Method Cleaning Products: Are they really non-toxic?

method_really_non_toxic

UPDATE:
I am no longer recommending these products based on the plastic packaging and some new concerns with ingredients.

I remember seeing Method products when I was living in the States, I always thought that they were just fancy products and never realized that they were “cleaner” products. I am often asked for recommendations of clean non-toxic products that people can buy, as many people do not want to make their own – which is fair enough, life is busy enough already – so I started looking around.

I knew from some initial reading that there are a few ingredients Method uses that are not prefered, however in my new quest to try out products and review them.. I decided to give them a shot. I feel that they are a easily available worldwide and affordable brand for people – they are much much better than the general store soaps and cleaners for sure. I also like that they offer refills – which inherently cuts down on plastic.

at method, we don’t use dirty ingredients, so we have nothing to hide.
but you might be surprised to learn not everyone is so clean.

I read through most of the ingredients and some marketing stuffs like above on their website and ordered a few things on impulse. Below is what is in each product I ordered, as well as my opinion of it and if I would purchase the product again.

Method, Foaming Hand Wash, Pink Grapefruit

Method, Foaming Hand Wash, Pink Grapefruit Method, Foaming Hand Wash, Pink Grapefruit Refill

Things I like about this product:

  • Low Plastic Refills
  • The foaming pump
  • Long Lasting. Since it is concentrated for the pump, it is lasting forever in our kitchen.

Things I did NOT like about this product:

  • The Fragrance. Yes it smells great, the first few times. But it sticks to your hands for hours. As someone who does not use fragranced products too often – or low natural fragranced ones – I just felt the smell was overkill. I also really dislike that they are using synthetic fragrances. Maybe having it in the bathroom would be ok, but washing your hands and then making food just throws me off.
  • Colorant. This one has pink dye in it, and when a drop of it dries on a surface it leaves pink! Would not be terrible if it were a natural colorant, but it is synthetic.
  • The use of MIT in the product – which has been linked to nerve damage.. more one that below

Verdict: I will NOT be purchasing this again due to the fragrance and synthetic chemicals. However, I am happy to have a foaming pump and will use it with my Castile Soap!

what’s in it?

water
diluent
deionized for purity; extracted from abundant source

sodium lauryl sulfate
surfactant (cleaning agent)
low skin irritation in use and non toxic; readily biodegradable; derived from coconut oil

cocamidopropyl betaine
surfactant (cleaning agent)
low skin irritation in use and non toxic; readily biodegradable; derived from coconut oil

fragrance oil blend
fragrance
free of phthalates, NPEs and other dirty ingredients; non toxic in use, free of carcinogens and tested for skin irritation and allergies; blended composition is partly essential oils and partly synthetic ingredients

sodium citrate
complexing agent
non toxic, non-allergenic and not irritating to skin; degrades readily in the environment; fermented from renewable corn sugars

sodium chloride
salt
table salt – safe for people (unless too much is eaten on potato chips); widely available and safe in the environment

methylisothiazolinone + methylchloroisothiazolinone
preservative
safe for people (low skin + eye irritation); inherently biodegradable; made from synthetic materials

Aloe Vera Gel
moisturizer
safe for contact + moisturizing to skin; biodegrades readily; sourced from natural aloe plants

Vitamin E
skin conditioner
good for skin, non-toxic, widely available

glycerin
moisturizer
non toxic for people and no skin irritation; readily biodegradable; derived from plant sources

color
colorant
safe for people, free of heavy metals or other dirty ingredients; ultimately degradable and not accumulative in the environment; made from synthetic materials

Method, Laundry Detergent, 50 Loads, Free + Clear [buy]

31mqofqIBjL._SY300_ 300

Things I liked about this product:

  • Low Plastic Refills
  • As silly as it is, I love the compact bottle with the pump. Just a few squirts into the washer and I am done. I like that you control the amount of soap, unlike pre-made tablets. Extra grimy load – add and extra squirt!
  • The ingredients. This is made from many plants like coconut and corn and has just a few synthetic ingredients.
  • I love the lack of fragrance! I might be one of the few whom are like this (If you are, tell me so I don’t feel like the odd one out!) but I hate my clothes smelling like a spring fresh garden or mountain air when I put them one. Those strong fragrances stick to the clothes too long for my comfort! Also, since we air dry our clothes (like most people do in Norway), those fragrances waft through the house and linger.

Things I did NOT like about this product:

  • There are a few synthetic ingredients, but according to the EWG Cleaners Guide, they are issues for the envioment more that the body. Not that that is good either.

Verdict: I really like this laundry detergent. I find it cleans the clothes well – black, colors, whites, delicates – all of them. I will consider purchasing it again if I can find the Free+ Refill, as I do not want a fragranced refill. Found the Free+ Refill and will most likely repurchase it!

what’s in it?

coco/soy methyl ester + sulfonate / ethoxylate
surfactant (cleaning agent)
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; made from coconut + other natural oils

lauryl + oleoyl alcohol ethoxylates
surfactant (cleaning agent)
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; made from coconut oil

glycerin
solvent
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; made from vegetable sources

sodium alkane sulfonate
surfactant (cleaning agent)
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; made using synthetic materials

peg 300 monooctyl ether
surfactant (cleaning agent)
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; made from coconut + other natural oils

decyl glucoside
surfactant (cleaning agent)
very gentle on skin and not toxic to people; biodegrades readily; made from corn sugars and coconut oil

ethyl levulinate glycerol ketal
solvent
not toxic if ingested or to skin (not irritating); safe in environment; abundant mineral source

carboxymethylinulin
anti-redeposition agent
non-toxic and not irritating to skin; inherently biodegradable; derived from chicory plant extract

mipa-lactate
alkalinity builder
non toxic and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; made from synthetic materials and corn sugars

cellulase, protease, amylase, mannanase, lipase
cleaning enzymes
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; safely dispersed in environment; made using natural substrates

ethanol
solvent
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; fermented from corn sugars

purified water
diluent
purified by reverse osmosis; drawn from abundant source

fragrance oil blend (not used in free of dyes + perfumes)
fragrance
free of phthalates and other dirty ingredients, non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; made using partial natural essential oil content and partial synthetic ingredients

carboxylate polymer
builder / anti-redeposition
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; inherently biodegradable; made using synthetic materials

distyrylbiphenolsulfonate
optical brightener
non-toxic, not irritating to skin or a cause of allergies; will not accumulate in the environment; made from synthetic materials

propane diol
solvent
non toxic and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; made from corn sugars

Method, Dish Soap, Ginger Yuzu

Method, Dish Soap, Ginger Yuzu Method, Dish Soap, Ginger Yuzu refill

Things I liked about this product:

  • It cleaned very well
  • The smell was actually sublet and nice – mind you though I was only using it on dishes, not my hands.

Things I did NOT like about this product:

  • The ingredients were straight forward with this one – lots of plant based ingredients. However at the end was methylisothiazolinone / methylchoroisothiazolinone (MIT) that is used to keep bacteria growth out. It can irritate some peoples skin, but seemed to be ok with ours. However, it does have a environmental impact one the waters. Once I started to read more on MIT, I learned that there have been issues with it. With just 10 minutes of exposure to MIT it was found to be “highly toxic to cultured neurons” – aka nerve damage and “caused dermatitis”.
  • The colorant
  • Synthetic fragrances

Verdict: I will NOT be considering repurchase or recommending this product to anyone.

what’s in it?

purified water
solvent
non–toxic; safe in environment; widely available

sodium lauryl sulfate
surfactant (cleaning agent) l
ow skin irritation in use and non toxic; readily biodegradable; derived from coconut oil

decyl + lauryl glucoside
surfactant (cleaning agent)
very gentle on skin and non toxic to people; readily biodegradable; made from corn sugars and coconut oil

lauramine oxide
surfactant (cleaning agent)
non toxic in use and low skin irritation; readily biodegradable; derived from coconut oil

alcohol (ethanol)
solvent
non toxic in use and not irritating to skin; readily biodegradable; fermented from corn sugars

glycerin (vegetable)
solvent
non toxic for people and no skin irritation; readily biodegradable; derived from plant sources

citric acid
complexing agent
non toxic in use if ingested or in skin contact; readily biodegradable; produced from corn sugars

sodium chloride
salt
table salt – safe for people (unless too much is eaten on potato chips); widely available and safely dispersed in the environment

sodium citrate
complexing agent
non toxic, non-allergenic and not irritating to skin; degrades readily in the environment; fermented from renewable corn sugars

methylisothiazolinone / methylchoroisothiazolinone
preservative – prevent bacterial growth
safe for people (low skin + eye irritation); inherently biodegradable; made from synthetic materials

polymeric colorant
colorant (not present in ginger yuzu or white rosemary)
non-toxic, free of heavy metals, azo groups and carcinogens, not mutagenic, no or low skin irritation potential; low aquatic toxicity and slow biodegradation; made from synthetic materials

fragrance oil blend
fragrance
free of phthalates, NPEs and other dirty ingredients; non toxic in use, free of carcinogens and tested for skin irritation and allergies; blended composition is partly essential oils and partly synthetic ingredients

Method, Smarty Dish, Dishwasher Detergent Tabs, Pink Grapefruit [buy]

Method, Smarty Dish, Dishwasher Detergent Tabs, Pink Grapefruit

Things I liked about this product:

  • These clean very well. Even the nastiest dishes came out clean.
  • They do not come in a plastic coating like most tablets.
  • Simple Ingredients: Minerals, salts, corn, plants fibers.
  • Tetraacetylethylenediamine (TAED) – it is a bleaching type agent from synthetic sources. At first I was worried about this, but EWG has it at a B rating.

Things I did NOT like about this product:

  • Not to sound like a broken record, but: the fragrance. Certain things that went through the dishwasher held the smell. While the smell was not bad, it was just odd to have rub off on food. For example: My lunch box is a glass box with a silicone lid. The silicone lid would hold the smell and the smell would move off into moist items.. Grapefruit bacon anyone? ek.

Verdict. I liked this product and would recommend it. However, I hope that they would make a fragrance free version! I would repurchase it.

what’s in it?

Layered sodium disilicate
coating
not toxic in use; readily disperses in environment; abundant mineral source

Hydroxypropylmethycellulose
binder + coating
non toxic starch; degradable in the environment; derived from abundant plant fiber

2-methyloxirane; oxirane
surfactant
not toxic to skin or ingested; not persistent in the environment; made from synthetic sources

Sodium Citrate
chelator
not toxic to skin or ingested; readily biodegradable; made from natural corn sugars

imino disuccinate
chelator
not toxic to skin or ingested; readily biodegradable; made from natural corn sugars

Sodium Carbonate Peroxide
alkanity booster + oxidizer
baking soda analog + peroxide – not toxic ingested or in skin contact; disperses safely in the environment; abundant mineral source

organic acid salts
antispotting agent + accelerator
not toxic to skin or ingested; readily biodegradable; derived from natural sources

tetra-acetyl ethylene diamine
percarbonate accelerator
not toxic to skin or ingested; biodegradable in the environment; made from synthetic sources

Protease
cleaning enzyme
safe for people (non-toxic to skin or ingested); biodegrades readily; made from natural materials

Amylase
cleaning enzyme
safe for people (non-toxic to skin or ingested); biodegrades readily; made from natural materials

Sodium Polyaspartate
chelator + dispersant
not toxic to skin or ingested; readily biodegradable; derived from natural sources

fragrance oil blend
fragrance
free of phthalates and other dirty ingredients, not irritating to skin or toxic in use; partial natural essential oil content, partially synthetic ingredients


So have you used any of these products? Did you like them? As these are not on my top reccomendations list, I will still keep looking for more products that are cleaner and less toxic. Next time, I plan on not impulse buying cleaning supplies – Learn from my mistakes please! Read and research the labels on things!

7 Responses

  1. Juliana Sabina June 2, 2016 / 18:59

    I bought the Method grapefruit all surface cleaner and really loved it’s cleaning ability and smell. I was sold on having it in my kitchen on the regular until I read this… I checked the ingredients for the MIT that you wrote about but didn’t see any and there seemed to be VERY limited ingredients on the bottle. Looking online, it doesn’t seem that their actual ingredients are included anywhere. Here is what is on the bottle: Corn and coconut derived biodegradable surfactants (not sure what that is), Corn-based cleaning salt, soda ash, potassium hydrate, fragrance oil, color, purified water. Any thoughts?

    • Carmen April 23, 2017 / 09:12

      looks like they are hiding it.

  2. Glen Stoner July 21, 2016 / 00:25

    Methylisothiazolinone (boy that is hard to spell) the EPA states is highly acutely toxic when applied dermally or to the eye and is considered to be corrosive. It is approved for industrial use only. Nowhere is there approval for personal care products. It has a Category 1 toxicity level. It states if exposed users should wash hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or the toilet. So this is OK to wash my hands with before eating you say and is safe to use? Fragrance could contain up to 50 chemicals including formaldehyde.

  3. Ricky August 19, 2016 / 21:23

    Glen, you know pears contain formaldehyde too, right? Also apples, bananas, potatoes, poultry, milk, coffee….

    To the author, what difference does it make if something was made “synthetically”? All it takes to give an odor is for a chemical to be volatile. Some natural chemicals are only found in very low concentrations, so a synthetic route is required to get a hold of an actually useful amount of it; some flavors could be diluted by over 100x and still taste strong, so you barely use any appreciable amount of “synthetic” material for the desired result, and don’t have to harvest some poor plant for it to begin with. Would you prefer some flower is being harvested for a fragrance, or that it was made in a lab? Which is really better? Which uses more fuel to produce industrially? I don’t think these things are black and white.
    Also plenty of natural things were made to kill you. Venom and such.

    …But I digress, your article is not here to address all of these issues at once, so it shouldn’t have to.
    Opinions aside the splaying out and defining of all the ingredients was convenient and informative, and MIT does look bad.

  4. Kathy Hogan February 20, 2017 / 22:42

    Ricky,. what you said makes absolutely no sense. Fonda, you said, “The ingredients were straight forward with this one – lots of plant based ingredients. However at the end was methylisothiazolinone / methylchoroisothiazolinone (MIT) that is used to keep bacteria growth out. It can irritate some peoples skin, but seemed to be ok with ours. However, it does have a environmental impact one the waters. Once I started to read more on MIT, I learned that there have been issues with it. With just 10 minutes of exposure to MIT it was found to be “highly toxic to cultured neurons” – aka nerve damage and “caused dermatitis”.

    This SEEMS like a huge red flag to me as in WHY WOULD ANYONE USE THIS STUFF?

    But in the “What’s in it” list you said this: methylisothiazolinone / methylchoroisothiazolinone preservative – prevent bacterial growth safe for people (low skin + eye irritation); inherently biodegradable; made from synthetic materials.

    In the first paragraph you don’t like it and cite its hazards yet you’re saying its “safe for people.”

    This is contradictory. Please elaborate.

  5. Rich March 19, 2017 / 16:14

    The EPA testing for the MIT and all other ingredients is done on the ingredient as a 100% entity study. The amount used of the MIT is around the .5% (that’s point 5%) which will show no degree of toxicity. For example: table salt has a high toxicity rate but we eat it every day in low doses with no effects.

  6. Rita Edwards October 25, 2017 / 00:12

    I wish there was something to prevent companies from poisoning Us! How can we not hold someone accountable. Especially with proof!

What do you think?