As a vegan and all-around lover of our great Mother Earth, I am always trying to find new ways to make my own carbon footprint a bit smaller. So, I use reusable shopping bags, avoid buying bottled water and, as can be expected, I use ecologically friendly household cleaners. However, I’ve found that not all cleaners are created equal and each seems to have its own positive and negative aspects. The four main brands that I have used are Method, Seventh Generation, Green Works, and Nature’s Source.
Method was the very first eco-friendly cleaner that I ever used. This was back in the summer of 2007 when I had just graduated high school. I spotted a new line of cleaning products at my local Target and I recognized them as being the products I had recently read about on Peta2’s website. I knew from the article that they were not tested on animals and, since at that time I was more into veganism for animal rights and less for ecological reasons, I decided to check them out. One of the things I have always loved about Method is their packaging style and colors. The cleaners come in various colors (to go along with the varied scents), but they also have a line known as “naked”, which is their scent-free and color-free product line. Method offers a wide range of cleaners, including wood and granite cleaners, as well as the more typical all-purpose sprays, toilet bowl cleaner, and glass cleaner. One area in which Method definitely surpasses the other brands is scent. Method offers quite a few different scents and I am yet to find one that I don’t like. They are not overbearing and they leave just enough of a touch of fragrance to keep the room smelling clean. I have never had any issues with Method products’ cleaning abilities; I also find them to be keep versatile (i.e. using diluted all-purpose cleaner to mop the bathroom floor). The biggest downside to Method is probably finding it. Until just recently, I have only been able to find it in Target stores, though I have started seeing a few of their products in Wal-Marts and grocery stores.
I will go ahead and admit right now that my favorite products are made by Seventh Generation. Seventh Generation has been around for quite a while but has just recently started getting more mainstream. Like Method, they offer a wide range of cleaning products, all of which seem to perform wonderfully. My personal favorite product is their liquid laundry detergent. They come in wonderful scents and do the job just as well as conventional cleaners, without all of the icky chemicals or animal testing. Obviously, my biggest “like” about Seventh Generation is its ecologically friendly practices, but what I also really love about the products and what could also initially draw people in is their package design. It features a large leaf in the background, which is a wonderful, although simplistic, visual of eco-friendliness; though, in truth, simplicity is really a concept of being ecologically safe as well. Unlike Method and the other brands, Seventh Generation offers products beyond just sprays and wipes. They also make paper towels, toilet paper, and even feminine products! Obviously, other than the paper towels, these are not totally relevant to cleaning, but it is nice to know that some ecologically friendly companies offer other everyday products. Once again, the downside to Seventh Generation is lack of access to their products. Often, if you want to be able to browse the majority of their products, you’ll need to visit a Whole Foods store or a similar organic market. However, like Method, Seventh Generation is also starting to branch out into more mainstream and conventional stores.
Green Works and Nature’s Source are each eco-friendly versions of well-know conventional cleaners. Green Works is distributed by the makers of Clorox, while Nature’s Source comes from S.C. Johnson. It’s been my experience that Green Works products work well (I have mostly used the all-purpose cleaner, the biodegradable cleaning wipes, and the toilet bowl cleanser), but the scents are simply OK. The biodegradable wipes seem to smell the best, and I would have to say they are the most convenient product and I use them regularly, especially for quickly wiping down counters or for cleaning the stove. As for Nature’s Source, I have only used one product from them and that is their glass cleaner. I will admit that it cleans slightly better than Method’s glass cleaner, but I prefer the scent of Method (which is a cool minty smell) over the typical “cleaner” smell of Nature’s Source. Although both lack when it comes to smelling “clean”, Nature’s Source and Green Works both perform well and have the benefit of being easier to find than products made by strictly eco-friendly companies, such as Method and Seventh Generation.
Overall, I prefer brands such as Seventh Generation and Method, which focus on producing just eco-friendly products, over cleaning products that are simply the eco-friendly version of mainstream cleaners. However, if a brand such as Green Works or Nature’s Source is all that is available, I will certainly choose it over a conventional cleaner.