Spring Greening

Spring Greening

Ecofriendly cleaning products

By Michele Foley and Roxanne Webber

Spring is coming. For some of us, that means a kick in the ass to do some sprucing up. Combine that seasonal motivation with environmental conscientiousness: Replace some of your conventional kitchen cleaning products with greener alternatives.

1. DIY Cleaning Products. The best way to be sure you’re not spraying toxic chemicals in your kitchen is to make your own cleaning solutions. Many are based on white vinegar or baking soda, making them an extremely economical option. Check out these simple recipes for a start. If you like scented products, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to them.

2. Earth Friendly Products. This producer makes a drain opener that’s nontoxic and nonpolluting. Earth Enzymes employs bacterial mixtures and proteolytic enzymes to clear your drain. It’s also safe for septic systems—it doesn’t kill off beneficial bacteria. Use it to unclog the kitchen sink or garbage disposal.

3. Twist Sponges. Twist makes biodegradable sponges out of cellulose sourced from renewable tree farms, and it reuses most of its waste. The small product line includes the European Sponge Cloth #20, a long-lasting paper towel alternative, and the Loofah Sponge #50, which has an abrasive side. The packaging includes instructions for turning the box into a bird feeder.

4. Biokleen. Biokleen’s cream cleansers, soaps, and all-purpose cleaners are chlorine- and phosphate-free. For fighting mildew, try its stain and odor eliminator, which uses live enzymes to break down nasty smells and molds.

5. Method. Method’s biodegradable, nontoxic products are widely available and easy on your wallet. Its granite and marble cleaner and wood polish will keep your counters and cabinets sparkling.

6. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Basil, lavender, geranium, and lemon verbena smell a lot better than Windex and Pine-Sol. The Mrs. Meyer’s website clearly outlines the ingredients in each item if you have special sensitivities. The basil-scented Kitchen Basics Set will get you started with dish soap, countertop spray, and hand soap.

7. Seventh Generation. Seventh Generation’s dishwashing liquid works well enough to stand up to the CHOW test kitchen’s pots and pans. It’s also biodegradable, nontoxic, and free of phosphates and petroleum-based cleaners. It comes lightly scented or fragrance free.

8. Shaklee. Shaklee made its first biodegradable product in 1960, long before movie stars were driving Priuses and “green” was fashionable. Try the heavy-duty scouring paste and cleaning wipes. If you don’t like the company’s stuff, it offers a full refund.

9. Ecover. Ecover sells ecofriendly soap, rinse aid, and surface cleaner, as well as biodegradable compost bags, but what makes the company unique is that it manufactures the products in green factories with living roofs for insulation. The floor soap won’t leave behind any unnecessary chemical residue, but check the website to be sure it will work with your flooring type.

10. Biodegradable Scrubbers. If you need to buy a new scrub brush, consider one made from an alternative to plastic. The Tawashi Brush is constructed out of palm fibers, while the Sandclean offers some hard-core abrasion thanks to its threads of sandpaperlike cloth.