In light of the increasing awareness, discussion and even debate about climate change and the environment, I wanted to take a look at some 'eco-friendly' scented house products this month. I confess that I have never been a big purchaser of specifically eco-friendly products as I rarely find them as compelling (both on and off the shelf) as I do their non eco-friendly counterparts. That may only be because I am a willing victim of superior marketing budgets, but often I find the fragrances less interesting as well. There are of course many cases in the fragrance industry where 'all natural' is also a top of the line item, but they tend to be fairly pricey.
So starting with the basics, like home cleaning items, I thought it would be great to find products that smell fantastic, are eco-friendly and financially viable. Today I will be reviewing a number of items I purchased online from Earth Friendly Products.
Dishmate Grapefruit Dish Washing Liquid ~ First off, let me say one delight of these products was being able to pronounce their contents, and to count the number of ingredients on one hand. This dishwashing liquid contains water, coconut derived surfactants, and grapefruit oil. The bottle is recyclable and all ingredients are biodegradable. It also claims to be gentle on the skin for people who have sensitivities to other detergents. That being said, it also works, although not quite as efficiently as its claim of being 'very concentrated' might imply. I found I had to use a good dollop to get the dishes done — perhaps a bit more than concentrated Palmolive. On the other hand, I was rewarded with the juicy fresh aroma of a glistening pink, freshly cut grapefruit half, which always manages to make me both hungry and thirsty at the same time. It's delightfully refreshing. Also available in almond, lavender, pear and abricot. (25 oz, $2.89)
Toilet Kleener ~ Having lately investigated rather majestic cedar fragrances such as Serge Lutens Cedre and Anthousa's Amberwood & Cedar diffuser, I fancied myself on a bit of a kick and so was intrigued by this cedar-scented product. I had to laugh at myself as I cleaned the toilet, and then hunched down for a good sniff...only for the love of all things scented would I do this! And then I giggled because in spite of myself, I had been expecting something rather more complex and divine than this humble cleaner proferred — the scent of simple cedar shavings with an almost chalky undertone. The great thing about it is that there is no acrimonious chemical smell, which — combined with the chemicals in other bathroom cleaners — can leave your nose, as well as the rest of you, rather chemically overwhelmed on housecleaning day. As far as I could make out, it works quite well. (24 oz, $3.10)
Shower Kleener ~ The same goes for the shower cleaner, scented with tea tree and lavender. The tea tree is thankfully not too overpowering and medicinal, and the lavender lends a nice fresh herbaceous lift. Both are easily identifiable although they are well blended, and again, I appreciate the simplicity of the fragrance as, combined for example with the cedar cleaner, the bathroom gives off a nice clean, fresh smell without being overly perfume-y, and the scent doesn't last too long. This leaves room for your favorite scented shower gel, candle, diffuser, etc. to retain center stage in the fragrance realm. It claims to be the only "non petroleum based, naturally derived shower cleaner on the market". It contains, in addition to a plant derived surfactant, ethanol derived from corn. And again, as far as I could make out, it works well if used as intended — regularly after each shower to prevent build up of soap scum and mildew etc. I don't know how it would fare against a more demanding case... (22 oz, $4.69)
Liquid Laundry Detergent ~ I was really excited to try out the Magnolia and Lily laundry detergent, as a natural blend of those fragrances would be a delightful addition to my laundry room. Alas, the fragrance is so subtle as to be almost non-existent. The first sniff in the bottle was rather unappealing, but to give credit where credit is due, I suspect that whatever natural detergent product they use probably doesn't smell like lily, and it's simply hard to cover it entirely with such light florals without going into stronger synthetic perfumes. So I still appreciated it.
Once in the machine, as the water warmed the fragrance, there were small hints of tendril like magnolia and notions of a summer floral that might be lily-like. It did not create the same type of suds as other detergents, but seemed to clean well and with no discernible 'after smell' on my clothes. I give it high marks because I generally don't like to smell like laundry detergent, but with even that hint of floral note it's more fun (and better for the environment!) than unscented cleaners from mainstream companies. I can imagine their lavender detergent might be more strongly scented and worth a try. It's also available in lemongrass. (1 gallon, $13.89)
Uni Fresh Air Freshener ~ This last product was the one I was most excited about, and also the closest to standard 'home fragrances', but it was the one I liked the least. I tried the vanilla version of their pump spray air freshener (also available in citrus, lavender, cinnamon and parsley) but immediately felt overcome by the sensation of being in an ice cream parlor surrounded by vats of vanilla bean ice cream. That was quite funny, as when I turned the bottle around to look more closely at the front label, it had vanilla ice cream cones all over it. Apparently they did a very good job with the impression they wanted to create, but I found it a bit overwhelming. Maybe I don't love vanilla as much as I thought I did, but I have hopes that in the future they might develop this line to include some blends — perhaps vanilla pear with a hint of cilantro, or lavender cypress with a touch of lemon. The staying power was excellent, and as it IS an air freshener and not officially a home ambience spray, I think their range it still quite good as is, and the prices are certainly reasonable. (4.4 oz, $4.69)
Overall, I was happy to have discovered this line of environmentally friendly products as they provide good utility for your household and really neither add to nor detract from whatever other scented products you may have in your home (unless you go crazy with the air freshener!). They certainly are easy on the nose, and have absolutely no abrasive, harsh undertones which no matter how cleverly masked in other products, often still linger around the house. Available at ecos and also at some supermarkets.
Pia, have to chime in that I have long used a product by EFP called Lemon Liquid Creamy Cleanser — recommended by a friend as something that would remove the stains from my white kitchen countertop w/o scratching it. Works like a charm, although can't say much for the scent. It's just chalky lemon
That sounds like something I need to try! Plus, from an eco-friendly perspective, I think it's deep cleaning counter top cleaners that might contain some of the worst offenders (phosphates, chlorine bleach etc), so it would be good to find a friendly one!
Mrs. Meyer's products are eco-friendly and they smell REALLY good. The company has a product range from toilet bowl cleaner to laundry detergent. The products work well and the scents make you want to clean… even the toilet. Geranium is my favorite but Lemon verbena smells really good in the kitchen. You can get them at Drugstore.com.
Thanks for the tip! I went to the site and they do look great–seems as though they place greater emphasis on the fragrance aspect–going so far as to be aromatherapeutic. Am intrigued by both geranium and lemon verbena…they sound lovely.
While I was over there, I noticed another brand I've tried on occasion, Seventh Generation. I tend to like their products as well although the vaguely citrus scented dish cleaner I have doesn't cause much excitement. But I saw they have one scented with lemongrass, clementine, bergamot, blood orange and elemi essential oils. Now that sounds good too!
I have Aloe Vera Dish lotion from the brand Frosch – cleaning with the power of nature. It's my favorite, cleans dishes very well and smells so soft and nice. It's a German product definitely worth to be mentioned.
Admittedly, I'm a big natural cleaning product junkie, so I've tried almost every product I can find out there:) EFP has a dish detergent in abricot scent that smells so fruity and delishious, it wants me to do the dishes. I also like Seventh Genetration lavender dish dtergent, it smells completely natural and yes, it's a lot gentler on your hands. I recently noticed Target and some mainstream grocery stores started carrying Seventh Gen. and it coundn't make me happier. For bathrooms and counters I like LifeTree Tea Tree and Lavender cleaner, it's so consentrated , smells great and works like a charm. CitriGlow works for all the tough stains and smells of juicy and delishious oranges, also super concentrated! Sometimes I mix it with Mrs.Myers for really hard stains and it works every time.
Thank you for comments. I live in Europe and I will keep my eyes wide-open for environmental friendly household products.
From my time in Canada I know Life products and I will keep looking for European products that are very friendly to mother nature.
Please, disregard grammatical and all kinds of spelling errors:)
I like the idea of these scented ecologically benevolent cleaners. I also just kind of “cheat” sometimes and add a little essential oil such as lavender or mandarin orange to Ivory dish detergent or Woolite. Thanks for the review of all these different products — you must have a very clean and sweet smelling household by now…
Sounds lovely. I'm always a sucker for all things European as well. Where do you buy it?
Thanks for all those brands to look into! Yes, it is nice to see an increasing market (and mainstream carriers) for these products, isn't it?
Lol, my house doesn't stay clean for very long. But my cedar scented toilet is my new particular pride.
I thought about 'cheating' that way as well–I've made my own iron spray by adding lavender to water and using that when ironing. How does it come out when you add the oils to detergents? Do you need a lot in order to get the benefits of the scent? Mandarin must be especially lovely! Mmm….
Bought it at Hypernova, Prague.
Lol, ok, thanks! Might be hard to get to from here in NY, but I will keep my eye out for the brand name!