Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clorox Green Works Review

Before I had Avin I am ashamed to admit I gave no thought to the environment. I didn't recycle, I used any kind of cleaner I wanted, I planned to use disposable diapers. My husband frequently referred to me as "The Bleach Queen". Looking back now I just cringe at how naive I was about what I was doing to our Earth and in turn Avin's future. My best friend was a little more aware than me and had start using Clorox Green Works products. When I finally saw the light and began my transition to being "green" I too switched to Clorox Green Works. I also began cloth diapering, recycling, and choosing earth friendly products. My transition has been a slow but steady one that grows each day as I educate myself more and more about the impact we have on the earth.

I have been using Clorox Green Works All Purpose cleaner ever since. As far as cleaning goes it has been great. It cuts through grease and grime on my stove in nothing flat. I use it all over the kitchen to clean up messes. However, the smell is so strong that once I've soaked the counters and stoves it actually hurts my nose to breath. This week I had Avin in his high chair in the kitchen as I cleaned and after spraying the kitchen down I got so concerned by the smell that I took him to the living room. That started me thinking about how "green" this product could really be if it effected my breathing that way, but I brushed off my concern because it is the ONLY "green" product available on the shelves in our rural area of Missouri.

Other than that moment of self-doubt, I was feeling pretty good about myself this week, especially when I realized we had only one bag of trash for the entire week but that the recycling bin was overflowing. Then I read a twitter post challenging people to actually read the labels on their "green" products. With sudden dread I marched into the kitchen and picked up my almost empty bottle of Clorox Green Works All Purpose Cleaner. I re-read the label on the front and it all sounded promising. I flipped the bottle over and read the actual ingrediants and suddenly felt sick to my stomach.

The list read:
Green Works® Natural All-Purpose Cleaner (99.93 percent natural): Filtered water, coconut-based cleaning agent (nonionic surfactant, alkyl polyglucoside), corn-based ethanol, glycerine, essential oils, biodegradable preservative, colorant

My first thought was corn-based ethanol? Isn't that the gas they use to run hybrid cars??? My second thought was...oh my goodness I've been pouring gas on Avin's high chair tray to clean it and then feeding him off of it!?! I'm no chemist so maybe there is some difference in the two products but they are close enough for me to be freaking out. Never one to leave well enough alone I went to the Clorox site to find out what they had to say about their Green Works products. On the Green Works FAQ page I found the following question and answer:

Q. How is Corn-Based Ethanol used in Green Works® Natural Cleaners (not cars)?
A. Much has been said and written about corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel source. However, did you know it is also widely used in green cleaning products as a natural, safe and effective alternative to petrochemicals?

Corn-based ethanol is a plant-based alcohol produced from the fermentation of cornstarch. It enables Green Works® to dry quickly without streaks. Interestingly enough, ethanol fermentation is also responsible for the rising of bread dough and the production of ethanol in alcoholic beverages!

As with all ingredients in Green Works® products, our scientists are always looking for more natural alternatives and will use them when they become available.

The FAQ list goes on to question other ingrediants and products in the line. I highly recommend you check it out Green Works FAQ because offers answers for a lot of common questions involving cleaning chemicals. While I appreciate the apparent "full disclosure" of chemicals and their attempt to rationalize their use I just can't stand behind this product anymore. Over and over I read things that were very careful to claim "safer" not safe. I don't know about you, but I want a product that is SAFE. If what Clorox says is true and you cannot get all natural shelf sustainable products then I guess I'll have to make my own.

I'm officially challenging you to go pick up all the chemicals in your house you think are "green" and really read the labels. If you can't pronounce it or you can run your car with it then maybe you need to rethink using it. I know I did! Please comment with your homemade cleaning formulas or your "green" cleaning solutions!


TKief said...

Here is a recipe for Homemade Softscrub

1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup liquid dish detergent
1/8 cup – 1/4 cup vinegar

• Mix the baking soda and dish detergent first, then add the vinegar. Adjust the baking soda or vinegar amounts until you have the consistency you like working with.


• Just use whatever’s on sale or a generic brand of dish detergent and you’ve got yourself some super cheap, yet very effective, homemade softscrub!

• Use the amount of vinegar that gives you the consistency of softscrub that you prefer. Vinegar’s a great grime buster–so don’t be shy with it.

• If you just want to do some spot cleaning and don’t need a large amount of softscrub, give the spot a light squirt of dish detergent, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on top and scrub. You won’t need to bother with the vinegar for small spots like this.

• Try heating the vinegar in the microwave first before mixing it in with the other ingredients. You don’t want it super hot, but a warm temperature that’s comfortable to work with.

Try it, it is easy to make, and safe to use.

Heidi Maxwell said...

I have heard wonderful things about Biokleen products. Here is a link to their home page. I fully intend to try their All Purpose cleaner when my own bottle of Greenworks runs out.

GirlHouse said...

I use this solution that was featured on the Dr. Oz show. It works great and is much cheaper than the green products in the store.

Mix together

1 tbsp of Borax powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket)

3 tbsps of white vinegar

2 cups of water

1 tablespoon of dish soap

1 drop of essential oil such as peppermint for fragrance (optional)

Pour it into a spray bottle you bought at the hardware store, give it a shake, and you are ready to clean. For windows, use white vinegar wiped down with newspapers, and to disinfect toys and other kids’ products fill a spray bottle with non-chlorine bleach (3% hydrogen peroxide) and wipe with a paper towel.