Just as I was running low on cleaning supplies, I was offered the opportunity to review the new “green” cleaners from Clorox in collaboration with Mom Central. I had previously reviewed certified Organic cleaners, so I was interested in seeing the differences between other natural cleaners, Green Works Clorox products and the “regular” Clorox products.
Living “Green” has become a hot cause, whether it’s buying a Prius, watching An Inconvenient Truth, or Global Warming as the focus of the newest Maximum Ride novel. More and more companies are touting a certain percentage of recycled paper, less packaging, and being “natural”, because that’s what consumers say they want. Just as granola bars filled with chocolate and sugar are “natural”, most products have “natural” cleaners mixed in with the chemicals. What exactly makes a cleaner “green”? Clorox and other companies are hoping to regain customers who may have read about the evils of bleach and are trying to lower their use of chemicals, but who either wish to purchase cleaners at their regular supermarket and/or are not interested in making their own cleaners.
Skeptic that I am, my first question was “what does Clorox consider natural?” Thankfully, they have that definition posted. The goal of Green Works is to have cleaners that work as well as “traditional” cleaners, be made from plant & mineral ingredients, be biodegradable, not be tested on animals, and be made with sustainable resources. The one area where I would disagree with them about “natural” is petrochemicals (chemicals derived from petroleum): Clorox is minimizing their use so the Green Works line is 99% petrochemical free, where I would expect a “natural” product to be 100% petrochemical free. The ingredient list for Green Works is much shorter at least: coconut-based cleaning agent (non-ionic surfectant), corn-based ethanol, essential lemon oil, filtered water, and biodegradable preservative.
Beyond the question of Natural – how do the cleaners clean? I took three tricky areas in our home, and tested them with the Green Works cleaners: our stove, which is white and constantly in use, the window behind where our 4 year old eats, and our bathroom, which is used repeatedly by 5 humans and 1 cat. The stovetop was sprayed, let sit, and then sprayed and wiped. A bit of the cooked-on gunk needed some elbow grease, but overall the Green Works Natural All-Purpose cleaner cleaned it very well. The Green Works Natural glass & surface cleaner cut through the finger-marks and chocolate trails on the picture window, and left it streak-free, without the nauseating ammonia scent – the light lemon scent is much nicer than ammonia for eating and cooking areas! In the bathroom, there were a few areas that needed to soak, but in general the all-purpose cleaner got rid of the icky bathroom dirt easily. Because there was no risk of mixing ammonia and bleach accidentally, I was able to clean the bathroom without opening the window to ventilate in 10 degree weather, a big bonus!
The big benefit I found with a different brand of natural cleaners was that I felt comfortable with my daughters using them on their own. While I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my daughters using the Green Works line unsupervised, I’d rather have these cleaners in the house than the traditional cleaners! If you are used to traditional cleaners, the Green Works line is a great way of reducing your ecological footprint without requiring major lifestyle changes and without giving up real cleaning power. Additionally, the lemon scent feels clean, with none of the bleach or ammonia odor that comes after using traditional cleaners. Green Works is a huge improvement over other cleaners, but each family needs to decide which cleaner is right for them. Is Green Works green enough for you?
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