06 Feb Which Green Cleaning Products Are The Best?
I am often asked when talking about our housekeeping services which green cleaning products are the best? Which ones really get the job done and which ones aren’t worth the cute flowery packaging they come in. As a consumer, you can’t simply rely on the pretty label and creative marketing packaging you gotta really know what to look for! With the overwhelming amount of choices, it’s hard to decide which products are going to give you the most bang for your buck and which products fall short when it comes to their promises of cleaning green!
When we started our business in 2007 as pioneers in the all-natural/organic housekeeping business, our choice of green goods was limited. Not the case today, with the sea of products on store shelves it’s not easy to navigate through the natural cleaning aisle let alone know which ones work and which ones are true to their natural/organic promise. And since cleaning products aren’t food, beverages or drugs meant to be ingested you aren’t going to get any help from the government. There is no mandate or regulatory committee for ingredients so it’s up to the consumer to do their homework and that can be as cumbersome to many as deep cleaning the grout in their master shower!
With all these choices, it may come to no surprise that last year alone the U.S. cleaning product industry lead the world in sales taking in an estimated 25 billion dollars. It’s no wonder domestic goddesses Martha Stewart and Jessica Alba are cashing in. Meyers, Method and 7th generation have long-held top spots in the natural cleaning biz but there are some new players hitting the scene and some old players are getting knocked off their soapbox.
If you don’t know what “greenwashed” is – you should. It could not only save you big bucks on cleaning products but it could save your health too! The term, green-washing refers to an illegal practice in which companies claim to be more environmentally friendly than they really are. The practice can make it extremely challenging for consumers to make smart choices.
Who’s helping narrow the playing field? Watchdog groups like the Environmental Working Group or EWG for short whose main mission is to educate consumers about agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, and drinking water pollutants. They are basically doing the homework for you. In simple terms, these groups are preventing you from “greenwashing” by weeding out the fake stuff and shady marketing. Bottom line, they have your back and they know their stuff!
EWG’s healthy living home guide is a home run and a sort of a one-stop-shop for consumers. Empowering people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment, the rate and give out eco grades for popular name “green” cleaning products (ewg.org).
EWG has many categories. They are giving grades on everything from all-purpose cleaners to disinfectants, and laundry detergent.
Just as an example; out of the popular all-purpose brands claiming to clean green, more scored poorly than did well. 90 products tested scored an A, 70 B, 88 C, 262 D, and a whopping 147 failed.
It’s no surprise Clorox, Fabuloso and Lysol all received a big fat F but those who also came in with a near fail score may just surprise you! Eco-touting brands like WholeFoods 365 Everyday Value, Babyganics, Betterlife, Caldrea, Charlie’s Soap, Greenworks, 7th Generation, Method, and Mrs. Meyers to name a few all received an F for their all-purpose cleaning products. Even companies whose names scream natural cleaning those like Grab Green, Naturally Clean and The Good Home received a D and F from the EWG in the all-purpose category.
Companies who came out on top, almost all products offered by a company called Aspen Clean. Not only did their all-purpose cleaner receive an A rating but so did their all in one concentrate, glass cleaner, and super scrub powder (aspenclean.com). Aunt Fannies, Common Good, Lion Bear, Ology also received A’s in near all their product categories. Not to put too much shame on their company, just because they received an F in one category doesn’t mean all their products failed. Whole Foods orange and lemon verbena all-purpose cleaner may not have done well but their all-purpose pine and lemon zest, unscented glass cleaner, MISSION surface cleaning wipes in minty fresh all got an A. Check out the EWG list for more information and ratings and see what products you love to make the grade.
So what companies are worth watching? Cleaning companies offering refillable bottles and those using strictly vegan and cruelty-free products. When it comes to consumer choice, less is certainly more these days. Products you make at home or those that are certified Green are safe choices.
Branch Basics (branchbasics.com) and coconut-based CleanCult (cultclean.com) are newer companies gaining popularity with their convenient refillable bottles. Meliora’s lemon, lavender and clove laundry powder (Meliora.com) also with reusable containers are flying off the shelves. And with the help of their engineering and environmental degrees owners are mixing up some pretty far out concoctions. It’s this kind of honest eco-friendly branding that is drawing a bigger crowd.
After 13 years of being in the natural cleaning business, most clients I’ve met, if not all boast about how their homes smell after our housekeepers have left. Often times, their reaction to the essential oils we were burning or the ones we are using in our cleaning products oftentimes were more memorable than the cleaning itself. Fragrance-free is always a safe choice but not all scents are bad. There are some scents that are good for you. You just need to know what to look for and where to stay clear.
In today’s busy market, it’s not enough to buy brands with cleaver marketing tactics, just because they say they are green it may not be true. Check the label, make sure the product has a Green Seal or Ecologo and are free of triclosan and quaternary ammonium compounds.
That leaves a lot of SOAP boxes to climb on…