The Best Eczema Friendly Cleaning Products

By Marilee Nelson |

The Best Eczema Friendly Cleaning Products

Inflammation in the body presents itself in many different ways. On the outside, the skin - the body’s largest organ - provides us with much of the information we need to understand how our body reacts to pollutants, chemicals, toxins, and allergens. 

But when it comes to eczema, the issue isn’t only skin deep.

According to the National Eczema Association, atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is often the result of an overactive immune system reacting to a person’s environment. Eczema flare-ups usually indicate that the body is struggling to eliminate pollutants, pointing to a toxic backup in the kidneys and lymph system.

Individuals with eczema may experience flare-ups after using certain products. This is largely due to many soaps, detergents, and household cleaning products containing harsh, toxic ingredients and fragrances known to dry out the skin, later irritating eczema symptoms.

If you’re on the hunt for eczema friendly cleaning products, we’ve got you covered. In this article, you’ll find several safe and gentle options to clean every surface in your home, including your skin! 

1. Branch Basics or Other Natural All Purpose Cleaners 

Truly safe all purpose cleaners do not and should not contain harmful chemicals. If they do- toss the toxins!

To be safe, look for products containing gentle ingredients that work on most surfaces, and cut through dirt and grime. All purpose cleaners, like Branch Basics, are safe, gentle, and non-irritating for even the most sensitive skin, including those with eczema.

Branch Basics Concentrate's ingredients were chosen based on 30 years of experience working with people with eczema and other chronic conditions. The formula only includes eczema friendly ingredients - all rated “1 or 2” by EWG - including:

  • Purified Water: Reverse Osmosis purified
  • Decyl Glucoside: a mild, vegan, plant-derived, and sustainable surfactant safe for sensitive skin. In fact, it may even help maintain skin health and is commonly found in products for eczema.
  • Organic Chamomile Flower Extract: for those suffering from eczema, organic chamomile’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties soothe and relieve flare-ups. Organic chamomile is a nourishing, skin-soothing, nonallergenic, fragrance-free ingredient.
  • Coco-Glucoside: a natural surfactant derived from coconuts used as a foaming agent and cleaner. Coco-Glucoside is a gentle and safe cleansing agent used in place of the harsher cocamidopropyl betaine and sulfates, which is why we use it in Branch Basics Concentrate.
  • Sodium Citrate: a plant-derived ingredient found in many natural cleaning products. Sodium citrate acts as a water softener, cleaning agent, descaling agent, pH regulator, and preservative. This ingredient is rated a “1” by the Environmental Working Group, making it very safe for those with eczema.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (also known as baking soda): one of the most versatile natural cleaners, sodium bicarbonate is a mineral-based water softener and is extremely safe for use around those with eczema.
  • Sodium Phytate: a safe sodium salt found in plant tissues. Due to its antioxidant properties, sodium phytate is often used as a preservative.

Branch Basics Starter Kits (available in reusable plastic or glass) contain everything you need to clean every surface across your home with just one Concentrate. Create our All-Purpose, Bathroom, Streak-Free, Foaming Wash, and Laundry solutions. 

Our Starter Kit includes a bottle of Concentrate, Oxygen Booster, and pre-labeled, refillable bottles.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill With Water. Pick a bottle and fill it with water to the “water” line on the label.
  2. Add Concentrate. Fill with Concentrate to the “soap” line on the label. Top it off with water.
  3. Start Cleaning. Gently shake the bottle, and start cleaning!

For more easy and safe household cleaning swaps, check out The Most Toxic Cleaning Products To Avoid & Non-Toxic Swaps 

2. Baking Soda 

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a simple and natural salt known for its powerful non-toxic cleaning abilities around the home.

Shine pots and pans, whiten tile grout, and deodorize the garbage disposal - the possibilities are (almost) endless. This versatile and effective eczema friendly cleaner is so safe, that even the National Eczema Association recommends bathing in baking soda to relieve itching caused by atopic dermatitis.

To use, make a paste with baking soda and warm water or baking soda and a few squirts of Branch Basics Concentrate.

  • Clean and whiten bathroom tile. Apply to tile grout with a scrub brush. Rinse clean.
  • Use as an effective stain remover. Apply the paste directly to the stain. Agitate with a scrub brush and let sit for 30 minutes. Blot with a cloth and launder as usual.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in a baking soda wash.
  • Strip laundry (especially important for those living with eczema) in a chemical-free mixture of baking soda, hot water, and a few squirts of Branch Basics Concentrate.

For more ways to use baking soda around the home, check out Cleaning With Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate): 12 Surprising Uses.  

3. White Vinegar 

Eczema flare-ups may be triggered by the use of harsh, toxic cleaning products used in the home. Gentler options, such as white vinegar, are recommended by the National Eczema Society as replacements for products like all-purpose and glass cleaners.

Known for its natural disinfectant abilities, white vinegar is an incredibly versatile, eco-friendly, and chemical-free household cleaning option.

To make an eczema friendly all-purpose cleaner, combine the following ingredients into a large bowl or bucket:

Together, these natural ingredients effectively clean kitchen countertops, remove hard water stains and wipe away dirt and grime. 

Instead of spraying*, soak a cloth in the solution and use it to wipe down surfaces. Small items, such as 100% plastic toys, can be dipped into the solution to soak. Wipe dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

*Note: When cleaning with vinegar, caution should be used when using a spray bottle. Some individuals living with eczema are highly sensitive to vinegar’s acetic acid when it becomes airborne, irritating the respiratory system. Opt for soaking a cloth in the solution and wiping surfaces and items clean instead.

For more about vinegar and its uses, see 12 Ways To Use Vinegar In Your Home.

How to Vet Eczema Friendly Products for Your Home 

When you’re living with eczema, finding products with ingredients you can trust to be safe on and around your skin can be tricky. Unfortunately, many cleaning products claiming to be eczema friendly are made with toxic chemicals and synthetic fragrances, only further irritating your skin.

We want to encourage you to advocate for your skin and immune system by learning how to thoroughly vet the products you bring into your home. 

Here’s what you need to know about vetting eczema friendly products.

Avoid Synthetic Fragrances & Toxic Chemicals 

The ingredient “fragrance” listed on product labels can be a toxic cocktail of skin-irritating and immune-disrupting chemicals. So it’s no surprise that fragrance sensitivity affects those living with eczema.

Fragrances can be found in common household cleaners such as laundry detergents, fabric softeners, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, glass cleaners, and much more.

But synthetic fragrances aren’t the only ingredients that are particularly aggravating for eczema sufferers. Also, be on the lookout for:

  • Dyes: The most irritating dyes for the skin are D and C yellow #11, F, D, and C blue #1, and F, D, and C yellow #5. These synthetic chemical coloring agents are found in laundry detergents, cosmetics, hair and skincare products, clothing, and many common household cleaning products.
  • Solvents: Highly toxic and irritating to the skin, solvents are found in essential oils, and are present in many cleaning products like carpet cleaners, degreasers, dusting sprays, bathroom cleaners, and glass cleaners.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Found in common household cleaning products, exposure to VOCs (even short-term) can trigger eczema symptoms. Benzene, ethylene glycol, and formaldehyde, for example, cause skin to dry out, making it itchier.
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine: A foaming agent used in soaps and shampoos.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is very drying and highly toxic. Used as a surface disinfectant, alcohol can be found in sanitizing wipes and surface cleaners.
  • Kathon CG: An isothiazolinone-based preservative made by combining methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone. Kathon CG is in laundry detergents, liquid dish soap, all-purpose cleaners, and window sprays.

Fortunately, non-toxic, pure, plant-based, and fragrance-free products like Branch Basics are free from the above chemicals and are safe and gentle for the most sensitive of skin.

Related Read: Our Favorite Fragrance-Free Personal Care Products 

Be Your Own Product Advocate

We encourage you to be your own product advocate! Using EWG Skin Deep is an easy way to ensure products you choose are safe! Simply, go to EWG Skin Deep’s website and search for the ingredients. The ingredients are rated 1-10 with 1 being the safest to 10 being the most toxic. Choose products with all ingredients rated a 1 or 2 (with some exceptions*). Hint: To save time, start with the last ingredient on the list. Typically, you will find preservatives here and you may only have to look at one ingredient to find a 3 or above rating. Once you find an ingredient rated 3 or more, look no more and toss that product.  

*Exceptions: know that at this time, products such as toothpaste and makeup will be hard to find with all ingredients rated a 1-2.  Exceptions have to be made until better products are discovered or introduced into the market. For more information on how we vet these types of products, take a look at Our Favorite Non-Toxic Personal Care Products and Our Non-Toxic Makeup Recommendations.

Note: People trying to heal inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, hormone disruption, or chronic illness should also avoid products used on the skin with the following ingredients that can be inflammatory (citric acid, sodium coco sulfate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol, and any ingredient with a quaternary ammonium component like polyquarternium - 11) even though they are rated a 1 or 2 on EWG Skin Deep.  

Essential Oils 

Contrary to popular belief, essential oils, especially those processed with toxic solvents, can irritate and trigger allergic reactions when used directly on the skin, diffused in the air, and even diluted in bath water.

If you are healing in any way, including eczema, we suggest opting out of using essential oils, as they can exacerbate such conditions.

Watch for Greenwashing

“Greenwashing” refers to untruthful marketing statements made by companies who want their products to appear more environmentally friendly, safe, and natural than they are. 

Companies use false or misleading statements such as:

  • “Safe”
  • “Non-GMO” and “Organic”
  • “Natural” or “All natural”
  • “Eco-friendly”
  • “Green”
  • “Made with organic ingredients”
  • “Contains plant-based ingredients”
  • “Non-toxic”
  • “Sourced from nature” or “From nature”
  • “Sustainable”
  • “Biodegradable”

And the list goes on. 

Without legitimate third-party certifications, these “eco” buzzwords and phrases often mislead buyers into thinking they are purchasing a safe, non-toxic, sustainable, and environmentally beneficial product. But often, these claims couldn’t be any further from the truth.

To spot greenwashing, check labels for:

  • Misleading buzzwords and broad statements
  • False certifications and seals
  • Misleading images such as green leaves, trees, and flowers (just because the label is pretty doesn’t mean its contents are!)
  • Hidden trade-offs, meaning labels focus on one pro-environmental attribute while ignoring others.

Want to learn more about greenwashing? Check out Are They Greenwashing? How to Decipher a Brand's Sustainability Claims 

Look for Reputable Certifications 

Household cleaning products that claim to be “safe” and “natural” for example, should provide credible proof from reputable third-party certifications. By working with independent third-party firms, cleaning products are evaluated and proven safe and effective by scientists and industry professionals, backing any claims listed on the label.

While shopping, check product labels for the following reputable seals and marks. This will help to ensure you’re buying true eczema friendly cleaning products.

  • The MADE SAFE® seal screens products to ensure they are made without 6,500+ banned or restricted toxic substances known to harm human and environmental health. MADE SAFE certification is the most stringent standard.
  • At Branch Basics, our products are MADE SAFE certified and have undergone independent third-party testing, showing our Concentrate is not classified as a skin or eye irritant, making our products safe and gentle for those with sensitive skin.
  • Products carrying the EWG Verified® mark have been vetted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and meet the strict criteria for ingredient transparency and safety. The seal indicates that the products are free from harmful chemicals and toxins on EWG’s “unacceptable list”, and meet EWG’s standards for ingredient disclosure on the label. Products rated 0 to 3 are considered safe for those with eczema. 
  • The National Eczema Association’s NEA Seal of Acceptance™ certifies products free from ingredients known to trigger flare-ups. To be certified, products cannot contain fragrance, UV absorbers, or formaldehyde releasers. Additionally, they must be free of all ingredients listed on the Ecz-clusion List. All products undergo “rigorous testing and scientific review” to help you find eczema friendly personal care and household items. However, we recommend that you further vet the products recommended with our EWG Skin Deep evaluation of all ingredients.

Toss the Toxins 

Often, we don’t realize how much products with toxic and harmful chemicals impact our skin and immune systems until we remove them. Tossing the toxins can be life-changing, especially for those living with chronic illnesses such as eczema. Chemicals found in common cleaning products disrupt our lives, hijacking the healing process and keeping us from living our lives to the fullest.

Fortunately, we have safe and chemical-free options to protect ourselves and our families.

Interested in trying Branch Basics as a eczema friendly cleaning product?

Check out our Starter Kits (available in glass or reusable plastic), complete with everything you need to replace every cleaner, laundry product, hand soap, and more with just one Concentrate.

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.