Cleaning Products that Work
If you think of your home as a haven from pollution, we've got some bad news. Levels of pollutants in indoor air can be from two to more than 100 times higher than outdoors, according to the U.S. EPA. That indoor pollution is due in large part to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that evaporate, or "offgas," from home decorating and cleaning products.
When shopping for green cleaning products is much like when shopping for detergents, steer clear from products that include phosphates (which cause harmful algal blooms) and bleach, a lung irritant. You want to look for products that are listed as petroleum free (for obvious, oil-related reasons) and biodegradable, as many of these solvents will get washed down the sink or tub after use. Read the product labels — if they have strong warnings about hazards, it’s a good sign that the product is not eco-friendly.
The Washington Toxics Coalition offers a handy guide and fact sheet full of useful information, and can be found at http://watoxics.org/files/cleaningproducts.pdf .
The following list offers green, eco-friendly cleaning products. Each of these products claims two or more green characteristics: Nontoxic, biodegradable, naturally derived, deodorizing, no fumes, safe for septic tanks, not tested on animals, no animal ingredients; free of chlorine, petroleum based solvents, glycol ethers, phosphates, strong acids, caustics, and dyes; Prices quoted are approximate.
Pure Baking Soda, 16 oz. powder, approx. $1.15
Biokleen Soyblends Kitchen & Bath Soy Cream Cleaner, 32 fl. oz. cream, $4.69
Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser, 14 oz. powder, $1.29
20 Mule Team Borax, 4 lbs. 12 oz. powder, $4.49
Ecover, 16 fl.oz. cream, $2.69
Method Tub + Tile, 28 fl. oz. liquid, $5.99
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Surface Scrub, 11 oz. powder, $5.99
Seventh Generation Natural Tub & Tile Cleaner, 32 fl. oz liquid, $4.69