#1. Believing the word “natural” on a label. Unfortunately, the word “natural” (or “green” or “ecofriendly”) on a label or cleaning recipe is no guarantee a product is safe or even natural. If the ingredients aren’t clearly listed on the label, check out the brand’s website. If a cleaning product manufacturer still isn’t totally transparent about what’s in the bottle there, or if the names of the ingredients are unfamiliar to you, try looking up the product or the ingredients in the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning database. Better (and cheaper) yet: Make your own effective and safe cleaning products from nontoxic ingredients you know and trust.
#2. Coming on too strong. Failing to dilute vinegar, lemon juice, and other natural cleaners as directed increases the risk of damaging what you are trying to clean, plus, it’s a waste of money. For most cleaning jobs, you only need a very dilute solution to do the job, so follow label instructions, and if you are making your own products, stick with recipes from sources you trust.