Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Eco-friendly cleaning

It's been a while (cough, cough) since I posted, so I figured I should make a return by reviewing the organic and/or eco-friendly cleaning supplies I've been using recently.

Bentley's Organic Kitchen and Surface Cleaner (cost around £3 or US$5)
This is a spray bottle and works like your regular store-bought cleaner. Spray on and wipe. The first time I used it, I was amazed at the grease-cutting abilities. I've been using Ajax (which I believe is known as Comet in North America) and Skona, a Swedish brand, before this. I've also tried vinegar and baking soda mixtures of various kinds. Comparatively, the Bentley's spray cuts through greas, smells good and I can't find a single horrible ingredient in the ingredient list:
Bentley Organic Kitchen Cleaner - Ingredients:
Aqua, Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder* Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange), Extract Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil*
* Certified Organically Grown Ingredient gives the spray an 8 out of 10 for the entire product (10 for ingredient disclosure, 10 for level of health concern of ingredients and 8 on other negative aspects). Their objection seems to be the chemicals used to produce bergamot oil. The rating is not complete with both social, health and environement status.

The product promises to kill 99,9% of E.coli, Listeria and Salmonella, but I don't know how much I believe that, mainly because I haven't read the study/studies that they've made to be able to write that on the packaging. All in all though, it works very well on most stains. My cooker may sometimes need extra scrubbing to get rid of dry food or water stains, but scrubbing with a sugar cube solves that easily.

Bentley's Organic Mild Washing Up Liquid (cost around £3 or US$5)
It smells great and cleans good, but I'm not thrilled. The liquid is certainly liquid, and personally I find it too watery. I find it doesn't clean the most difficult greasy pots and pans, but plates, cutlery and glasses come out good. Because it's so watery though, I've had to resort to my regular Yes (Fairy) washing up liquid for most of my dishes. I'm mainly using the Bentley's for cutting boards and the frying pan. The reason is that it's easy to grab and use for the frying pan, and it also claims to kill 99,9% of E.coli, Listeria and Salmonella. Despite doubting this, if it kills a little germs on my cutting boards, I'll be happy enough.

Personally I found nothing wrong with the ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Lauryl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Glycerin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice  Powder*, Citrus Medica Limonium (Lemon) Peel Oil*, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil*, Limonene*, Citral*, Xantham Gum, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate
* Certified Organically Grown Ingredient

... but says otherwise. They give the product a 4 out of 10 (10 for ingredient disclosure, 8 for level of health concern of ingredients and 4 on other negative aspects). They object to the chemicals used to produce lime oil and citral, as well as stating that D-limonene is a medium health concern, and citral a low health concern. The rating is not complete with both social, health and environement status.

I won't be buying this product again, I'm afraid. My main reason is it's watery consistency, and I'll be trying another organic brand soon instead.

Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner
I find this cleaner does the job well. I squirt it in, brush a little, leave it while I clean the rest of the bathroom and then I go back, brush again and flush. Despite having hard water, Ecover does okay. My only objection is that the scent (which is supposed to be Ocean Waver or something) is so, so strong. It smells like someone drowned themselves in aftershave in my bathroom. The smell goes away after a little while, but I had a migraine last week and spent some time on the bathroom floor or hanging over the toilet bowl, and I could clearly smell the toilet bowl cleaner at that distance, despite it being a few days since I'd used it.
Aqua, Citric acid, Lauryl glucoside, Sodium citrate, Xanthan gum, Fragrance, Sodium benzoate, Linalool (allergen), Limonene (allergen)

Again the ingredient list looks okay to me, but GoodGuide disagrees. They give the product a rating of 6.2, which is pretty okay for a toilet bowl cleaner. It makes the product number 495 out of the 1440 household cleaners they have rated. They give it 4 on health, 8 on enviroment and 6.5 on society. They object to sodium benzoate and linalool as mild health concerns, and to limonene as a medium health concern. I have to say I'm impressed by the ingredient list above, which came straight off of Ecover's homepage, for pointing out linalool and limonene as allergens.

This bottle is probably going to last me the better part of the year, but as I said above, I think next time I'll buy something else because of the scent.

These are nuts from India, which contain saponine. Previously, I've used them for the better part of a year, I was very happy using them (notes on why I quit later). They clean the fabric well, leave my clothes soft and easy to iron, and are generally good stuff. Because I have hard water and large machines in the basement, I had to use up to six or eight nuts per wash. I'd use the nuts three or eight times before throwing them away, though, so that was very easy and cheap. For someone with a smaller machine or smaller loads, or soft water, four to six nuts per load should work well. Fat stains and grass stains needed rubbing with soap first, but generally came out clean.

In the end though, we got pets, and I realized they are horrible at getting pet hair off of my clothes, so I had to go back to store-bought laundry detergent. I'll be buying and using soapnuts again soon though, because the store-bought laundry detergent is just about as crap at getting the pet hair off my clothes, and I'd rather use laundry nuts in that case. I can't make my own laundry detergent as some of my American friends can, because Swedish law states that I can't release borax into the environment (borax, if I'm not mistaken, can cause fertility issues and fetal injuries).

So - back to soapnuts it is!

I'm going to continue to try different organic and eco-friendly cleaning agents, and hopefully I'll remember to post reviews of them here afterwards. I will say I'm not too fond of elbowgrease and scrubbing (which I had to do lots of when I tried homemade versions with washing up liquid, baking soda and vinegar), so I'll be looking for an eco-friendly cleaner that does the job as well or better than a normal one.

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