Clean Green

by Kamala Nair; photos by Gregor Halenda

Clean Green

MT logoThey’re better for the environment, but do they really work? Yes! With just a little elbow grease from moms across the country, we found a great bunch of natural cleaners that passed the test (without costing a fortune).

Babyganics Glass CleanerGet gorgeous glass
Enter: Babyganics Glass Cleaner. Exit: those endless tiny handprints. ($5;

“It left my windows completely clear and streak-free. I’ll be buying it in the future.”
 — Silvia Mullen, mom of Sofia and Isabella, 2 1/2, and Aidan, 6 months, Chandler, AZ

Method WipesThe quickest fix
Method Wipes earned raves for cleaning dried-up mac and cheese and sticky syrup in a single swipe  — and for devising a package where only one sheet comes out at a time. ($4;

“I love that they’re biodegradable (some traditional wipes aren’t), so I don’t feel guilty about tossing them.”
 — Lindsay Romney, mom of Alexis, 3, and Thomas, 10 months, Fruit Heights, UT


Laundry and dish detergent

Arm & Hammer EssentialsFor clothes that go beyond clean
Moms loved everything about Arm & Hammer Essentials Laundry Detergent, from its low price and no-residue formula to the long-lasting fresh “mountain rain” fragrance. ($4; at grocery stores)

“This product gets out stains that others leave behind. It’s better than any higher-priced detergent I’ve tried!”
 — Laura Reyes, mom of Jennah, 7, and Jacob, 4, Omaha

Seventh GenerationA sudsy standout
With its impressive lather, Seventh Generation Dish Soap blows similar products out of the water. ($5;

“It feels clean and pure but still gets the job done well, and it leaves my hands softer than other dish soaps.”
 — Suzanne Butler, mom of Joshua, 2, Mesa, AZ


Bathroom cleaners

Mrs. MeyersFor a tidy bowl
Testers liked the thick, chlorine-free formula of Mrs. Meyer’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner best. ($5;

“I was skeptical that it could work. It did  — and it left my bathroom smelling great.”
 — Terry Lynn Beaver, mom of Chad, 2, and Carter, 3 months, Warminster, PA

Method Tub TileBathroom warrior
Moms swore that Method Tub + Tile Cleaner was more effective in cutting through grime than most standard products. Your knees will thank you. ($5;

“I didn’t have to scrub very hard to make my tub, bathroom counters, and sink really shine.”
 — Christine Balarezo, mom of Christopher, 3, Oldsmar, FL


Kitchen cleaners

EcoverGet a gleaming stove top
Don’t let the pretty little bottle fool you  — Ecover Cream Scrub packs a surprisingly strong punch. ($3; at Whole Foods and Wild Oats stores)
“A small amount goes such a long way. It’s much better than what I used to use!”
 — Heather Ketchmark, mom of Jarrett, 4 and Avery, 2, Savannah, GA

Sun & EarthA mean multitasker
The hands-down winner, Sun & Earth All Purpose Cleaner tackled grease and dirt better than any other natural products we tried. ($4;

“I especially like that it doesn’t leave a filmy residue I have to go over again, which saves me time.”
 — Adriann Finkler, mom of Lilly, 3, and Owen and Caleb, 1, Toledo

Do-good laundry detergents
Mainstream brands  — such as Tide, Wisk, All, and Gain  — are adding earth-friendly options, too. These three new kinds of detergents are comparable in price per bottle with their standard counterparts and may actually save you money in the long run:

* Cold water New formulations let you wash just as effectively in cold water as hot, saving you energy (and money) on heating.

* High-efficiency They’re the only detergents you should use in high-efficiency washers. The machines cost $200 to $600 more than standard ones, but they use less water (so you save on heating) and hold more clothes (meaning fewer loads).

* Concentrated Smaller quantities mean less packaging waste and fewer chemicals entering the ecosystem.