Something I'm Confused About: Green Products

There's one thing that I hate about "green" products.

The fact that products have to be labeled as such.

Here's where I'm coming from: If a product is truly healthier and safer and better for the environment, then shouldn't ALL products be that way? It is confusing to me, for example, that some brands sell BOTH "green" products and "regular" products. If the green products are better, then why does the company keep manufacturing the chemical-y stuff? That makes me slightly suspicious. 

green works logoClorox is one such brand that does that (and I'll tell you why in a minute). They have "regular" cleaning products and then they have "green" cleaning products. Green Works is their green line - "a full line of plant and mineral based cleaning products are at least 99% natural"...and they clean with the same effectiveness of Clorox. 

natural biodegradable cleaning wipes green worksI recently had the opportunity to test out the natural biodegradable cleaning wipes product from the Green Works line. And I'm impressed. Not only do the wipes have "no harsh chemical fumes or residue," they actually smell rather pleasant. And they're safe on multiple surfaces - floors, counters, sinks, stoves, etc. Based on my experience with the wipes, I would definitely consider purchasing the other products in the Green Works line. 

After further investigation on the website, I noticed that the wipes clean, but they don't disinfect. The Clorox scientists are looking for natural disinfecting ingredients as we speak and they do hope to incorporate them in the future. 

So perhaps that explains the need for the "regular" stuff (bleach, for example). 

All of this makes me think: 

  • How often do our homes need to be "disinfected"?
  • What is the value of a product that cleans, but does not disinfect?
  • Should I be using products that "disinfect" or that "clean" on a regular/daily basis...and in which rooms/spaces of my home?

Right now, we use plain 'ol soap and water for every day clean-ups and quick counter wipe-downs. For cleaning off counters and coffeetables and the stove/sink/etc., I prefer to use "green"products (like Green Works). We my husband uses bleach occasionally for toilets and sinks - nothing like it to turn a toilet bowl sparkling white!

What about you? What cleaning products do you use and why?

This review and discussion was made possible because of my affiliation with the Mom Central Mom Testing Panel (you should join'll like it). 

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14 comments on “Something I'm Confused About: Green Products”

  1. I think cleaning products that are homemade (vinegar, baking soda, etc.) are the best kind. They're certainly the cheapest and they work well. But I do keep Lysol disinfectant spray around for raw meat on the counters and for the bathroom. I also like Goo gone a lot. It's probably not very green.

  2. We are using alot more "green" products because of what is not in them. I have noticed that I am not caughng for a day after scrubbing down the kitchen & bathroom. If it was bothering me that bad, I can only imagine what it was doing to my little ones. That said, after a bout with the flu, a bad cold, a skin infection etc. I do use harsh cleaners in the bathroom, as well as disinfect the door handles and light switches. But I comletly think soap & water are great cleaners. Children need to be exposed to germs if they are not they ome down with EVERYTHING the first year in school & bring it home to everyone as well.

  3. A couple random comments:
    -Call me a cynic, but I suspect that companies carry "green" products because they sell.
    -Isn't it a conflict of interest when "green" products are also "disposable".
    -Not everything "natural" or "organic" is good for you or even safe.

  4. Here is a fun, safe and mom-invented "germ buster" : It is called Germy Wormy Germ Awareness for Germ Transportation Vehicles ages 2 - 7. The children are taught to cough or sneeze into their elbows! Daycare centers are raving about it!

    Give kids a PLACE to give their germs to – instead of you!

  5. Like you, we use soap and water for every day cleaning purposes. When it comes time to disinfect (like after raw meat gets anywhere near the counter) we either use a vinegar solution or, if we are in a hurry or are out of the vinegar solution, windex (alcohol kills everything!).

    I try to keep all of that nasty stuff out of my home, especially with a little one running around!

  6. I actually don't use cleaners and disinfectants. I know...Gasp! I use baking soda and water on occasion, but primarily I just use a wet rag to clean. I do pull out the soap for dishes and any kind of raw meat mess, but overall I think we get a little to into things being sanitary. Sanitizing takes away both the good and the bad bacteria. It unbalances the way the world is really intended to work. And just from observation, I've noticed that kids from sanitized homes are sicker more frequently than kids who come from decently clean but not sanitized homes.

  7. For everyday cleaning I use Simple has been around for YEARS! I like to use it because it is non toxic (so if my kids decided to drink it, they may feel a bit sick to thier stomachs but no trips to the ER) which is great for getting the kids to help out around the house with simple cleaning jobs. It is also an environmentally friendly cleaner (which is a plus). The best part is that it is fairly economical. I buy a large bottle of concentrate at Home Depot or Lowes and a spray bottle and it lasts me for months when I add about 1 part concentrate to about 8-10 parts water! I mop my floors, clean my counters etc with it! To do a thorough disinfecting on my sinks and toilets I use Clorox Clean up spray.

  8. I just started using Greenworks too. I think they're great. I certainly don't miss the chemical fumes. I am one of those weird people that doesn't disinfect anything. I don't own hand sanitizer or antibacterial soaps because they irritate my skin. We don't seem to have any problems! I do use bleach to clean tough stains and sanitize diapers.

  9. I go back and forth a lot - for instance, I tried switching to a green dishwasher detergent, until I got a free sample of Electrasol tablets that worked about 20 times better. I'd rather run my dishwasher once and have my dishes be clean with a bad detergent, than run it 2-3 times with a green detergent before things are clean, you know? And the green laundry detergent I bought leaves random spots on our clothes. But I try.

    I do like the green cleaners I have, and I don't mind the lack of disinfectant. I subscribe to the idea of our kids not being exposed to enough bacteria these days, anyway. For anything so gross that I *want* a disinfectant, I might go ahead and use some bleach... though if I'm being judicious I'll go with vinegar and other alternatives.

  10. I don't think most germs are to be feared if one is healthy. I would just like to keep the toilet and kitchen counters free of the gross/bad ones. Otherwise I'm not that anal about disinfecting.

    I use whatever is cheap right now...budget just plain requires it.


  11. I know I am coming late to the party, but I wanted to say a few things. First, I stumbled upon your blog and just love it; thank you for the information. Second, I am very particular about cleaning products, not only for the earth, but for our bodies. We also use Shaklee products; not only are they extremely effective, but they are actually priced quite well. Because the products are concentrated, you don't have to use much to get a lot accomplished. I have had their Basic H2O cleaner for over 7 months and have not even used half and have been able to clean my kitchen and bathrooms regularly. We use Murphy's Oil to clean our floors (we have all hardwood and cement floors- yeah! craftsman bungalows in LA). Also, I think disinfecting EVERYTHING is ridiculous. Soap and water does the trick. All these antibacterial soaps and cleaners are just creating havoc on our bodies (dry skin), environment (super, mega-bugs), and the earth (not biodegradeable). Once again, I cannot emphasize the use of regular soap and water to wash your hands. Additionally, when bad bugs do enter your house, why not just use rubbing alcohol? It does the trick just fine and its cheap. Although, now I wonder- is rubbing alcohol safe for the environment? I think it is because it biodegrates so quickly. Anyone know?

  12. I'm making the switch to Shaklee cleaning products. Each time I run out of a "regular" cleaner, I replace it with the equivalent with Shacklee. I've been so impressed so far. Everything I've purchased works at least as well, if not better, than what I had been using. The prices are not inexpensive, but I think it's worth it for the piece of mind that I'm not filling my home with unnecessary chemicals and fumes.

  13. I agree with what Ayla says. Also, I simply cannot use products with harsh chemicals because they make my chest and lungs hurt for days. Imagine what they do to little bodies! We use the Clorox Green Works Line here, and I really like how they work . . .

  14. I would use a disinfecting product on things that hands go on the most, and I would do it when there was an illness outbreak in the house, or a threat of one. Say, my kid one night starts puking his guts up. The next day, I go and hit every doorknob, faucet handle, keyboard, telephone, etc with lysol.

    In other words, I only go for germ-killing when I know that there are definitely "bad" germs in my house, as evidenced by someone being sick. When there are no "bad" germs I don't worry about it. And I work in a hospital, where we disinfect everything. Those are bad germs. At home? Not so much.

    I've heard theories that germs are tougher because we disinfect so many things, and that kids have more asthma and allergies because they're not exposed to as many things earlier on. I have an immune system of steel, and I attribute that to the fact that my mother is a lousy housewife. ;)

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