A guide to buying cruelty-free household cleaning products.
Housework probably isn’t the topic that first springs to mind when someone mentions veganism.
However, the desire to live a cruelty-free lifestyle does mean vegans pay close attention to the cruelty-free status of the products they use every day. People who are “vegan for the animals” do not wish to use products that are testing on animals or produced by companies that test on animals. Environmental concerns are also a big factor for many leading a compassionate lifestyle. Remember the Cowspiracy documentary focuses mainly on the environmental impact of animal farming and meat production. Therefore, isn’t it natural that vegans wish to do as much to lessen their environmental impact as they can?
The good news is that many companies realise that the environment and cruelty-free living are big business in our consumerist world and like to press home how “green” their products are in marketing them. This also means they are easy to find on the High Street and the virtual High Street.
My own personal favourites, are Astonish.
Astonish are a British company that holds both the Leaping Bunny (certification from Cruelty Free International that products are not tested on animals) and Vegan Society logos. They also have a cruelty free on their website. But, best of all, they are really, really cheap!!! In fact, the best place to find Astonish products seems to be your local pound shop. They have a full range of kitchen and bathroom cleaning products, as well as laundry, carpet cleaning lines and even a glass cleaning spray.
I can recommend Astonish personally, and anecdotal testimony in Vegan groups on social media is very positive too.
Faith In Nature also has a line of household cleaning products at a very reasonable price. They too carry the Vegan Society stamp as well as the Leaping Bunny. This ethical company has been flying the environmental flag for 40 years and their products are available in many independent health food shops as well as from their website.
Ecoleaf also carry the Vegan Society symbol and produce inexpensive plant-based household cleaning products. Bio-D is another independent, family-owned company that is both environmentally sound and which carries the all-important Vegan Society symbol.
EcoZone also have a vegan ethos and the statement on their website underlines their principles. They even sell light bulbs – as well as household cleaning and laundry products.
Method is a company I know little about, but their products state that they’re vegan and they do appear on supermarket shelves, so it’s another one to look out for.
Ecover use the slogan “get nature on your side”, and, indeed, their products are very popular among those in the vegan community – washing up liquid, laundry liquid, toilet cleaner and household cleaning products are all available and widely sold in supermarkets and health food shops.
Ecover’s vegan status is controversial, however, the Vegan Society has removed their Vegan Affiliation status due to the fact Ecover conduct tests using daphnia (water fleas) – they do, however, sport the Leaping Bunny symbol and EU animal testing directive don’t consider daphnia as animals as they don’t have a central nervous system. Ecover say they oppose animal testing, so the debate continues. Interestingly, if you search for “vegan” on their website, the only product that comes up is their kitchen rolls!
Many supermarkets are getting in on the green market and some even state which products are “vegan friendly”. The CO-OP is brilliant in that respect.
Aldi, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose also frequently appear on cruelty-free lists.
The Naturewatch Foundation produces a handy (and affordable – it’s £5) Compassionate Shopping Guide that I find invaluable to checking whether or not a company tests on animals (www.naturewatch.org).
Finally, you can make your own. Most are based around using white vinegar as the key ingredient. White vinegar is seen as an all-purpose cleaning product and can be mixed with essential oils or lemon juice. Simply Google “vinegar as a cleaner” to reveal an array of helpful suggestions.