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Clean & Green

How to tell if the household products you use are truly safe and eco-friendly

The label on your laundry detergent or favorite household disinfectant says “green” or “eco-friendly.” But is it really? Don’t be so sure. Unfortunately, there is no specific criteria that regulates the use of eco-friendly labels on household cleaning products.

The truth is, many consumers are victims of “greenwashing” – or believing labels which present a product as safe and environmentally responsible, when it’s really not.

One solution: The Environmental Protection Agency has created two programs to make it easier for buyers to identify truly green cleaning products:

  • The Safer Choice program certifies products that have been screened for potential human health and environmental effects and are considered the safest in their class. To see if your favorite products made the grade, look for the Safer Choice logo, or visit www.epa.gov/saferchoice.
  • The Design for the Environment (DfE) label helps consumers select antimicrobial pesticide products by assessing their ingredients to ensure they meet environmental and human health and safety criteria. On the EPA’s website, there’s an online database where you can browse through certified products. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/pesticide-labels/dfe-certified-disinfectants.

3 Products to Try

Here are three cleaning products that meet the EPA’s standards:

For all-purpose cleaning

Clorox Compostable Cleaning Wipes
Made from compostable plant fibers, these Safer Choice certified handy wipes clean a variety of surfaces, including sealed wood, sealed granite and stainless steel. They come in three all-natural scents: Free & Clear, Simply Lemon and Original Fresh.

For washing dishes

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Gel
This brand features a number of Safer Choice certified products, including laundry detergents and fabric softener sprays. But the dishwasher detergent is a fan favorite. The Free & Clear and Lemon gels, which are free from fragrances, chlorine and dye, are made with plant-based ingredients.

For cleaning wood floors

Bona Hard-Surface Floor Cleaning with Lemon Mint
This floor cleaner, designed for sealed, hard-surface floors like stone and laminate, is Safer Choice certified. Simply spray it on the floor and enjoy the clean aroma of lemon, peppermint and spearmint (all from essential oils) as you wipe it away.