In Sept 2012, EWG came up with a great new report on the toxicity of household cleaners. As usual it was shocking… the short version: you are poisoning yourself with all your household cleaners, including most of the green, the eco and the groovy ones.
Here is the link to EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning:
The report give ranks 2000 cleaning products from A (good) to F (nasty!).
The provide a list of “Top Products” which can be useful for quick shopping
However, upon visiting my local Whole Foods Market, I came to realise that even armed with the “Top Products” list, I could easily end up purchasing a nasty “F” ranking version of a product that looks almost identical to the clean “A” version I was looking for.
Let me illustrate the point with an example:
I had on my list to buy the clean, “A” rated detergent:
Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value 2x concentrated Laundry detergent, unscented [EWG review]
but this one was available on the shelves instead (“F” rated):
Whole Foods Market 2X concentrated laundry detergent with enzymes, unscented [EWG Review]
Now just to make my point, see the two product name side by side:
Whole Foods 365EverydayValue 2x concentrated Laundry detergent, unscented Whole Foods Market 2X concentrated laundry detergent with enzymes, unscented
And that’s just the “clean” brands. The law doesn’t require companies to list the ingredients in the cleaning products. The mainstream commercial stuff like resolve/spray and wash offers a dozen variation on the same product with different ingredients and almost identical labels. Moreover, since they are not required to divulge their ingredients, you never know what toxic soup you are really buying.
My next thought is: I will stick to “clean” brands instead of trying to find an individual clean product from a certain brand, I will pick a “clean” brand and will therefore avoid confusion when trying to buy a product.
Looking up the main “green” brands at Whole Foods brought up some interesting findings:
||Link to EWG review
|Biokleen||0||0||2||17||6||EWG review of Biokleen||Dirty Brand!|
|Ecover||1||7||4||13||0||EWG review of Ecover||All over the map – choose carefully!|
|BabyGanics||0||0||0||2||16||EWG review of BabyGanics||NASTY brand!|
|Simple Green||3||2||1||7||13||EWG review of Simple Green||Mostly dirty Choose product carefully if you must|
|Planet||0||0||0||2||2||EWG review of Planet||Nasty brand|
|Seventh Generation||8||3||4||14||2||EWG review of Seventh Generation||All over the map – choose carefully!|
|Whole Foods Market||3||4||1||0||3||EWG review of Whole Foods Market||All over the map – choose carefully!|
365 Everyday Value
|2||2||2||0||0||EWG review of
WF 365 Everyday Value
Only a very small subset of prod lineup was tested
|Whole Foods Market
|2||3||0||0||0||EWG review of WF green MISSION||Very clean
Don’t know if product line-up is vast or small.
Clean Day Products
|0||8||12||26||19||EWG review of Mrs. Meyer’s||Mostly DIRTY brand|
|Dr. Bronner’s||3||0||0||0||0||EWG review of Dr. Bronner’s||Only tested the liquid soap|
|Green Shield Organic||10||4||0||0||0||EWG review ofGreen Shield Organic||This is a CLEAN BRAND!|
NOTES on product review table:
- A lot of surprises with brands with a “green” marketing but dirty products.
- Whole Foods Market offers 3 product products lines:
- Whole Foods Market
- Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value – (some clean stuff. Pick very carefully)
- Whole Foods Market green MISSION (WFM “clean” label)
- Of course Dr Bronner’s liquid soap is divine (and clean!)…. too bad they only tested the liquid soap
- Green Shield Organics is my new favourite goto company for any type of cleaning product.
- Great clean products
- Great mission statement
- Checkout this cool review of the company (hint: created by a papa who wanted clean products for his family)
To facilitate my shopping and avoid accidentally purchasing a dirty look alike version a cleaning product, I have created a short pick list of cleaning products. It is mostly based on products available at my local Wholefoods and which should be available in your local “Eco Groovy” market.
My Green Clean Cleaner Pick List
- Try to purchase everything I can from Green Shield Organics (all their products are clean and I want to encourage them)
- If purchasing from another company, try to select an “A” or “B” rating product and make sure the company only offers one product of this type (to avoid purchasing a nasty look alike product).
- Dish soap (for hand washing dishes):
- Whole Foods Market liquid dish soap, unscented or mandarin ginger (only two “model” who both rank well.)
- Not the 365 every day model (ranks “C”)
- Dishwasher detergent:
- Green Shield Organic Squeez Automatic Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Lemongrass (only one model)
- Seventh Generation has a powder and a concentrated pacs that rank “A” the liquid stuff ranks “F”
- Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach, Free & Clear (only make one “model” so you can’t miss)
- Ecover (powder or liquid A/B ranking)
- Toilet cleaner:
- Green Shield Organic Toilet Bowl Cleaner (only one product)
- Seventh Generation Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Emerald Cypress & Fir (only one product)
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Geranium Toilet Bowl Cleaner (only one model)
- Glass cleaner:
- General purpose kitchen / bathroom / anywhere cleaner &/or degreaser (spray):
- Green Shield has a number of products (all A/B)
- Whole Foods Market green MISSION has 3 cleaners reviewed by EWG (A/B)
- Whole Foods Market Products has 3 gen purpose cleaners (A/B) reviewed by EWG
- All 6 Whole Foods were “clean” (general and Mission, none were of brand 635)
- And of course, there’s always good ol white vinegar in hot water (clean/green/safe and cheap)
- Tub / Tile / Sink cleaner:
- Seventh Generation Natural Tub & Tile Cleaner, Emerald Cypress & Fir (only one product)
- Ecover Limescale Remover, Bathroom and Shower ranks “B”, one model
- Green Shield Organic (any one will do, all liquid form)
- Seventh Generation (any of the powder rank “A”) … the liquids all rank “D” so stick to powder)
- Ecover – (they have two powder detergent with a “B” ranking)
- HE Laundry:
- Fabric softener: (Best to Avoid these! can cause allergies/asthma)
- Green Shield Organic Fabric Softener, Lavender Mint – liquid (one model)
- Seventh Generation: They have two dryer sheets model that rank “B”. The liquid stuff ranks “D”
- Stain Remover spray:
- OxiClean Baby Stain Remover Spray – Ranks “C”
- Comments on Stain Remover Spray:
- Not a whole lot of “clean” selection for this type of product.
- Most products are ranked “D” or “F”
- OxiClean has a number of almost identical looking products ranking from C to F.
- The “Baby” stain remover is the only one with a “C” ranking that is also easy to distinguish from the others.
- Stain Remover powder (laundry additive for prea-treat / soaking):
- OxiClean Laundry Baby Stain Soaker (ranks “A”)
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster & Household Cleaner (ranks “A)
- LA’s Totally Awesome Power Oxygen Base Cleaner (ranks A)
- The Honest Co. honest oxy boost (ranks B)
- OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover, Free (ranks B)
- Green Works naturally derived oxi stain remover (ranks B)
- Home Made (clean/green) Stain Removers:
A similar issue is prevalent in medicine as well. Not many people consider alternatives to conventional medicine, and at times they can prove to be safer and more effective. It just does not seem to be common knowledge at this point for some reason, even though the information is very easy to find. A good example you can use can be found here if you find yourself reviewing alternative medicine.