Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Green Cleaning Hows and Whys Part 2 | Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

Green Cleaning is important for your health and the health of the planet--less toxins in both you and the environment mean better health. Green Cleaning does not have to be expensive. On the whole most green cleaners are more expensive than a cheaper, toxin-laden cleaner, but making your own is a great way to green clean on a budget.

How To Use Do-It-Yourself Green Cleaners in Dish Washing

For Dishwashing by hand: I try to use less liquid dish detergent in the cleaning stage, by using a sprinkle of baking soda and borax to enhance the soap. This method washes my dishes great, but has less suds than you might be used to--suds are not necessary to clean well.

I bought a plastic shaker with a lid at a local Goodwill store. (Thrift stores are a great way to "Live Recycling"!) I add a tiny bit of liquid dishwashing soap to the dishpan and add a shake of my all natural detergent enhancers (a mixture of 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 borax).

Both of these biodegradable, natural cleaning powders help the soap to work better and have deodorizing and great cleaning power, and some disinfecting qualities. All natural, biodegradable, environmentally-sound and cheap!

Vinegar Rinse??

Also, I added a bottle of white vinegar with a measuring cup clipped to its handle under my kitchen sink. I add a 1/2 cup of white vinegar to my rinse water. It has disinfecting properties and it rinses the dish soap off great! And because it is edible, I don't rinse the vinegar rinse off--just dunk and put in the drainer.

The vinegar smell evaporates quickly and kills germs in the meantime. I love it. The only time I rinse off this vinegar-water mixture is when the object it metal, as it can interact with some metals.

Next step to Inexpensive DIY "Green Clean", was to replace my dishwasher detergent with a homemade, environmentally-friendly one. I decided on a powdered recipe because it is easier to make and to store, also according to The Green Guide, Summer of 2008 of the National Geographic Society, powder detergents are easier on the environment.

DIY Powdered Dishwasher Detergent Natural Cleaning Product Review

Dishwasher Detergent
6 cups Baking Soda
3 cups Borax
6 bars All-Natural Soap (any kind, grated up)

I chopped the soap with a large knife and grated it in my blender, measured the other ingredients, and added everything in a large reusable plastic container with a lid.

I need to use only 1/8 cup! Plus, I add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. It works great! My recipe has more soap than most and uses more vinegar in the rinse than most, but I wanted to make sure my glasses shine and have no grainy residue.

Also, for those who like fragrance with their detergents, you can add a dropperful (30-40 drops) of essential oil of your choice to the detergent at the mixing stage. Some essential oils have been known to be natural disinfectants too, like lavender, tea tree, and thyme.

My Experience on Using DIY Green Dishwasher Detergent

Being frugal to conserve water and energy, I usually try to wash my dishes by hand, (see my article on handwashing vs. dishwashers on the ezine Suite 101 at this link) but for big groups or busy nights, I use the dishwasher as needed.

I having been using this powdered homemade dishwasher detergent for quite a while now for my family of four. I have to be careful to add the vinegar to the rinse cycle, which is somewhat of a bummer, but I am very pleased with the cleaning power and sparkle of my dishes and glasses. And the inexpensive cost compared to other store bought detergents is great!

Occasionally, there is a problem with residue afterwards. I think that it is related to minerals in our city water. Usually the vinegar gets it off in the rinse cycle, so you may need to adjust my recipe to "fit" the mineral content of your area.

Happy Green Cleaning, using your DIY Natural Cleaning Products! Peace, GreenKeen

Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Thousands Are Switching To Cleaning Green | Natural Cleaning Product Review

It is surprising how many people in today's era of information are still not aware that our households are full of toxic chemicals. Despite this, thousands are switching over to safer products and this is why."Since 1950 at least 70,000 new chemical compounds have been invented and dispersed into our environment. Only a fraction of these have been tested for human toxicity."

"We are by default, conducting a massive clinical toxicology trial, and our children and their children are the experimental animals."Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., Philip J. Landrigan, M.D. Raising Children Toxic FreeIt is alarming, the information about safety of products and the lack of labelling required for these products."

70,000 Chemical Compounds

Of the 70,000 chemical compounds, only 25% have been tested - and they were tested individually. Chemicals do not occur individually in our body, they occur in combinations.Tiny amounts of only 2 toxic chemicals at the same time are 1,000 times more dangerous than 1 of them alone." The Center of Bio Environmental ResearchAre they in our homes?Sadly, yes they are. "

The nation's worst pollution is found inside our homes. A 15 - year study has shown American homes have chemical levels 70 times higher than outside. The number of chemicals used inside the home has more than doubled since 1950." The EPA, Environment Protection AgencyIt is of importance to note that the following is only a small glimpse of the products containing these chemicals. These would include dishwashing detergents, household cleaners, disinfectants, furniture polish, air fresheners, fabric softeners, bleach products, mold/mildew cleaners and shampoos.

We become poisoned by ingestion, inhalation and absorption through the skin. ? "Some products release contaminants into the air right away, others do so gradually over a long period of time. Some stay in the air up to a year." American Lung AssociationAll of this results in poor health and less vitality than we would normally have in a fresh, unaltered environment. "50% of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality" 1989 State of Massachusetts Study.

Red Flags

The red flags of this toxic crisis are staggering. One person in three has allergies severe enough to be treated by a doctor. One person in ten suffers from migraine headaches or high blood pressure. One in five families have a member suffering from mental health concerns. "70% of cancers are triggered by exposure to hazardous substances in our environment" Toxic Substances Strategy Committee.

Shockingly, One in every two now get cancer. "Women who work in the home have a 55% higher death rate from cancer than women who work outside the home." 17-year EPA Study. "Asthma rate has tripled in the last 20 years." "Incidence of lung cancer has increased 364% despite the fact that smoking has declined in the general population." National Cancer Institute.

There is so much more. We have not even touched on how these chemicals effect children or pets who are much more vulnerable.


"Damage to organs caused by environmental chemicals frequently cannot be repaired or corrected once they injury has occurred. PREVENTION, is therefore essential." Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., Raising Children Toxic Free."

Just by reducing (not eliminating) environmental carcinogens alone, we would save at least 50,000 lives taken annually by cancer." Dr. Lee Davis, former advisor to the Secretary of HealthThis is what has consumers, such as myself switching to healthier, safer cleaning and personal care products.

"Green cleaning" is not a new concept. People have been making their own cleaners for years. Typically they have used ingredients such as vinegar or baking soda. But in the last several years, some commercial brands have appeared on the shelves, websites and through mail order. I typically buy everything from streak free glass cleaner, to toilet bowl cleaner from a wholesale, mail order company where you can order on the phone or online.

There are other brands as well such as ecover, Earth Friendly Products and Seventh Generation. All of these tend to be better than the home "recipes" as they typically clean much better and can sanitize. These cleaners are formulated with surfactants which can remove grease and oil, mildew and mold.

If you are not having your products delivered to your door, you sometimes need to search for them or get them at a few different stores, but they are available. You may need to go to your local health food store.It's all about reducing as many toxins as you can. Prevention is the key. When I can feel confident cleaning my oven with my baby right beside me, I know I'm doing a good thing for all of us.

Source: http://www.articlecircle.com/ - Free Articles Directory
About the AuthorAlana is able to provide you with further information on creating a safer home. Alana works from home, educating people about toxins and has built a business referring others to a company that delivers safer products to your door. For more information go to

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Green Cleaning Hows and Whys | Natural Cleaning Product Review

We all have been hearing about the detriment to our bodies and our environment from the numerous chemicals in non-ecofriendly, household detergents and cleaners.

Key Laundry Detergent's Ingredients Toxic
On the website of Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their article dated 1999 titled “Key Characteristics of Laundry Detergent” they warn us that the key ingredients of most laundry detergents (with such innocuous names as, colorants, brighteners, surfactants, builders) are found to be toxic to humans and animals in a range of serious issues, including giving off hazardous gases, destroying and polluting eco-systems, and causing cancer.

I don’t know about you, but in my very busy family of teens and two working parents, we do a lot of laundry. Often these same chemicals and worse are in our cleaners, disinfectants, and dish washing detergents. This is why I choose green cleaning products.

Worst Offenders
Two of the worst toxins are phenol and formaldehyde found in many disinfectants and cleaners. (Formaldehyde, the same chemical used to preserve dead bodies.) According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental action group, “Formaldehyde is used in …some disinfectants, antibacterial soaps and even beauty products. Formaldehyde has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA….Home exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to respiratory allergies in children.”

According to the Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) Guidelines for Phenol states that phenol is not a carcinogenic, but it did cause cancer in rats over a short span of time! Needless to say, I am livid, that sounds like a "carcinogenic substance" if you ask me! I am taking steps to clean-up (excuse the sad pun) my home from all of these poisons.

A Green Education
I have found a wonderful bounty of green-cleaning blogs and sites full of information and advice–kindred spirits to myself–growing together and spurring one another on in "Green-ness". Sometimes there is conflicting information around or worse yet "rumors" and also occasionally there has been controversy, even about some "green" manufacturers not truly being truthful in their labeling!!

I am seeking to be on top of ALL of this information as a wife, mom, homemaker, and environmentalist. I want to be "in the know" for my own life and I want to share that with you--to do my part in helping "green-up" the cleaning product industry. Our voice matters and each time you or I buy, we speak.

There are some great, green products out there on the market; now even finding their way into Mainstream Grocery Stores. I am reviewing them one-by-one, attempting to give you the good, the bad, and "the dirt" on them.

My Natural Cleaning Product Review Blog
The most important rule I've learned is: READ THE LABELS!
Read between-the-lines and know the terminology, so that you can know exactly what they mean. For example: "fragrance" usually means a synthetic fragrance, but "essential oil" means the real thing! Or "Natural" can actually refer to a "natural, but toxic" ingredient. I started this blog out of my own research as a concerned, eco-conscious consumer.

Today's Natural Cleaning Product Review
Sometimes I make my own detergent--and today I wanted to "review my own recipe". P.S. I'm not a supermom, I found that taking a couple hours every few months to whip up this "recipe" has been very easy.

GreenKeen's Laundry Detergent
I combined a few of recipes found online that were simple –I like simple. Then off to the supermarket I went and purchased just a few household “normals” with which to mix my clothes detergent. What was on my list? White vinegar, baking soda, borax, washing soda, and good, old-fashioned soap:

Laundry Detergent

6 cups Baking Soda
3 cups Washing Soda*
3 cups Borax**
6 bars Soap (any kind, grated up)

*Washing Soda is sodium carbonate, a close cousin of Baking Soda, and is not edible or interchangeable, but it is an all-natural way to increase detergent’s cleaning power. It helps to get out ground-in dirt, stains, and grease.
**Borax, also is a natural detergent "booster".

I chop the soap with a large knife and grate it in my blender. You can use any kind of bar soap, I try to use only all-natural ones. They are a little pricier, but this recipe last for 3 months.

I measure all the ingredients and add everything in a large reusable plastic container with a lid. For a normal load of laundry I use 1/4 cup of the detergent.

Also, for those who like fragrance with their detergents, you can add a dropperful (30-40 drops) of essential oil of your choice to the detergent at the mixing stage. Some essential oils have been known to be natural disinfectants too, like lavender, tea tree, and thyme.

For Rinsing: I use 1/2 cup white vinegar in a blue "Downy" ball during the rinse cycle for "fabric softener". It also adds some disinfecting qualities to help rinse out remaining dirt or soap residue and many germs. You could also add the white vinegar to the rinse container in your washer.

Heinz company spokesperson, Michael Mullen, has referenced studies that show that a straight solution of 5% vinegar—the kind you can buy in the supermarket—kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80 % of germs (viruses) within 10 minutes.

This natural cleaning product combination of all-natural detergent and vinegar rinse has been working great on our laundry for our active family of four. I love the smell of clean and the satisfaction of doing it Green!

Enjoy Green Cleaning! --GreenKeen a.k.a. Pamela Palmer

Friday, March 20, 2009

Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloths | Natural Cleaning Product Review

Scotch-Brite, largest maker of cleaning sponges in United States, has done it again. Their green-breakout line, Greener Clean, includes Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloths, a handy natural cleaning product to use all around the house. (see my previous post on Scotch-Brite and their new, natural & green scrubber sponge....)

Their 80% recycled-packaging box of two 11.4" square cloths states "The brand you know and trust now brings you a line of effective cleaning products that you can feel good about using." These soft cloths are made with natural materials: 60% rayon made from bamboo and 40% cotton, perfect for natural cleaning needs.

Bamboo Cleaning Cloth?
Bamboo is gaining in manufacturing usage worldwide. Bamboo is a wood-like grass that grows back after being harvested and matures within 5-7 years versus the average 50+ year cycle of typical hardwoods. According to the Associated Press, January 30, 2008: "bamboo's woody stalks can shoot up several feet a day, absorbing four times as much world-warming carbon dioxide." That is what I call renewable!

Once thought in the West primarily to make patio furniture, bamboo has now hit the big time and is "shooting up" in its reputation as an alternative to wood in almost every application, from cutting boards to building materials. Companies are also expanding creatively how to use bamboo in textiles and kitchenware.
There are still some environmental issues with pollution from the manufacturing process to turn bamboo into paper or fabric--but again, this is a big step in the right direction toward sustainable business practices.

6.43 for a box of two cloths, that's do-able.

My Natural Cleaning Experience Using
Scotch-Brite's Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloths
I found these cleaning cloths to be very soft, much softer than the typical kitchen rag and even softer than many washcloths. They appear to have no dye in them (i.e. au natural?) which is nice. Also, they have a slight raised pattern that adds traction for cleaning, similar to most kitchen cloths. I found Scotch-Brite's Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloths to be absorbent and easy to use--not too thick, not too thin, therefore, easy to hang dry. I think they are even soft enough for personal and baby care!

Big Thumbs Up! Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloths from Scotch-Brite are a great natural cleaning product for any home. Try them out from Walmart, Target, Giant Eagle, and Shop3M.com . Happy Natural Cleaning!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge | Natural Cleaning Product Review

In February, 2009, Scotch-Brite brand, owned by 3M, the largest maker of household sponges, came out with a new line of natural-fiber, natural cleaning products: including sponges, scrubbers, and cleaning cloths.

Scotch-Brite and 3M
Scotch Brite, a 3M company, made their debut as a cleaning sponge maker in 1958 with their original scour pad. Currently, 3M, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, has a over 24 billion net sale business, with 75,000 employees worldwide.

3M has been committed to moving toward environmentally-friendly business practices since 1973. As they state in their 2008 Sustainability Executive Summary Brochure: "We recognize that the company’s long-term success springs from adopting and implementing the principles of sustainable development....At the same time, we recognize that only by continuing to be a viable and successful enterprise can we continue to be a positive contributor to sustainable development."

I interpret this to imply that they are "making steps" to become an environmentally responsible manufacturer in regards to their products, manufacturing, and resource usage. This is good, and I applaud any progress in this direction, such as, the new natural cleaning product line they have just launched.

Greener Clean
This new line of natural cleaning products is called "Greener Clean" and will be carried in Walmart, Giant Eagle, and Target and at Shop3M.com . Two of the products in this natural cleaning product line is the Natural Fiber Non-scratch Scrub Sponge, reviewed in this post, and the Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloths, which I will review in my next post.

What this means is that natural fiber sponges and other natural cleaning products like bamboo wash cloths have come mainstream!! There are other small, eco-friendly manufacturers of natural fiber sponges and cleaning cloths (and I give a link to many of them at the bottom of this post) but for the most part they have only been found in smaller, environmentally-conscious retailers and the burgeoning "green" web.

The Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge has a number of great points:
  • the sponge-part is 100% natural material.
  • the scrubbing fibers are made from 50% natural agave plant.
  • the fibers in the sponge are made from recycled paper.
  • they are made without any dye or colorants.

These are all great reasons to use these scrub sponges in your natural cleaning!

Price 2.12 for a single regular sized sponge. 4.24 for a pack of 3.


Sponge partially made from recycled paper.

Scrub made from 50% agave plant fibers.

(The other 50% is polyester fiber, which is most likely not recyclable and as a synthetic fiber has a small health risk, like the tons of plastic we are exposed to each day!)

My Natural Cleaning Experience Using the Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Non-scratch Scrub Sponge

I tested the Natural Fiber Non-scratch Scrub Sponge against its "cousin" the Scotch-Brite Dobie Cleaning pad and the Enemy, dried-on egg yolk!

The Dobie, made from all synthetic ingredients, which is much rougher in texture, got the egg off extremely quickly but the Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge worked almost exactly the same. It certainly wasn't a very perceivable difference.

I also thought that the smell of sponges after cleaning with them was different--the Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge won hands down. In other words the Dobie had a yukky, greasy smell after finishing the dishes and some pots-n-pans, but the Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge did not!


Big Thumbs Up for Scotch-Brite's new Greener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge! I will definitely buy more and I encourage you to do the same.

Homemaking Tips

1. Other Eco-friendly, Natural Cleaning products lines of sponges and wash cloths to check out:

Pristine Planet has a great selection, all shapes and sizes, from a variety of green companies.

One, in particular, the "Naked Loofa Sponge #50" produced by the company Twist appears to be a similar product to the Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Scrubber Sponge, i.e. a natural sponge with a scrubber top layer, but the Naked Loofa Sponge is 100% biodegradable, retailing though at a steep 4.99 .

2. Best way to Disinfect any of your sponges is: 1 minute in the microwave or run them through the dishwasher with your dishes, whenever you use it. This is according to research done at the USDA Agricultural Research Service:

"Each sponge [was treated] in one of five ways: soaked for three minutes in a 10 percent chlorine bleach solution, soaked in lemon juice or deionized water for one minute, heated in a microwave for one minute, placed in a dishwasher operating with a drying cycle—or left untreated....[the highest microbe kill-rate was from] microwaving sponges [which] killed 99.99999 percent of bacteria present on them, while dish washing killed 99.9998 percent of bacteria....microwave heating and dish washing with a drying cycle proved to be the most effective methods for inactivating bacteria, yeasts and molds on sponges."

(I would add that microwaving would be the greenest, least energy-hogging manner!) And as always, Enjoy using your natural cleaning products for all your natural cleaning jobs! Cheers, "GreenKeen" a.k.a. Pamela Palmer

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Arm & Hammer's Baking Soda | Natural Cleaning Product Review

Arm & Hammer's Baking Soda is a Natural Cleaning Product and as they say on their box, "America's #1 Trusted Baking Soda Brand". This little, yellow-orange box has found its "home in every home"!

Baking Soda, (Sodium Bicarbonate or Bicarbonate of Soda), is powdered form of a natural mineral, called nahcolite, which works primarily as an acid neutralizer. It also balances the pH of water.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Arm & Hammer Brand name is owned by the Church & Dwight Co. Inc. of Princeton, NJ has been selling their natural cleaning product, baking soda, for over 155 years. On their website they state that baking soda can be used as a substitute for many harsh chemicals and baking soda is "pure, versatile, effective, environmentally safe, and economical."

1 lb. box of Arm & Hammer's baking soda retails for often slightly less than 1.00 and Walmart sells large 4 lb. bags for 2.12 !

Its uses are incredibly diverse: including household, natural cleaning and scrubbing, to putting out fires, cleaning car battery acid build-up, and relieving bee stings and heartburn.

As a laundry booster, when added to water, baking soda stabilizes the pH level, enhancing the detergent’s effectiveness.

For scrubbing and scouring, make a paste with a small amount of water and baking soda on a sponge.

See this link for a list of how to baking soda around the house!

My Natural Cleaning Experience Using Arm & Hammer's Baking Soda
I use baking soda every day! I have a recycled plastic shaker (from a Parmesan cheese container, learned that from another blogger!) on my kitchen sink and in my bathrooms for scrubbing. It works well without nasty chemicals like found in other scouring powders.

I sometimes brush my teeth with it, if I run out of toothpaste. (Tastes a little yukky, but it is healthy and mildly abrasive against plaque.)

I add it to my homemade laundry and dishwasher detergents (See recipes below)

Big Thumbs Up! Like white vinegar, baking soda should be a natural cleaning product staple in every home for inexpensive natural cleaning. Arm & Hammer's Baking Soda has been just that, for 155 years of homemaking!

Homemaking Tips

Recipe for Dry Laundry Detergent
I make my own dry laundry detergent, once in awhile, I still buy a natural, biodegradable detergent--but I have found making my own is very simple. I perused some how-to forums and consolidated a few different recipes; here is mine:

6 cups Borax
6 cups Baking Soda
3 cups Washing Soda
6 bars natural soap, grated in blender

This makes about 9 lbs. which I keep in a reusable plastic container by the washer with a scooper and directions for the family to use. 1/4 cup scoop is all you need.

I also add 1/2 cup white vinegar in rinse cycle (in a reusable "Downy" ball). No need for expensive fabric softeners (with toxic chemicals).

You can also add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to the detergent if you want.

This will last my family of 4 for approximately 5 to 6 months! Easy and Cheap and NATURAL!

Recipe for Dry Dishwasher Detergent
Same as above minus the Washing Soda, which I found can be reactive with minerals in the water.

I use only an 1/8 cup in the Dishwasher, adding a 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
My dishes, glasses, and silverware come out sparkling.

(Note: I normally try to wash my dishes by hand using natural cleaning products, you can see my article on that here.) Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

African Black Soap | Natural Cleaning Product Review

African Black Soap, an exotic, natural cleaning product, the only soap many African mom's will use on their babies, is rich and gentle and most importantly, all-natural. Black soap, more than 100 varieties, is an African tradition crafted with the same regional, cherished, and guarded recipes for thousands of years.

Hand-crafted Soap
Created in a slightly different manner than cold-processed soaps, familiar to natural-ingredient conscience consumers. African Black soap most often is made in a hot-processed form, where leaves and bark of local trees and plants are burned in a kettle. Emollient-rich plants oils like coconut, palm kernel, and Shea butter are added, along with water. The mixture is stirred for many hours (sometimes 24 hours straight!) over a hot fire until it congeals to the proper consistency, and then it is cured a couple of weeks.

The result is an all-natural, moisturizing, high-glycerin-content soap with a natural, light fragrance, that reminds me of the aroma after a fine moist rain in the Summer sun. The effect of Black soap is a wonderful, gentle clean with a rich lather. (As you can see, I am a big fan!)

Longstanding West African Tradition
"Ose Dudu (doudoun), which is derived from the Yoruba or Anago languages of Nigeria, Benin and Togo. Ose Dudu means literally Soap (ose) Black (dudu)," as defined on the website for Agbangakarite, a Fair Trade co-op in Togo, Africa.

African Black Soap can be used for face, body, and haircare. It is great for babies and hypoallergenic, sensitive skin care. Also, it is recommended as a natural cleaning product for skin problems, such as acne and rashes.

With hair care, just rub the soap ball of Black Soap on wet hair, like the "olden days" and then lather up with hands. There is no need to make a liquid shampoo, but if you wanted to you can crush up some pieces of African Black Soap, approximately 3 Tablespoons, and add to a recycled, rinsed-out shampoo bottle and fill with water.

For face care, Black soap is ideal. It is non-drying, and yet deep cleansing. It is deep moisturizing, and not oily! Also, the fine ash ingredients, which gives the African soap its mottled black and brown color varieties, adds a super-fine exfoliating quality, safe to use for every day cleansing.

The typical African-made Black soap in a 3 ounce soap bar or soap ball is around 3.95 to 5.95 .

If you are willing to go "bulk" and make your own soap balls or bars you can find great prices for handcrafted African Black soaps ranging from around .50 to 1.00 per ounce.

My Natural Cleaning Experience with African Black Soap
Obviously, I love it. I use it often on my hair and face, in particular. I like the richness of the lather; the natural, aromatic quality; and the moisturizing effects. I come from an Irish-English background and my hair tends to be dry; Black soap actually moisturizes so well that it enhances my natural curl!

Big Thumbs Up! Great soap. All-Natural. No synthetic colorants, preservatives, or chemicals. Can easily be bought Fair-Trade. Works Great! It is a fantastic natural cleaning product!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Original Scent | Natural Cleaning Product Review

Green Works Natural All-purpose cleaner from Clorox is a great natural cleaning product and comes in Original Scent and Simply Tangerine. This was the first natural cleaner manufactured by the Clorox Company, launched just over a year ago, as they state on their website: "When we created Green Works natural cleaners, we defined natural using three core principles. The ingredients must come from renewable resources, be biodegradable and free of petrochemicals."

As the makers of the ubiquitous bleach synonymous with the Clorox name, this has been met with a variety of reactions, some cynicism and suspicion and others as welcomed progress.

Clorox is Green?

The Clorox Company, in business since 1913, is the manufacturer of half the world's chlorine bleach, as well as, other well-known product brands such as Formula 409, Liquid-Plumr, Lestoil, Kingsford Charcoal, Glad Bags, STP, Armor All.

When The Clorox Company launched the Green Works line of natural cleaning products in January 2008, they had a goal to take natural cleaning mainstream, making it more affordable without compromising cleaning performance. They state on their website that Green Works is now the #1 brand in natural cleaning.

Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner -- 99% Natural

The plant and mineral-based ingredients in Green Works cleaners are renewable, sustainable, and biodegradable helping to minimize the impact on the environment.

· Green Works bottles are 100 percent recyclable.
· More than 90 percent of our U.S. product cartons are recycled.
· Not tested on animals.
· Does not contain bleach or phosphorus.

These are all good reasons to use this natural cleaning product. Clorox is making steps in the right direction and should be applauded. (Green and eco-friendly is the wave of the future!) Also, they openly list their ingredients, which should qualify for an encore! compared to other cleaning manufacturers who have refused to devulge them.

Filtered water, coconut-based cleaner, glycerine, ethanol (an alcohol), fragrance with essential oil (meaning not just essential oils!), biodegradable preservative, blue and yellow colorant (meaning chemicals to dye it!)

Very economically for a manufactured green cleaner, priced from $2.99 to 3.39/ 1 fluid quart.

My Natural Cleaning Experience Using Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
I used the Original Scent in my kitchen and found that it works well and smells great; a lemony aroma, even though the liquid color is “green”! I’m a stickler for dyes and fake colors, so I’d like to see Green Works go “au natural”. (If we’re trying to go natural let’s do it!)

Big Thumbs Up! High marks on naturalness, biodegradability, and recycled packaging.
Thumbs On the Side For most likely synthetic colorants and not using 100% essential oils. There are so many wonderful herbs and essential oils with cleaning and disinfecting powers, why don’t we harness their goodness in our every day cleaning!

Thanks, Clorox for taking a giant step by manufacturing plant and mineral-based, eco-friendly, natural cleaning products!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tom's of Maine Natural Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste | Natural Cleaning Product Review

Tom's of Maine Natural Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste, spearmint flavor, is the only natural cleaning product of toothpaste accepted by the American Dental Association, or the ADA. What does the ADA acceptance mean? It is based on independent findings done by the ADA that this product is effective in helping to prevent and reduce tooth decay, when used as directed.

Tom's of Maine, founded in 1970, by Co founders, Kate and Tom Chappell, states their website, was "based...on the idea that nature has answers to our everyday needs." Brilliant! According to the Tom's of Maine label, they purposely use only natural ingredients, "without adding any artificial flavors, fragrances, colors, or preservatives."

Their natural cleaning products include: toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, and deodorant. On each product and on their website they list not only the actual ingredients, but the purpose for each and the source, so that informed consumers can be just that--informed. Brilliant, again!

The spearmint flavor comes from natural oils of spearmint and peppermint, but Tom's of Maine Natural Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste also comes in Peppermint Baking Soda and Wintermint Flavors, each will work in keeping your teeth squeaky clean and fresh feeling.


Tom's Natural Care of Maine, believing strongly in 100% transparency, has listed all of their ingredients since 1981 on their natural cleaning products, because they want you "to know what you are buying."

For the Spearmint Flavor:

Active Ingredient: Name/Purpose/Source
Sodium monofluorophosphate/Decay prevention/Fluorspar (calcium fluoride), an ore

Other Ingredients: Name/Purpose/Source
Calcium carbonate/Mild abrasive/Purified calcium from the earth
Water/Consistency/Maine aquifer
Glycerin/Moistener/Vegetable oils
Xylitol/Flavor/Birch trees or corn
Sodium lauryl sulfate/Dispersant/Derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil
Spearmint and peppermint oils/Flavor/Spearmint (Mentha viridis) and peppermint (Mentha piperita) leaves
Carrageenan/Thickener/Seaweed (Chondrus crispus)

Retails at 4.65 to 5.99, sometimes you can get various flavors on sales--the price is a little steep!
They also offer a refund guarantee, plus $2.00 for shipping, however I don't think you ever need to take them up on that.

Community Service:
Community involvement is important at Tom's of Maine, they donate 10% of their pre-tax profits from selling their natural cleaning products to charitable organizations supporting the environment, human needs, the arts, and education.

They also encourage their employees to use 5% of their paid time volunteering at nonprofit organizations of their choice. (I thought that was cool!)

My Experience Using Tom's of Maine
Natural Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste, Spearmint:
The minty flavor hearkens back to my childhood, when my Grandmother always had spearmint flavored "Chiclets" in her purse. It has an all-natural mintiness, not like the fake toothpastes we've mostly been raised on!

Because there is not any artificial sweeteners like saccharin or aspartame added, like in most toothpastes, Tom's of Maine natural cleaning toothpastes may seem "not sweet" enough to some consumers. It took me a little time to get use to--but once I did, I appreciate the natural flavors of real mint so much!

I read some online, negative reviews based on the taste or the slight graininess of Tom's Natural Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste, my take on that is they probably are not use to an all-natural, non-sugary toothpaste. In my view, tooth care should not be all about the sweetness, we're trying to clean our teeth up from the negative effects of sugars!

BIG Thumbs Up! For effectiveness, taste, and healthfulness. It was a different texture than gels or non-natural toothpastes, but I liked it. Tom's of Maine has created toothpaste the way it should be, a natural cleaning product!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Arm & Hammer Essentials Cleaner & Degreaser | Natural Cleaning Product Review

Arm & Hammer Essentials Cleaner & Degreaser Natural Cleaning Product Review
The Cleaner & Degreaser is just one of a set of 3 color-coded cleaners in the recently released Essentials Line of Arm & Hammer's, the well-known brand name of baking soda. Great product packaging design with cleaner concentrate in a small bottle sold in packs of 2 for approximately 4.00 each is equal 2 regular-sized cleaner spray bottles. This saves on storage, transportation costs, and plastic--reducing their plastic packaging use by 93% according to Arm & Hammer.

Arm & Hammer's Essentials Cleaner & Degreaser is a versatile, natural cleaning product; an all-purpose cleaner good for multiple surfaces and usage in kitchens, bathrooms, floors, and garbage cans and as they state on their packaging they are "harnessing the power of Nature....and [are] sensible for the environment."

Arm & Hammer, around since before the American Civil War, has a long history of recycling and working towards eco-friendly business practices. They state on their website that they have been using recycled cardboard containers since 1907! They also were the producers of the first phosphate-free detergent and the first corporate sponsors of Earth Day, both in 1970.

In the News
Currently, though Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the owner of the Arm & Hammer brand name is being sued by the Earthjustice, a non-profit, environmental, public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the earth and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. The lawsuit is brought against Church & Dwight Co., Inc. and some of the other major manufacturers of cleaning products, who have refused to abide by or ignored a New York State law which requires manufacturers to report their ingredients. According to Earthjustice, "independent studies into chemicals contained in cleaning products continue to find health effects ranging from nerve damage to hormone disruption. But ingredient disclosure requirements are virtually non-existent in the United States." This litigation could have a nationwide effect.

The package states that Arm & Hammer's Essentials Cleaner & Degreaser "contains powerful plant-based cleaners" derived from coconut and palm kernel oil. Plant-derived can be very good for the planet, usually implying biodegradability and naturalness, but we need to read between the lines. Lots of chemical changes can occur through the manufacturing process and chemical derivatives of plants can be toxic in themselves, both before and after various chemical changes.


To protect a company's patented formula, the ingredients in household cleaners do not need to be spelled out in most States, except as ratified, but unenforced, in that New York State law, consequently, on the Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS for Arm & Hammer's Essentials Cleaner & Degreaser the ingredients are listed as merely "proprietary".

Note from me: I am much more comfortable knowing the ingredients in detail of the household, natural cleaning products that I use, so that I can make informed choices on the safety of specific ingredients. I want to see any product that consumers eat, drink, breath, or slather on their bodies to be transparent by listing their ingredients!

MSDSOn the MSDS sheet for this product there are warnings that "toxic fumes [can occur if] mixed with products containing chlorine and other sanitizing ingredients", namely "acids or ammonia". In other words, do not mix this cleaner with products containing chlorine bleach, ammonia, or acids like, vinegar.

My Natural Cleaning Experience Using Arm & Hammer's Essentials Cleaner & DegreaserIt is a very powerful all-purpose cleaner and degreaser! I tried it on an old plate that had sat outside all winter under a plant, this cleaner did quick work of the dried on dirt and grime and some rust. It also works well against grease.

For my experience, that's the good news, the bad is that I think the fumes from this cleaner are very strong and unpleasant! I would rather use a natural cleaning product that needs a little more of my "arm power" and smells "healthy" than avoid fumes that may be toxic for me!


Thumbs Up for the recycled cardboard packaging and for the ingenious bottle system to cut down on plastic. And thumbs up for seeking to have a plant-based cleaner....but.....
Thumbs Down for the strong fumes, the unpleasant aroma, and for not divulging their ingredients. It has a strong yellow color, but no lemon scent--where's the yellow color from?? You know it has to be something artificial dye it yellow, and I'd rather not inhale that, when I am trying to clean with a natural cleaning product!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jergens Naturals Refresh Daily Moisturizer | Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

Jergens Naturals Refresh Daily Moisturizer, 93 % natural ingredients, has a stronger fragrance than their Hydrate Daily Moisturizer, reviewed in my last post, composed of the botanicals aloe vera, mint leaf, and white tea extracts.

For the first few seconds after application, the aroma is slightly chemical-like, perhaps because they apparently did not use the botanicals in their essential oil form; later the aroma of the botanical ingredients is a nice combination that lingers, particularly the white tea extract mingling with the mint leaf. It is refreshing aromatherapy!

Approximately 1/4 of the last 12 ingredients listed on Jergens Naturals Refresh Daily Moisturizer are listed on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database as having a moderate toxicity rating. None were listed as a high toxicity rating.

Therefore, of the 7% non-natural ingredients, mostly listed in those last 12 ingredients, only 25% have toxicity concerns in a moderate range. This is a great improvement from the Jergens original formula which had a couple of kinds of parabens which were considered moderate to high toxicity rating.

Paraben-Free and No Animal Testing
Jergens Naturals Refresh Daily Moisturizer is also paraben-free. "Parabens," according to the Chicago Tribune, "have been considered a cheap and indispensable way to inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds in personal-care products such as shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and sunscreens.

"Parabens are why products can survive the three-month boat trip from China, sit on store or warehouse shelves for years or be exposed to extreme temperatures. But studies have shown that some parabens can mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body’s cells. Estrogenic activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer."

Also, Jergens Naturals Refresh Daily Moisturizer, and all Jergens products, have not been tested on animals and have no animal by-products in them.

The "natural" ingredients include aloe vera to comfort, soften, and rejuvenate. Also, included are mint leaf to cool and refreshen and white tea, which possesses astringent and antioxidant properties. They also have soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and the extracts of rosemary, cucumber, and sage.

Click here to see Jergens complete ingredient list, which is very user-friendly describing what each ingredient does, except they do not mention any risks like the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database outlines.

My Experience In Using Jergens Naturals Refresh Daily Moisturizer
Compared to Jergens Naturals Hydrate, reviewed last post, I like it better. The aroma lingered longer and stronger and I particularly like the White Tea fragrance. It is subtle and exotic. I felt that it worked just as well as the Hydrate, even though the Hydrate seems to be designed for "deeper moisturizing".

Thumbs Up! And Thumbs to the Side!

I am very pleased that Jergens is moving toward green, healthy ingredients--but I want more as a consumer, I want to see all the ingredients to be non-toxic and non-dangerous. I did buy this product, I would probably purchase it again, if there wasn't an even more natural choice. I'd say B+ for Jergens Naturals Refresh Daily Moisturizer.

Homemaking Tips
I want to share my experience in changing over from chemical-laden cosmetics to all-natural ones. I have been avoiding any or most ingredients that are unnatural or unhealthy for a while now--in my cosmetics, my cleaning products, and my food choices and my sense of smell is definitely stronger now!

It has been as if my sense of smell had been over-chemicalized from a lifetime of pollutants! And now it has been rejuvenated. Also, my skin is much more sensitive to alcohols in cosmetics; I can tell right away if a product has an alcohol in it.

Try changing over as much as possible to all natural products--organic and/or plant-based cosmetics, cleaners, and foods.

An easy way to do this is read the ingredient list on the bottles, boxes, and cans--if you don't recognize or can't pronounce an ingredient, it is probably an unnatural chemical that you should avoid!

Also, be an informed consumer, keep reading my blog and other "green" informative sites. : )

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jergens Naturals Hydrate Daily Moisturizer | Natural Cleaning Product Review

Jergens Naturals Hydrate Daily Moisturizer, 92% Natural Ingredients, "with a blend of authentic desert botanicals and essential hydrators" as stated on their label, [will] "soften and quench". Jojoba oil, agave extract, and cactus extract are part of that blend of moisturizing ingredients.

Although, this lotion is not a cleaning product per se, I decided to evaluate it since it goes on our skin after washing and bathing.

Also, included in the ingredients are cocoa butter, soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, and shea butter--among other natural botanicals. This is a step in the right direction for Jergens, 92% natural is a great percentage, but I would like to see more.

Improvement for Health, Need to Go Further
According to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, the Jergens Original Cherry-Almond Scented Lotion (that I used for my family unwittingly for years!) received a 7 out of 10 rating hazard score. EWG rates cosmetics based on scientific studies and in relation to various countries legal codes; their site is very well documented to back-up their ratings.

Jergens Naturals Hydrate Daily Moisturizer is so new that it is not yet in their database at the time of this posting. I expect that it will get a lower rating, and that is good. But I would like to see a higher standard of regulation for health hazards in our cosmetics that we slather on ours and our children's bodies!

"Natural" is an unregulated label term, many toxic chemicals are "natural" i.e. they naturally form in our environment, that doesn't mean we should put them on our bodies! Jergens, owned by Kao Corporation of Japan, who acquired them in the 1980's and owns other main brands like Curél® and Bioré®, has made improvements to the Jergens brand, making it "cruelty-free and paraben-free, but they still have some ingredients that are health hazards ranging from skin irritants to more serious issues.

For instance, DMDM Hydrantoin, is toxic and according to Japan's own government standards for cosmetics is restricted for "use in some cosmetics and in some concentrations". It is true that DMDM Hydratoin is listed towards the bottom of their ingredients, meaning most likely it is a very small amount, but the concentration is unknown. I personally try to avoid "toxic" ingredients in any amount if it is within my power to do so.

Let's make the cosmetic label, "Natural", truly mean "natural and healthy" for you! Like their website tag line says "your skin isn't synthetic. So, why use a moisturizer that is?"

Price and Size
16.8 fluid ounces 6.30 - 7.99 retail depending on store.

My Experience with Using Jergens Naturals Hydrate Daily Moisturizer, 92% Natural Ingredients was good. It does deeply moisturize and my hands and body stayed hydrated even an hour after application. I am very glad Jergens is using 92% natural ingredients that include quite a number of botanicals known for hydrating and moisturizing. I did a little experiment of my own....

My Home Experiment
I used Jergens Naturals Hydrate Daily Moisturizer on one hand and simultaneously used straight Olive Oil on the other (don't ask me how I accomplished this feat!)

Here are my findings:

Jergens Naturals Hydrate--has a high oil composition, compared to their past Original formula, it does have a slight oil sheen, (which is fine with me for deep moisturizing) even an hour after application. It works well for moisturizing, but does have a very slight irritant aspect, probably from the form of alcohol in their ingredients.

Olive Oil--similar oil sheen, even after an hour, but moisturizes better; no skin irritant aspect; Olive Oil doesn't have as nice an aroma as the Jergens Naturals Hydrate.

Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down!?
You can use Jergens Naturals Hydrate Daily Moisturizer, it does work well. It does have a high level of natural, healthy ingredients--but I think there are other healthier brands out there. The price, I think is a little high for what you are getting.

Homemaking Tip
Try making your own lotions and keeping in the refrigerator and shake up when you need to use them. Yes, a little cold, but healthy! No need for preservatives or other toxic chemicals that cause health issues.

Use a combination of oils and glycerin and essential oils for fragrance, you can find the glycerin at health food stores and some craft stores. It is easy and fun and works very similar if not better to expensive lotions. See the Cranberry Lane website for more info. (I'm not affiliated with them i.e. not on the payroll. Just like their company!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Soap Bar Lavender Scented | Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

"Aromatherapeutic Household Cleaners"--what more could you ask for as you clean your home and bodywith natural cleaning products. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Soap Bar, 8 ounce, Lavender Scented is just that--a bar of pure vegetable based, triple milled Castille soap (made from olive oil). It is rich in lather and aroma, and is a good, sturdy size to get your money's worth.

Developed by Clean and Company, LLC. from Minneapolis, MN, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Soap Bar is designed as a natural cleaning product, to be used for the bath, shower, or at the sink. I particularly like to have a bar at my kitchen sink too. After doing a dirty, messy job it is so nice to wash-up with an aromatic, moisturizing soap bar like Mrs. Meyer's Soap.

Lavender, a fragrant herb from the mint family, is known for its soothing and relaxing qualities. It is also has antibiotic, antiseptic qualities that will assist the soap itself in the cleansing action, naturally!

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Soap Bar retails from 4.75 to 6.99, so check around for the best price! (That is quite a price spread!) The below company website link has a handy store locator. I have also seen it for bulk order on Amazon for 4.58/each for a set of 12. (To me that would be worth it--stick some in your dresser drawers--you'll thank me!)

You can visit Mrs. Meyer's company website and shop by "fragrance" or by "cleaning task", which I thought was a great way to set up a customer-friendly site.

Natural-ness and Environment
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Soap Bar is a natural cleaning product that is biodegradable and cruelty-free (meaning not tested on animals!) They make sure all their packaging is recyclable.

They state on their website: ""We use naturally derived ingredients whenever possible...When we cannot find a plant-derived ingredient that performs to our rigorous standards, we use ingredients from the world of safe synthetics. These are materials with a long history of safety and efficacy...we do our best every day to make our formulations as natural as possible without compromising freshness, and performance."

Reading between the lines--this means these soap bars and their other products have a high level of natural ingredients, but not 100%. They do not use 100% essential oils for their fragrances and they have added some other "non-natural ingredients to ensure safety, consistent performance and quality".

They do stress though on their site that their products DO NOT contain ammonia, chlorine or phosphates. They do seem to have a practical, balanced view on creating green products--that will be "sensible" to some consumers and not "pure" enough for others. You can check more details on their site and make you own decision in relation their level of natural-ness.

My Natural Cleaning Experience Using Their Lavender Soap Bar
It has a rich, lavender scent even after being in one of my clothing drawers for a several of months. The elegance of the aroma and the lather when washing is just what you would expect from a high-quality, triple milled, Castille soap.

Thumbs Up! For the aroma and cleaning power.
Thumbs On the Side! For the additional "synthetic" ingredients. (Not a Thumbs Down Though--But Room for Improvement*)

*Note: I have made my own cold-processed lavender soaps that lathered and relaxed me just as well with nothing synthetic in it. Let's make a good natural cleaning product, even better!

Borax 20 Mule Team | Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

20 Mule Team Borax Natural Laundry Booster and Multi-purpose Household Cleaner made by The Dial Corporation comes in powder form in a 76 ounce sized box. It has been in use in the United States since 1891, when it was first hauled out of Death Valley by 20 mule team wagons, hence the name.

Borax or sodium tetraborite decahydrate, is a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium (salt), boron, (a primary element in almost everything), oxygen, and water. The powdered form of borax used in cleaning is the dehydrated version.


UPDATE*** Important Note: One important qualifier I just learned!! Borax or sodium borate is not recommended for use on infant skin by the The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an independent trade association of the cosmetic industry supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In other words, use detergents or cosmetics without sodium borate or borax in them for your infant's care.

Although Borax is a naturally-occurring substance, it still must be used with caution, sodium borate a component of Borax when enters the human body becomes boric acid, which ingested in large amounts has been proven to cause reproductive abnormalities.

Check out their MSDS or Material Safety Data Sheet for detailed information. As with most household cleaners, keep away from children and pets and use according to the directions.

With that said, Borax is a green alternative to chemical color-fast bleaches and brighteners. It can be used as a green stain remover. Because of its high pH value it is a good detergent booster, i.e. helping detergents work better, particularly if you have "hard water".

The Borax box itself has great tips on how to use their product all around the house. The manufacturers also have a helpful booklet of uses for Borax on their website. According to this booklet they state that "Borax acts as a water conditioner, boosting the cleaning power of detergent by controlling alkalinity, deodorizing the clothes and aiding the removal of stains and soil."

Walmart often has the lowest retail price. Online Ace Hardware has a great deal where you can have free shipping to your local Ace Hardware store for a 6 pack for 34.74, that comes out to 5.79 a box which is a good price. Also, BIC Superstore has a deal for 6.14 only.

My Experience Using Borax
I have been making my own powdered laundry detergent awhile now. One of my main ingredients is Borax. It works well in conjunction with other natural soaps. I also have used it in the kitchen for cleaning, but I make sure that I rinse well, since there are some health risks with ingestion of large amounts.

I drastically limit my use of bleach and bleach products, so using Borax with Baking soda as a scouring/whitening replacement for Ajax or Comet has worked well.

I do use occasionally use some bleach for stain removal and disinfection .
FYI Borax is compatible with Bleach if you choose to use it together.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Citra Suds Natural Laundry Detergent | Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

CitraSuds Natural Laundry Detergent, Valencia Orange Fragrance, 50 fluid ounce bottle of 2x concentrate, does 32 loads and is designed to be used in regular clothes washers and high-efficiency washers; just follow the directions for either type on the back of the bottle.

(CitraSuds Natural Laundry Detergent is also available in powdered form, although I haven't tried that yet.)

It is manufactured by CitraSolv (for more information on that company look at my prior blog posting on CitraDish Natural Dish Wash Soap). CitraSuds is a concentrated formula that is made with less water, to make it easier to carry and store, and needs less packaging, which helps the environment.

Like Fresh-Squeezed Oranges
CitraSuds Natural Laundry Detergent, the Valencia Orange Fragrance, has a delicious aroma, straight out of the bottle! It beckons one back to memories of mornings of fresh-squeezed orange juice with Grandma. Better yet, after the wash your clothes smell fresh with that citrus-clean scent.

Retail ranging from 8.64 to 9.99 . That is only an average of .29 cents a load. Pretty Good! Online buying bulk you can get deals for 3 or more at 8.29/each or 12 or more at 7.86 .

Also online, I did find the older formula for the same brand, i.e. not concentrated and probably not for high-efficiency washers for only 7.09

Fragrance Choices
Valencia Orange: Wonderfully rejuvenating! Lavender Bergamot: Very Soothing.

Natural cleaning agents (coconut- & vegetable-based), alcohol ethoxylate (plant-derived), sodium chloride (salt), natural citrus and other natural essential oils, preservative (less than 0.002%), water.

Good Points!
Chlorine bleach-free
Contains no phosphates, EDTA or NTA
Contains no synthetic perfumes or dyes
Contains no optical brighteners
Safe for septic systems
Non-toxic, plant-based soaps
No petroleum-based cleaners
Not tested on animals
Great Scent!
Excellent Performance!

My Experience Using in the Laundry
I used CitraSuds Natural Laundry Detergent for the first time ever today. I cleaned a normal load in a normal (not high-efficiency) washer. I didn't even use fabric softener, because I wanted to test how CitraSuds actually worked by itself. I am very pleased! It worked great even very dirty socks, towels, and a gross bathroom rug. Everything came out smelling great and actually soft. I would recommend that you don't even have to use fabric softener with CitraSuds Natural Laundry Detergent (I certainly couldn't say that with the chemical laundry detergents on the market today.)

Big Thumbs Up! Hurray Again, for CitraSolv and their CitraSuds Natural Laundry Detergent.

Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap | Natural Cleaning Product Review

I tried the Lavender Bergamot scented Citra Dish Natural Liquid Dish Soap, 25 ounce bottle, for hand washing dishes. It was great! The label states that "our naturally derived dish soap makes quick work of grease and baked-on foods, leaving dishes exceptionally clean and streak free."

Natural Cleaning Product Review: Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap

Kudos to CitraSolv, L.L.C. the makers of Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap and other natural cleaning products, they delivered on that promise. I washed day-old dishes and pots-n-pans from a family of 4 and found that Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap did quickly cut through the grease and encrusted food (yuk!).

CitraSolv headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut was founded by Steve and Melissa Zeitler; their website can be found at the above, embedded link. They offer coupons on their site for their products and a handy store locator by zipcode. On their website they clearly announce: "We specialize in the development of naturally-derived products that are made from renewable resources and which have a minimum impact on our world."

Their products are cruelty-free (meaning no animal testing!) and vegan. They use real essential oils for their fragrances, not imitations. They state that "independent lab tests prove these products perform as well as or better than the leading national brands. The key difference, though, is that CitraSolv uses naturally derived, biodegradable, non-toxic, renewable resources, including natural essential oils and plant-based surfactants."


The ingredients for Citra Dish are a short list of natural ingredients: Water, natural cleaning agents (coconut and vegetable based), sodium chloride (salt), essential oil blend, aloe vera, preservative (less than 0.002%). I like short lists of ingredients that I can identify and trust!!


The aroma of the lavender bergamot scented Citra Dish was divine, very relaxing and soothing, always a plus when facing a pile of dirty dishes. Lavender is a flowering herb from the mint family, derived from Latin (lavare) meaning "to wash". It has been prized for centuries for its antiseptic, antibacterial and anti fungal properties. It is also used widely for relaxation and even sometimes as a natural antidepressant. Bergamot, a citrus fruit, also has antiseptic and antidepressant qualities, and is the same essential oil found in the fragrant tea, Earl Grey.

Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap also comes in these interesting fragrances: Valencia Orange, Mango Tangerine, Lemon Verbena, and Fresh Grapefruit.


The 25 fluid ounce bottle, the only size, retails from 4.69 to 4.99. Getting a 1.00 off coupon from the CitraSolv website would bring it down to just less than 4.oo per bottle.

I did find the Mango Tangerine fragrance Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap on Amazon for only 3.09 per bottle for a pack of 12. This deal comes with free shipping if you act immediately and order before March 5, 2009.

My Dish Washing Experience

I found Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap worked great on a large pile of dishes and pots-n-pans. It left my glasses streak-free and everything squeaky clean. It worked fast, dried-on dishes only needing about a minute or 2 soak, before cleaning up well. I used approximately 1 tablespoon of the soap in a dish washing tub, that is equivalent to 2 generous squirts (I know because I actually measured it!).

The soap suds kept well. I found that agitating the running water with my hand after adding the soap worked the best to make a large amount of suds.

Quick Note on Natural Soaps in General
Because natural soaps do not have artificial, chemical surfactants added, they tend to make less suds than consumers are normally use to, but don't fret, the amount of suds do not equal the cleaning power of the soap! Agitating the soapy water manually can produce an equivalent amount of suds to the typical chemicalized soaps and detergents. You can think of suds as nice but not necessary!

Minor Drawbacks

I felt that the fragrance dissipated fairly quickly. It was strong and wonderful at first, but within a 5 minute or so window of time, the aroma had mostly disappeared and was nice, just very faint.

Also, I would like the Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap to be more moisturizing for my hands. It made my hands feel a little dry after washing the dishes, perhaps because the addition of salt in the ingredients?

Overall, Big Thumbs-Up for Citra Dish Natural Dish Soap. It is a great, natural cleaning product, that will make your hand washing of dishes a wonderful aromatic, cleaning experience.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Natural Cleaning Product Review: Versatile Vinegar

Vinegar or acetic acid made from either apples, for the tan-colored apple cider vinegar, or usually from grapes, for the clear white vinegar, has long been known for its antibiotic qualities, hence why people for ages would "pickle" foods for long-term storage. It is also a great natural cleaning product, eco-friendly, good for the Earth and your family.

Evidence-based testing of the anti-bacterial potency of vinegar when used as a natural cleaning product was done in 2000 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, finding that straight vinegar was 90% effective at killing bacteria. Used in conjunction with soap or other complementary cleaners like baking soda or hydrogen-peroxide and you have a powerful disinfectant, similar to the EPA-rated disinfectants on the market.

White Vinegar For Cleaning

White vinegar, 5% acidity found in grocery stores everywhere, is most often chosen for cleaning because of the less pungent odour. You can use straight white vinegar in a spray bottle to spritz and let dry, after first washing and rinsing with soap. You can also add to the soap a dash of baking soda. Used in this way, on any surface, you can clean and kill most germs with the soap and baking soda mixture, and then kill the rest as the vinegar evaporates.

Notice I said you can use this on ANY surface, even on your baby's highchair or your pet's chew toys! Vinegar as a natural cleaning product is edible, non-toxic, eco-friendly, biodegradable, and inexpensive, so it is great for the Environment and for the people and animals who share the Earth! Cleaning with a natural product like vinegar is a great way to promote natural health in your family.

See Homemaking Tips Below:

Recipes for Vinegar Natural Cleaner:

1. "Disinfectant": Add straight white vinegar to spray bottle and spray accordingly. Let stand until dry, approximately 10 mins.

2. "Windex Substitute": Dilute white vinegar 50% with water, add to spray bottle, spritz on any glass surface and wipe with paper towel, clean rag, or used newspaper.

3. "Toilet Bowl Cleaner": Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to toilet bowl. Add 1/2 cup baking soda and scrub, then flush. To disinfect: Clean, then add 1/2 cup more vinegar and let sit 10 minutes more, then flush.

4. "All-Purpose Cleaner": Dilute white vinegar 1 to 2 parts water, add to spray bottle and spray then wipe. For dirty jobs: scrub with natural soap, water, and baking soda first.

See Next Post on "4-Thieves Vinegar" Natural Cleaning Product and Eco-friendly Disinfectant!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Natural Cleaning Product Review: Soap from Trees?

This is an independent review of Soap Nuts are one of the Earth's sustainable natural soaps. They are a sustainable harvest, often harvested by village co-ops from trees in the wild, benefiting local economies.

Actually, a fruit not a nut of the genus sapindus, soap nuts contain saponins, a natural soap-like substance, are harvested from trees found in India and South East Asia. Soap Nuts have been used for thousands of years for laundering and washing.

When searching for the ideal biodegradable, chemical-free, gentle, natural cleaning product—look no further than the humble Soap Nut. They can be purchased on-line from buysoapnuts.com and other websites.

Soap Nuts might look a little funny, but let's not judge the "package from the outside". They pack a powerful, all-natural option to the chemical, manufactured detergents polluting our bodies and water.

Use in Laundry

For laundry place 3-4 soap nuts into a small, drawstring, cotton bag; available at buysoapnuts.com . Tie and toss into the washer, add clothes and water. This method is exceptionally easy!

Each of these bags of soap nuts can be reused for 4-5 loads. Add a 1/2-1 cup of borax or baking soda to the wash cycle to boost cleansing power and add white vinegar to the rinse cycle for greater germ-killing power.

The soap nuts do not need to be used with any fabric softener. Soap nuts are naturally softening and non-irritating; a wonderful perk for those with sensitive skin. They are exceptionally very gentle on even the most delicate of fabrics.

You can also make homemade liquid soap nuts laundry detergent if you prefer.

Soap Nuts and Yuk

Soap nuts work well cleaning heavily soiled items like dirty cloth diapers or yukky athletic socks. They have natural odor-fighting power, but to disinfect and whiten you will need to add your choice of ½ cup of borax, hydrogen peroxide, or oxy-clean. As a bonus, the natural saponins in soap nuts worked to strip the old detergent residue from the cloth diapers so that the diapers become more absorbent.

Soap Nuts Cleaners, Shampoos, Facial Soaps

Soap nuts are very versatile as a natural cleaning product, since it is an all-natural, non-chemcial soap, they can be used on the body and for general cleaning. Zamuta Soapnuts sells a great soap nuts powder that is very versatile to use in multiple cleaning jobs from the shower to all-purpose cleaning and pet care. Wow!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Win the Battle of Man vs. Virus with Gargling!

The dreaded flu season is upon us again. The battle wages against the common cold. Along with the icy temperatures and the wind chill, we all need to protect ourselves from these wintry, viral foes.

The best protection against any virus is a strong immune system derived from a balanced diet and regular hand washing. A lesser known strategy for stopping cold and flu viruses is simply gargling on a daily basis. In a 2005 article, referencing a Japanese study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, gargling with water helped to prevent the common cold by 36%.

Some American researchers discount these Japanese findings as improbable due to the placebo effect, since study participants knew that gargling was part of the study. The placebo effect can influence the findings of scientific studies if participants' expectations affect the results. However, Kazunari Satomura, MD, PhD, from the University of Kyoto in Japan, the lead researcher on the 2005 gargling study states "that the results show in this study the placebo effect plays only a small role, [because] we explained to the participants at the beginning of the study that there is no scientific evidence on the prevention of common colds by gargling.” Many Japanese people practice gargling for the prevention of colds, but the common belief is that gargling with a substance like diluted iodine or green tea is the main preventer, not merely water.

A similar study on gargling with green tea, from another Japanese study in 2006, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, that the effectiveness of flu vaccine given to the elderly was enhanced by gargling with green tea. More studies are needed to verify the effectiveness of gargling with green tea in relation to flu prevention in general, but the findings seem to point to the strengthening properties of the, substances found in green tea, known for their antioxidant properties.

The simple act of daily gargling may help in prevention of colds and the flu. The hypothesis is that gargling cleanses the mouth and throat of bacteria and chlorine in the water helps to kill the bacteria. Certainly, this inexpensive health habit should be studied further.

Medscape, an informational website for health professionals, concludes “for now, the regular use of gargling seems as legitimate as other more commonly used means to prevent the common cold.” For more information on prevention of the common cold and influenza see http://www.lungusa.org/ for the American Lung Association's “Cold and Flu Guidelines”.