Many people wonder if eco-friendly cleaners are as effective as their standard chemical counterparts. In my experience, yes.
Growing up, my mother always used typical household cleaners. Lemon scented dust spray in an aerosol can, bright blue glass cleaner, floral scented carpet powder, and scrubbing cleanser with bleach in the toilets, were standard for our Saturday morning chores. In college when I lived in the dorm, I did not clean with any sort of product. Honestly, nothing got dirty under the mounds of clothes my roommate and I had strewn about on the floor.
Once I moved into my first place with my future husband, I was suddenly in charge of buying household products. I had never had that responsibility before. For the first year, I bought what was familiar to me, what my Mom used when I was growing up. Honestly, there wasn't much else to choose from. Green wasn't "in" yet. I noticed that I had started to become lightheaded when cleaning the bathroom. Then I realized that we didn't have a window as I did in my childhood home. I got around this by spraying the cleaners, leaving the room for a while and going back once the smell had faded.
But then, we had a little one -- a furry baby that we called Tyson. After we brought him home, we spoiled him rotten. He was a sweet puppy with a love of chewing on table legs. I did a quick search online and found that plain old vinegar would stop him from chewing on our furniture. In my search I came across a great website about raising a dog without harsh chemicals.
I morphed into an overprotective mama right away. I did away with the rock salt we had once used to keep our walkways ice free, I stopped using the store bought cleaners and powders that promised to "clean" my home by using toxins. I found simple recipes online that used vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and borax. I did this for quite a while. These cleaners really worked, but I wanted something to really cut the grease in the kitchen or something to offer a great smell when I was done cleaning.
A few months later, I went to a nearby concert (Arlo Guthrie, and yes I am only 27 years old. My father and his siblings LOVE him) with my extended family and they were giving out samples of this environmentally friendly all purpose cleaner, Sun and Earth. The next morning was a Saturday, my typical cleaning day, so I went to town with the Sun and Earth All Purpose Spray Cleaner. And I was in love. The smell of this cleaner is AMAZING. It smells like oranges exploded in your kitchen, but instead of a messy orange covered kitchen, you have a sweet smelling, grease free, clean kitchen. Even the most tree-hugging person on Earth can use this cleaner. Sun and Earth does not test on animals, it is a vegan product, gluten-free, soy-free, casein-free, no tree nuts, and no peanuts. And on top of its amazing performance, incredible smell, natural and Earth-loving ingredients, it is reasonably priced. Yup, it costs exactly the same as the chemical cleaners at my grocery store. Actually, a little less than the top name brand all purpose cleaners.
Sun and Earth has a full line of cleaning products. They offer laundry detergent, stain remover, biodegradable dryer sheets, fabric softener, floor cleaner, glass cleaner, all purpose cleaner, dish soap, dishwasher detergent packs, handsoap, and all the reusable cleaning mops, cloths, and bags that you could ever need. You can order direct from their site if needed, but most of the stores I have been in over the past year carry Sun and Earth products.
Now I have to admit that I have bought 7th Generation and other natural cleaning products when I saw a good deal, but I keep going back to Sun and Earth products. I think that it is the smell that keeps bringing me back.. Even my 3 year old comments on how good it smells whenever I clean.
So take some time next time you shop to check out the natural cleaning products. There are so many on the market now that I am hoping that the mainstream brands will suddenly become the off brands. Only we can make this happen by using our purchasing power to show what we want stocked at our stores.