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.