Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dishwashing Liquid- Who's Got the Best Label?

National Geographic's Green Guide had a good article on dish soap this month. They ranked them according to how completely the company discloses ingredients, so that the consumer might discern how many are plant-based, how many are harmful additives, etc. At the top of their "honesty" list was Seventh Generation's Dish Liquid, which got three "G's". At 2 (for using generic terms like 'preservative' or 'surfactant', although these were certified low- eco impact by an independent agency) were Clorox Green Works (Natural Dishwashing Liquid), Ecover (Dishwashing Liquid), and Planet (Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Gel).

Receiving 1 'G' for generic ingredient names and a lack of independent testing were Biokleen dish liquid, Earth Friendly Products (Dishmate), Method (Ultra Concentrated), and Mrs Meyers (Clean Day Dish Soap). D'oh!

The label vaguery doesn't necessarily mean that the companies in question have something to hide, but I'd encourage them to spell things out as much as possible. Trade secrets are important, sure, but so is knowing what we're buying.

Incidently, SG has coupons on its website, and you can stock up in bulk on

Sunday, December 7, 2008

BabyGanics Tub & Tile Cleaner

First- something random that I like. Method's aroma ring comes in bamboo (the actual ring part, not the scent)! I'm convinced bamboo, buckwheat, and soy can save the world, so this is great news. I've reviewed the aroma ring here, and because it didn't really make much scent for me I won't be buying it. Have you had any luck with it?

(I kind of want the Method frosted fir glass candle. If you're not candle-savvy, paraffin wax candles are to be avoided. They make nasty soot, which gets into your air, and they're made from petroleum. This means Yankee Candles' products are pretty seriously not eco-friendly. I am really enjoying wood wicked candles right now, because I don't have a fireplace and I missed the crackle of a good fire. Particularly since it's now snowy and freezing in Chicago.)

But this post is really about BabyGanics' Tub & Tile Cleaner. I've been using it to scrub my glass-doored stall shower for a while now, and a little goes a long way. It's done a good job getting the soap scum off. So much so that I have been able to stop using my daily shower spray. I clean about every other week with it. BabyGanics sent me the unscented version to review, but this stuff also comes in Lavender, and both bottles have a nice cloud picture in the background for me to gaze at and wish I had a window in my bathroom. Anyway, it's effective stuff and if you haven't had much luck with other 'green' shower cleaners, you may want to give this a go.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mrs Meyer's "Basil" Surface Scrub

As a scrub this stuff works really well. It gets my tub clean, my shower clean, and my sinks clean. I have no gripe about the performance. What I do have a gripe about is the scent (and it's a problem with the all-purpose wipes as well). I mean... gahhhhh I often enjoy Mrs. Meyer's scents, but this one is like bad body spray. After a recent bout of cleaning my whole apartment smelled of it, and it was really headache inducing, not fresh. Despite it being November in Chicago I considered opening the window.

It's really not basil scented, of course. That would be pleasant. The website explains that it has "top notes of basil, apricot leaves, parsley, and eucalyptus". My husband compared it to "cucumber-floral eau de toilette". It certainly gets up my nose in a way that reminds me of some of the Bath and Bodyworks products I bought in the early '90s. *Gag*

I'll finish the canister, of course... but I'm thinking I'll pass on the Basil line in the future.

On another hand, the holiday gift pack is peppermint scented and would make a lovely hostess gift. Hopefully it's just straightforward peppermint. I'm STILL using my gingerbread kit from 2 years ago because the all-purpose cleaner goes so far. A teaspoon full mixed with water fills my spray bottle and then I'm good to go for another month.

As an alternative scrub I recommend Bon Ami, or the same Mrs Meyers scrub in the Lemon Verbena or Lavender scents. I have a similar gripe with their Geranium fragrance, so if you enjoy that then you may actually dig the Basil!

Trader Joe's "Auto (Next to Godliness) Dish Soap"

I somehow suspect that this is supposed to be a similar to product to Earth Friendly Products' excellent Wave dishwashing gel. It looks vaguely similar to EFP's version in the bottle and the texture is comparable. However, Trader Joe's version doesn't seem to be as effective. Most of my dishes come out clean, but my silverware is typically cloudy looking, and it doesn't do anything for the tough jobs, like my dogs' food bowls with crusted-on homemade wet food that I slacked on soaking in the sink before tossing in the dishwasher. (Let it be known, the dishwashing products I like pass this test.)

It's fine for most dishwashing jobs, it's just not good enough. Any time I have to re-wash things when they come out of the dishwasher, I won't re-buy. It's a big waste of water and effort.

Sad, because the bottle claims it "dries spot free". It's also labeled "biodegradable, phosphate free, chlorine free, removes dried on foods, removes tough stains, built-in rinse aid." If you can't find other eco-friendly options, give it a shot and post here to let me know if it works.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Earth Friendly Products ECOS Lemongrass Laundry Detergent

Hello! I am back. I'm resurfacing :) Things are very busy right now with school, but I'm still cleaning and still trying new things.

I've been using this liquid laundry detergent for a while. It's "ultra concentrated" meaning it really doesn't take much to do a single load. One week Jhimm and I thought we looked low on the stuff so we picked up another bottle. The one we had lasted another month and a half. Just be mindful of the fill lines inside the cap, and you should get a good value from the stuff.

As for the smell, well, I can't say it really recalls lemongrass for me or that my clothes come out smelling of anything. However, it was actually cheaper at my local grocery store than the unscented version that I'd previously bought, so.... lemongrass it is!

I'm a big fan of this brand because their products actually work for me. My laundry comes out of the dryer soft, clean, and fresh. My little potty-troubled dog's overnight diaper smells snuggly rather than... um, how it smelled when I tossed it in the laundry pile. If this detergent works on that foul odor, it's my friend.

I really haven't ever noticed a stain go into the wash and come back out again while using this stuff, but perhaps I haven't given it a tough enough challenge. I'll have to try to spill some wine or bleed on it or somesuch. Or... oooh, I had a pen explode on a sweatshirt sleeve the other day. I'll try that later.

You can get save a lot by purchasing a pack of 4 of these jugs from for around $40... that would easily last me a year.

(They also have a laundry powder version that I am dying to try.) Alas, everything is "out of stock" as they move their Health & Personal Care products warehouse.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trader Joe's Lavender Dryer Bags

I don't like what dryer sheets do to laundry (generally coat it in a layer of film that actually lowers the lifespan of your textiles), but I do enjoy the smell. Trader Joe's has come up another good solution! Their lavender dryer bags are filled with delicious smelling lavender seeds. They can be used for 5-10 dryer cycles each, and I've been erring more towards 10. They very subtly scent my laundry a nice, natural lavender. It seems like the dryer (machine) gets more lasting scent than, say, my towels, but this is mainly because I dry everything on low heat and these really make a better stink on hotter settings. I'm not sure they produce enough scent for my liking (at my preferred drying temp.), but for less scent-obsessed folks they're probably more than sufficient.

When you're done with a bag, the package advises sprinkling them on your carpet and vacuuming them up for a lovely lavender smelling house. I did this, and it was herby and delicious everywhere I vacuumed. Delicious, that is, if you like lavender. I imagine these'd also work well in drawers and closets to keep things fresh.

Each pack contains 4 bags, and although I've forgotten the price it was pretty reasonable. I'll re-buy.

(Theoretically you could make your own! Fill a small cloth bag with dried flowers or herbs, close it securely, and toss it in the dryer.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

When Natural and Organic are just words...

I know this isn't cleaning related, but as is true of my occasional deviations from that topic, it's about potentially dangerous components of the products we use. I'm so disappointed that some of these brands, which I have used and praised, don't pay as much attention to their quality control as they should, or don't research everything they're putting into their goods well enough... (or are deliberately deceitful).

So, I give you:
"Panic in the Organic Aisle: How a dirty scandal is forcing the natural products industry to come clean"

What do you think? Will this change your buying habits at all?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Target Organic Cotton Bed Sheets?

Okay, so bedsheets aren't really cleaning products, but I'm enjoying these new sheets so much I had to mention them. I'm really surprised too. I typically buy pretty expensive organic sheets because I have chronic problems sleeping and I try to make my bed as comfortable as possible. When I spotted a set of organic cotton 250-thread count (non sateen) bedsheets at Target, next to the also promising bamboo sheets, I nabbed a set. I figured at $49.99 a set I wouldn't feel awful about it if they didn't work out longterm, unlike the sets that are $75 for just the flat sheet.

Well, after my first set of these in a dark cocoa color I made a special trip back to get a second, robin's egg blue set. I washed them and that put them on the bed last night. I wanted to roll in them they feel so nice and soft. My closest Target seems to be making a big effort to stock more eco-friendly products. They have a whole green cleaning isle!

Anyway, highly recommended! (I like them better than my gaiam sheets.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Skoy Cleaning Cloths

The kind people at Skoy (I love that word) were generous enough to send me samples of their biodegradable and compostable cleaning cloths, and I've been using them for about a month now around my kitchen. We've been trying an experiment in our house to see if we really need paper towels. So far.... no. The Skoy cloths, which are made from cotton and cellulose (from wood) have been alternated with our existing microfiber cloth stash to keep our kitchen very tidy, if I do say so.

My husband has been using the Skoys to clean out his wok after he makes us yummy summer stir-fries. He just wets them and swipes a few times and then tosses the cloth in the laundry pile. (I don't put these in the dryer. They air-dry nicely.) The trick is to wet these under the faucet, ring them out, and then clean whatever you've just spilled (like breakfast smoothie).

I am enjoying the bright colors (you can order them in a pack of just white if you prefer) in my kitchen this summer, and they've got a big daisy on them too... more summery cheer. I suppose how you'll feel about that depends on how you feel about floral print.

You can put these in your dishwasher, which is cool :) I need to start doing that, although the washing on cool is also fine. (More tips here.)

I haven't tried these outside the kitchen yet, but after they get a bit worn I may give them a shot in the bathroom.
More weapons in my effort to stop buying paper towels, which I have no room to store!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Trader Joe's Room Spray: Coriander and Bergamot

My bathroom occasionally smells less than fresh, as I'm sure yours does. I've actually avoided (even eco-friendly) room sprays for the most part, but Trader Joe's has a way of talking me into things I wouldn't otherwise consider!

Last time I was there, I nabbed a bottle of their essential oil-based coriander/bergamot "Next to Godliness" room spray and I'm really enjoying the scent. I've had the urge to spray it on myself a few times. Never felt that way about Lysol spray, that's for sure. Now granted, I could make this stuff myself with the essential oils in question ($17 for coriander and $13 for bergamot; I already have the bergamot.) and some water, and I may try that. But I have to credit TJs for selling this stuff cheaply and giving me the idea for the scent combination (and for making it non-aerosol.) The scent could linger a bit more, but it seems to mask stinky bathroom aromas nicely, at least temporarily.

Depending on how much air freshener spray you go through and whether you'd use the essential oils for anything else, you might be saving money by buying the TJs version.

Most essential oils have directions on the packaging for how much (distilled) water to combine with EOs to make a room spray or linen spray. My favorite linen spray "recipe" = 18 drops of oil for every 1 oz water combined in a spray bottle.
(Aura Cacia also sells prepackaged EO blends for those of you who don't have a full medicine cabinet of oils like I do.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

South of France hand soap

I'm biased against bad packaging. I know... it means I probably bypass good products and spend more on cleaning products overall, but as some of you know, I'm an ex-design professor. So when I told my husband he could pick out our hand soap and he returned with a brand called "South of France" whose label design I wasn't overly fond of, I kind of assumed it couldn't be that great. It looked so "generic drugstore brand"!
The texture though, was totally different from any hand soap I've tried before. It's creamier somehow, and a lot more moisturizing. I really like it! The "green tea" scent doesn't smell like actual green tea to me (as usual), but it's quite fresh and herby.

Apparently this hand soap is "kettle cooked in small batches using a traditional recipe from Marseille". Well, that's kind of cool. The company makes bar soaps too. It contains essential oils and no SLS. Judging from the reviews floating around online, people either love it or hate it.

And, to combat purchasing for aesthetic reasons, I found a great site the other day: debranded home. They encourage you to make your own personal care products, and/or to purchase in larger quantities and refill plain jars. We do this! We have lovely recycled glass soap dispensers that we refill with hand soap. It's a fun site.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Seventh Generation "Green Mandarin and Leaf" Shower Spray

I'd been using Seventh Generation's Citrus Shower Spray as my daily cleaning spray, but wasn't that fond of the scent. Rather than smelling bright and orangey to me it always smelled a little, um, vomitous. Anyway, I was relieved by the replacement of the citrus with "green mandarin and leaf" scent. The leaf definitely comes through more strongly, so the product has a green, almost biting scent. I actually don't think I'm a fan, because there's a medicinal tone to the scent that bothers me. Scent preference is so subjective I'd encourage you to try it anyway. I might be imagining the medicinal part.

I was talking to someone about this blog the other day (boy do people think I'm a nerd when they hear about it!) and I mentioned I really like SG products. She said she'd never had any success with them, and I mentioned the shower cleaner specifically. "Ugh," she said "I especially don't like the shower cleaner."

In retrospect I wish I'd asked her some followup questions.
1. Do you use this stuff as a daily shower spray, not just once in a while? For it to work you must spray it every time you shower (which is the point of "daily shower sprays" I probably don't need to add).

2. What kind of shower do you have?
I have a glass-doored stall shower (three panels of glass, two of tile), and I can't vouch for how well this would work on a tile-only shower.

I'm sure product performance is completely contingent on things like the kinds of personal care products you use in the shower, water hardness, etc. I also use a squeegee on my shower walls when I am done in there, and I'm sure that helps a ton!
I feel like this stuff does the best job of any shower spray I've ever used, earth-friendly or toxic, but I'm always on the prowl for a new and better product.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Biokleen Bac-Out (and Mrs. Meyer's Rhubarb)

Phew, I finally got around to buying a bottle of Biokleen's "Bac-Out", a liquid that promises to remove the stank and stains from a variety of places. I bought it to spray into my toilet, my trashcan, and to pour down my garbage disposal.

(Re: the last: lime and lemon rinds do the trick nicely, but I don't eat many citrus fruits so we don't have them in the house often. Just put 'em down the disposal and grind away.)

The bottle I bought didn't come with a spray nozzle, but thanks to the collection of empties I keep around for making my own cleaning products, I had a spare. I immediately tackled the toilet. I clean my toilet with a combination of a homemade tea-tree concoction, eco-friendly bleach, Mrs. Meyer's wipes, and Bio-Pac toilet tabs. My toilet is a huge stink problem, and has been since we moved in. It's a low-flow model, and I don't think the bowl gets rinsed enough between flushes. Or the toilet seat needs replacing. Either way, ew.

So I cleaned the bowl and then sprayed he Bac-Out all around the inside. Then I hit the other toilet, and then my garbage disposal. This stuff smells -amazing-. It's tangy lime bliss (I adore Biokleen's products for their scents alone.) Anyway, I am finding as I type this that I can't remember if the toilets still smell. This must be a good sign, but I'm going to go investigate for you, blog reader. WOAH. Ok, they smell. Hmph. I'm going to keep trying with the Bac-Out though, so I'll update this if it starts working on my toilet reek. In the meantime, this stuff is good for laundry and carpet stains as well.

I got a chance to smell the Mrs. Meyer's Spring Rhubarb cleaning kit in Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I think I'm sold. It's sweet and tangy, and the perfect kit for spring/summer, I'm thinking. Of course, I'm still using the gingerbread kit I bought during Christmas of 2006. At least you know it's a good value! Anyway, I think I'll have to snag one.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mrs Meyer's Wipes in Baby Blossom

I think I am moving away from using disposable wipes, even in the bathroom, but I've really loved them in the past. Mrs Meyer's are my favorite, as they don't leave too much soapy residue behind (thus trapping more dirt, ultimately). I ordered their new Baby Blossom wipes, even though I don't have any babies hanging around in my apartment. The scent sounded great for spring cleaning: "spring wildflowers, butterfly violets & honeysuckle with a teeny bit of apple, lemon & mint".

Okay, so my nose can't really identify even half of those notes when I'm cleaning, but I do smell a sweet floral. Not bad. It doesn't beat the lavender or lemon-verbena scent for me, but it's pleasant. (Still waiting to try that Basil!) Mrs. M's site claims this line of products is especially safe for use around small children. Also nice for me, as I have sensitive skin. ;)

My bathroom, particularly around my toilet, is now actually clean thanks to these. My absence from this blog has been indicative of a workload that's kept me from cleaning as thoroughly as usual too.

I just got Bon Ami powder yesterday so I'll be testing that soon too.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Method, Bi-o-kleen, etc.

Hello! My apologies for being absent so long, my fellow green-cleaning fans. School has been a bit crazy. I have made the time to eyeball Method's new products and packaging design though! (Check out their great new website!) They launched kids' products and more bathroom cleaning goodies (I want to try "Le Scrub!) I am curious to know if any of you have tried them, and if so, what you think! This is my favorite new page on their website. What droolworthy design!

I like that they have hand soap refills now (good for me, as I have glass soap dispensers I just pour soap into and that'll be cheaper and more eco-friendly). Alas, the magic self-foaming soap won't work in my dispenser. (Their having hand soap in "eucalyptus mint" now makes up for it... although their soap tends not to be super moisturizing. I'll sneak in here that I like EO's hand soap better than method's, and EO's comes in gallon jug refills!)

Right now I also want to try Biokleen's "Bac-Out" (scroll down on their site a bit). It can be sprayed on surfaces or poured. Apparently you can use it to take odors out of your garbage disposal, kitchen trash, and toilet bowl, among its myriad functions. I have odors in all three consistently despite my rabid cleaning, so I need some anti-stank remover. Biokleen's products have been very effective so far. I have hope for the Bac-Out!

Monday, March 31, 2008

How do you clean your ceiling fans?

This weekend I was trying to dust my fan using vacuum cleaner extensions and a stepladder. It didn't go very well, as I couldn't seem to get around the top of the fan blades easily. Dust was also flying around like crazy and I was chasing it with my vacuum hose. I can't seem to reach using just my arms, either.

How do you clean your ceiling fans, if you have one? Obviously ceiling height plays a role. Casabella makes a ceiling fan duster that can be used to dust any high surface. I only have one fan at the moment, and not much storage space, so it feels a little decadent.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Citradish Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

Citradish (or "Citra-dish") is my newest experiment with dishwashing powders. I tend to have problems with my dishwasher leaving powdery bits inside my drinking cups, but the box claims that the product (Valencia Orange version) incorporates a rinse aid so I thought... hmmm maybe somehow it'll help rinse off the residue.[1] It also advertises itself as cruelty free, vegan, chlorine bleach free, and made with essential oils. (There's more on the side of the box, but I don't want you to doze on me.)

This is another case of "they must have updated their packaging but not their website". My box is a bright orange recycled paper number with a big juicy orange on the front, unlike the rather unaesthetic former packaging job they have on the www. (See image.)

As far as performance, I have no complaints at all. This stuff works perfectly, as well as my Biokleen powdered detergent. It leaves my dishes and cups shiny, and doesn't leave behind any sort of odor (I love scented products, as you know, but dishwasher detergent doesn't need to smell unless it's part of the functionality... I'm not going to stand around huffing my dishwasher cups.) The box claims you ought to fill both cups in your dishwasher, but I can actually get away with filling one cup only half and get the same results. Nothing stuck to my dishes, and everything came out with a nice shine. (The test is always the dog food bowls.)

The super test was the enchilada spatula and plates from last night. These products always brag that they can remove "baked-on food". Well, it actually did. I'd buy again, particularly if my local natural foods shop doesn't start stocking more varieties of dish detergent ;)

1. My logic, it is flawless!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Method Repackages Omop (And Cloths)

We were just in Target buying a suitcase (all three of ours having been stolen from the storage unit in our building), and of course I had to stop by the cleaning isle. I had read Re-nest's post on the Method aroma pill (which I mentioned in a previous post) and wanted to sniff one in person.

I noticed that they'd repackaged the omop compostable dry cloths and the omops themselves in a recycled cardboard box, to replace the plastic boxes they'd been using! (The packaging looks great- kudos to the designer.) Ironically, they haven't updated the photos on their website, but they did mention the package redesign in their blog.

I also bought one of the glass/mirror microfiber cloths because I am sick of my linty old ones and would like wiping my glass table and mirrors to go back to being an easy chore. I'm going to test out the cloth and see if I want to buy another one or try the Casabella version. (Casabella = 2 for 12.99 vs. Method 1 for 5.00. So far it feels pretty good.

They only had one aroma pill, but I did take a whiff of some new scents for the aroma ring- 'beach sage', fig, and some others I can't recall- which also aren't on the website. ?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mrs Meyer's Spring Cleaning Kit

Woo woo! This year instead of their honeysuckle scented spring cleaning kit, Mrs Meyer's has released a Rhubarb scented line. Now, I actually don't think I know what Rhubarb smells like off the top of my head (sweet?), but I like Mrs. Meyer's products and the offerings in the four-pack look good:

All Purpose Cleaner, 8oz
Countertop Spray, 8oz
Window Spray, 8oz
Liquid Dish Soap 8oz

Seems like a little aromatherapy might just make those chores more bearable as the weather warms up. I hope to be able to open the windows and fill my home with fresh air and good smells pretty soon. I just got over being sick and it feels a little stuffy in here.

The only thing I think will wind up languishing in my home is the All Purpose Cleaner. I never seem to get around to using it, because it winds up being best for big cleanings (Dilute 1/4 cup in 1 gallon of water), and I clean in little spurts. I love Mrs. Meyer's surface wipes. Hm, they also have window wipes.

Ooh, I should add that they have products in Basil now! I'm definitely going to have to try that one. They also now have Baby Blossom but I'm not sold on that one yet... I'll have to sniff it in the store.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Whole Foods' New Cleaning Line

Last time I was in Whole Foods (a few weeks ago, and I already have to go back because I'm out of vitamins. Grr!) I noticed that their internal brand, "365" now includes a line of cleaning products! They had what you'd expect- all-purpose spray, bathroom cleaner, mildew spray. The packaging was minimal with clear bottles, and came in a few different scents (I recall lavender?)

Oddly, I don't see anything about the cleaning products online. I wonder if they're testing them locally before officially announcing them. Are they at your Whole Foods?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Naturally Clean products

I noticed a new (to me) line of products in my local natural foods store and in Whole Foods. They go by the name "Naturally Clean" and they've got some intriguing products. The stain eraser promises to erase all sorts of gruesome stains from clothing. I admit it, I got excited thinking it was a safe version of the "Mr. Clean Magic Eraser". I wish someone would make a green version of -that- somehow.

Anyway, the mildew spray is calling my name, as I've started to get allergies in my shower and that means mildew's lurking. The floor cleaner looks pretty good (for my hardwood I just use a tiny bit of water and a tiny bit of vinegar though. Longterm readers know of my love for my Casabella Magnet Mop.)

When I need a new kitchen spray I'll try the kitchen product as well. I wonder if these products will be any different from my standbys. Most of their items claim to work with vegetable enzymes (plus SLS/SLES, our friend "coconut oil surfactant") What do you think?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Method Eucalyptus Mint Flushable Wipes

I was surprised a couple of weeks ago to find Method products at my nearby Whole Foods! Until recently, Whole Foods seemed to take the attitude that Method wasn't natural enough to stock. This particular store's move to carry Method came at a good time; I had just run out of bathroom wipes and was despairing of finding anything at Whole Foods (my closest one stocks Mrs Meyers products in general, but not the disposable wipes.)

I don't know what it is but I seem to keep gravitating towards Method's Eucalyptus Mint Flushable Wipes. In the past I've used them and lamented how soapy they are. They seem to leave a bit of a film on everything. I have to use a really light touch when wiping with them, or I wind up having to go over the area I've just swiped with water. Still, I love that Eucalyptus Mint smell.

So I bought a new pack despite my memories of soapiness, and basically reaffirmed my opinion. I just need to remember not to re-buy these next time; they're just too soggy. There's also something about the way they're seated in my resealable pack that's a bit difficult as well. I pull on the topmost cloth and wind up in a tug of war, finally extracting about 20 sheets. I can never seem to get them back into the pack the way they were either.

Sure, they're flushable, but I'd rather drop them in my trash bin given the chance. I don't want to flush my toilet more than I need to. I think I've made a good environmental calculation there . Sometimes it's a wee hard to tell.

I'm a big fan of disposable wipes for bathroom surfaces (except the mirrors. Microfiber all the way there.) I can clean in little spurts as I see messes appear and avoid dealing with a big job / gross bathroom.

I think in order to get my EM scent fix I may try the new aroma pill instead. It comes in gingerbread spice, sweet water, vanilla apple, grapefruit pear, and, of course, eucalyptus mint.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Twist Loofah Sponge

Ah, the Twist Loofah Sponge. I've actually had a couple of these for months, but I wanted to really decide what I thought before posting about it. Essentially, if you're familiar with loofahs and scrubby sponges you'll get the concept pretty quickly. I've never seen any other product that combines the two though.

I was able to give this a pretty difficult test - our stove seems to build up some serious crust. I scrub as hard as I can, even employing baking soda, and sometimes I can't get the crud off. This sponge actually did a better job than most "heavy duty scrubbers" on this sort of task. I also used a separate one to scrub my bathroom and it made quick work of any grime in there too.

My only real complaint is that I am not a big fan of loofahs in general because they don't actually absorb water well (does anyone know what I mea by this?) They don't soften and occasionally the way they don't bend makes them a bit clunky.

Anyway, of all the Twist sponges, this is my favorite.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Seventh Generation Blue Eucalyptus & Lavender Laundry Detergent

I have said it before, but I absolutely love the new Seventh Generation scents. That blue eucalyptus is really yummy. It makes me feel like my laundry is getting cleaner somehow, which is, I guess, the point. And lavender, mmm I am almost always a fan of lavender. I'd say the lavender definitely takes a backseat in this scent combination, however.

Of course, it can smell like whatever it wants but if it doesn't work? Not going to buy. This is Seventh Gen. we're talking about though. I haven't disliked any of their products yet, functionally speaking. I used to think their scents were boring, but they've updated them to compete with the other non-toxic companies.
Anyway, this stuff really does do a good job on my laundry. I don't have great laundry machines. Actually mine are compact stacked models intended for small apartments. SG has taken care of dog pee and poo messes as well as stains on towels, etc. No complaints, yet. I can't think of anything it's doing wrong or any way in which it is inferior to commercial toxic detergents. The sign of a good laundry detergent is, for me, if I don't have to re-wash anything or really, think more about laundry than necessary.

I guess that makes for a rather boring review :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Clorox's Eco-friendly cleaning line

Ok, so I'd be a bad green blogger if I didn't mention that Clorox (who recently bought Burts Bees) has released a line of green cleaning products. They're called "Green Works" and the company brags that unlike other eco cleaning products, they work! (Er, if you go through this blog I haven't found many products that don't work fairly well. I'm still marveling over how clean my shower is if I spray it with Seventh Gen every time I use it.)

They have a separate website for the new products here. There is a section specifically and seriously devoted to defining what they mean by their terms "natural" etc, which I appreciate. I was laughing at the description under the bathroom cleaner of, once again, "coconut based cleaning agent". I've mentioned many a time how funny I find it that cleaning companies tiptoe around admitting to using "SLS" and "SLES" for foaming power, because of a sense that these ingredients have been linked to skin irritation and even cancer (provable or not, there is a green consumer bias against these ingredients as well as parabens, etc.)

I don't know. I like lemon essential oil (used in most of these), but I'm not swayed. These're not as cool sounding as some of the products I already use. Plus, Clorox is not generally a company I want to support. Aside from making generally non-eco friendly products, they still test on animals!
I'd rather people buy these than most mainstream cleaning products, but I'd also rather people support some of the brands linked to the right in this blog than Clorox.

I learned about this because Natural Health magazine gave the line a mention in their last issue.

Wipex Natural Wipes

I recently spotted a new (to me) brand of cleaning product in the natural section of "Wipex" cleaning wipes (link to company site). These claim to be made only with ingredients like vinegar and essential oils. Sure, you could make such a thing yourself using an old t-shirt and the same ingredients, but I was curious. I ordered the "floral rosemary" all-purpose wipes. Actually, I ordered them twice because the first time the canister arrived broken and I wound up with a free replacement.

Anyway, I use these in my bathroom on every surface you can imagine. They're not overly damp or soapy and they're very mild in scent (this may or may not be something you appreciate). They're a much better alternative to things like Clorox or Lysol wipes, and come in a canister rather than a packet like the Mrs. Meyers do. Wipex wipes also are available in Rosemary/Vinegar floor wipes (I use a weak vinegar solution spray to clean up my dog Mei's floor pees) Lavender/Vinegar glass wipes, and furniture wipes with orange oil.

I had trouble tracking down any real info on this product, except that it's made in Israel and doesn't test on animals.

I scrutinized the ingredients on these products and they look pretty good. It just comes down to how you feel about disposable wipes.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oooh, new mop head

You know you're a cleaning nerd when this sort of thing excites you. My trusty Casabella Flex-Neck Scrubber, which I use to scrub my shower stall (glass walls, tile walls, and plastic floor) and my tub (plastic?) now has a new replacement head available for it. The heads last forever, and the sponge can be removed to let it dry out.

Anyway, the new head is called the "TNT" head because it's extra scrubby and claims "The abrasive synthetic fibers work well on mildew."

Can I hear an "Ooooooh!" ;) ?

$14.99 for a two-pack. I like to get them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Whole Foods.

Mrs Meyer's Surface Wipes

I am still using up my gingerbread Mrs Meyer's products from last Christmas (I overstocked), but if you haven't tried them they're on 50% off clearance on Mrs Meyer's site!

Anyway, this is about the surface wipes, which sadly are no longer stocked by my Whole Foods. I guess they're trying to encourage people not to use disposable wipes, which is admirable. For me, they're a bathroom product. I know I could simply clean with water and microfiber cloths in the b-room but my current microfiber cloths seem to leave more lint and dirt behind than they pick up. That's a problem for another entry. They might be ready to be replaced. :)

Anyway, while I have often found Method's disposable wipes to be too soapy, Mrs Meyer's have just the right amount of cleaning-product-to-wipe ratio. They work equally well on my laminate bathroom countertops and the toilet seat. I've been known to wipe up messes on the floor with them as well. The wipes come in Lemon Verbena (I like this one), Geranium (so-so) and Lavender (when I am going through a lavender phase). Alas, the seasonal gingerbread and honeysuckle offerings haven't made it to disposable wipe form.

I know someone with a young kid who used to keep these in the glove compartment of her car. She used them to clean all sorts of car messes up, because they don't leave sticky residue behind.

I think of disposable wipes as the lazy-person's cleaning product, and I am definitely inclined to be lazy when I clean if I can.

These are made with essential oils, but I don't know if they're biodegradable like Method's claim to be. They aren't flushable like the Method bathroom wipes, but I really don't mind. Aprox. $4.99 for 24 in a resealable pack that really does keep them moist.