What to do when you’re totally fed up with questionable cleaners and cleaning guides

So, after recent shenanigans in the wonderful world of store-bought cleaning supplies, I’m pretty fed-up. And yes, I’m talking about the new EWG safe cleaners guide.

It’s wise to go non-toxic when it comes to cleaning but companies are making this impossible. As you know by now, EWG gave scathing scores to plenty of well-known green cleaning brands, making me, and just about everyone else question the safety of their favorite “safe” cleaning products. I’ve looked around and haven’t found any press releases from companies explaining what they’ll be doing to fix their low scores. It’s as if they don’t care about consumer questions.

That said, it’s not just companies I’m tired of. EWG isn’t in the clear in my opinion. Since the release of the list, EWG has followed up, posting the whys and hows of their cleaning product scores, which is nice, but still not entirely helpful to the basic consumer.

On their list, EWG singled out just a few green cleaning brands as “good” but failed to comment on some huge issues, like do said safe cleaners work and can the average family find and afford them.  For instance, I’ve used some of the cleaners EWG recommends and they suck. Some on their list are discontinued, only available at very specific locations or super expensive. This, in my opinion, is NOT a super useful consumer list. When the bulk of products you tell people to use are tough to find, expensive or don’t work, how is that useful?

I’m sick to death… 

  • All I want are some decent safe cleaners.
  • I want those cleaners to work. And by work I mean REALLY work.
  • I need to be able to locate and afford those cleaners.
Is that so hard?

My conclusion?

I’m gonna have to go back to homemade cleaners all the time. I actually used to make all my own homemade cleaners. I recently stopped because it’s hard to use homemade cleaners in some cases. For example…

  • I’m the only person at my house who knows how to mix up homemade cleaners.
  • I’m the only person at my house who knows how to use them.
  • It’s time consuming to a point.

Due to the above, I can do ALL the cleaning myself or I can answer 10 million questions every time someone else decides to clean. I hate both choices. My third choice is to buy “safe” store-bought cleaners and let people read the flipping labels. Frankly, that’s the easy choice.

But, since the third choice is apparently no longer an option, I’ll have to figure out how to make homemade cleaning a whole lot easier for everyone who is not me.

I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and I think it’s doable. I think you can make homemade cleaning easier for everyone involved, and not get stuck with the brunt of the cleaning yourself. I think you just need to be crafty. Coming up, I’ll have some posts about how to make homemade cleaning easier, how to make tons and tons of safe cleaners that actually work and more.

If you don’t want to wait, check out my Green Clean Your Home & Keep the Planet Healthier post for homemade cleaner ideas and cleaning recipes.

Image © Pierre brillot 

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  1. Peggy says

    When you search for Method products on the EWG guide, a box comes up that says they’re working with Method to review the score. In the past, Method was always open about their ingredients, but now that I look at their website again, it seems they want you to contact them for more info and they link you to a big general list of all of their ingredients. Interesting. I wonder if this has anything to do with their new AntiBac line.

    One reason I use Method is because it’s safer to use around pets than most cleaners out there. Plus, some essential oils like tea tree oil can be toxic to cats. I stopped using the vinegar, water combo with essential oil because of this, and because my husband complained incessantly about the vinegar smell. There’s so little tea tree oil in the homemade cleaners, it’s probably ok, but why take a chance on the animals getting into it? Plus, they love to walk on wet surfaces, then lick their paws.

    Anyway, I hope Method isn’t hiding anything, cause I really don’t want to search for new dishwasher tabs. And I also use their hand soap.

    Thanks for posting about the EWG list. I didn’t know it was out. I also use some 7G stuff, so I’ll check that out. Also curious what on earth they said about Green Works.

  2. Jennifer Chait says

    I tried the Method tabs, because you’re always raving about them, and I thought they worked really well. I know you know how it is with dishwasher soap – VERY few work. Thus far, I’ve tried a ton of the “eco” brands on the market and the only ones I think work awesome are the Method tabs and the 7th gen tabs. Both are expensive, although Method is cheaper, but not sold at any stores I go to, so I have to make a special trip to get some.

    The 7th gen did well on the EWG list, but not the Method ones. I’m a little peeved because I haven’t seen any press releases from any of these companies yet regarding their scores. Not eco-friendly products, or Method or 7th gen or Biokleen, among others.

    I’m with the hubs on this one. I like tea tree but HATE vinegar smells. No pets though, and last I checked Cedar wasn’t licking his hands after cleaning, so tea tree can work for us. I get why you wouldn’t use it though.

    You should contact Method for an interview. You’ve been loving on them for years so it seems fair they’d talk with you.

  3. Jennifer Chait says

    PS did you see SafeMama’s post on the guide – http://safemama.com/2012/09/19/my-opinion-on-the-ewgs-new-guide-to-cleaning-products-report/. She agreed that the scoring was a bit wacky and dived into researching how the scores were set up and found some weirdness. Also, I think it’s weird that EWG took Method scores down entirely for now – it makes it look like they didn’t do a great job scoring in the first place. If you are going to score stuff, at least stand by it.

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