NEW YORK CITY — When it comes to finding safe cleaning products, the burden is often on consumers to sift through confusing and sometimes conflicting information.
While there's little official government oversight on what's safe to use in your home, some organizations have already done the hard work for you, like Think Dirty, which allows you to scan a barcode using its smartphone app to get a detailed report on what's in the bottle. That includes any ingredients that are known carcinogens (capable of causing cancer), potentially toxic to children or known to cause allergic reactions.
The Good Guide is both a user-friendly app and website where products are rated for their impact on people and the environment. It also ranks how socially conscious a brand is so you can use your cleaning products with peace of mind.
The Environmental Working Group — also a website and app — rates household products as well as common beauty routine items like makeup and sunscreen.
All three organizations don't test the products themselves, but their assessments are based on publicly available information, like ingredients, which are then reviewed by experts.
Here's six cleaning products you can use in your apartment that have good ratings from the EWG, Think Dirty or the Good Guide.
Attitude Laundry Detergent in Pink Grapefruit
The brand Attitude gets an A rating from the Environmental Working Group. On the product profile, the EWG lists out all the ingredients in this detergent, rating each separately. Consumers should know that one ingredient — sodium coco-sulfate — is a possible skin irritant, but Attitude gets bonus points for being green certified.
Babyganics Floor Cleaner Concentrate
About 42 percent of floor cleaners got an F rating from the EWG, and only 11 out of 172 products has an A rating. One of those is Babyganics Floor Cleaner Concentrate. This 16-ounce bottle can be ordered from Amazon.
The Good Guide gave this dishwasher rinse aid its highest rating for its impact on humans — a 10. Seventh Generation is unusual in that it discloses all of its ingredients which can be tough to find in cleaning products because there is no law forcing companies to disclose what is in them, according to the EWG. The company also rates well on its environmental and social impact.
Legacy of Clean Bathroom Cleaner
The Good Guide gave Legacy of Clean its best 10 rating for containing minimal toxins that could affect humans. The toxins that it does contain includes the coloring agent FD&C Yellow 5 that the Center for Science in the Public Interest is attempting to have banned in the US.
Seventh Generation Natural All Purpose Cleaner
Opposite to the Good Guide, Think Dirty's scale uses 10 for a more toxic product and zero for a less toxic one. This all-purpose cleaner got a one. Only one ingredient, methylisothiazolinone, is questionable as it can cause respiratory and skin issues.
The Honest Company Glass and Window Cleaner
Actor Jessica Alba co-founded the Honest Company in 2011 with a focus on non-toxic household products. It gets a three rating on Think Dirty and is one of the best-rated glass cleaners on the app. The one ingredient that brought it from a perfect zero to a three is alcohol denatured. The EWG labels is as "broadly toxic" potentially causing birth defects if consumed orally in great doses.