Cleaning Product Reviews

Some cleaning product reviews of popular "green" products

Here are reviews of some common "green" cleaning products that we have used.

Green cleaning is a must if you want to be environmentally friendly in your lifestyle. These green product reviews should help you get the best of cleaning while keeping to your green principles!

These are not stringent scientific tests but rather my own subjective impressions of the products from using them at home over a period of time.

I try to assess how well they contribute to green living, and how practical they are.

All the products reviewed here (by Greenfootsteps) are recommended as environmentally safer and less damaging to health than conventional products.

I do not directly sell any of these products, so I have no axe to grind. Some products may be a source of revenue through advertising or affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more about this. I'm only posting reviews of products that I consider to be worth the candle!

Cleaning Product Reviews:

Laundryballs or washballs

Kleeneze washballs

Kleeneze are a British firm, now also operating in Holland.

I used a washball from them for about 5 months. I thought it was initially rather expensive (just under £5 for just one ball - in 2007) but it lasted and lasted. It worked well and there were no problems with the glue of the plastic casing at high temperatures.

It was not refillable (unlike the Aquaball, see below) and the ball was rather easy to lose track of, as it was quite small and white: hard to find in a pile of white laundry. Perhaps the fact that it is not refillable is compensated for by the longevity of the ball.

This one from Betterware (pictured) is probably similar and lasts for 1000 washes Eco Super Wash Washing Ball I haven't tried it yet.

My verdict: very good value (the Kleeneze one, I can't comment on the Betterware equivalent - but these two companies watch each other's moves!)

If you are not up-to-speed on washballs yet, check out my page Washballs are a good alternative to detergent


Twenty First Century Health washball (Aquaball)

These washballs come in a stylish pack of two, with extra refills for when the inner clay balls wear away with use. There is also a stain remover included which seems to work well. (See below for stain remover reviews.)

My first ball - a spiky green plastic - fell apart in the wash after about six washes so I wasn't so impressed with that. However on reading the packaging I found that I should be using it at no more than 80 degrees Centigrade, so perhaps I erred there.

Most of the washes I do using washballs have been at 40 degrees or below but I do prefer to use higher temperatures sometimes. I wrote to the company to complain about the disintegrating ball and they kindly sent me 2 replacement shells.

I am still using the other ball and it is fine. It does not get lost so easily as the Kleeneze one, being larger and bright green. The balls inside the washball lasted as well as the Kleeneze ones. So far, I'm impressed with washballs as a natural cleaning product. They all seem to work equally well.

Family members can be a little suspicious that the spikes put holes in clothes. Many modern fashion items are very flimsy, so there could be something in this, though the spikes are not at all sharp, of course.

(Not all washballs have spikes. I have had good results with cheap ones picked up in the local market. They looked much like the ones from Amazon, shown above, which I have not yet tried. When my current set (finally!) runs out I shall try them.)

Refills

The business of re-filling the Aquaball is a little tricky, if like me you are not so deft! I lost the screw-top lid inside the ball on my first attempt and had to fish it out with tweezers. Now I always use wry-nose pliers to hold the lid securely, just to be sure!

I've been using these washballs now for about a year and I find they are just great for most washes.

The cost for the package was just under £15 (local health food shop). You can also order them on-line. They are available quite widely, including in north America.

These washballs are quite attractive objects, so keep them out of sight of the kids and the dog!

My verdict: excellent but tricksy to refill - for me at least! Also, some slight concern about the spikes.

Amazon do a good spike-free multi-pack which includes dryer balls - and the washballs have a protective ring which doubtless helps them be gentle on delicate clothing. My next one to try! Eco Laundry Balls (plus 2 free dryer balls)

Cleaning product reviews:

Washing up liquid detergents

Ecover washing-up liquid detergent with camomile and marigold

This washing up liquid is pleasant and mild to use. The scent is delicate and subtle, a bit lemony I think.

The liquid performs pretty well. It's a bit thin compared to standard washing-up liquids, so you need a good squeeze for any real grease. The product information claims that it is low in bubble production but this does not affect its cleaning powers.

The price is a bit steep compared to standard washing-up liquids that you find in any supermarket. However, there are some outlets which refill your empty bottles for you, so this brings the price down a bit.

What is the difference between this and a standard cleaning product?

Ecover washing-up liquid is a cleaning product that is low in ionic surfactants and it contains no artificial fragrances or other unnecessary chemicals. The ingredients are mainly plant based, such as citric acid.

However, it does still contain sodium laureth ether sulphate (SLES) which has a questionable record when it comes to human health.

This chemical is in almost every standard cleaning product and is responsible for the foaminess. There are some alternatives and I will be reviewing products which do not contain it soon.

Overall, there are fewer harmful residues left on your skin or your dishes after using this product.

Ecover's factory is run on ecological principles and they have received recognition from the United Nations for their contribution to the care of the environment.

My verdict: This is a very good cleaning product. It is a bit pricey. You can buy it cheaper by using a shop which does refills, which of course cuts down on waste, too. You can now buy grapefruit-based washing up liquid which is also very good.

Faith in Nature washing up liquid

Another great dish cleaning product.

My only reservation is that the bottle top is rather large, causing you to use the liquid faster than needed. I transfer mine into an old Ecover bottle for use. It's colourless, almost odourless - and works well.

Many people use dishwashers so here is a cleaning product which


Dishwasher Tablets and Liquids

Dishwasher gel detergent Clear Spring from Faith Products

Now this is the first time I've used an environmentally-friendly dishwashing cleaning product and been impressed!

This gel is colourless and odourless and it does a great job. The dishes come out sparkling clean and best of all there's no odour at all. Very often with conventional dishwasher products you get a slightly chemical smell when you open the drawer. Not something that inspires confidence!

It's really easy to use too. Just squirt the gel into the receptacle and close the door. No opening fiddly little packets and getting the granules on your skin. The packaging is fully recyclable, of course, too.

You can buy a litre pack to start and then refill from a 5 litre bottle later for a more cost-cutting approach. A litre should do more than 30 washes, (depending on how hard your water is and how dirty your dishes are, of course). I reckon that's not bad value for money.

My only quibble with this product is that it does not include a full list of ingredients. Sodium hydroxide is the only ingredient mentioned on the label. Sodium hydroxide is caustic soda, so you should be careful not to let it in contact with your skin, even though the amount included is very small (see below). Caustic soda is a highly effective cleaning product.

On their web site a full list of product ingredients is offered:

Sequestrant: 15-30% (safe stabilisers used in food products as preservatives);

Sodium silicate: 5-10% (a stable chemical that forms an alkaline solution in water);

Sodium hydroxide: less than 1% (caustic soda breaks down easily in air or water);

Xanthan Gum: less than 0.5% (another safe food stabiliser).

Clear Spring Dishwasher Gel is available in the UK. I understand that the company does export, too.

I have not tried Seventh Generation dishwasher gel. If anyone cares to review it please see Your Cleaning Product Reviews and add your thoughts. Thank you.

Cleaning Product Reviews:

Eco-friendly stain removers

Ecover ecological stain remover

This useful cleaning product has a lovely scent and I have been impressed with its ability to deal with a wide range of stains.

It will deal with grubby worn-in dirt as well as the usual range of spilled food and drinks on clothing. It's not much use on printer ink - but then what is?

The bottle comes with a dispensing lid of plastic bristles which you use to rub the fluid into the fabric.

I tested a heavily stained item with a conventional stain remover ("Shout") as well as the Ecover one. I could find no difference in their performance - they both cleared everything.

At under three pounds for a 200 ml bottle this is reasonable value for money.

Amazon do stock them - but only in a bulk pack, as far as I can see. Ecover Stain Remover, 6.8-Ounce Bottle (Pack of 9)

My verdict: a good cleaning product - I use it all the time.

Toilet Cleaners

I've tried both Ecover's toilet cleaner and a Bio D one. Both performed well. The Bio D one had an unfortunate tendency to separate into a watery substance (largely vinegar, I think) and a thicker cleaning agent. I'm sure many people would find this off-putting but it did not seem to affect the performance.

Vinegar works quite well as a descaling agent but if you can, it's better to install an inline descaling device. These magnetise the water and stop limescale building up and causing ugly marks. They are very cheap to buy and install.

Bleach makes a good eco cleaning product - please see vinegar and bleach for more details.

*****

Cleaning Product Reviews Top of Page

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Pages about natural cleaners:

Cleaning with salt

Washing soda

Soap nuts

Borax

washballs


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