Organic and natural foods may be big sellers, but when it comes to natural and environmentally-friendly cleaning products, some consumers hesitate. Are the new “green cleaners” as effective as those containing more harmful chemicals?
“Ten or 15 years ago, earth friendly cleaners consisted of a traditional cleaning product, minus certain potentially harmful chemicals,” says Dr. Lauren Heine, a green chemistry consultant and senior science advisor for Clean Production Action in Bellingham, Wash. “They took out the toxic ingredient and didn’t replace them,” Heine says. “But now there are greener chemicals.”
Turns out many new green cleaners are effective, safe and priced about the same as traditional cleaners.
“Green cleaners are becoming more cost-competitive,” notes Johanna Kertesz, an environmentally preferable purchasing specialist at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “These days, several mainstream cleaning product companies are developing green product lines that are priced similarly to the conventional products.”
Clorox Goes Green
For a quick cleanup, Clorox Greenworks Wipes, work on most non-wood surfaces, including acrylic, fiberglass and vinyl without using harsh chemicals. In fact, they’re made with essential oils, a coconut-based cleaning agent, glycerin, filtered water, corn-based ethanol, a biodegradable preservative, and 100% wood-based fibers. And Greenworks Wipes are recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment Program for pollution prevention.
“Consumers can look for reputable eco-labels, such as EPA's Design for the Environment, Green Seal, and EcoLogo, to assist with the selection of safe and effective cleaning products,” Kertesz syas. “These certifications indicate that the product met environmental and performance standards.”
Price: $3.39 for 30 wipes.
Soft Enough for a Baby
Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Liquid Soap is a great all-purpose, vegetable-based cleaner made with no synthetic foaming agents, thickeners or preservatives, and it’s packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled bottles and labels. And since it’s mild and unscented, it’s safe to use if you have sensitive skin.
For everyday washing, Dr. Bronner’s suggests you dilute one part soap with 40 parts water, which means a little can go a long way. For laundry, you can use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for one regular load.
Price: $5.99 for an 8-ounce bottle.
Knocking Out Smells
Nok-Out Odor Remover promises to knock out smells and destroy bacteria, viruses and mold and mildew problems, whether you’ve been hauling construction materials in your car or your carpet endures heavy traffic from stinky little feet. Nok-Out’s main ingredient is chlorine dioxide, which is buffered with stabilizers, allowing it to kill odors and destroy pathogens while remaining hypoallergenic, biodegradable,and fragrance free.
Price: $11.95 for a 16-ounce spray bottle.
A Simple Green Cleaner
The Original Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner/Degreaser, which has been sold through industrial distribution and used by the U.S. government and military, is a biodegradable and non-toxic cleaner/degreaser, and it’s shown to be safer than most other industrial cleaners. According to Simple Green, when you work out the length of time a bottle lasts based on the number of cleaning applications you can get from one bottle, its cost per use is much lower than similar cleaners on the market.
Price: $5.99 for a 24-ounce spray bottle.
Green Car Care
Green Earth Technologies’ G-Wash Heavy Duty Hydrophobic Car Wash and other Green Earth Technologies products are made with renewable animal fats and plant oils. With the help of nanotechnology, this car wash penetrates dirt, breaking it into billions of little particles that are eaten by the microorganisms and bacteria living in the ground. You can wash your car on your street or driveway without worries that runoff will travel into waterways and harm the environment.
Price: $6.88 for a 16-ounce bottle.
Keep coming back to MainStreet.com for more on how to live life greener.
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