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How to Find Green Cleansers

Aug 7, 2008
While I enjoy making my own cleaning supplies, I know it's not for everyone, even when much of it is as simple as baking soda and vinegar. Maybe you like the scents of other cleansers or maybe you just can't quite believe they're effective enough.

But that doesn't mean you can't go green with your cleaning supplies.

There are a number of greener cleansers out there. Clorox may have a name for itself as the producer of some really nasty, toxic chemicals, but if you can get past that they have their Green Works line of products. You can get these locally at Home Depot and other stores. I've tried them, and they work fine.

If you're buying products, do at least consider buying concentrated versions that you have to water down before use. This will at least cut down on the packaging and weight of shipping. It also saves you quite a bit of money. One of the Green Works products I bought, an all-purpose cleanser, can be diluted to 1:24 a bit and is still effective.

There are other products you can buy as well, such as the old, reliable Simple Green. I used that one for a long time before starting to make my own products.

When in doubt, look at the labels.

The very first thing I don't want in a product is for it to be antibacterial. These can leave residues, encouraging resistant bacteria to grow, and don't do any better a job of cleaning. With the residue left, it may even be doing worse. Just remember that a good soap allows you to wipe those germs right off the counter. Keep your cleaning cloths clean and you won't be spreading too many germs about.

Besides, a few germs around are good for the immune system. It's the excess that is far more likely to make you or your family ill.

In addition, look for warning and danger labels. Right off the bat either of these tells you that your cleanser has something toxic in it. You'll probably want to wear gloves when using such products, or better yet, find an alternative that's less toxic.

Caution labels are on many products. It's on my Green Works bottle, for example, because it's a potential eye irritant. Eyes are very easy to irritate.

I prefer to avoid ammonia, bleach, hydrochloric acid, chlorine, petroleum products and many other ingredients commonly found in cleaning products. I'm also not big on added fragrances, unless it's an essential oil such as I add when I use vinegar so my husband doesn't complain about the scent.

A simple rule is that if you can recognize the source of the ingredients in your cleaning product, it's probably safer. Not always, as nature can come up with some really nasty toxins.

Just remember you don't need products with special agents to make them foam up, or really harsh chemicals to get the job done. A bit of elbow grease and a natural product can do the job just as well. You won't have to worry about what you're sending down the pipes or in the trash if you pick your products more carefully.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.greensahm.com/ about being a green stay at home mom. Get more tips on finding green cleaning products at her site.
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