Method all purpose cleaner on countertop next to basil plant
Method All Purpose Cleaner
Method all purpose cleaner on countertop next to basil plant

Method All Purpose Cleaner is a plant based cleaner which is reportedly non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Find out if this is true.

Product Brand: Method All Purpose Cleaner

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 4.49

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3

By The Cleaning Lady

Introduction

Method cleaning products have been around for almost 20 years, and were one of the first green cleaning products in the wave of environmentally safe household cleaners that came after. One of the most popular products in their line is Method’s All Purpose Cleaner, Amazon, $14.36 (package of 4). But does it actually work? And is it really a green product?

History of the company

Method was founded by childhood friends Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry in the 1980s in San Francisco. They wanted to create an environmentally safe home cleaning product that stood out in an attractive but green packaging. After some years of struggling, they finally got their big break in 2002 when Target decided to take a chance on them and put them in 800 of their stores. Now they are everywhere and have dozens of different products in their catalog.

Does Method All Purpose Cleaner Work?

I’ve used many of Methods cleaning products and I really do like them. The All Purpose Cleaner does it’s job well and is very effective. I’ve found it is especially effective on cleaning the toilet and have actually only used the regular and Antibacterial All Purpose Cleaner (Amazon, $17.56 package of 4) on all my clients commodes.

What I love about it for toilets is that it cleans fecal matter spots faster than any other cleaner I’ve come across. Anyone that has ever cleaned a toilet knows that poop is the hardest substance on the planet to get off of porcelain and, really, any surface. Method literally melts the fecal matter away.

It’s also very effective if your dog has an accident on the floor. It some of it has dried, spray the cleaner on the parts that are stuck to the floor, let sit for 5 minutes and wipe. It’s really amazing how good this stuff is at getting up fecal mater. I’m not sure why, maybe it is the plant derived ingredients, but it does work wonders.

Deep cleaning editable listing for etsy
Official Cleaning Lady Product

Is Method really a green product?

Well that’s really the $54 million dollar question, isn’t it? While the makers of Method say yes, they have settled several class action lawsuits that say differently (more on that below).

A product is only as “green” as it’s ingredients and Method fails in a lot of them. While a lot of their ingredients are plant based and indeed environmentally friendly and non toxic, there are some concerning ingredients present which raise some alarm bells as they have been known to be toxic to humans and animals. These include:

  • Dipropylene glycol–reportedly been show to cause temporary eye irritation when exposed to the eyes
  • Phenoxyethanol–reportedly been show to cause temporary eye irritation when exposed to the eyes.
  • Linalool–can reportedly cause serious eye damage in addition to irritating the skin and eyes. This ingredient can also have negative environmental effects by harming aquatic life.
  • Methylisothiazolinone–this ingredient was reportedly named the Allergen of the Year in 2013 and “has exhibited skin sensitization effects and may also cause systemic acute toxicity and local effects such as eczema and contact allergy reactions.”
  • Limonene–this ingredient reportedly also has negative effects including skin irritation characterized by burning, itching, aching, and a long lasting rash
  • Octylisothiazolinone–can allegedly cause toxic effects to marine and sediment dwelling life

In fact, when I put all the ingredients contained in Method’s All Purpose Cleaner in the EWG.com’s toxicity report, the product registered as a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most toxic.

EWG report on toxicity of Method Cleaning Products rated a 7 out of ten as bad
EWG report on Method All Purpose Cleaner

Method does use 100% recycled material in their bottles, so that’s a plus.

About the Method Lawsuits

In 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed against People Against Dirty PBC, the owners of Method, claiming that since Method contains harmful ingredients, it’s labels of “natural” and “non-toxic” violate consumer protection statutes in all 50 states, as well as the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

“Defendant misleadingly, inaccurately, and deceptively presents their Products to consumers,” according to the class action complaint. The company settled the claim and refunded participants their money.

Then again in 2020, they were sued in another class action suit claiming that the “non-toxic” label was false and goes against the FCT’s own guidelines for non-toxic products. The FTC says that, when making “non-toxic” claims, marketers must have reliable scientific evidence or “should clearly and prominently qualify their claims to avoid deception.”

That lawsuit was also settled and participants had their money returned. But it also forced SC Johnson, who had bought the company in 2017, to remove the “natural” and “non-toxic” labels from their packaging.

Method All purpose cleaner packaging 2016
2016
Method All Purpose Cleaner packaging 2023
2023

Alternatives to Method All Purpose Cleaner

It’s important to understand that even if a cleaning products says it is “all natural” or “non-toxic” it may have harmful ingredients in it. It is only when a lawsuit is filed or the government takes action that these companies are made to change their labeling. Even the popular Mrs. Myers cleaning products contain some of the very same ingredients that Method does. And they have actually received a “D” on the EWG’s harmful products meter.

So what does one do when navigating the confusing world of environmentally friendly cleaning products? First know that the smaller the list of ingredients the better. And most of the ingredients should be names you recognize. Then do your research. EWG has a great database on non-toxic cleaners you can search or you can input the list of ingredients in their toxicity report, as I did, and get a detailed report on all the ingredients and toxicity.

3 vacuum cleaners for best vacuum cleaners on amazon in the cleaning lady store

My picks for natural all purpose cleaners

Here’s a few of my favorite natural all purpose cleaners that pass safety and sustainability tests:

  • Bon Ami Powder Cleaner–Bon Ami has been around for a long time and has a short list of simple ingredients like baking soda and feldspar mineral powder. You can use it on most surfaces of your house and is even an effective stainless steel and brass cleaner. Bon Ami, Amazon, $8.38.
Bon Ami all purpose cleaner
Bon Ami all purpose cleaner
  • Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap– I love all of Dr. Bronner’s products! They are plant and essential oil based and you can clean your whole house with them as well as yourself. They are vegan and non-GMO. See here for tips on how to clean your whole house with Dr. Bronner’s. NOTE: I am referring to the line of Castille Soaps and not Sal Suds, which does contain sodium lauryl sulfate which may be an issue for people with allergies. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap, Amazon, $9.99
Bottle of Dr. Bronner's Hemp Lavender Liquid Soap
Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Lavender Liquid Soap

But the only way to truly know what is in your cleaning supplies is to make your own. I’ve created an extensive guide on how to make your own cleaning supplies here.

Conclusion

These days it’s more important than ever to know what we are putting in own homes and the environment and not all companies tell the truth about the nature of the ingredients they use. But if you are through in your research you can find the right cleaning product for you that will keep you, your family and the environment safe.