In the last post we looked at how to choose the best, safest and most eco-friendly store-bought cleaners. With this in mind, I thought I’d share my top picks for store-bought green cleaners.
I like homemade green cleaners best, but as I noted in the previous post, it’s hard to get everyone in my house on board with homemade. There’s a slight learning curve. You have to know stuff, like what baking soda is good for, how to use salt to clean and how to mix up the proper amount of natural soap vs. H2O. If we only kept homemade cleaning supplies in the house, it would be hard for me to get help cleaning. Basically, until I can get everyone else up to speed, we do buy some green cleaners.
Following are my favorite green cleaners…
Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Emerald Cypress & Fir Scent – this toilet bowl cleaner works great (read my review). In fact, I think it’s better than homemade toilet bowl cleaner – which is rare for me. It smells nice and leaves the toilet very clean.
Sometimes, if it’s on sale, we’ve bought Mrs Meyers Clean Day Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Basil) too. I like the scent of this cleaner, but I don’t think it works as well as 7th gen. It’s a decent second place choice though.
For general, every-day cleaning my favorite store-bought product is Earth Friendly Products Parsley Plus Cleaner. This smells AMAZING and works like a charm. Plus, I really like Earth Friendly Products in general. It’s a little pricey, but smells so great, it’s worth it.
When I don’t want to splurge I’ll buy Earth Friendly Products Orange Plus Concentrated All Purpose Household Cleaner, which costs less and makes TONS of bottles. In fact, I think the last time I bought this we got ten or so bottles of cleaner out of it. It’s concentrated, so you have to mix it yourself, but it gets everything clean, from sinks to counters to cupboards to grease stains and even glass. It’s one of my new favorite store-bought green cleaners.
I also will use plain old soap for cleaning. For instance, you can buy a huge bulk container of Dr. Bronner’s, add some to a spray bottle with water and use it to clean. Plus, you can refill reusable hand soap pumps with it, wash dishes and even, in a pinch, use it for laundry.
For laundry, Biokleen Citrus Laundry Powder is pretty much the only stuff I buy. It’s super inexpensive and works great. I only buy the powder though, as the liquid costs more. If you’re looking for a good liquid laundry soap try Vaska Laundry Detergent. Vaska works really, really well. The downside is it’s more expensive and hard to find. None of my local grocers carry it.
I never buy dryer sheets. I think they’re a waste of materials. My roommate likes them though, but he is willing to make do with either fabric softener or dryer sheets, not both, so I talked him into Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Fabric Softener, Lavender. This works well I guess if you like fabric softener – although honestly, I could do without. Still it does make your sheets smell excellent.
Washing dishes is relaxing for me, but the price of eco-friendly dish soap and dishwasher detergent is anything but. Most of the time it’s really expensive, and often greener dishwasher detergent works terrible. That said, you may have to shell out more cash for one that actually works. So far, the two best dishwasher detergents we’ve used are Seventh Generation Auto Dish Pacs (Free and Clear) and Ecover Automatic Dishwashing Tablets.
We’ve tried tons of dishwasher liquid detergents and had little luck – i.e. they seem to leave stuff dirty. Both of these choices above cost more, but aren’t toxic and do work, so although I think they’re a little over-packaged, they’re what I’d recommend.
As for hand washing dishes, I’m not too particular. Soap is soap in this case. I tend to buy the least expensive natural, non-toxic soap I can find for when we hand wash. Sometimes that’s Dr Bronners Magic Pure-Castile Soap Organic (bulk) in almond, because I like the almond scent and sometimes it’s Seventh Generation Dish Liquid. It all works fine.
I like to buy plain soap in bulk and refill reusable hand soap containers. That’s your greenest option. That said, if you’re looking for a store-bought version, we’ve tested and like the following:
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap – in lavender or basil.
- Earth Friendly Products Hand Soap
- Seventh Generation Hand Wash
I don’t buy silver cleaner, because I don’t clean silver. However, if you need a good silver cleaner I’ve tested out Earth Friendly Products Silver Polish and it works very well.
Because I have kids in the house, I sometimes like to use fabric refresher on the couch and chairs. Most conventional fabric refreshers are icky though and I haven’t found a homemade one (yet) that doesn’t stain fabric. The best green choice I’ve found is Earth Friendly Products Stain & Odor Remover – this smells nice and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Biokleen Bac-out Fresh Lemon-thyme works well, but costs more and you don’t get as much.
I never buy…
Oven cleaner, wood cleaner, floor-specific cleaner or glass cleaner. I’ve tried some natural store-bought versions of these products, when companies have sent them to me, but overall, you don’t need them. I use baking soda, salt or soap and water to clean the oven. I use that orange cleaner above to clean glass and wood.
As for floors I just use steamy hot water because I have a Shark 2-in-1 Vac-then-Steam. We don’t use carpet cleaner, we just vacuum regularly and use soap for spot treating, plus have the carpets cleaned annually.
Brands to watch for
If you just want to check out brands, and see their product line, here’s some help…
- Earth Friendly Products – My favorite green brand for household cleaners. Fairly inexpensive in my opinion, but harder to find at local grocers.
- Seventh Generation – Has pros and cons along with a decent line of cleaners. Plus, you can find them everywhere and usually on sale. Read my company review.
- Biokleen – Best company for greener, inexpensive laundry products. I like their household cleaners too, but rarely buy them as most come with more expensive price tags.
- Ecover – This company is super hit or miss at my local stores. You may find their products, but you’re just as likely not to. They’re comparable price-wise, but I tend to go with other companies first.
- Mrs. Meyers – I like their products, and they’re easy to find at almost all stores, but they’re very expensive. Plus, to be honest, while I’ve reviewed individual products, I haven’t done a full review of their company, so I can’t say how green they are.
- Method – This is another company I need to do a full review of. I’m not sure how green (or not) they are. I do know that they seem to be only at select store and only select products are available. I don’t shop at places that carry much of them, so I don’t use them, but I have heard decent things about them. They may be worth checking out.
What are your favorite store-bought cleaners?