The Complete Guide to Cruelty-Free Cleaning Products

The Complete Guide to Cruelty-Free Cleaning Products

Vegan, cruelty-free cleaning products are making the planet a greener place for all its tenants.

Vegan detergents, polishes, soaps, and degreasers are gradually gaining popularity as the go-to products for sprucing up the homestead.

A 2018 report by Compare the Market revealed that the number of UK vegans had risen by 700 percent since 2016, while six percent of the US is currently vegan.

A further report conducted by Sainsbury’s revealed that 91 percent of Brits are actively trying to reduce their meat consumption for the planet, the animals, and their health. Last year, it was revealed that more than half of British consumers have actively changed the way they shop, adopting “vegan buying behaviours.”

As ethical consumerism becomes more popular, this leaves a lot of kitchen worktops, sinks, floors and toilets in dire need cruelty-free cleansers to get them sparkling.

What are Vegan Cleaning Products?

Some cleaning products are still tested on animals

For your kitchen spray to be cruelty-free and vegan, it must not be tested on animals or contain any animal ingredients.

There has already been a significant rise in the number of vegan cosmetics and clothes lines in recent years. In fact, the number of vegan cosmetic launches has risen by a not too shabby175 percent since 2013. While it has been illegal to sell newly animal-tested products in the European Union since March 2013, there are certain loopholes that mean not all EU products are vegan.

A major breakthrough in ending animal testing has happened recently, as China has announced its plan to move away from its current animal testing methods. Testing cosmetics on animals has up until now, been mandatory for all beauty products sold in China, meaning that any global brand stocked in the Asian country is not cruelty-free.

In March 2019, the Gansu Province National Medical Products Association announced that it would end post-market cosmetic animal testing for all finished products. New non-animal tests will go into effect from January 2020.

Much like cosmetic animal testing, using animals to test the safety of household products is banned in Britain and has been since 2010. However, certain clauses within the agreement mean that animal testing still occurs in some cases. For example, the ban can be overridden if deemed necessary to satisfy other legislation such as the EU Chemicals Regulation (REACH).

Animal Ingredients

Beeswax can be used in cleaning products 

As well as being non-animal-tested, vegan products are also free-from animal ingredients. Common animal products to look out for in your household items are:

  • Lanolin. This is derived from sheep’s wool.
  • Caprylic Acid. This is sourced from cow’s milk.
  • Oleyl alcohol. This is derived from fish.
  • Beeswax. Made by bees.

For a cruelty-free guarantee, look for the leaping bunny logo on your cleaning products.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness as the old saying goes. As well as making your home a far more likely place to receive visitors, having a clean living space also promotes good health.

Our current understanding of germ theory, that germs or pathogens cause disease, is a fairly new concept. Prior to the work undertaken by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, most illnesses were believed to be caused by a “miasma,” a kind of toxic air. While the link between dirt and disease was not scientifically accepted until the end of the nineteenth century, the mental benefits of having clean and organized surroundings have been well-documented.  I’m pretty sure our Neanderthal ancestors felt better equipped for a day of foraging after waking up in a well-swept cave.

3 DIY Cleaning Products

Long before we had ready-made cleaning products, the pantry and the great outdoors were your cleaning cupboard. Astringents such as lemon and alkalines such as bicarbonate of soda were used to scour, scrub and shine our homes for generations before bleach was invented in 1913.

Making your own cleaning products from natural ingredients guarantees they will be vegan. Additional benefits are the reduced cost, lack of environmentally challenging chemicals and the significantly reduced carbon footprint of your household cleansers. Crafting your cleaners at home is also Zero Waste friendly due to the lack of packaging.

Below are our top three DIY cleaning product recipes.

1. Antibacterial Cleaner from Live Simply

Add white vinegar to this cleaning recipe to shine up your household surfaces

This cleaner by Live Simply is for use on most household surfaces. The high acetic acid content of the vinegar will kill harmful bacteria and the essential oil will add a pleasant fragrance. DO NOT use this cleaner on a stone surface, instead use a cleaner made with Castile soap.

  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • 1 cup of white distilled vinegar
  • 15 drops of the essential oil of your choice
  • Half a juiced lemon

Pour all the ingredients into a spray bottle and give a good shake.

Spray your bespoke cleaner onto your worktop, floor, or sink before wiping off with a damp cloth.

2. Tea Tree Oil Toilet Cleaner from Tips Bulletin

Clean your toilet with bicarbonate of soda

This recipe by Tips Bulletin uses bicarbonate of soda which is slightly abrasive and reacts with vinegar to release C02 which lifts dirt from surfaces.

  • Half a cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • Half a teaspoon of tea tree essential oil

Mix the vinegar and tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spritz liberally over the toilet bowl. Leave the solution for a couple of minutes before sprinkling the bicarbonate of soda onto the solution and scrubbing the bowl with a toilet brush.

3. Wooden Furniture/Floor Polish from The Green Cleaner

This floor polish recipe calls for lemon juice

The olive oil in this polish recipe by the Green Cleaner nourishes the wood while the citric acid in the lemon juice lifts dirt.

  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • Half a cup of lemon juice

Pour the two ingredients into a spray bottle and then rub into the wood with a dry cloth.

7 Vegan Cleaning Product Brands

If you have a less homemade approach to housework, the following brands are all fully vegan and will leave your place sparkling with a cruelty-free sheen.

1. Ecozone

Ecozone is focused on being environmentally friendly | image/Ecozone

This UK company is firmly focused upon being environmentally friendly and sells energy efficient light-bulbs and biodegradable baby wipes alongside its cleaning lines. All of its household products are bleach and phosphate free and the company recycles much of its packaging. Ecozone is sold at multiple UK retailers including Homebase, John Lewis, and Robert Dyas. Ecozone is also sold in the US, under the name Yonder.

Buy it here.

2. Astonish

Astonish is certified cruelty-free | image/Astonish

Founded in West Yorkshire over 40 years ago, Astonish is the only UK manufactured cleaning brand which bears the Vegan Society’s stamp of approval. The company keeps its carbon footprint to a minimum by developing, manufacturing and packaging all of its products on its single site near Bradford. As Astonish says on its website

“When it comes to doing things right that doesn’t just include our cleaning results. We’re proud to be pioneers of animal-friendly household cleaning products. We’ve never tested our products on animals or used animal ingredients. Simple.”

Astonish products are sold at UK retailers including Morrisons and Iceland and throughout the USA.

Buy it here.

3. Method

Method’s bottles are made from 100 percent recycled plastic | image/Method

Trailblazing brand Method was founded by Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan in San Francisco in 2000. All of Method’s core products are cradle to cradle certified and their bottles are made from 100 percent recycled plastic. The cherry on the vegan cake is that in 2006 Peta named the two founders People of the Year for their progressive and cruelty-free business model. Method is also stocked in the USA.

Buy it here.

4. Sun and Earth

Sun & Earth uses natural ingredients like lavender and lemon | image/Sun & Earth

Big on natural ingredients like lavender and lemon, this American company sells hand-soaps, laundry detergents and of course, cleaning products. All of Sun and Earth’s organic products are free from artificial dyes and phosphates and are fully kosher. The company even lists all of its products’ ingredients on its website for total transparency. As the company says on its mission statement:

“Sun & Earth’s products are created with living things in mind. We use essential oils and plant-derived cleaning agents that are effective at cleaning but harmless to people and pets. We design all of our products with your loved ones’ health in mind.”

Buy it here.

5. Ecos

All of Ecos’ production facilities are powered by renerable energy sources | image/Ecos

Ecos has been manufacturing its products according to Zero Waste guidelines since 1967. As well as making vegan cleaning products which are powered by plants, all of Ecos’ production facilities are powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources. Ecos’ range includes a Disney themed baby toiletries line and a line for removing spills and smells left by your pet. The company relies heavily on naturally occurring ingredients such as orange zest and tea tree oil.

Buy it here.

6. Good Home Store Company

All of Good Home Store Company’s products are paraben-free | image/Good Home Store Company

Founded in 1995, Good Home Store Company’s cleaning products look more like quality beauty treatments (which it also sells). This company is more expensive than its counterparts and its products are made on a smaller scale from ingredients like vinegar and castile soap. All of its products are paraben and sulfate free and the company uses mostly recycled materials like glass for its packaging. Alongside its environmental focus, the company is also philanthropically motivated and donates two percent of its gross annual sales to charities such as public schools and women’s shelters.   

Buy it here.

7. Attitude

Attitude stocks vegan household cleaning products | image/Attitude

This privately owned Canadian company was founded in 2005 by Jean-François Bernier (JF) and Benoît Lord. Alongside its Environmental Working Group verified personal care products, Attitude also stocks a line of vegan household cleaning products which are made from plant and mineral compounds. Attitude products are stocked throughout the US and Canada at Walgreens and Target.

Buy it here.