TerraPass Answers!


Hey Footprint readers,

We’re bringing back our “TerraPass Answers.”

It’s quite simple — if you have a question plaguing you about your latest decision to purchase a new car or to install flooring, our readers may be able to contribute more knowledge and expertise. Please send your questions to [email protected]. We’ll only publicize information that you want us to.

To kickstart it this week, I have a question that’s been bugging me for a while now (and continues to resurface whenever I’m at the store).

What brands of affordable and effective cleaning solutions aren’t “greenwashing”?

>I want to be able to use natural products in my house, but some products really vary in effectiveness and I no longer know what I should be looking for on the labels. There’s been debate about how some brands (such as Clorox’s Green Works line) aren’t actually as eco-friendly as they advertise. What are some brands I can rely on?

What’s your take? Post in the comments section below.

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  1. Rich E.

    GoodGuide.com is an excellent source of information.
    -They review products in three categories “Health”, “Environment”, and “Society”. -They’re constantly building their database of reviewed products and you can request ratings.
    -They’re not perfect yet, but it is the most accessible and comprehensive rating scheme I’ve found.
    Note Green Works rates very highly, although its score is brought down a bit by Clorox’s “Society” score which is lower than, for instance, Method’s or Seventh Generation.

  2. Anne R Ford

    Arm and Hammer baking soda, fresh lemons, and any brand of white vinegar – no greenwashing there! They’ll do the jobs that most of these other brands claim to do, and won’t break the bank or put more plastic packaging out there. Win-win!

  3. L. Minter

    Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is what I use for my dishes, laundry, and household cleaning. There are other types of Dr. Bronner’s that are also safe for using on your skin and hair, but Sal Suds is specifically for household cleaning. On the bottle, it says to use a 1/4 cup for laundry, but I use about a Tbsp and a half and it is plenty. For dishes, fill a spray bottle (I actually use an old GreenWorks spray bottle for mine)with about half a centimeter deep of it and then fill the rest with water, shake, and then you can spray it on your dishes or surfaces (I haven’t tried windows).

  4. jared

    Hydrogen peroxide is also a great cleaner and will leave counters smelling fresh. You can find a delusion cart online for a variety of applications. H2O2 is cheap as well!

  5. Anonymous

    Salt, lemons, vinegar, and baking soda…a book by Shea Zukowski. These are all I use for my cleaning tasks, with an occasional misting of hydrogen peroxide.

  6. Mary Florence

    I use Ecos Dishmate to handwash my dishes. It costs a bit more than conventional national brands, but it’s totally worth it to me. My sponges don’t smell anymore. Why? My theory is that the anti-bacterials in other brands were killing off the helpful bacteria that otherwise would keep odors down. That may not be the reason, but every time I switch back to regular dish detergents I have the smelly sponge problem again. I also use the same soap in my handwashing soap dispenser.
    For stains on counters or sink, I scrub with baking soda.
    For mineral deposits (toilet rings, plugged shower heads) I use vinegar.

  7. Earthgirlecho

    Has anyone tried any Shaklee products? I was thinking about buying their BasicH2 product.

  8. Karen

    I really like Method Dish Soap – Cucumber is my favorite but any will do. For regular household cleaning, I use vinegar, baking soda primarily.