Committing to a cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
If you’re open-minded, it’s actually a pretty simple process. You just have to identify what to eliminate from your home and know which products you can replace them with. This blog will help guide you through the process – so if you’re up for the challenge, read on!
Vegan and cruelty-free are not the same things. In fact, their differences are pretty stark. Sometimes, vegan products aren’t cruelty-free, and cruelty-free products aren’t vegan.
Here’s a summation: When you see a product labeled as “vegan,” that just means it doesn’t include animal ingredients – not that the product wasn’t tested on animals. Similarly, when you see a product labeled as “cruelty-free,” that just means its ingredients or finished product wasn’t tested on animals.
Once you’ve identified what can stay and what needs to go in your home, you can start shopping for ethical replacements.
Preparing to Go Vegan and Cruelty-Free at Home
Some products, materials, and derivatives are pretty obviously going to have to be tossed. Others include animal products and byproducts that you wouldn’t even notice if you were looking for them.
Say goodbye to:
- Cleaning products, like bleach and others
- Fabric softener and some soaps
- Glues used in woodwork and musical instruments
- Plastic bags
- Products with red dye derived from carmine (crushed bugs)
- Some paints
- Tires for cars and bikes
You probably already know why these products can be cruel, so we won’t go into detail – but know that even when some products appear to be byproducts of the meat industry (like sheepskin or suede), that’s not always the case. Even plant-based products, like carnauba wax and palm oil, are big contributors to animal cruelty across the globe.
What to Do With Products You Can’t Keep in Your Vegan, Cruelty-Free Home
There are a few different ways of thinking about this, so we’re not going to knock any option in particular. Just remember: It’s your choice, and the most important thing is that you’re comfortable with it. You could:
Use your item until it’s no longer usable. Use it till’ you can’t anymore, and then get rid of it and replace it with a new cruelty-free product.
Donate or sell your item. It might seem like a small thing, but you’re preventing another person from making a new purchase that directly impacts animals and their welfare.
Dispose of responsibly. You could get rid of the products without passing them on. Make sure to look for the most sustainable and safe disposal method.
Alternatives to Animal Products and Products Tested on Animals
You might not believe it, but many alternative products out there that are actually better than their animal-based counterparts, and you can use them to make a difference.
There are a lot of vegan and cruelty-free options here. Look for cleaning products that feature a cruelty-free logo. Some of these products include:
- Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Household Cleaner
- Biokleen Carpet and Rug Shampoo
- Biokleen Oxygen Bleach Plus
- Citra Solv Air Scense
- Citra Solv Natural Cleaner & Degreaser
- ECOS Furniture Polish + Cleaner
- ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Ecover Dishwasher Tablets
- Method Dish Soap
- Method Squirt + Mop Hard Floor Cleaner
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Fabric Softener
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Glass Cleaner
- Seventh Generation All-Purpose Natural Cleaner
- Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Household Furniture & Bedding
Cruelty-free, vegan furniture is made without harming or displacing animals and doesn’t include any animal products, like leather or down. When shopping for furniture, look for companies that advertise a strong cruelty-free policy. Some of these companies include:
- GreenCulture Furniture
- Terra Furnishings
- West Elm
Keep in mind that synthetic leather feels just like the real deal. You can also opt for faux fur and down alternatives made from plant-based and synthetic materials.
Anti-cruelty Bedding Companies
- Bamboo Village
If you’re shopping for a vegan mattress, be aware that some are made with latex, which contains casein, a protein found in mammal milk.
Remember to examine cruelty-free logos that companies put on their products very, very closely. In many cases, they’re misleading; in others, they’re completely false. Your best bet is to find a company with a logo from Choose Cruelty-Free or Leaping Bunny, which each vet and accredit businesses.
Tips for Buying Animal-Friendly Products
Now that you know better, you can do better! Make a difference with your dollar and remember these tips when purchasing your cruelty-free, vegan furniture or other household items.
- The only way to know if a company is cruelty-free is to check its certification with Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty-Free.
- Remember that animal testing is never, ever required for household products or cosmetics.In reality, most chemicals and products have been tested on animals in the past, making it very unnecessary to do so again.
- Ask questions and read the fine print. If you’re curious about a product, contact the company! The more you know, the better choices you can make.
Where to Find Cruelty-Free Products and Brands
As mentioned above, your best bet is to check out cruelty-free brands and products on Leaping Bunny, Cruelty-Free Kitty, and Logical Harmony. Leaping Bunny even has a cruelty-free app you can download on Apple or Android phones.