Greening Ally: Cleaning products

One of the things that initially got me thinking about living a more environmentally sustainable life were the cleaning products I use. After I moved down here last year I went on the trip to Target to replace all the stuff you don’t bother to move when you are moving far far away (or should I say, wicked fahway). One of the things on my list was Swiffer cloths.

I’d always felt a good dose of New England Liberal Elitist guilt about my Swiffer. It makes a quick cleanup so easy, but even with using both sides of the cleaning cloths they still create a lot of unnecessary waste. I hesitated, but at that point I didn’t want to search around and find a replacement, so I just bought a box. Over the course of the year I tried using my cleaning rags (mostly old washcloths) but they didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Earlier this year when perusing the shelves at Whole Foods I found Twist Bamboo Cloths, which are fantastic. I think they were $4 or $5 for a pack of three large cloths, which are machine washable & dryable. They work like a charm, picking up hair (at least person hair, don’t know about pet hair) and dust just as well as the Swiffer cloths. I should note that after the first wash & dry, the thickness and texture change and they shrink a bit. They still work just as well, and the shrinkage was a good thing from my perspective — after they shrank, I could cut each of them into two almost perfectly-sized Swiffer cloths. I am super happy with them.Back to Target right after I arrived in Baltimore — I was comparing the Method cleaning products to whatever sales and coupons there were for others, and picked up their All Surface cleaner. I didn’t like the scent I chose (pink grapefruit) and when it ran out, I replaced it by buying a refill kit for the Arm & Hammer Essentials Multi-Surface Cleaner. (I reused the Method bottle even though it’s a few ounces smaller than the Arm & Hammer bottle.) This had just come out and I had a coupon for it, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.  It’s worked just fine but is a very unnatural shade of green. I know that the Method products contain a dye as well, but somehow the vibrancy of this green is a little disconcerting for a “green”  product. I still have a second refill for it but I think I’ll try something else next time around (most likely experimenting with making my own using one of the bajillion websites that advise various combinations of vinegar, water, washing soda, etc.).

As I’ve been running out of other conventional cleaning products, I’m replacing them with their more environmentally-friendly counterparts. So far this has mostly been other Method products as well as some Seventh Generation stuff. The green products are typically a little bit more expensive (partially because they go on sale less often and  you don’t see as many coupons for Method products as you do for other brands of conventional cleaners) but since cleaning products last me several months to over a year (part of the beauty of living in a small place), I think it’s worth the price difference.

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