When my son was just a baby, I remember seeing a commercial for Clorox Anywhere Spray where the mom sprayed the cleaner on the tray of her child’s highchair while the child was sitting in it. Obviously, the marketing message was clear–this product was safer to use around children than other products on the market. Thanks to that commercial, I became more thoughtful about what kind of cleaning products I used around my family. Upon further research, I found some eco-friendly products that were right for my family.
When I choose cleaning products now, there are a number of things I look for. The first thing I read is the label—specifically the ingredients. Just because a product touts itself as “green,” “biodegradable,” or “eco-friendly” that doesn’t mean it’s entirely the case. There is a nice list of common ingredients found in household cleaners that should be avoided and why at HealthyCleaning.com. You can also look for the Green Seal or the Design for the Environment (DfE) label on products. Both groups review products across a number of criteria to determine their safety for the environment and people, as well as their efficacy. The Green Seal is an independent not-for-profit organization, while the DfE is under the umbrella of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
So which household cleaners do I recommend?
1. Simple Green Naturals Products — They offer a multitude of products, and what I like most is that they are in a concentrated formula. I love that I can fill up empty spray bottles with a little bit of Simple Green and fill the rest of the bottle with water. It cleans great and lasts a really long time, saving my family money. In addition, Simple Green Naturals carry the Green Seal.
2. Seventh Generation — This is probably one of the best known products on the market, as they offer household cleaners, laundry detergent, personal care and baby products. If you go on their website and provide a little information about yourself, you can get printable coupons. Also, if you ever shop in dollar stores, you can often find Seventh Generation products there. I’m a fan of being able to shop for DfE approved products without putting a huge dent in my wallet, and Seventh Generation seems to get it.
3. Method — I love the packaging of the Method product line. It’s very sleek and the colors of the cleaners are bright, almost adding to the décor of your home. It makes them feel fun to use. As with Seventh Generation, they offer more than just household cleaners. I especially like the hand washes and my kids are especially partial to the Mickey Mouse shaped bottle. I also love that Method products are comparable in price to their not-so-eco-friendly counterparts. Method, too, can be found on the DfE approved list.
4. Clorox Green Works — Even Clorox, a name often synonymous with the word bleach, is going green with their Green Works products. With the exception of the natural bathroom cleaner, that the whole line carries the DfE label. When I send my husband out to buy household cleaners, this is always the one he comes home with. It’s easy for him to determine this is an eco-friendly product and I think he’s comfortable with how well it works (have I mentioned how my husband likes things to be VERY clean?!). The entire Green Works product line is made up of different household cleaners, and I continue to be happy with how well they clean up our many messes—from cleaning the bathroom, to sanitizing the kitchen counters, I find this to be a very good product.
Some people may like to try their hand at making their own cleaning products with items they already have already around the house. I have been known to mix a little water and baking soda into a paste and leave it on my stovetop for an hour and then wipe it off to get rid of grease stains. I think it works better than any cleaner I’ve ever tried.
If you are looking to make your own cleaners, which is the most eco-friendly way to go, then here are few tips on products you probably have around the house:
- Baking soda: You can use it to deodorize and scrub messes without scratching the surface you’re cleaning
- Lemon juice: It cleans, bleaches and deodorizes messes and surfaces—and of course leaves a fresh scent!
- Vinegar: It can be used to kill germs and do general cleaning, as well as deodorize.
For directions on how to make your own cleaners, there are some great instructions on ehow.com. Here are some of the instructions I found helpful:
- How to Make Green Cleaning Supplies
- How to Make Green Household Cleaning Supplies
- Green Cleaning Products You Can Make at Home
When I clean my home with green products, I feel a little bit better about letting my kids help me clean, since it isn’t so volatile for their young lungs and bodies. So enjoy having your children help you clean. I know I do! And even if they’re too young to help you clean, at least you can feel good about the space they’re playing and living in, knowing it’s been cleaned with an all-natural cleaner, rather than something with harsh toxins.