Toxin-Free vs. Non-toxic: Which is better?

Sep 12, 2023

Understanding the Labels: Toxin-free vs. Non-toxic

As more and more people become concerned about the health implications of the cleaning products they are using, many are turning to products labeling as a way to understand and make sense of things.

Two terms that frequently appear on product labeling are toxin-free and non-toxic. But what do these labels mean, and is there a difference between them?

toxin-free non-toxic labels

Toxin-free Products

The term toxin-free is unregulated (hint: so is non-toxic... but we'll get to that in a moment). However, the ToxicFree Foundation, a private non-profit organization that works to educate the public on the many toxic ingredients found in common household products, provides an excellent definition for toxin-free:

'A product that has been created without the use of any potentially toxic, carcinogenic, or poisonous ingredients that could be questionable in safety.’ 

This definition is widely accepted by many as the standard for defining what toxin-free means and here at NaturePure Cleaning Co., it's the definition we use and recognize.

Non-toxic Products

A product labeled non-toxic, on the other hand, usually means that it is not expected to cause health problems or environmental damage under normal use. However, it does not mean that the product is completely free of toxins. As an unregulated term, non-toxic can have many different meanings and interpretations.

Many products labeled as non-toxic still contain concerning levels of harmful substances and while generally safer than those that are not labeled as non-toxic, is is important to be aware that they are not completely risk-free. 

Why Toxin-free is Better

While both toxin-free and non-toxic are unregulated terms, toxin-free stands out as the better definition to us for three reasons:

1. The term toxin-free has an excellent working definition (see above) while the meaning of non-toxic is much more vague and simply means:" not poisonous or toxic." 

2. As previously mentioned, a product can be labeled as "non-toxic" and still contain known toxins (albeit at "non-poisonous or non-toxic" levels). In Canada, a substance is declared toxic based on a number of arbitrary and vague definitions that may or may not render a substance as toxic. It is a convoluted subject that doesn't do much to explain anything or put anyone's mind at ease. 

3. Ultimately, despite being an unregulated term, we feel that the term toxin-free is more transparent and in line with our values of using cleaning products that are safe and free from known toxins. We don't want to use products that are just "not toxic" or "not poisonous"... because that's simply not good enough. 

non-toxic label

The Benefits of Using Toxin-free Products

Regular exposure to certain toxins found in everyday cleaning products can lead to health issues over time. When a product is labeled as toxin-free, it generally means that it does not contain any toxic substances that are known or even suspected to cause harm.

Toxin-free products are often made from natural ingredients and designed to be safe for both people and the planet, which means they are also better for the environment. Many toxins are not biodegradable and can accumulate in the environment, causing harm to wildlife and ecosystems.

By choosing toxin-free products in our cleaning services, we are reducing the risk of potential health problems and toxin exposure for both ourselves and the planet.

toxin-free is better


While neither term is without it's flaws, when comparing toxin-free and non-toxic cleaning products, it's clear to us that toxin-free is the better choice. By choosing toxin-free, we are choosing products that are free from ALL harmful substances, not just those that are not expected to cause harm under normal use.

While both toxin-free and non-toxic products are steps in the right direction, toxin-free products offer more assurance of safety. This means better health for you and less harm to the environment.