We all know that there are tons of harsh chemicals in common household cleaners, but what I didn’t know was that the companies don’t actually have to display the ingredients on the bottle. In fact, some companies are required to keep ingredients off their packaging based of government regulations. Blows your mind, doesn’t it?
I read a book by Adria Vasil called Ecoholic Home in which she tested and rated all kinds of household cleaners for their efficacy and ingredients. Based on her recommendations, the products available in my city, and online reviews these are the products I chose to try, and man oh man do they every work well!
From right to left: Method Anti-bacterial Kitchen Spray, Biovert Dishwasher Tabs, Biovert Dishwashing Liquid, Nature Clean Window Cleaner, Clorox Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner, Clorox Green Works Bathroom Cleaner
Method Anti-bacterial Kitchen Spray – This one wasn’t reviewed in the book, but when I saw it on the shelf at the store I couldn’t leave it behind. The two Green Works products I use (or was intending to use at the time) don’t have any anti-bacterial agents in them so I thought I should give this a try. Using thyme and oregano oils, this strongly scented product has been proven to kill over 99.99% of houshold bacteria, specifically Staphyloccoccus Aureus, Salmonella Choleraesuis, Escherichia Coli (E-Coli) and Pseudomones Aeruginosa on hard, non-porous surfaces (read: doesn’t work as well on wooden cutting boards, or any other unsealed wood). Sure, it smells very strongly of thyme and oregano and lemon verbena, but at least I know that the scent is all natural and it disappates quickly into the air, so I’m definitely a fan.
$4 at grocery stores, healthfoods stores and online at various green product websites
Biovert Dishwasher Tabs – This Quebec company, (yay Canada) has a number of great cleaning products but they are difficult to find in stores if you don’t live in Eastern Canada. Online retailers are a great option, but thankfully my Community Natural Foods carries some of the products in their line. The only downside to these dishwashing tabs is that they are all individually wrapped. However, the wrappers biodegrade and start disintegrating with just a little bit of water so that makes it a little better. The dishwasher tabs do a great job on sticky and stuck-on foods and don’t do too bad a job on glass. There are still water spots, even when I put a little vinegar in a bowl on the top rack, so I may be in the market for a natural rinse agent. But for a product that is tested to biodegrade completely in 28 days I don’t mind a few water spots. UPDATE: I noticed that if I used the heat dry setting on my dishwaher that there was a film left on my dishes. As soon as the heat dry was turned off my problem went away.
$10 at select healthfoods stores and online
Biovert Dishwashing Liquid – I never thought I would say something like this, but the natural product seems to work better than the chemical variety in this case. It cuts through grease, lifts baked-on foods without agressive scrubbing and leaves everything streak free. Need I say more?
$7 at select healthfoods stores and online
Nature Clean Window Cleaner – The first time I used this I was incredibly disappointed. It left a film and streaks everywhere! This shocked me because it was so well reviewed online and in Vasil’s book. I decided not to give up and try cleaning a window with a shammy style cloth instead of a rag and my problem was solved! This is definitely Windex’s green option.
$5 at grocery stores, healthfoods stores and online
Clorox All-Purpose Cleaner – I use this product as a kitchen cleaner and I couldn’t be happier. Sure, I’m supporting a company who’s main business is chemical-laden cleaning products, but I like to go with the mentality that if enough people support their green product line they will devote more research and product development into ‘greening’ more of their products. As a kitchen cleaner this products definitely does the job well. Everything is left clean and shiney without much elbow-grease. I can just spritz on my disinfectant and know that everything is super clean! The only downside is the completely un-natural green colour and light citrus fragrance.
$3 from Walmart, grocery stores and online
Clorox Green Works Bathroom Cleaner – I find that this one looks and works just like your average chemical cleaner. It does require a little more scrubbing in the shower and on the toothpaste leftovers in the sink, but it is worth it for a chemical free alternative.
$3 from Walmart, grocery stores and online