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dreamer31's avatar

Are the retail 'green' cleaners even necessary?

Asked by dreamer31 (1932 points ) February 22nd, 2011

I usually stick to the the trusty lysol, but the stores have these environment safe products for even more money than you pay for the old fashioned ones.

Doesn’t selling lemons/water in a plastic bottle defeat the whole purpose of being ‘green’?

Am I missing something?

Seems like a marketing ploy to me. What do you think?

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12 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Some people are too lazy to mix lemon juice, vinegar, water and drop of lemon dish soap or are simply gullible enough to pay out the nose for “green” this or that.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Yea, it’s mostly a marketing ploy. That or they’re not at all environmentally friendly, and just bullshitting you.

Just mix vinegar and water. It does the same thing, and will probably cost you 10 cents a bottle.

Seelix's avatar

I agree with the guys. There’s no need to buy “green” products most of the time – vinegar/lemon and water will do just as good a job, if not better, though some extra elbow grease is often required.

Taciturnu's avatar

Homemade cleaners are in fact the most green, as they were not mass produced, packed in plastic and shipped. (Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide sprayed separately but simultaneously has been shown to be as effective as a bleach and water solution.)

I do buy Seventh Generation cleaners, however. They smell better than vinegar. My husband complains of the smell, even with the addition of essential oils.

I used to use Lysol regularly, but have veered far away from it. It’s VERY bad for the air quality in your home. The average house in the US has more VOCs than downtown LA from using unnatural cleaners… Scary!

EDIT: Side note that baking soda is an absolutely awesome abrasive cleaner.

casheroo's avatar

Sometimes, I buy those products just to have it on hand for when I run out of homemade products. I also keep non-green products on hand, so emergencies lol

nicobanks's avatar

I think they’re just a marketing ploy.

@Taciturnu What’s the difference between buying vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, and buying bleach?

Taciturnu's avatar

@nicobanks Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide don’t hurt the environment like bleach does…

nicobanks's avatar

@Taciturnu Are you sure about that? I thought bleach evaporates into salt and water. That’s why, if you leave the top of the bleach bottle, it becomes useless (or so I’ve heard). EDIT: This article explains that household bleach is not really an environmental problem: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0820/is_n220/ai_17631646/pg_2/?tag=content;col1

nicobanks's avatar

Although, it does say there are problems with bleach production and transportation. But it also says that finding substitutes for bleach can be difficult. Do you have a source for your claim that vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are just as effective?

Cruiser's avatar

Bleach or chlorine breaks down very quickly in sunlight. Anybody who has ever owned a pool knows this and is why you are constantly adding chlorine.

Taciturnu's avatar

http://www.preservion.com/vinegar.htm

The article I originally saw was hard copy and not on the internet. Unfortunately it was some time ago and I do not recall the source off-hand. I can say the EPA and FDA have both approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer, though.

The word “environment” includes the natural environment as well as your immediate surroundings. Chlorine is not good for you. In the natural environment its effects are minimal, but there. When bleach is released into the natural environment, adsorbable organic halogens are released. They resist breakdown and can be toxic to some water life. The results can move up the food chain. In a direct or household environment, inhaling chlorine bleach fumes is linked to child and adult onset asthma. Chlorine byproducts are known to be carcinogens and there are still some ignorant people who mix bleach and ammonia, creating chlorine gas of which there is no antidote for.

The way I see it, if it hurts even a little now, it will eventually hurt a lot. (Even if I won’t be around for the detrimental effects, I wouldn’t want to set my great-great-grandkids up with them.)

Aside from that, how many people actually leave the disinfectant on a surface for ten minutes? People’s homes RARELY require sanitation. We create superbugs by not fully sanitizing surfaces that probably didn’t require sanitation anyway.

At least that’s my take.

Taciturnu's avatar

I also want to add that I don’t mean to sound like a “Holier-than-Thou” type of person. I’m far from a perfect green-freak. I just think there has to be a give and take and we should be green whenever reasonable. Home cleaning products are a place I think is easier to accommodate, particularly because it does have a direct effect on our health.

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