I’ve recently been trying to almost exclusively use green products in both my home and my cleaning business. I’m happy to report that for the most part green cleaners work as well as chemical cleaners. However, bleach is still the incomparable winner in the removal of tough toilet and tub stains as well as mildew. So except for houses that exclusively want green cleaners, I still use Comet and Clorox Clean-Up when needed, but not liberally like before.
I have exclusively switched to green cleaners for all glass, mirrors, and windows. Besides vinegar water which unfortuneatly smells like vinegar, I have tried four green cleaners Seventh Generation Free and Clear, Method Glass and Surface Cleaner, Bio Green Clean and Green Works Glass and Surface Cleaner.
Seventh Generation Free and Clear is probably my favorite, because it is reliable, fairly inexpensive, easy to find in most stores, and works well. One of my weird complaints from a professional cleaner perspective is how odd some green cleaners smell. I personally love essential oils, but they are often strong and much different than what many people are used to smelling. So I’m comfortable with using Seventh Generation Free and Clear in all of the homes that I clean. On the website, it states that it works on stainless steel. This is not really true, like all other green cleaners and most chemical cleaners unless designed specifically for stainless steel, it streaks especially on larger areas such as the refrigerator. It will work okay for touch ups between getting out the chemical laden stainless steel cleaner. It does work great on windows and mirrors.
Method Glass and Surface Cleaner also works very well, but it is more expensive than the other green cleaners. I use it in my own home, because it is fun. Why is it fun? It smells like Mint. When you use it with Method’s Eucalyptus and Mint Bathroom Cleaner it is heavenly but also quite strong. I do not use this combination in other people’s homes without express permission. I have used the occasional Method Cleaner in other people’s homes, but their products have unique scents like Almond, Grapefruit, Lavender, etc. making them repulsive to some people. Method is my favorite in my home, because I love unique smells, because it helps keep me motivated to clean my own home. I do not use it commercially due to expense and strong scents.
Bio Green Clean has a hard to describe scent. I think it smells very lightly of grass, but there is no detectable odor when used throughout a home. It is quite expensive. My poor husband was completely convince by Ed Schultz of its effectiveness. I hesitated to try it due to expense. Overall, it works as good as any other green multi-surface cleaner, but does seem to streak more.
I ordered a quart for $36.95 from their website. According to their own website, one quart will make 1 to 4 gallons of cleaner depending upon the strength that it is mixed. I have a 3:1 mix that I’ve used on surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens. It does a good job cleaning, but I don’t think that it does as good a job as its hype states. However, I think it leaves streaks that are hard to remove on many surfaces. I am careful not to spray it on any glass shower or tub surfaces or there is a streaky film. When using it on mirrors, I’ve found that the only way to prevent streaks, is to use a teeny bit with a lot of water a ratio of about 20:1 in a spray bottle. Since I have to try so hard to keep it from streaking, I do not ever use it on mirrors.
Green Works Glass and Surface Cleaner is readily available at most grocery stores. I think it has a nice clean citrous-y smell. It works great and doesn’t leave streaks. It is also cheaper than many other green cleaners and is often on sale for less than $2.99 per bottle. Except for my client that has allergies to almost all scents, I am considering buying it again in the future when my Seventh Generation Free and Clear runs out, mostly due to cost. I haven’t had any problems with it, however, some people have left reviews that it streaks.
Chemical cleaners are often vaguely labelled and seem fairly safe an example of this is Windex Original Glass Cleaner which has been around for years and many people including myself have trusted it. They did redo their formula from the original to be less toxic, but it still contains the following ingredients:
- Water (Water)
- Isopropyl Alcohol (Carrier)
- 2-Hexoxyethanol (Cleaning Agent)
- Videt EGM (Cleaning Agent)
- Sodium C14-17 Sec-Alkyl Sulfonate (Wetting Agent)
- Ammonium Hydroxide (Cleaning Agent)
- Propylene Glycol (Carrier)
- Mirapol® Surf S-210 (Cleaning Agent)
- Fragrance from SC Johnson Fragrance Palette(Fragrance)
- Liquitint® Sky Blue Dye
According to Pub Chem
2-Hexoxyethanol “…should be handled with great care to prevent eye contact and to avoid skin contact because of its toxicity by absorption. Until more is known it would seem wise also to avoid repeated exposure to its vapors.”
Ammonium hydroxide “Toxic by all routes(ie, inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact), exprosure to this colorless, intensely pungent-smelling liquid may occur from its use in fertilizers, dyes, explosives, plastics, and cleansing agents, fibers and resins. Effects from exposure may include extreme irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes, contact burns to the skin and eyes, and life-threatening pulmonary edema.”
This is only a small example of two chemicals in something as simple and familiar as Windex. I wouldn’t have called myself an environmentalist before starting my research into green cleaning, but am realizing that an occasional streak is far less hazardous than exposing myself and others to unnecessary chemicals. So I continue my comparisons, research and changing to help myself, my family and my clients be healthier due to lack of exposure to strong chemicals.
Talk again soon, Nannette Ree