March 28, 2016

The Dirt on Green Cleaning

By Selene Wilkinson

You are now aware of the toxic chemicals that conventional cleaning products contain, and have finally decided to make the move to green supplies. The question now is, how do you decide which green products to purchase, and although they may be environmentally friendly and safer for your family, do they really work?

Here are some answers for you, highlighting a few of the top selling green cleaning products and how they measure up to the competition.

Dish Washing Liquid Soap

Nature Clean’s Mandarin & Grapefruit is at the top of the list for dish soaps. The refreshing smell and the results of sparkling dishes, makes washing up almost an enjoyable experience. This soap is formulated with essential oils, not synthetic fragrances. The oils have both antiseptic and aroma therapeutic properties. The soap does not create many suds due to its lack of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which is a suspected carcinogen. The truth is, suds don’t get your dishes clean, so you don’t need them. Nature Clean does not formulate their products with ingredients like formaldehyde based preservatives (which are also suspected carcinogens), phosphates, or dyes. Nature clean contains no animal byproducts and does not test on animals. All of their products are hypoallergenic, their bottles are made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic, the products are septic system friendly and they are made in Canada.

Ecover’s Dishwashing Liquid provides great results that can clean and degrease an entire sink with just a few drops. This dish soap measures up to its competitors as it ranked in the top eleventh percentile beating out several leading conventional national brands in the January 2008 issue of Consumer Reports magazine. The report also applauds Ecover’s performance and price point for their dishwashing products in general, ranking them a close second only to Dawn.

Simply Clean Dish Detergent contains a combination of effective surfactants that are completely biodegradable and non-toxic. Their dishwashing liquid rinses off easily and doesn’t leave a residue that you can taste, smell or see. Simply Clean is a Canadian company that does not use phosphates, volatile organic solvents or other harsh chemicals.

Automatic Dishwasher Cleaners

The best results from an automatic dishwasher cleaner are from Ecover. Their Dishwasher Tablets and are a good combination of being ecologically friendly and convenient. The box contains 25 individually wrapped tablets that have the power to remove stains and stuck on food without phosphates, chlorine, and other chemicals. As with all Ecover products, these tablets quickly and completely biodegrade and are safe for use with septic tanks. In September 2006 Consumer Reports ranked Ecover’s Automatic Dishwashing Powder, number one in performance placing it above Palmolive and Costco’s Kirkland Signature. Ecover’s Dishwashing Tablets tied America’s Choice for second place in the May 2006 issue. .

Nature Clean’s All Natural Dishwasher Powder is completely safe and is phosphate free without any chlorine bleach. The powder is satisfactory on its own, but for tougher stains and the best results the All Natural Rinse Agent is highly recommended.

Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder only works well when plates are scrapped and pre-washed. With a rinse aid, the results are marginally better. Seventh Generation’s Automatic Dishwasher Gel in Lemon has an extremely pleasant citrus fragrance, but at best does a satisfactory job. That said, The Better World Shopping Guide, the acclaimed comprehensive buying resource for ethically-minded consumers, has named Seventh Generation the number one company in the world today. The research looked at corporate behavior, the company’s performance on a wide variety of related human rights issue, the environment, animal protection, community involvement, and social justice. Now that’s something to think about.

Glass & Surface Cleaner

Nature Clean’s Glass & Window Cleaner is ammonia-free, and uses witch hazel for its astringent and antiseptic properties. It leaves a high shine leaving no streaks on windows, mirrors and chrome fixtures and also leaves a pleasant smell in the air.

Seventh Generation’s Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner does what it says it will do – clean without streaks and the use of chemicals. It is as effective as any other glass and surface cleaner and comes in Free & Clear and Ruby Grapefruit & Herb varieties.

Ecover’s Glass & Surface Cleaner is on par with all other conventional and green glass and surface cleaners. It cuts through grease and grime, is safe around food, does not smear on glass, is chrome-friendly, has a fresh fragrance from plant based ingredients and you only need small amounts to get a good shine. It is also completely biodegradable, has minimum impact on aquatic life, involves no animal testing and is safe for septic tanks. Ecover bottles and labels leave a lighter carbon footprint because they are made of polyethylene with the cap made from polypropylene. Polyethylene and polypropylene are 100 % recyclable and can be recycled using a low energy process.

Laundry Liquid Wash

Seventh Generation’s laundry detergents do not contain chlorine; instead they contain non-chlorine bleach, which degrades into oxygen and water. The products do a good job and minimal amounts of the detergent are required per load of laundry. They also leave a light fresh scent on clothing and sheets without irritating the skin or lungs.

Nature Clean’s 3x Concentrate Laundry Liquid Detergent is environmentally friendly and provides more loads for your money. This hypoallergenic product performs extremely well without dyes, chemicals or perfumes. It has been formulated to work in cold, warm or hot water and is safe for infant clothing. This non-toxic formula does not irritate the skin or leave a residue on clothing. Although the company says it is unscented, it does have an odd odor.

The laundry detergent by Simply Clean is an environmentally sound formula that is also extremely efficient and gets the job done. Simply Clean works equally well in hard water and as the company states – “this product is tough on dirt while soft on the environment”.

Bathroom Cleaners

Seventh Generation’s bathroom cleaners are free of chlorine, petroleum based solvents, glycol ethers, phosphates, acids, caustics, dyes, and perfumes. But do they work? The answer is…. sort of. As with most green bathroom cleaners, the products efficacy is dependent on the extent of the soap scum and mould.

Nature Clean’s Tub & Tile Cream Cleanser and Ecovers Bathroom Spray can handle a little build-up on the tub and tiles, but along with its green competitors, they cannot remove tough soap scum and mould.

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Ecover’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner does a great job of removing tough stains and decalcifying. It also has a fresh fragrance derived from plant based ingredients.

Nature Clean’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner disinfects, deodorizes and does a good job of cleaning. This product does not contain hydrochloric acid so is non-toxic and non-corrosive. It contains Thyme Oil and Tea Tree Oil to add natural antiseptic and disinfectant properties.

Seventh Generation’s Emerald Cypress & Fir Toilet Bowl Cleaner is as effective as conventional cleaners without the harmful chemicals and fumes. The scent is nice and refreshing while doing a not-so-nice task.

When it comes to green cleaning, there are products available that are just as effective, if not superior to their conventional toxic counterparts. Therefore, you should be confident making the move to green cleaning products, which will not only benefit your family, but also the environment.