Making Earth Friendly Cleaning Choices

With the variety of cleaning products cropping up on the shelves of our local grocer, we are left a bit befuddled. If I buy THIS product, am I really helping our planet?

I have visited the natural and regular section at our local Fred Meyer/Kroger store and compared what’s available… some are GOOD choices, others might be a tiny bit better than a regular choice and some are just… well, the same old Earth Polluting crud.

My biggest challenge has been finding a dishwasher detergent that works great. First I tried out Planet (powdered). It is 1005 Biodegradable, Phosphate-Free, No Dyes or Fragrances, chlorine free, septic safe and is not tested on animals. The package is made from 100% recycled paper and can be recycled. Sounds pretty good and the packaging is attractive. I did NOT have good luck using this product. Our dishes continually came out dirty and with soap powder on them. I actually thought our dishwasher had gone bust until we put one of those not so earth friendly tabs in a load and everything came out clean again. Maybe our water wasn’t hot enough (the box states it should be at least 140 degrees F.) For me, increasing the water temperature isn’t a viable option as that will use more energy to get the dishes clean. Being Earth Conscious is about the total picture.

Seventh Generation carries a liquid and powder version of Dishwasher Detergent. I opted for the liquid because of my previous powder experiences. This comes in two choices, lemon or green apple. It works relatively well, pre-rinsing is recommended or you may be re-washing.

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day and Ecos both carry a Dishwasher Detergent that will be the next ones I purchase. The Ecos Wave is now available in tablets… I am excited to try this one as I definitely prefer tabs to any other dishwasher detergent.

On the not so earth friendly side, Palmolive makes a dishwasher detergent called eco+. This leads us to think its a good choice. It is Phosphate Free, but that is the only environmental claim on the label. On Palmolive’s website they proclaim, “…one small, ecologically friendly step you can take as part of your busy weekly routine.” Yes removing Phosphate is a good idea, but this product has a long way to go!

Moving into the laundry room, I need something that works GREAT and is a good value. I wash 2-3 loads of laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY. And I mean FULL loads, I cram as much as I can into the washer. That totals 60-90 loads of laundry every month. Our favorite is Ultra Ecos Magnolia and Lily detergent. I can get a bottle that washes 105 loads for about $14 at Costco. My clothes are clean, I do not see fading like some detergents and the scent is light and not overwhelming. This product is 100% natural, phosphate and petrochemical free, good in all wash temperatures (yay for cold water washing), 100% biodegradable, septic and gray water safe, it is not tested on animals and the packaging is recyclable (although there is not information on the bottle about using recycled materials to make the packaging.)

During my shopping outing the other day, I spied Natural Elements by Purex. I’m always game for checking out a new product, so I brought home a 50 oz bottle (32 loads) for about $4.00. This product is 100% natural, concentrated for less waste, biodegradable, recyclable packaging, hypoallergenic and free of dyes, natural fragrance, packaging is made from 25% recycle plastic. There are no claims about animal testing on the bottle. I did a little research and Henkel/Purex is listed as a company that does test on animals. Ick.

I also found out that Arm & Hammer tests on animals… so that means I need to find a new favorite dryer sheet. We have been using Arm & Hammer Essentials, with 100% naturally derived softeners, biodegradable softening agents, no petroleum and 100% recyclable packaging made from 35% post consumer product. Previously I have used the Essentials laundry detergent as well. However, in good consciousness I cannot support companies that test on animals.

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day offers a dryer sheet, I almost bought it at the market but it was $9 a box versus the $4.59 I paid for Arm & Hammer.

Todays Green Tip- It’s pretty obvious… green your shopping.  Read all those labels.  Look for key words, 100% natural, biodegradable, recyclable packaging, not tested on animals.


About PolkaDotMommy

Wife to a teacher extraordinaire... Mama to Five littles... Conservative Catholic Christian with a Strong Environmentalist Mentality... Respecting Life... Living for our Savior... Learning to trust God in all things.
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5 Responses to Making Earth Friendly Cleaning Choices

  1. ~M says:

    Great post, nice roundup!

    Have you looked into Ecover’s automatic dishwashing tabs? I just bought a box a few weeks ago, on ‘s recommendation, but my non-green ones haven’t run out yet.

    Also, what about using those blue drying balls instead of dryer sheets or adding 1/2 cup vinegar to your washing cycle as a “green” fabric softener?

  2. Meg says:

    There are so many options out there, and it’s so difficult not to be skeptical because of all the greenwashing that goes on. It is sad that many folks out there automatically believe what they are told or what they read, and companies know this and use it to their advantage. People need to not get caught up in the hype, take a step back and do a little research. Thank you, for the info, I know it saved me tons of time!

  3. Pingback: Responding to Angry Comments « Looks Good in Polka Dots

  4. ~M says:

    Do you have any recommendations for a glass/surface cleaner? I tried Seventh Generation’s free & clear glass/surface cleaner but I am not impressed.

  5. ~M says:

    What ratio of vinegar to water do you use? Thanks!

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