Friday, March 14, 2008
Posted by Missy W. @ 10:17 AM
By Healthy Home Products
Ages Birth and up
When Sy was born, we made a conscious effort to keep our house-cleaning products as environmentally friendly as we could. I don’t want her eating off of a table I just cleaned with an industrial strength bleach product. As you know, I am a sucker for trying out new products, so I have a whole cabinet full of “organic,” “natural,” or “eco-friendly” products (I’ll keep the comments about how many land-filling plastic bottles I have to a minimum, thanks). There are a lot of less toxic cleaning products to choose from, just traipse through the aisles of your local Whole Foods or natural grocer. I do get a bit confused looking at all the labels on “natural” cleaning products, especially since the FDA has declined to regulate the word “natural,” there is no way to really know what that means in marketing speak.
The most recent product line I’ve tried out is BabyGanics. Babyganics is marketed towards families, so they have their products at Babies R Us, as well as online retailers like babycenter.com. Smart move on their part. It’s not like you see a lot of “organic” merchandise at Babies R Us. It sticks out like a sore thumb, but in a good way.
The bottle says “organic” but is not certified organic. It says non-toxic and safe for use around children and pets. Because all the jargon makes me curious, I contacted the company directly. Here’s what they had to say:
Although similar in concept, all natural and organic have different meanings. All natural means that BabyGanics is made solely from earthly ingredients. Nothing man-made was added in any part of production. Organic refers to the product as a whole, indicating that BabyGanics helps sustain people and the planet in a holistic way. Healthy Home Products is a Trade Member of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The OTA is a membership-based business association that focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
OK, so once I learned more about the product, I decided to give it a whirl. All the products come either scented or unscented. I did a mix of both to test out the strength of the smells. I missed the tub and tile product, but did try out the all-purpose household cleaner, glass cleaner and floor cleaner.
The first product I tested out (over the course of two months): the unscented all-purpose household cleaner. I’m big on scent. If it doesn’t smell good, I’m out. The lavender household cleaner smells to me like lavender essential oil (which they use) mixed with some savory spice. I kept going over and smelling the bottles in my spice rack to place the smell. It sort of reminded me of lavender mixed with chicory or something. Or maybe even the Shake and Bake chicken spice mix. I couldn’t place it, I didn’t like it, I put it away and went with unscented. Phew. The unscented formula hardly has a smell (hence the term unscented, right?). It reminded me a bit of 409. Hmm. But since Babyganics is all earthly ingredients, I took a leap of faith and used it. Turns out it works really well. It cleans up the messes with one healthy spray and a damp sponge. That, and I feel OK using it on the kitchen table where Sy eats most of her meals. The unscented smell does not linger and it dries without leaving residue.
Next up: the glass & surface cleaner. I use a micro-fiber cloth when I clean our glass or mirrors. When I sprayed the cleaner on my 80 year bathroom mirrors, it streaked a bit. But then I remembered that ANY cleaner streaks on my 80 year old mirrors so I moved to my other mirrors and glass. Again, it works pretty darn well. Hardly any streaking and no Windex-y smell (blame it on my nose, but whenever I spray Windex I have to hold my breath and run away from the object). I had started using a mixture of vinegar and water, but that smell makes me just as nuts. It’s hard to have my nose be in charge all the time… I was happy to have another healthier option.
Lastly: the floor cleaner. I rarely mop my floors. OK, not like I am a total slob or anything (lazy: yes, dirty: no), but I usually use my beloved Hoover Floormate. Add a little (little!) vinegar and hot water and let ‘er rip. But that’s another review. Anyway, I decided to mop the floors since I wanted to try out the whole line. I was hesitant at first since it was lavender scented, but it was a much more mellow smell than the household cleaner. I didn’t even have to hold my breath while using the product. The bottle says to add 2 ounces to 1 gallon of warm water. The first time I did it, of course I didn’t measure because I never measure unless I am baking. Life is too short to have to wash the measuring cup every day. So I sloshed some cleaner into the sink with warm water and watched the cleaner bubble and bubble and BUBBLE. Oops, guess I should have measured. I forged ahead and mopped anyway. The product states that once you do one run through, you don’t need to rinse. It also says it’s OK for sealed wood floors and a variety of other hard surfaces. So I cleaned my tile kitchen floors as well as the wood ones. You guessed it, sticky floors. I blamed user error and tried again a few weeks later (no need to mop my wood floors EVERY week, is there?) This time I actually measured the cleaner and once again, bubbles galore! But it wasn’t a bubble-fest like my first attempt. I used my micro-fiber mop and did the one coat like the bottle suggested. The bubbles sort of stuck in the grout but who am I to fight the label? Why work more if they give me an out? As it dried it felt a bit tacky, but a few hours later it’s not at all sticky and my wood floors look nice. My tile floors never look nice, but they were at least cleaner and ugly instead of dirty and ugly.
I like the unscented all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner the most. I’m almost out of the all-purpose bottle and I will definitely replace it.
Do your homework on household cleaners. The more research I do, the more I throw out from under my sink!
It aint cheap (runs around $8.95 a bottle) but your family’s health is rather important, don’t you think?