best For Cleaning Toilets

Animated illustration of cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

EC30 Toilet Cleaner

What to Know: We are big fans of toilets! Cleaning them, not so much. Which is where EC30 Toilet Cleaner comes to the rescue. Drop the dissolvable packet into the toilet, wait two hours, brush, flush, and voila. The cleaner’s main ingredients are citric acid and sodium bicarbonate — no parabens, phosphates, chlorine bleach, fillers, or stabilizers. 

Why We Chose It: Since liquid cleaning products are made of mostly water, it means that 800,000 million gallons of unnecessary water are shipped every year – and for that reason, we especially like concentrated and better yet, waterless products. These little packets come with minimal packaging (just a cardboard box) and 50% fewer CO2 emissions, but panelist Melissa Breyer also loved how they work. “These were so easy to use – the smell was really nice, and the toilet bowl was sparkling without the need of any elbow grease.” We also like that EC30 partners with the Arbor Day Foundation, investing in verified forest restoration to offset immediate carbon emissions.

CleanWell Botanical Disinfectant

What to Know: Bathrooms are one place in the house where we especially want a little extra disinfecting power. But all too often things that kill germs are made with ingredients that can be harmful to pets, people, and the planet. Enter CleanWell Botanical Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner – a bleach-free cleaner that kills 99.9% of household germs, kills mold and mildew, and eliminates odor-causing bacteria, all without harsh chemicals. The secret to its success is the active ingredient, thymol, which is a component of herbs like thyme that has been used for its medicinal and antiseptic properties for millennia. CleanWell’s thymol is extracted from plants, rather than synthesized in a lab.

Why We Chose It: Our panelists were impressed that such an effective disinfectant could still earn a grade of B on EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. They also loved the scent and celebrated the fact that the product is bleach and ammonia-free – and that they didn’t feel like they had to vacate the house after cleaning the bathroom.

Meliora Cleaning Products Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub

What to Know: We came for the plastic-free, dye-free, preservative-free, palm-oil-free, cruelty-free powder in a cute can – but we stayed for Meliora Cleaning Products' outstanding efficacy. Meliora Cleaning Products' home cleaning and laundry products are MADE SAFE certified and get an A from EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning – and every ingredient is listed on the front of the can. In the case of their Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub in Peppermint Tea Tree, those ingredients include sodium bicarbonate, vegetable soap, organic Mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, and organic Melaleuca alternafolia leaf (tea tree) oil. 

Why We Chose It: While this product can be used in several areas of the house, we really liked it for the bathroom since it is 100% biodegradable and septic-safe – important considerations when using something that will be rinsed down the drain or flushed down the toilet. And beyond the green cred, the scrub really impressed. “It smells so good and made everything absolutely sparkle,” says Breyer. “The Meliora Cleaning Product was like a gentle scouring powder, but with a subtle lather that made cleaning the bathroom sink and toilet, dare I say, a pleasure!”

Best For Surfaces and Floors

Animated illustration of cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Aunt Fannie's Glass & Window Vinegar Wash

What to Know: Earning an A from the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning, Aunt Fannie's Glass & Window Vinegar Wash is decidedly not your old-school blue stuff in a bottle. The company only uses plant-based ingredients and 100% essential oils – and leaves out the dyes, petroleum and sulfates, phthalates, parabens, and other assorted NO-NOs. Bonus points for being cruelty-free and pet-friendly.

Why We Chose It: We were intrigued by the claim that the window wash would “cut through tough smudges, oily stuff and pet slobber quickly.” And when it delivered on the promise, we were delighted! We got sparkly windows, mirrors, and even sink faucets. As with most vinegar-based cleaners, well, you can’t escape the vinegar smell – but our panelists said it didn’t linger long and they liked the fragrance, which comes courtesy of rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, orange peel oil, and lavandin oil.

Bissell PowerEdge 2-in-1 Steam Mop

What to Know: At first glance, the Bissell PowerEdge 2-in-1 Steam Mop seems like an unlikely little workhorse. This steam mop isn't very substantial looking. Yet, when it comes to cleaning floors, it does a downright extraordinary job with the oldest liquid cleaner on the planet: water. Just plug it in, wait about 30 seconds until the water is sufficiently hot, squeeze the trigger, and glide to glory.

Why We Chose It: The benefits of using just water are obvious. It's gentle and leaves no sticky film on floors. It's eminently biodegradable. You won't have to worry about it being licked by kids and pets – and, of course, it's a lot cheaper than chemical cleaners. “What’s not so obvious are the results you can achieve on even the grimiest hard floors,” says our panelist, Christian Cotroneo. “This mop lifts stains effortlessly. In fact, our kitchen floor – once so stained it actually darkened our socks – is now the kind of surface that you can recover fallen food from.”

EcoMe Stainless Steel Polish

What to Know: Anyone with stainless appliances knows they can be a magnet for fingerprints and smudges. Unfortunately, most of the stainless cleaners listed by EWG get a red alert rating – but not EcoMe Stainless Steel Polish, which is rated as a “low concern” product. Formulated from plant extracts and natural botanicals, it is free of dyes, colorants, harsh preservatives, sulfates, and petroleum distillates.

Why We Chose It: The scent and shine wowed us, and we love the plant-based ingredients, Leaping Bunny certification, and septic- and greywater-safe formula. Breyer said that it took some light buffing (as many stainless polishes do) but the result was impressive. “My refrigerator had a clean even shine, which seemed impervious to fingerprints for much longer than usual afterward. Plus, the lemongrass essential oil scent is heavenly.”

Best Furniture Products

Animated illustrations of cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds

What to Know: Much like the company’s pure Castile soap, Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is a shapeshifting workhorse with more uses than we can count. One of our favorite uses is cleaning outdoor furniture. In fact, Sal Suds is a better choice than Castile soap for outdoor cleaning, and here’s why: Sal Suds is not a soap, but a concentrated hard-surface all-purpose cleaner. Soap can react with minerals (like in hard water or outside in the environment) and leave a film, but Sal Suds will not. Both Castile and Sal Suds are gentle, all-natural, and remarkably versatile, but Sal Suds wins for outdoor grime. 

Why We Chose It: Spring cleaning isn’t just for indoors, so Breyer got to work with an array of cleaners on garden furniture to remove winter grime. The Sal Suds was the hands-down winner for its gentle formula (made with plant-based surfactants and natural fir needle and spruce essential oil)  and excellent cleaning power. “I already use Sal Suds for general household cleaning,” says Breyer, “but loved using it outdoors as well. Since it is non-toxic and rapidly biodegrades, I wasn’t worried about polluting my garden. Plus, it made everything shine!”

ECOS Orange Furniture Polish + Cleaner 

What to Know: If you are looking for a product for cleaning and conditioning wood furniture, ECOS Orange Furniture Polish + Cleaner is an excellent choice. ECOS uses plant-powered ingredients and is rated as “least concern” by EWG. It is formulated with olive oil and plant-derived wax, rather than silicone which can cause refinishing problems. (And speaking of refinishing problems, always check with the furniture maker about what type of products they recommend.) Also of note, in 2013 – long before it was trendy – ECOS went carbon neutral across their entire operation by switching to 100% renewable energy and drastically cutting their transportation emissions.

Why We Chose It: Having grown up with a well-known very lemony, very shiny furniture polish spray, Breyer appreciated ECOS’ subtle orange scent and its ability to clean and polish without creating a blinding sheen. “While I usually use a homemade polish, the ECOS was better than other commercial products I have tried,” says Breyer. “It cleaned the wood nicely and gave just enough shine, with no lingering stickiness.” 

Biokleen Bac-Out Fabric Refresher

What to Know: Rather than just covering up odors, Biokleen’s Bac-Out Fabric Refresher uses a mix of enzyme cultures and essential oils to digest and eliminate odors that are trapped in fabrics. Biokleen has been a pioneer in green cleaning ever since its founder started tinkering with all-natural formulations in his garage in the 1980s – all of their products are free of phosphates, chlorine, ammonia, petroleum solvents, alcohol, butyl, glycol ether, brighteners, artificial colors, and artificial fragrance. Plus, their products are always pet-friendly and never tested on animals. 

Why We Chose It: The spray can be used on everything from sofas and bedding to cars, pet areas, curtains, and more. We tried it on several pieces of upholstered furniture and were impressed by the way the spray conquered odors without leaving an overpowering fragrance in its wake. “Among other things, I tried it on an ancient upholstered chair that’s been taken over by our cats – it was, shall we say, a bit musty," says Breyer. "All that mustiness just disappeared, and the lemon and thyme essential oils left a much better scent in its place.”

Best for Air Freshening

Animated illustration of cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Mist

What to Know: Products for freshening the air may be the most ironic of all, given that many of them actually release volatile organic compounds into the air. We had a number of nominations – people love fresh-smelling air – but given EWG’s meager available options earning a B grade or better, we narrowed it down pretty quickly. That said, Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Mists, which get an A from EWG, was an easy pick. The company is part of Frontier Co-op and has been making essential oil products since 1982. Their line of aromatherapy mists is essential purity tested, paraben and petroleum-free, contain no synthetic colors or fragrances, and are not tested on animals. 

Why We Chose It: With so many questionable air freshener products on the market, we were happy to find Aura Cacia mists, which are formulated with high-quality botanicals. We tested the lavender mist, which is based on 100% pure lavender and lavandin essential oils mixed with water. Our panelists were especially impressed with its natural scent, rather than the overpowering fragrance of synthetic fresheners – and it really worked to freshen the air!

Arm & Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer Baking Soda 

What To Know: You can always open a box of baking soda in your fridge to get rid of stinky smells, but it won’t get great airflow, and you’re risking a spill. That’s why Arm & Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer Baking Soda put together this useful (and inexpensive!) box specially made to help your fridge and freezer. Two sides of the box peel off to reveal porous filter paper that allows air to flow through the box without the powder coming out. From there, you just write the date you opened it onto the side of the box and leave it in a central spot in your fridge or freezer for about a month. 

Why We Chose It: “Unless you scrub down your fridge weekly, smells are going to happen,” says Geraghty. “The small space of a fridge combined with the occasional spill, expired food, or just naturally pungent ingredients is a perfect storm, and even regular cleanings won’t keep things perfect. Thankfully, plain old baking soda is a wonderful deodorizer, and can help that smell from escaping your fridge every time you open the door – or from spoiling other food.”

Best Pet Products

Animated illustrations of pet products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Begley's Best Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover 

What to Know: Ah, pets. So essential, and yet so smelly! Thankfully, actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. is on it with his Begley's Best Natural Pet Stain and Odor Remover. Begley set out to develop a line of natural household products made of natural ingredients in non-toxic formulas, “equal to or more effective than their non-green alternatives.” Et voilà, this enzyme-based odor remover really does the job – all with the power of plants.

Why We Chose It: We were eager to test this bright citrus-smelling spray out on all the recommended surfaces, including tile, wood, carpets, and upholstery. Breyer says she has tried many products for removing pet stains and odor and never found one she loved – until now. “Begley's Best worked on stains and managed to remove the stubborn odor from the one spot on a rug that my cat keeps confusing with a litter box,” Breyer says. “And this may be anecdotal, but ever since I’ve been using the Begley’s, said cat has not made a mess on the rug again.”

Grove Co. European Dishcloths

What to Know: We like Grove Collaborative’s in-house brand of products, especially Grove Co. European Dishcloths (also known as Swedish dishcloths). If you do not know about the miracle of these cotton and cellulose squares, picture a perfect combination of sponge, dishcloth, and paper towel. One cloth can absorb 20 times its weight in liquid and does the work of 17 rolls of paper towels. Each one can go in the washing machine 50 times, and after that, can go in your backyard compost. We really love this product – in fact, we’ve waxed poetic about Swedish dishcloths previously on Treehugger.

Why We Chose It: If you have pets, giving up paper towels can be tough, but we have found that Swedish dishcloths help fill the gap. Part of their appeal is their versatility. For messy messes, they can go straight in the washing machine; for minor clean-ups, they can be rinsed in the sink or disinfected in the dishwasher. "There are plenty of manufacturers of Swedish dishcloths," says Cotroneo, “but I like that these can be ordered along with other products when shopping at Grove, rather than relying on the big retailers that may not have the best carbon footprint.” Other panelists note that they love the pattern and durability, and note that these dishcloths held up better than some of the other brands they’ve tried. 

Puracy Green Tea & Lime Cleaner

What to Know: Another product earning a top health rating from EWG, Puracy Green Tea & Lime Multi-Surface Cleaner is an impressively tough cleaner with a gentle ingredient list. It is formulated from plant-based ingredients and boasts no SLS, SLES, sulfates, phosphates, petroleum-based ingredients, animal by-products, dyes, chlorine, petrochemicals, ammonia, or caustics. Safety for greywater and septic systems is also an important selling point.

Why We Chose It: As the company notes, this cleaner is “effective enough to clean a bathroom, safe enough to clean a high chair, and pure enough to clean glass.” And for this reason, we loved it for cleaning pet areas, knowing that there won’t be fumes or residue that could make them sick. Our pet-owning panelists used it around the litter box, in the dog bed corner, and especially liked it for the floor underneath pet food dishes, noting that the scent is clean and gentle, but the solution is powerful enough to really cut through pet grime. As for the packaging, it comes in a concentrated form, with one bottle enough for more than 250 uses.

Best for Storage and Organization

Animated illustration of cleaning products

Illustration by Catherine Song

Five Two Organic Cotton Produce Bags

What to Know: While produce shopping bags might not be the first thing that comes to mind for a cleaning award, hear us out. Five Two Organic Cotton Reusable Produce Bags are good for more than bringing home the broccoli. In addition to replacing single-use shopping bags, they can also be used for storage and organization in your fridge or pantry. They’re also perfect for storing random jar lids and other odd collections. Best of all, when you aren’t using them, they roll up and hardly take up any room. These multipurpose bags are made from 100% organic cotton, and they come in two weaves and three sizes.

Why We Chose Them: We love these bags – and Breyer says that they look and feel great, which encouraged her to use them even more. “I tested them for storing in the refrigerator and found that they helped keep produce fresh for longer periods than without, like a portable crisper drawer. Meanwhile, they made it really easy to keep my fridge clean.” Breyer likes that the bags are made from organic cotton, unlike some other produce bags that are made from recycled plastic. (Recycling plastic is great, but we prefer non-petroleum materials for food storage.) 

EcoJarz Mason Jar Accessories

What to Know: Just when you thought you knew everything a mason jar can do, EcoJarz Mason Jar Accessories arrive to blow your mind. These awesome add-ons transform an ordinary mason jar into an array of useful household tools, including a cheese grater, a soap dispenser, a toothbrush holder, and a handy travel cup with a silicone plug. We particularly like the nifty ToGoJar connector, which links two standard mason jars together for easy transport (no more jars banging into each other). 

Why We Chose Them: At Treehugger we're big fans of transformer products that help us repurpose an item in clever ways. These accessories do that in an exceptional way. “They eliminate the need for additional items in your kitchen, which means less clutter, fewer dishes, and more convenience overall,” says Martinko. And the more glass we can use, the better. “Glass is green, infinitely recyclable, non-leaching and non-leaking, easily sanitized, microwaveable, and more,” she adds. “These accessories will make your jar collection even more precious.”

Stasher Bags

What to Know: Stasher Bags are resealable, easy-to-clean silicone bags perfect for anyone having a hard time breaking up with single-use zipper bags. Flexible and durable, they can easily store just about anything you need. In addition to food storage, these bags are also great for keeping bits and bobs organized, especially if you’re on the move. 

Why We Chose Them: Since they’re silicone, they’re waterproof and spill-proof, so they’re a great way to transport toiletries without worrying about spills seeping onto your clothes or gear. “These silicone bags are also pretty durable, so they can also hold craft supplies, hair ties and bobby pins, and first aid supplies,” says Geraghty. She adds, “During the pandemic, they’ve also been a useful way to carry around an extra mask – the stiffer sides keep the mask from getting wrinkled, crushed, or dirty in your bag, and you can put your dirty mask in the empty bag until you can wash it when you get home.”

Best Companies

Animated illustration of cleaning brands

Dr. Bronner’s

Best known for its large bottles of liquid Castile soap and unmistakable colored labels, Dr. Bronner's makes a range of skincare and cleaning products. If you look closely, the iconic labels are a tribute to company founder and third-generation soapmaker Emanuel Bronner's All-One! vision for uniting humanity beyond religious and ethnic divides. The company is a strong advocate for regenerative agriculture, which combats the climate crisis, restores soil and water health, and boosts biodiversity.

Dr. Bronner's has built its own ethical supply chains from the ground up. It constructed the first fair-trade-certified coconut oil factory in Sri Lanka, arranged for fair-trade certification of an olive oil producer in Palestine, and established supplies of sustainably sourced palm oil from a woman-run cooperative in Ghana, as well as organic mint oil from India. Never afraid of a challenge, the company was instrumental in the legalization of hemp in the US. 

The company has always prioritized the wellbeing of the workers that make the raw agricultural materials for its soaps. It understands that, without them, the company would fail to produce the high-quality, versatile soaps that have given it such a devoted following. (The versatility of their products is truly remarkable – you can use Castile soap for everything from housecleaning to laundry to shaving to washing the dog.)

Lauren Singer’s Package Free Shop 

If you're looking for zero-waste, plastic-free cleaning supplies, then Package Free is a one-stop-shop that has everything you need. Founded by zero-waste expert Lauren Singer, who has gained worldwide fame for fitting nine years' worth of trash into a single 16-ounce mason jar, this innovative store sells everything from wooden toilet brushes and fair-trade latex gloves to solid dish soap and natural laundry detergent. It offers a range of cleaning cloths, brushes, and scrub pads, and solid stick stain remover.

Package Free has strict standards, not only for the products it sells but also for their manufacturing and shipment. It runs a warehouse that is entirely zero waste and plastic-free, including the paper packing tape that it manufactures itself. The company will only "sell and send products in packaging if the packaging is 100% recyclable, compostable, or legally necessary."

Package Free has two physical locations in New York City (though closed since the pandemic) and an active online store. It has pop-ups in several Nordstrom locations across the U.S. and Canada until May 9, 2021. If you're looking to equip yourself with green cleaning supplies, there's a good chance you'll find what you're looking for at Package Free.

Seventh Generation

Started in 1988 and entering the mass retail market six years later, Seventh Generation was one of the first modern makers of natural cleaning products to go mainstream, creating an option for consumers concerned about toxic ingredients in conventional cleaning supplies.

Over the decades, Seventh Generation has proven to the public that eco-friendly cleaners can work just as hard as traditional cleaners. We have tried everything from dish soap and dishwasher pods to disinfectants from the brand, and they’ve yet to disappoint. 

The company is a Certified B Corporation, and many of their products have been Leaping Bunny certified. They have undertaken some impressive causes and initiatives, from marshaling support for toxics legislation in Congress to advocating for an industry-wide ban on phosphates in dishwasher detergents. They even kickstarted the industry’s first sustainable palm oil initiative all the way back in 2009. 

As the company states, “We’re on a mission to transform the world into a healthy, sustainable and equitable place for the next seven generations.”  We think this is a goal worthy of recognition.

Editors’ note: While all of these products earn our praise for eco-friendliness and efficacy, please be sure to test products in an inconspicuous spot before applying to the whole surface.

Reading List