How We Picked the Winners of the 2024 SELF Healthy Home Awards

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Welcome to SELF’s inaugural Healthy Home Awards!

At SELF, we believe that a healthy life encompasses more than what you’ve got going on from head to toe—feeling good also includes living in a supportive community; participating in fulfilling events and activities; and taking care of the space where you rest, retreat, and play.

The latter became all the more apparent during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many of us suddenly found ourselves spending way more time at home. In a matter of days, our collective priorities shifted to ensuring our living spaces were clean and healthy. While much of this entailed stockpiling disinfectant and toilet paper, it also opened our eyes to new habits and products that help keep us safe. (Who knew we’d come to feel so strongly about air purifiers?!) Now more than ever, home care is not just “nice to have”—it’s a need. And the more we talked about this on our team’s Slack and covered it regularly on our site, the more we realized there was room for us to dig a little deeper. Thus, the seed for the Healthy Home Awards was planted.

Before you shop the winners, here’s a quick look into our process: First, we opened submissions to brands, publishing entry guidelines on self.com—you can check them out here. We received 170 products for consideration and called in 87 of them for SELF staffers to test. We also consulted with a group of experts—some weighed in on product submissions while others acted as sources in our research, informing our standards and guidelines.

After two months of testing, we read through each product review, ultimately determining 35 winners that cover every corner of your home. Below, you can take a closer look at our methodology (including how we picked the best air purifiers specifically) and meet the team of experts who advised on the project. We hope the Healthy Home Awards help you keep house with a little more joy and a whole lot more ease. Happy spring cleaning!

Jump ahead:


How we look at labels and think about shopping for cleaning products

We tapped experts Jennifer Quinlan, PhD, professor and executive director of the Integrated Food Security Research Center at Prairie View A&M University, and Nathan Sell, senior director of sustainability at the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), for their insights on decoding product labels and figuring out which cleaning items might be best for any given person and their home. There are tons of products out there—and while many of them seem appealing, thanks to trendy ingredients like essential oils or promises of being “all natural,” they may not be the best option based on your personal needs. (Are you cleaning up a lot of baby poop and cat vomit? Does anyone in your household have sensitive skin or asthma?)

Words like “natural,” “clean,” and “green” are unregulated and, therefore, virtually meaningless unless the brands that use them specifically define these terms for their consumers. “If a product says it’s ‘100% sustainable’ or something like that…there should be information behind it,” Sell says. “I saw a claim recently that said one product’s packaging fully degrades in a landfill. Nothing really degrades in a landfill, so to even make that claim is pretty silly.” If you’re shopping with certain values in mind—say, you prefer items not tested on animals or want to support carbon-neutral brands—you’re better off relying on legit product certification labels. You’ve likely seen many of these—like Fair Trade Certified, Leaping Bunny, or USDA Organic—before. You can check out the ACI’s breakdown of common certification labels and what they mean here.

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