Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products Help You Go Green at Home

Filed under: Going Green

Clean planet = happy baby? We hope. Credit: Darija :), Flickr


You've probably noticed the growing presence of "green cleaning" products at your supermarket. Eco-friendly companies such as Seventh Generation are now sharing shelf space with new green product lines from established manufacturers like Clorox and Arm & Hammer.

So, is it worth making the switch from conventional cleaners to eco-friendly products? Yes, says Becky Richards, professor of environmental science at Texas Christian University.

"Most consumers don't realize that hazardous materials are available to be purchased by the general public," she says. "If you see the words 'danger,' 'warning' or 'caution' on a consumer product, then that product is defined as toxic by the EPA. The level of toxicity is reflected by the severity of the signal word: 'Caution' means the lowest toxicity, while 'danger' means the highest toxicity allowed for consumer products."

But all green products aren't created equal. Some do contain a few hazardous or artificial ingredients, despite their earth-friendly names. Be sure to read the label: If the ingredient list is filled with chemicals you've never heard of, or worse yet, if the full list of ingredients isn't printed on the label, you may want to choose something else.

Here are some products that back up their earth-friendly claims with natural ingredients:

Kitchen and bath:

Dish soaps: Laundry detergents: Trash bags: Paper towels:
  • Scott Naturals: uses 60 percent recycled fibers, no dyes or fragrances.
  • Marcal Small Steps and Seventh Generation: both use 100 percent recycled fibers. No dyes or fragrances.
Want an even greener, less expensive option? Try mixing your own nontoxic cleaning products from safe ingredients you may already have in your pantry.

"Making your own products is way less complicated than it seems," says Laura Fieselman, sustainability coordinator at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C.

"There's a basic list of ingredients that you can use in different combinations: vinegar, baking soda, Borax (also called 'washing soda'), hydrogen peroxide and club soda for getting stains out, essential oils to make things smell good and olive oil for furniture polish," she says.

Related: 10 Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

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