If you’re a mom in the 21st century, you’ve most likely come across Norwex at some point. Whether you have some of their products or you’ve just heard about their “amazing” antibacterial cleaning cloths from a friend or family member, you may be wondering if Norwex is legit.
Searching for Norwex reviews, you’ve probably come across a few sites from Norwex consultants, who may have a lot of background information on the company, but cannot give a truly honest review.
I am not a Norwex rep, and I have never had any kind of affiliation with the company. However, I have been to a Norwex “party,” and I’m familiar with their claims and sales techniques.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
What is Norwex?
Norwex (short for The Norwegian Experience) was founded in Norway in 1994 as a way to “clean without chemicals.” (The company wasn’t named Norwex until 1999 though.)
Now Norwex sells their cleaning products internationally through their website and “consultants.”
They have a mission of “improving quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes.”
That’s a mission I can totally get behind. But how accurate are their claims?
Norwex Reviews & Claims
On the surface, Norwex sounds amazing! But you should take everything with a grain of salt and do your own research before jumping on the bandwagon. Here are some of their claims:
Norwex is Eco-Friendly & Sustainable
I completely agree that Norwex is a fairly eco-friendly company. Seeing as how many people regularly use paper towels or other disposable products to clean their homes, I think Norwex does a great job of showing people how to reduce and reuse.
(I mean… the products are so expensive, you’re probably not going to throw them away. Ever. Right?)
Norwex Kills Germs & Bacteria with Just Water
If you’ve been to a Norwex party like I have, your Norwex consultant most likely rubbed raw chicken all over a surface of some sort (maybe it was a plate or a cutting board), and then used a Norwex Envirocloth and plain water to “clean” and “disinfect” the surface. He or she may have even licked the surface afterward to prove how “clean” it was.
However, Norwex’s microfiber cloths just aren’t that magical.
Microfiber is an amazing fabric to clean with though, and it does outperform basic cotton in most studies.
If you’re trying to disinfect your home, PLEASE use more than water and a microfiber cloth. (Force of Nature is a great non-toxic disinfectant that you can use alongside your microfiber cloths.)
Norwex Cloths Clean Themselves
Here is a video from Norwex explaining their “BacLock” technology:
Norwex Envirocloths have silver embedded into each fiber, and they claim that this is what makes them antibacterial and self-cleaning.
At the party I went to, the consultant told us that you can just hang your cloth to dry and it will be bacteria-free in 24 hours. In fact, she told us that she never puts her cloths in the washing machine.
You can check out some non-biased tests here to see how accurate this “self-cleaning” claim is.
The bottom line? While the silver may help get rid of some bacteria, it doesn’t 100% disinfect. You need to wash your Norwex cloths after each use, and, again, please clean raw chicken with soap and water
Norwex Products are 100% Chemical-Free and Non-Toxic
I don’t know if this is actually a claim that consultants make or if it’s just a widely-believed misconception.
Norwex sells a lot of products. Their best-sellers are their microfiber cloths, mits, and mops, which are virtually chemical-free and safe to use.
However, they also sell a lot of liquid cleaning products and other chemical cleaning solutions.
While Norwex products are often much safer than their big name counterparts that your used to, they’re not 100% non-toxic or chemical-free.
Chemicals in Norwex Products
Let’s take a look at Norwex’s Cleaning Paste, which I was told was completely non-toxic and safe for my chemical-free home. When I received the product and saw warnings all over the label saying to wear gloves and eye protection when using it, I wanted to dig deeper.
Here is the ingredients list. I’ve highlighted some bad ingredients in bold, and I’ll go into more detail about those ingredients below.
Calcium Carbonate (Marble Flour) (Abrasive); Water/Aqua (Binder); Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) (Surfactant); Sodium Chloride (Surfactant); Cocamide DEA (Emulsifier); Isotridecanol Ethoxylate (Surfactant); Sodium C14 -17 Alkyl Sec. Sulfate (Surfactant); Sulfonic Acid C13 – C17 Sec. Alkyl Sodium Salts (Surfactant); Alumina (Abrasive); Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster); Benzisothiazolinone (Preservative); Methylchloroisothiazolinone (Preservative); Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative); Rosant Fragrance (Phthalate Free) (Scent Component).
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is the third ingredient, which means it makes up a fairly large portion of the cleaning paste (ingredients are always listed in order of quantity).
SLES has a “C” rating from the EWG because it causes skin and eye irritation (which explains Norwex’s warning label) and it’s also been linked to cancer and reproductive issues.
Cocamide DEA is also fairly high up on the list, and it actually receives an “F” rating from the EWG.
Cocamide DEA is an emulsifier, which allows water and oil to blend. There are natural emulsifiers, but this is not one of them. (You can learn more about natural emulsifiers here.)
There is good evidence that cocamide DEA can cause cancer, and it’s on California’s Proposition 65 list.
Isotridecanol Ethoxylate is not in the EWG’s database, but according to the European Chemicals Agency, it is harmful to aquatic life, so it’s not as eco-friendly as I would hope.
Sulfonic Acid C13 – C17 Sec. Alkyl Sodium Salts can cause serious eye damage, skin irritation, and is harmful if swallowed.
Alumina gets a “D” from the EWG because it can cause asthma and severe respiratory irritation.
Sodium Hydroxide can cause severe skin burns, skin corrosion, and respiratory irriation.
Benzisothiazolinone gets a “C” rating from the EWG because it is linked to skin irritation and reproductive issues.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone can cause skin irritation, and it’s also linked to reproductive issues. It’s very toxic to aquatic life too. Remember, when you wash products down the drain, they eventually end up in our water systems and can affect marine life.
Methylisothiazolinone can cause some skin irritation, but it’s another ingredient that’s very harmful to aquatic life, so it’s best to stay away from it when possible (especially if you’re trying to be more eco-friendly and sustainable).
Rosant Fragrance might be harmful and it might be completely safe. Unfortunately, without knowing exactly what’s in the formula (the FDA doesn’t regulate fragrances and doesn’t require companies to list the ingredients used in them), it’s impossible to know if this ingredient is safe. Though the ingredient list says the fragrance is phthalate-free, you should always read the word “fragrance” as “undisclosed chemicals.”
Is Norwex an MLM?
Yes. Norwex is a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company.
That may not mean much to some of you, but it could be a major drawback to others because MLMs are so controversial. Personally, I do not support MLMs anymore.
Why I Don’t Support MLMs in Any Capacity
I have never been a part of an MLM organization, but I know many people who have fallen victim to their financial promises.
There was a time when I supported my friends and family who were MLM reps or consultants (which is why I have a container of Norwex Cleaning Paste), but I do not support them anymore.
I know that may sound harsh, but here are some reasons why I’ve taken that stance:
They Have Poor Pay Structure for Their Reps & Consultants
Unfortunately, with the way MLMs are structured, it’s nearly impossible for their consultants to make much (if any) money.
In fact, according to the FTC, 99% of people who are recruited into an MLM LOSE money in the long run. And sometimes it’s a lot of money — tens or hundreds of thousands.
Purchasing a product from a friend seems harmless, and you may feel like you’re supporting their business, but in reality, you’re supporting the MLM itself and allowing their owners and CEOs to reap (almost all of) the rewards, giving them a chance to prey on more new recruits.
They Try to Recruit their Customers to Sell
What other business begs their customers to become sales reps? So many sellers get wrapped up in the “business” and end up alienating their family and friends after begging them to “Join My Team!”
Their Prices are too High
The prices of MLM products are often inflated much more than their retail counterparts.
They Prey on Vulnerable People
And many of the recruits are in very vulnerable positions. They’re often single moms, stay-at-home moms, and unemployed people who just want (or need) to make extra money. The MLM structure promises that you can “be your own boss” and that you “get out what you put in.” However, this is simply not true for the vast majority of people. Instead of being the “business owner” that most MLMs promise, recruits are simply unpaid sales reps.
I don’t support MLMs anymore because I want my friends and family to build legitimate businesses or side hustles that really do provide them with additional income and a flexible schedule.
The FTC has a good resource about MLMs and pyramid schemes, and if you want to learn A LOT more about the problems with MLMs, check out this video from John Oliver:
How to Buy Norwex Products
As mentioned above, Norwex is an MLM company, so the best way to purchase their products is to find a consultant in your area. If you don’t know anyone who is a consultant, you can go to the Norwex website and get connected with someone.
Many Norwex products are also available on Amazon. Here are some of their best-sellers:
Is Norwex a Scam?
Norwex is not a scam. They really do have legitimate cleaning products that are fairly non-toxic and safe for your family.
While some of their sales tactics are hazardous (both to the consultants and to the consumers) and their prices are high, you will probably be happy with their cleaning products overall.
That being said, there are some comparable alternatives to Norwex that are less expensive and not MLM.
If you like the idea of Norwex, but you find their products to be too expensive or don’t want to support the MLM structure, E-Cloth is a great alternative for you to try.
I have two sets of their microfiber cleaning cloths and their window cleaning set, and they are some of my favorite cleaning products I’ve ever owned.
It’s worth noting that E-Cloth does not have silver embedded into their fibers. In my opinion, however, that doesn’t really matter because you should be washing Norwex cloths after each use anyway!
Here are some popular Norwex products that have great alternatives available to purchase on Amazon:
Swap the Norwex EnviroCloth for E-Cloth’s Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
I have two sets of these microfiber cloths from E-Cloth, and I use them daily. The price is much lower than Norwex’s when you look at it per-cloth, and they are very comparable in quality.
Swap Norwex’s Superior Mop Starter System for E-Cloth’s Microfiber Mop Floor Cleaning System
You’ll save nearly $100 when you purchase E-Cloth’s Microfiber Mop in place of Norwex’s comparable microfiber mop. And yes, it’s better than your Swiffer. Trust me.
Swap the Norwex Dusting Mitt for E-Cloth’s Microfiber Dusting Glove
Admittedly, I haven’t used either of these products personally, but E-Cloth’s dusting glove has raving reviews from customers, and it’s basically the same concept as Norwex’s Dusting Mitt. The fingers make it even easier to maneuver around object when you’re dusting though, and the price is a few dollars less.
This laundry detergent lasts FOREVER, and it has a great rating from the EWG too. You’ll get 300 loads out of Biokleen’s laundry detergent for the same price as the 100 loads from Norwex’s.
I love these wool dryer balls from Molly’s Suds, and they’re half the price of Norwex’s Fluff & Tumble Dryer Balls. You can get them even cheaper if you have a membership to Thrive Market! They’re under $10 there.
As you can see from my Norwex reviews above, they are a legitimate company with good cleaning products. However, you should always look at the ingredients of the products that you’re buying, even if they claim to be non-toxic or chemical-free.
If you don’t like the MLM model or you’re looking for some less expensive alternatives to Norwex, there are plenty of alternatives out there! Let me know if you try one that you think I should share!