Are Method Ingredients Safe And Eco-Friendly? What You Need To Know

The article dives deep into the brand's formulations, revealing that despite its claims of being non-toxic and free from parabens and phthalates, there are concerns over some components' potential health issues.

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Are Method Ingredients Safe And Eco-Friendly? What You Need To Know

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Key takeaways

  • Method is a popular brand owned by SC Johnson that offers personal care and cleaning products that come in vibrant packaging.
  • Method products don't contain toxic ingredients like parabens and phthalates. However, some of the other ingredients in its formulations have been criticized for their potential health and environmental impact.
  • In 2020, Method faced a class action lawsuit for misleading labeling. The brand eventually settled the lawsuit out of court. 


Method is one of the most popular cleaning brands on the market. The brand markets its products as safe and eco-friendly, making them appeal to eco-conscious consumers looking to live sustainable lifestyles. But are method products actually green? Or is the brand greenwashing?

In this article, we’ll unmask Method to determine its commitment to eco-friendly practices and the safety of its ingredients. Whether you’re a long-term user of Method products or a conscientious consumer looking to purchase sustainable cleaning products, read on to learn all the essentials you need to know about Method.

An Overview of the Method Brand

Method is a popular brand that offers personal care and cleaning products. Established in 2001 by two former roommates — Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan — Method rapidly grew to become a leading cleaning products brand, and it was eventually acquired by SC Johnson in 2017.

Since then, Method has continued to grow, and it's especially popular among consumers looking for safe and eco-friendly cleaning products that are affordable.

Method offers a variety of cleaning and personal care products that come in vibrant packaging, such as:

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Antibacterial toilet cleaner
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Shower spray
  • Glass + surface cleaner
  • Granite polish
  • Wood floor cleaner
  • Hand wash
  • Body wash
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Fragrance booster
  • Stain remover
  • Dish soap

These products are sold at various online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores.

Are Method Ingredients Safe?

Method excludes harmful substances such as parabens, phthalates, and triclosan from its formulations. This is commendable, as these substances are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can harm the endocrine system and cause adverse health effects like significant lung damage and physical deterioration (Sarink D., et al., 2021). 

However, while it's laudable that Method excludes these harmful substances from its products, the brand has faced backlash in recent years for not explicitly stating the potential health risks of other ingredients contained in its products.

That said, here's a breakdown of some of the other key ingredients contained in Method products and their potential safety concerns:


Fragrance, also known as parfum or perfume, is a ubiquitous ingredient in many cosmetics and cleaning products, including Method products. It is a combination of synthetic or natural substances added to consumer products like shampoo, body wash, and hand wash to give them a pleasant smell.

While fragrance may come across as an innocuous ingredient, it's estimated that about 3,060 chemicals are used in fragrance compounds (Safe Cosmetics, 2022). Some of these fragrance ingredients have been linked to respiratory issues, cancer, and other severe health problems.

Unfortunately, despite its health concerns, many cosmetic and cleaning brands don't disclose their specific fragrance ingredients. This makes it virtually impossible for consumers to determine whether they're buying safe cleaning products.

Like many brands, Method also doesn't provide the specifics of its fragrance ingredients. The brand only states that its fragrances contain at least 50% of plant-based ingredients, with the remainder coming from synthetic sources (Method UK, 2021). It doesn't state the synthetic substances used in its fragrance formula, which is less than ideal.

Ethoxylated Ingredients

Ethoxylation involves reacting ethyl oxide with other ingredients to make them less harsh on the skin. While ethoxylated ingredients are generally safe, the process of ethoxylation can sometimes leave behind trace amounts of two harmful substances: Ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. 

Ethylene oxide is an irritant that's been found to cause respiratory issues, infertility, and various cancers (ATSDR, n.d.; Hruska et al., 2000; National Cancer Institute, 2022). Similarly, 1,4-dioxane has been found to potentially cause cancer (Zhou, 2019). Unfortunately, these two ingredients aren't found on Method's ingredient labels, and there's no way to ascertain if they're present without testing.


Methylisothiazolinone (MI) is a preservative that's used in some Method cleaning products, including dish soap, laundry detergent, and hand wash. While MI extends the shelf life of cleaning products and inhibits the growth of mold, bacteria, and other pathogens, it's also a known irritant and allergen (Schlichte, M. et al., 2014). Studies also suggest it may be a neurotoxic that can cause brain damage (Du, S., et al., 2002).

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as quats or QACs, are a group of chemicals commonly found in cleaning products. Quats are effective at killing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, but they have also been found to cause various health problems, including asthma, skin conditions, and antimicrobial resistance (Mohapatra, S. et al., 2023).

Method products contain a variety of quats, including alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and benzalkonium chloride (BAC). The EWG rates these and other QACs as highly hazardous to health (EWG, n.d.).

Other Ingredients of Concern

Besides the ingredients already mentioned, some other potentially harmful ingredients in Method products include:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): SLS is a surfactant used in various cleaning and personal care products, including Method hand wash. While SLS helps strip away dirt, it can irritate skin if it isn't formulated properly (Bondi et al., 2015).
  • Colorant: Method products are known for their vivid colors, and several of their products contain colorants, such as FD&C dyes. While colorants may come across as benign, studies have linked them to neurobehavioral issues in children and other neurologic problems (OEHHA, 2020).

Are Method Ingredients Eco-Friendly?

Method prides itself as a green brand committed to sustainability. However, the brand has received criticism for some of its potential environmental impacts. So, does Method deserve the criticism? Let's explore some of the environmental concerns associated with the brand.


While Method states that it primarily uses plant-based ingredients in its products, the brand also uses various synthetic and semi-synthetic ingredients. Unfortunately, some of these ingredients aren't eco-friendly. Some ingredients present in Method products that have been found to be harmful to the environment include:

  • Quaternary ammonium compounds: Quaternary ammonium compounds or quats are harmful to aquatic life, and they take long to decompose in certain conditions (Mohapatra et al., 2023). As a result, the European Chemicals Agency lists quats as highly toxic to marine life (ECHA, n.d.).
  • Surfactants: Surfactants help cleaning agents remove dirt from surfaces. Unfortunately, like quats, they can also be detrimental to marine life (Arora et al., 2022). Method products contain various surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
  • Preservatives: Manufacturers add preservatives to cleaning products to stabilize them and prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. However, some preservatives aren't eco-friendly. Method products contain various preservatives, including MI, that's harmful to marine life.
  • Fragrances: Fragrances are common in various cleaning and personal care products, including Method products. While fragrances may seem harmless because manufacturers add them primarily to enhance scent, they can cause air pollution (NOAA, 2018).  


Method states that it uses 100% recycled plastic to package its products (Method UK, 2021). By using recycled plastic, Method reduces its reliance on plastic, contributing to a circular economy. While this is a commendable initiative, some sustainable brands offer innovative solutions that produce even less waste, such as using compostable packaging.

About the Method Lawsuit

In 2020, SC Johnson was hit with a class action lawsuit for alleged greenwashing (Honaker, 2021). The company was sued for labeling Method products as ''plant-based'', ''non-toxic'', and ''natural'' yet they contained various synthetic and semi-synthetic ingredients, such as methylisothiazolinone, limonene, propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, and tocopheryl acetate.

After a lengthy legal battle, SC Johnson settled the class action lawsuit, agreeing to pay $2.25 million to consumers for their misleading labeling (Actions, 2022).

Tips for Choosing Safe and Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Choosing safe and eco-friendly cleaning products is integral to living a sustainable lifestyle. That said, here are some practical tips for selecting sustainable cleaning products:

Read Product Labels

Ensure you thoroughly examine the labels of cleaning products to determine their ingredients. Avoid products with harmful substances such as phthalates, parabens, chlorine, and heavy metals.

Choose Products With Naturally Derived Ingredients

Select products made with plant-based ingredients rather than synthetic or semi-synthetic ingredients, as they are generally safer for humans and the environment.

Look for Products With Certifications

Seek products with recognized third-party certifications like the Cradle to Cradle, EcoLogo, or EWG Verified certifications. These certifications indicate that the product has been independently tested and meets certain environmental and safety standards.

Choose Products With Eco-Friendly Packaging

Look for products with minimalist and environmentally friendly packaging, such as compostable or recycled plastic packaging.

Choose Concentrated Cleaning Products

Concentrated household cleaners often require less packaging and reduce the carbon emissions associated with transportation. They also allow consumers to dilute them, extending their use and reducing the need for frequent purchases.

Look for Refill Programs

Some brands offer refill programs that allow consumers to replenish their cleaning product containers instead of disposing them. Brands offering these programs reduce the need for new packaging, contributing to a circular economy.

Choose Sustainable Brands

Look for brands committed to sustainability. Generally, a sustainable brand transparently communicates its values, sourcing practices, and manufacturing process. Some popular eco-friendly brands include:

  • Blueland: Blueland is a cradle-certified, Certified B Corporation that provides various naturally derived cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent, hand soap, and dish soap. With a commitment to minimizing waste, Blueland has various sustainability-focused initiatives, such as providing plastic-free packaging and refillable bottles.
  • Clean Living: Clean Living is a British brand that provides a variety of eco-friendly and refillable cleaning solutions, such as glass and bathroom cleaners.
  • Clothes Doctor: Clothes Doctor is a sustainable brand that offers a wide range of naturally derived, plastic-free cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent, fabric softeners, and clothing care sprays. 
  • Seventh Generation: Seventh Generation is a brand that's committed to sustainable practices. From sustainable packaging to full ingredient disclosure, the brand prioritizes several sustainability-focused initiatives.
  • Meliora: Meliora is a Certified B Corp and Made Safe® certified brand that makes various plastic and certified cruelty-free cleaning and personal care products such as laundry detergent, hand soap, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, and bleach.



Is Method a clean product?

Method products are marketed as clean and environmentally friendly. However, while Method positions itself as a clean and eco-friendly brand, it has come under scrutiny for misleading consumers. For instance, Method received heavy backlash for labeling its products as ''non-toxic,'' yet the brand contains some potentially harmful synthetic ingredients.

Is Method actually non toxic?

Method products aren't entirely non toxic. While the brand excludes harmful substances like parabens, phthalates, triclosan, and heavy metals from its formulations, its products still contain some potentially toxic ingredients like SLS, SLES, and phenoxyethanol that can irritate sensitive skin and eyes.

What are the ingredients in Method disinfectant?

The ingredients in Method disinfectant vary depending on the product. Generally, some of the common ingredients contained in Method disinfectants include water, citric acid, sodium lauryl sulfate, lauramine oxide, decyl glucoside, and ethanol.

However, for accurate and detailed information, refer to the product label or the brand's official website, where the complete list of ingredients for each specific disinfectant product is provided.

Are Method products any good?

Whether or not Method products are any good depends on individual preferences, values, and needs. While some consumers love Method products for their predominantly plant-based formulations, aesthetically pleasing packaging, and aromatic fragrances, others are concerned about the potential health and environmental impact of some ingredients in Method products.

If you're an eco-conscious consumer concerned about Method's sustainability, you might want to explore other sustainable brands like Blueland, Clean Living, and Seventh Generation.

Are Method products safe to use?

Method states that its products are safe to use, but there are some concerns about the safety of the ingredients in Method products. Some Method products contain potentially harmful ingredients like quaternary ammonium compounds, toxic preservatives, and harmful surfactants. These ingredients can cause skin irritation, allergies, and other health issues. 

What is the lawsuit against Method laundry detergent?

In 2020, Method faced a class action lawsuit for alleged greenwashing. The lawsuit alleged that Method labeled its products as ''non toxic'' yet they contained synthetic ingredients. While Method initially denied the allegations, the brand eventually settled the lawsuit for $2.25 million.

Does Method have harmful ingredients?

Method states that its products don't contain harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and triclosan. However, some Method products contain potentially harmful ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), methylisothiazolinone (MI) and phenoxyethanol. 


Method is a popular brand that positions itself as offering safe and eco-friendly cleaning supplies and personal care products. While the brand may come across as sustainable, it has faced heavy backlash from some quarters for its less-than-sustainable practices. 

If you are an eco-conscious consumer looking to purchase sustainable products, consider opting for other sustainable cleaning brands that adhere to stringent environmental and safety standards.


method ingredients

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Alyciah Beavers

Committed to promoting sustainability and am pleased to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm with you.

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