Guide to the Best Eco-Friendly Wood Cleaners
There are not many eco-friendly wood cleaner products on the market, but there are some good ones. Wood cleaners are a very niche product. Most of the wood products on the market are wood polishes or general floor cleaners.
Wood polishes, floor cleaners, and wood cleaners are very different products. One way to think of it is that a floor cleaner is like shampoo, it washes the dirt out. Wood polish is like hair conditioner, when applied to a clean floor it provides a nice finish. A wood cleaner is like a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner, it cleans and provides a nice finish.
The main purpose of wood polish is to rejuvenate the wood and provide a nice luster to the wood. They are not very good at cleaning and many contain wax. If you do not clean the wood before you use them, you can be putting a layer of wax over dirt and stains on the wood. Wood polishes are oil-based products.
Floor cleaners are simply that. They are great at cleaning floors. Many say hardwood and other floor types or just floor cleaners. They are not specifically formulated only for hardwood floors and do not leave a great finish on the floor. Very few are oil-based since an oil-based product on laminate and tile does not leave a good finish.
Wood cleaners combine oil-based agents that provide luster and cleaning agents that get rid of dirt and grime. Many do not contain wax like wood polish. This allows them to do a good job of cleaning. They often are a combination of water-based and oil-based products. Conventional products often contain emulsifying agents that combine the two products into a uniform product. Many natural eco-friendly wood cleaners require frequent shaking since they contain fewer or no emulsifying agents.
One important thing with wood cleaners is that you follow the instructions. Some agents have special requirements for the first time that you use them. It is important to follow them to get the best results. It is also important to not use too much product. Using a microfiber cloth or mop with wood cleaners provides the best results.
Best Eco-Friendly Wood Cleaners Review
There are not many natural eco-friendly wood cleaners on the market. I have reviewed many of the products that advertise themselves as wood cleaners. You will see that not all of them are actually true wood cleaners. I have taken into account the Environmental Working Group’s rating, the packaging, and how good of a job they do as wood cleaners.
Truce Wood Cleaner
Truce Wood Cleaner is a great wood cleaning product. All of the ingredients are natural and plant-derived. They clearly list all of the ingredients: olive oil (Olea europaea), distilled white vinegar (acetic acid), guar gum (Cyamopis tetragonioba), and essential oils. Truce Wood Cleaner receives an A rating from the Environmental Working Group.
The packaging of Truce Wood Cleaner is novel. You get a 16-ounce plastic bottle with 4 ounces of liquid in it. You then add 12 ounces of water to get to the full volume. I think this is great. It saves 12 ounces on the shipping weight of the product. The plastic bottle is recyclable but is not made from bioplastic or recycled plastic.
Truce Wood Cleaner does require a little more care using than some conventional products. Since it does not contain any emulsifiers you need to shake it every couple of minutes to keep the product in a suspension and not to settle out. The first time you use it you should apply it with a cloth and then following uses you can apply it directly. This helps prevent an oily finish the first time you use it.
Truce Wood Cleaner does a good job cleaning using vinegar and olive oil to condition the wood. The essential oils do a good job of masking the vinegar smell. This is also a product that you could make at home (2 ounces vinegar, 2 ounces olive oil, 12 ounces water).
Real Simple Clean Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Real Simple Clean Hardwood Floor Cleaner is USDA certified biobased. They do a good job listing the ingredients, including the specific essential oils used. The two cleaning agents used are SDA38B (this is denatured alcohol) and decyl glucoside (a common plant-based cleaner). It uses a combination of eight plant-based oils to provide luster and a good scent. The Environmental Working Group did not review this product
Real Simple Clean Hardwood Floor Cleaner comes in a plastic bottle that is recyclable, but it not made from recycled plastic.
This is a great wood cleaner that does a good job cleaning and providing a great luster. When you use it you should give it a good shake before you start and you can spray it directly on the floor and then wipe/mop it up.
Martha Stewart All-Purpose Wood and Floor Cleaner
Martha Stewart All-Purpose Wood and Floor Cleaner is a great floor cleaner, but not a wood cleaner in my opinion. It is a plant-based biodegradable product. The ingredients are water, denatured alcohol, decyl glucoside, and phenoxyethanol. All of these ingredients are in Real Simple Clean Hardwood Floor Cleaner, but it lacks any oil to provide shine and luster. The Environmental Working Group gives it an A rating.
Martha Stewart All-Purpose Wood and Floor Cleaner is supplied in a plastic bottle that is recyclable, but it not made from recycled plastic.
This is a great floor cleaner, but a poor wood cleaner since it does not condition the wood or leave the floors shiny.
Method Daily Wood Cleaner Almond
Method Daily Wood Cleaner Almond is a plant-based wood cleaner that is biodegradable. They do a good job listing the ingredients, but some of them are synthetic. The Environmental Working Group gives it an F rating. The rating would probably be a C or D if they listed the specific “colorant” used.
Method Daily Wood Cleaner comes in a recyclable plastic bottle that is made from recycled plastic. The plant that manufactures Method products has a low carbon footprint.
Method Daily Wood Cleaner does a great job cleaning but does not provide a great shine or luster. Like Martha Stewart All-Purpose Wood and Floor Cleaner, it lacks oils to condition the wood a provide a nice luster.
ECOS Furniture Polish + Cleaner Orange
ECOS Furniture Polish + Cleaner Orange is a great wood polish, but not the best wood cleaner. The ingredients are clearly listed and most of them are plant-based: water, Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil (plant-derived oil), acrylic polymer, Limonene (orange) oil (plant-derived cleaner), phenoxyethanol (preservative), carnauba wax (plant-derived wax), sodium hydroxide (pH adjuster). The Environmental Working Group gives it an A rating.
It uses the combination of orange oil and being an alkaline product to clean. I do not think this cleaning combination is as good as the other products in this review. It does a great job providing a luster to wood. A problem that I see, is that it contains carnauba wax, a common product in wood polishes. This can lock in any dirt and stains that are not cleaned by the product.
It comes in a plastic bottle that is recyclable, but it not made from recycled plastic.
Even though ECOS Furniture Polish + Cleaner lists that it is a cleaner in the title it is really a wood polish. I would not use it as a wood cleaner.
Not all products that label themselves as wood cleaners truly are wood cleaners. It was easy to find the two best natural eco-friendly wood cleaners. Truce Wood Cleaner and Real Simple Clean Hardwood Floor Cleaner are both great products that really are wood cleaners.
Make sure to check out our other eco-friendly cleaning guides.