Green Cleaning Grime Fighters

From Green to CleanIn the Battle Against Household Grime, Chemical Warfare Has Some Competition

{mosimage}Green cleaning – the hip new term for cleaning without chemicals – has been highly touted as safer for our health and our environment, which is without a doubt appealing. But what we want to know is if cleaning with products stripped of chemical agents really can get the job done.
One Emerald Coast Magazine tester, a self-professed bleachaholic, took three natural cleaners to task, choosing a product from three of the most popular brands.

All of the products tested promised that no animal testing was used to develop their products. They also touted similar benefits, including natural ingredients and pleasant scents. And when you think about it, a light scent is a plus, as our concept of clean actually has been a stinky chemical smell since the middle of the 20th century, when toxic substances became increasingly present in household products.

So, armed with Ecover’s All Purpose Cleaner, Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear All Purpose Cleaner and Method’s All Purpose Surface Cleaner, our tester rolled up her sleeves and went to work.

A sticky barbecue-sauce spill on a kitchen countertop became the playing field. Each cleaner was sprayed on a separate section of the offending mess, and the competition began. The performance results of each product offered little noticeable difference, which is not surprising since each of the three is made from similar natural ingredients. What was surprising is that each product cleaned as well as the popular chemical-laden brand our tester has been loyal to for years.

For the most part, the real difference came down to packaging and scent. Ecover, which has a light lemon smell, came with a cap top. While not ideal for quick countertop cleanups, the cap was marked for measuring, which is handy for bigger cleaning jobs.

Seventh Generation offered a standard spray top, but its strongest feature was the lack of scent. The Free & Clear line offers a good cleaning product with no fumes, dyes or fragrances.

The final contender, Method, edged ahead of the rest with a reliable spray nozzle – no squeezing six times to get a few foamy drops – and a unique and light pink grapefruit scent. Method’s slogan, “People against dirty,” is fairly clever too.

While there wasn’t a clean-sweep winner in this test, it’s good to know that these green products and others like them can clean just as well as the old chemical standbys without wiping out our future.

– Lori Hutzler Eckert


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