Which Is the Best Green Cleaning Product? (A Comparison of Method, Mrs. Meyer's, Seventh Generation, and More)
Why Clean Green?
Being allergic to dust and having lived mostly in small apartments, I tended to clean often and wanted to minimize exposure to harsh chemicals. I had also tried to make my own natural cleaning agents, using baking soda, vinegar, etc., but based on my work schedule, I preferred the convenience of store-bought green cleaning supplies. After ten years of using natural cleaning products, here's a list of my favorites.
Even though I've always had dishwashers, I prefer to hand wash dishes (being single, it takes a long time to fill up the dishwasher to run a full load).
Dish Detergent: Method's Ultra Concentrated Dish Detergent - Go Naked, which contains no dyes or perfumes. Since it is concentrated, a little goes a long way. This helps me save money, as I don't have to buy new bottles as often. Between Method, Mrs. Meyer's, and Seventh Generation, I keep returning to Method.
Dishwasher Detergent: Seventh Generation Auto Dish Pacs, Free and Clear. I do keep dishwasher detergent on hand, and while I haven't tested as many brands of environmentally friendly products, this one works well. Other products left residue or a white film, which ruined several of my favorite glasses. But I've experienced no problems with Seventh Generation.
Green Household Cleaning Supplies
Having tried Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and Method brands, I prefer the Method products. They produced better results (i.e. no streaks, removed dirt/stains, etc.) When I used Seventh Generation, often times I would have to go over the same area with a Method product to remove the film, streaks, etc. I prefer to clean once.
Glass/Mirrors: Method Best In Glass (mint). Works best on mirrors and glass shower doors when using a newspaper (absolutely no streaks).
Countertops/General cleaning: Method Multi-Surface (free of dyes and perfumes). Cleans surface stains and leaves no streaks or film.
Granite Countertops: Method Daily Granite. While the Method Multi-Surface cleans my granite countertops just fine, the Daily Granite cleaner leaves them shiny. If you are planning to entertain or have guests over and want your kitchen to sparkle, this product will help do the trick.
Stainless Steel: Method Stainless Steel. Similar to the granite cleaner, this stainless steel cleaner leaves my sink and appliances sparkling.
While I use several different brands in the washroom, Method beat Seventh Generation in the bathroom cleaning contest for natural cleaning supplies. In addition to the Best In Glass (for mirrors) and Multi-Surface cleaners (for countertops and the exterior of the toilet bowl), I use the following:
Toilet Bowl: I love Method's Lil Bowl Blu cleaner. The bottle is easy to hold and pour/squirt, it covers the sides of the bowl better, and I don't have to scrub as hard to remove stains or dirt.
Shower/Tub Scrub: Ecover Ecological Cream Scrub. I first bought this product ten years ago at Whole Foods and always return to it. Absolutely my favorite soft-scrub equivalent--tough on stains and doesn't harm the tub. When using this on a sponge, my hands can feel dry and gritty afterwards, so I use gloves.
Daily Shower Cleaner: To keep my bathtub/shower area clean, I spray after each use with Method's Daily Shower Cleaner (especially on the shower doors, this helps reduce soap scum and film).
Hand Soap: I have a tie in this category and keep both of these products in the house (kitchen sink and washrooms). Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap in lavendar and Method Hand Wash, Free of Dyes + Perfumes. Best part, once you buy the bottles, you can purchase the hand soap in plastic pouches and just refill the existing bottles.
I've tried so many green laundry detergents, but I always return to these when possible (not available at all Whole Foods stores). Added bonus: Ecover advertises that it does not test on animals.
Liquid Laundry Detergent: Ecover Ecological Laundry Wash. No dyes or perfumes, gentle on clothes, doesn't fade colors (though I use cold wash/cold rinse and line dry most of my clothes), and removes dirt, odors, and stains.
Liquid Fabric Softener: Ecover Fabric Softener. I choose the one with no artificial fragrances. This is concentrated, so a bottle lasts for many more washes than advertised (I tend to put in a little less than recommended, and my clothes are just as soft as when I put in the full recommended amounts).
Dryer Sheets: While I drip-dry my clothes, I do dry bed sheets and towels in the dryer. And while I try to avoid any dyes, inks, or perfumes in my cleaning products, I make an exception for the dryer sheets. My favorite natural dryer sheets remain Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dryer Sheets in lavendar. The bed sheets and towels smell so good (mild, not strong) and come out soft.
This is the one area where I do not purchase branded green cleaning supplies. I typically vacuum then swiffer the hardwood floors and tiles and just vacuum the rugs and carpets. If you have hardwood floors, check the type of finish (wax or polyurethane) and research what types of cleaners are appropriate. When I have had to mop the hardwood floors, I used a vinegar and water mix (though this is not recommended for all types of finishes).
Amazon offers the best prices when purchasing green cleaning products in bulk. If you live alone or in a small dwelling, this could be problematic. You can always ask your friends, family, or neighbors if they are interested in splitting the purchase--that way, you receive (and split) the best price and don't have to worry about storage.
Also, you can save money by purchasing the refill pouches and bottles. Again, the best prices are offered when purchasing in bulk, so don't forget to mention refills to your friends, family, and neighbors when making the initial bulk purchase.
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