facebook pixel

Beginner’s Guide to Switching to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products


Today on the blog I am super excited to introduce a Guest Blogger, Sarah UmmYusuf from Nature’s Nurture. I’ve always wanted to have more “cleaner” cleaning products in the house but always felt overwhelmed to start. I reached out to Sarah so she can share her tips to switching to non-toxic cleaning products without the overwhelm. 


Sarah UmmYusuf is a non-toxic living mentor and teacher who loves helping people take charge of their family’s health. She created Nature’s Nurture in 2011 to document her journey to a non-toxic home, and to give others the confidence and peace of mind they need to protect their families from harmful chemicals. When she’s not busy reading product labels or making her own cleaning products, you can find her chasing after her 3 kiddos and drinking lots and lots of coffee.


Without further ado, let’s dive in:



When you think of a healthy kitchen, I’ll bet you’re conjuring up images of organic foods lining your fridge shelves, whole grains in your pantry, and possibly even safer cookware and food storage in your cupboards.


But what if I told you there’s one place in your kitchen where some of the worst offenders live? That’s right, under your kitchen sink, where you keep your household cleaners, are dozens of harmful chemicals disguising themselves as safe and effective cleaners.

The truth? Most of your cleaning products have not been tested for long term safety, are not required to list their complete ingredients on their packaging, and many of them can have serious long term effects on your health, including:

  • Chronic respiratory problems

  • Eyes, nose, and throat irritation

  • Chronic headaches and migraines

  • Trigger asthma, eczema, and other allergies

  • Hormone disruption and reproductive health issues

  • Possibly carcinogenic (cancer-causing)


Look: I’m not trying to scare you – honest! But I do think it’s important to educate ourselves about the products we’re using in our homes, so we can make informed decisions when caring for our families.


And the good news? It’s actually surprisingly easy to make the switch to non-toxic cleaning products! All you need is a little guidance, and a good action plan. So let’s get started!


7 Steps for Switching to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

I know it can seem daunting and just plain overwhelming to think about switching out all your cleaning products – I know that’s how I felt when I first started on this journey nearly 10 years ago! So we’re going to take this slow, and work through this one small step at a time. No stress. No overwhelm.



1. Get your MIND right.

Like it or not, we’ve been conditioned our entire lives with images, slogans, and catchy jingles that are meant to make us think and act a certain way. It’s called social engineering.


But what does this have to do with cleaning products? Simple – if I asked you what colour is window cleaner, you’re going to say blue. What should floor cleaner smell like? Pine trees, duh! And what about disinfecting and whitening anything from toilets to dingy laundry? That’s easy; it’s that big white jug that makes you crack a window, turn on the fan, and cover your nose and mouth so you don’t inhale those overwhelming, noxious fumes…


Action Step : So the first thing you need to do is really simple. Forget everything you know about cleaning products, because chances are it most likely came from a TV commercial or a magazine ad for said products. Understand that there might be a little work involved, and that everything in life can’t always be “easy-off.”


2. Switch only ONE product at a time.

Make this a gradual thing, and don’t necessarily dump all your products at once – or you’ll wake up the next day needing to clean your bathroom and have no idea what to do. (Ask me how I know 😉 )


Action Step: Start with one product (the next tip tells you exactly which one to pick!), and go full force in finding a viable alternative that works for you, before moving on to the next one.


3. Start with your MOST used product.

The hardest part of starting…is starting! And sometimes we get paralyzed when we have to choose where to start. So make it easy for yourself and go with the most popular cleaning product you use.


Action Step: Whether it’s your floor cleaner, window cleaner, or all-purpose spray – figure out which one gets the most use, and go with that one! (Hint: It’s the one you always seem to be buying more of because it’s always running out.)


4. Decide if you’ll DIY or BUY

Once you know what you’ll be replacing, it’s time to think about whether you want to buy it or make (do) it yourself. There are of course pros and cons to both; most notably that truly safe cleaning products can be a bit pricey, and homemade cleaners can cost next to nothing. (Guess which one I recommend as a first choice. 😉 )


Action Step: Check out some recipes for household cleaners, and decide if there’s something you’d like to try (they’re much easier than you think!). If you’re totally not the DIY type, no worries; there are plenty of great, safe, and effective natural brands to try. My top picks:

  • Nature Clean (only in Canada!)

  • Better Life

  • Attitude

  • Seventh Generation

  • ECOS

  • Eco Me

You can find most of these locally at your health food store or online at Amazon.com.


Not sure about a specific brand or product? Feel free to email me, and I’ll do an analysis of the ingredients for you, and help you decide if it’s right for you.


5. Multi-PURPOSE is your friend.

Ok, assignment time! Take a look under your kitchen sink, and count how many different cleaning products you have under there. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here…


Alright, how many did you count? Three? Five? 10? What if you include the cleaners you have under your bathroom sink? Those bottles and containers are starting to add up, aren’t they?


Did you know that you can clean your whole house with just a handful of products and ingredients? It really is that simple!


Action Step: Look for all-purpose cleaners that you can reuse for different surfaces. For example, I use my Ultimate All-Purpose Cleaner recipe for nearly every surface in my home (except granite/marble). Yes, seriously!


6. Use ESSENTIAL oils

If you haven’t started dabbling in the world of essential oils, now is a great time to start! Essential oils are powerful, concentrated oils made from the flowers, leaves, and roots of herbs and other plants. Not only do they smell amazing, they also have many therapeutic health benefits!


You can use essential oils to make your homemade cleaning products smell better. But more importantly, many essential oils also have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, making them a no-brainer for cleaning products!


Action Step: Get yourself a starter set of a few basic oils to keep in your arsenal. My top picks for beginners are:

  • lavender

  • orange or lemon

  • tea tree oil (this one kills E.coli bacteria!)

  • peppermint or eucalyptus

You can pick them up at your local health foods store, or online at Amazon. My favorite brand right now is Plant Therapy, but I’ve also used oils from NOW, Saje, and Aura Cacia. Just make sure you’re buying 100% pure essential oils, and not something labeled as “fragrance oils” or “aromatherapy oils.”


NOTE: Use caution when using essential oils around children, pets, or pregnant/nursing women. My trusted source for essential oils safety info is this amazing blog created by a certified aromatherapist.


7. Don’t be afraid to CHANGE your mind.

Alright, so you’ve picked your product, you’ve tried making (or buying) a safer alternative, and guess what? You hate it. You’ve tried to make it work for you, but it’s just not happening. So what do you do?


Throw in the towel, toss everything in the trash, and run back to the grocery store for your old beloved, tried and true cleaners? Well, that’s a possibility, of course, but it’s not why we’re here, right?


Remember in Step 1 when I said there’s a little work involved? This is what I’m talking about. If your first attempts were a major fail (been there, done that…many, many times!), don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and make some changes. The important thing here is to be flexible and give yourself a little grace.

Action Step: If you made your cleaning product, try adjusting the recipe, playing around with the ratios, even leaving out or adding an ingredient. If you bought your cleaning product, try changing the way you’re using it, use a little more elbow grease, or see if you can boost the cleaning power with another product… (like baking soda!). And if you’ve exhausted all your options, don’t be afraid to switch from DIY to BUYing, or vice versa.

Now it’s your turn!


Are you ready to make the switch to non-toxic cleaning products? Leave a comment below, and let us know where you are on your journey!


It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just take it one small step at a time, and you’ll be on your way to a non-toxic home in no time.


Trust me. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂


Now it’s your turn!


Are you ready to make the switch to non-toxic cleaning products? Get started today with my free Non-Toxic Cleaning Toolkit, and I’ll show exactly what you need and where to get it.



It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just take it one small step at a time, and you’ll be on your way to a non-toxic home in no time.








Recent Posts

Postpartum Belly Binding

Postpartum Belly Binding

I recently gave birth to my third child two months ago, and I want to make sure I focus on my postpartum journey as much as I focus on baby's...


Submit a Comment