Tweenie’s Greenies

Week 1: Household Cleaners

I spent the last day and a half going through my 52 containers of cleaners that I found in my whole 3 rooms.  I consolidated half empty bottles of the same cleaner, washed some down the drain from almost empty bottles (I hate it when there is just enough left to be useful but you can’t get the squirt bottle to squirt it, what a waste), put some in a box to bring to the hazardous waste collection site, and put quite a few back in the closet to use up.  All this while watching 3 little kids, doing laundry, and attempting to sort my piles as noted in my “Tackle It Tuesday” post (needless to say, only one bin was filled/sorted).  Whew, what a day it was!  After I got all that done, I thought, “What now?”  How do I shop for Green cleaning products?  Do I have to go to the health food store for most everything?  I did a little research on it and I found tons of useful info. 

Here’s the basics on how to shop for green cleaners:

ABOVE ALL ELSE, READ LABELS!  As a person with a biology/chemistry degree, I have done this for years.  The trick is knowing what to look for. 

  • Avoid products that don’t tell all or hide ingredients in categories like “surfactant” or “fragrance.”

  • Skip products with “poison,” “warning” or “danger” on their labels, but don’t worry too much about the term “caution” because it applies even to natural cleaners.

  •  Avoid products with flammability or ventilation warnings.

  •  Make sure ingredients include no petroleum-based surfactants, chlorine or phosphates.

  • Look for the words “nontoxic”,  “plant based” and “biodegradable.”

Also, did you know that no law requires manufacturers of cleaning products to list ingredients on their labels or to test their products for safety. It’s up to you to make sure your home is not only clean, but also nontoxic. (Gaiam)

Factiod:  In a May 2002 study of contaminants in stream water samples across the country, the U.S. Geological Survey found persistent detergent metabolites in 69% of streams tested. Sixty-six percent contained disinfectants.

Good places to find Green Cleaning Supplies on the web:,,,

There are many, many more sites that sell green cleaners.  This is just a starter list.

Also, look at your local stores, supermarkets and home stores.  Many are starting to carry very good lines of green cleaners due to increasing consumer demands.

Happy Cleaning and Happy Shopping!