Good Housekeeping Puts Green Cleaners To The Test
Good Housekeeping Puts Green Cleaners To The Test

Good Housekeeping Reports

You care about the environment, but you also want clean laundry, shiny dishes and a spotless kitchen.

That's why the Good Housekeeping Research Institute's home appliances and cleaning products department put 23 green cleaners - nine laundry detergents, seven hand dishwashing liquids and seven All-Purpose cleaners - through rigorous tests.

Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner scored high in several GHRI tests and can handle heavier jobs than most All-Purpose cleaners (like scouring barbecue grills and concrete floors). The secret: It's concentrated, so you dilute as needed.

Here's how Good Housekeeping tested the cleaners:

Laundry detergents -- Fifteen common stains (including coffee, ink and blood) were applied to swatches of cotton and polyester, let set for 24 hours, then washed (cotton on hot-wash, polyester on cold-wash). Swatches were compared with the industry standard for stain removal.

Dishwashing liquids -- A spinach-based "standard soil" mix was applied to dinner and salad plates and left for one hour. With a measured amount of soap whisked into a basin filled with 6 quarts of hot water, plates were washed one at a time. Soaps were evaluated on the number of plates washed and how long suds lasted.

All-Purpose cleaners -- Testers evenly spread a mixture of grease and dust on appliance enamel, a painted wall and laminate surfaces and allowed it to dry. A measured amount of each cleaner was spritzed from 6 to 8 inches away and wiped a specific number of times. Winners had to meet or beat soil-removal and grease-cutting requirements.

Green tips -- While there are no specific criteria that qualify a product as green, most that make the claim are biodegradable as well as phosphate- and chlorine-free. Usually they derive their ingredients from plants like coconut or palm (renewable sources) rather than petrochemicals like crude oil or natural gas (which are not renewable). But even if a product seems green, read the label -- and keep it away from kids and pets.

Other green steps to take:
- Try washable, reusable microfiber cloths in lieu of paper towels.
- Spritz spray cleaner on cloth, not on surfaces. You'll use less.
- Use the cold setting on your washer when possible.