One of the most frequently asked questions by visitors to the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab is "Do green cleaning products really work?" Happily, we can now answer that yes they do, though this wasn't always the case. As consumers have become more concerned about the ingredients found in regular cleaning products and opt to make their own homemade cleaners or purchase those with plant-based formulas, manufacturers have been hard at work finding new, effective yet sustainable alternative ingredients — meaning the performance of eco-responsible cleaning products is absolutely improving. You can expect eco-friendly cleaning supplies and tools to tout benefits like biodegradable formulas, ingredients sourced from renewable plants instead of non-renewable petroleum, refillable containers, and packaging made from higher percentages of recycled plastic or no plastic at all.
When we test eco-friendly cleaning products in the GH Cleaning Lab, we evaluate them just as we do any othertraditional laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, or multi-purpose cleaner. For example, we test each product with the same 60 laundry stains or hand-wash the same 45 dirty dishes to make sure whatever we recommend cleans well, is easy to use and is labeled responsibly.
We also verify any environmental claims the brand makes. Keep in mind when you are shopping that the most responsible green cleaners clearly identify on the label what makes them green and exactly what environmental benefits they provide. Broad, unsubstantiated claims like "earth-friendly" or "all natural" are frowned upon by the FTC and by Good Housekeeping. If a manufacturer isn't specific about what makes its product a smart environmental choice, we consider its claims to be greenwashing and won't recommend it. Based on in-lab and consumer at-home testing, these are the best eco-friendly cleaning products we recommend you buy to clean your home in 2021: