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Green Cleaners – Change the World Challenge

Posted by eemilla on January 30, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a Change the World Challenge from Reduce Footprints, but I’m going to give it a go this week.

For the most part we aren’t using green cleaners aside from the vinegar and water that my mom always used on windows and mirrors, which by the way is really cheap and works well.  I tried using borax in the bathroom for almost a year, but I could never get the toilet really clean even with soaking overnight and scrubbing so we’re back to using a non-green cleaner with bleach alternative.  I hate to say it, but I love how much easier it is to clean the toilet with the non-green cleaner.  The shower liner remains a constant struggle to keep from molding, even with weekly soaking then washing with vinegar and detergent and line drying; however, I have decided not to resort to bleach because it wasn’t that much better anyway.

For hand washing dishes we use Ecover, and the dishwasher gets Palmolive phosphate free.  I use the Dr Bronner’s to scrub the counters before rolling dough, and my husband used some less nasty than expected oven cleaner.  For the floors, we’ve used hot water and either the dish soap or Dr Bronner’s.  When we camp (mostly only at festivals), Dr. Bronner’s get used for all soap needs, including washing dishes (although of course not the cast iron!)

Writing this post, I decided to Good Guide what we use, and after this bottle we will no longer pay the premium for Ecover Dishwashing liquid.  Much to my surprise, Clorox’s Green Works scores much better than the Ecover although I cannot purchase the Green Works at FBFC.  Our automatic dishwasher liquid also scored poorly on the health side of the equation so we’ll be looking for an alternative there too.

For the laundry, we use Ultra Purex, but I think again we might try Green Works because it has a better health rating.  My husband adds washing soda to his work laundry to help make it smell better (because as anyone who has worked in food service knows even after washing those clothes still have a smell), and of course we dry as much outside as possible (which really works to freshen up his work clothes).

I will be interested to get some more ideas on homemade green cleaners from everyone else participating.


4 Responses to “Green Cleaners – Change the World Challenge”

  1. Hi Eemilla –

    I, too, have struggled with green cleansers and detergents. Some of the commercial brands really don’t seem to get things clean and … they seem to give me the same headaches I got with the toxic stuff. I still use the vinegar/baking soda paste to clean most things but it doesn’t always get stains up. I will say, however, that continued use seems to matter … I’ve been using the vinegar cleanser for awhile, attacking any stains, and slowly but surely it seems to be doing it. So maybe persistence pays.

    For laundry, I was using Ecos and didn’t think it really got my clothes clean … that is until I read about optical whiteners … basically, optical whiteners are added to most commercial detergents to fool our eye into thinking our clothing is supper white (and clean). So I’m rethinking the whole subject. In reality natural cotton isn’t “white white” so now I’m wondering if the Eco-friendly laundry detergents are actually doing the job. Of course … there are still those stains to work with and I seem never to have the time to let clothing sit in a solution of hydrogen peroxide overnight (only had limited success with that anyway). More investigation required!

    I think I run this challenge occasionally, hoping that someone will come up with some homemade concoction that really does the trick. 🙂 Guess we just keep trying, huh?

    Thanks for accepting the challenge!

  2. rainywoods said

    Congratulations to you for doing house cleaning. (And extra kudos for the green products.)

    Regarding shower curtains, have your considered/tried a fabric shower curtain that goes in the washing machine? I’m seeing linen and hemp shower curtains on Amazon. I’m not totally clear if you are supposed to use a liner with them or not.

    Have you considered the environmental impact of the packaging of the green cleaning products as well? I’m working on a blog of products that have plastic-free packaging:
    I haven’t really looked at cleaning products yet. I can imagine the packaging for the homemade cleaners is probably better than the commercial cleaners (glass vinegar bottle, glass lemon juice bottle, cardboard box for baking soda [or bulk]). Any suggestions for the commercial cleaning products, eco-packaging-wise?

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Green Vision, Small Footprints. Small Footprints said: Have you read this post on green cleaners? #CTWW […]

  4. eemilla said

    Thanks for the suggestion about the liner; I gave up on the plastic ones a couple of years back because they wouldn’t withstand the washing machine. I was thinking about a hemp one due to the natural anti-fungicidal properties, but I haven’t priced them yet. I’ll definitely keep up with your blog because excess packaging is something I find beyond irksome!

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