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home : features : features July 22, 2014

9/12/2012 1:51:00 PM
Fall Home Improvement
Environmentally friendly home cleaning products: Do they work?
Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

For some years now, "green" cleaning products have been on store shelves. They're usually more expensive than their standard counterparts, though, and sometimes it seems as if they don't work as well.

Consumer Reports magazine recently took a look at what's available and whether it's worthwhile to buy these eco-friendly cleaners.

Firmly in the "buy these" category are dishwasher detergents, which worked well and were cost-competitive, and dishwashing liquids. Consumer Reports said, "Most did a very good job cutting grease and removing food."

Laundry detergents were a mixed bag - the survey found "a couple that are worth trying, especially for your less grungy loads," but that really dirty clothes still came cleanest with regular detergents.

The Consumer Reports list said that green cleaners came up short cleaning showers where mildew was an issue. But Simple Green, an all-purpose cleaner that's environmentally friendly, would likely do the job in the shower, said Marie Barrett from Ace Hardware in Prescott Valley.

"It's a really good one," she said. "We use it all over the store."

Non-toxic and biodegradable, Simple Green is "a little pricy, but it works miracles," she said.

Barrett said Simple Green can handle a variety of unwanted grunge, from mildew to ketchup.

Along similar lines, Consumer Reports said, "Nature's Source and Seventh Generation, each 12 cents per ounce, were among the best all-purpose cleaners tested. Both were gentle on most surfaces except yellow brass and paint."

The Environmental Protection Agency warns that the "green" label can cover a lot of ground. Green is not always good. "Purchasers should be especially careful in interpreting vague or generic claims such as 'environmentally friendly,' 'eco-safe,' et cetera," the agency warned. "Purchasers should ask vendors and manufacturers offering green cleaning products to clearly and specifically define their green claims."

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