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Greener Holiday Dishwashing with EWG

Monday, November 19, 2012

Having guests around during the holiday season? Inviting them to hang out in your kitchen?  Setting out munchies?  Cooking an entire humongous festive holiday meal?  Feeding hordes of kids on break or keeping it minimalist?  

Chances are, you'll probably throw some dish soap and dishwasher detergent into your shopping cart. 

Before you head for the store, you might want to check out this greener cleaning video featuring two busy moms - Laura Turner Seydel, eco-living expert and a member of Environmental Working Group's board, and me. 

 

 

When Laura took a close look at cleaning product labels, she was appalled by the "egregious scary chemicals" in some of them.  That's why she recommends EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which deconstructs more than 2,000 cleaning products and explains what's in them - and alerts the consumer when the manufacturer is keeping ingredients secret.  The EWG Guide is frequently updated as cleaning products makers reformulate with different - and, we hope, less toxic - chemicals.

As Laura discovered, just because it's clear, the label is green and the bottle is nicely sculpted, that doesn't mean the stuff inside is actually low in caustic and toxic chemicals.  

 

Here are a few hand dish detergents that the EWG Guide rates A or B:

 

 

 And some dishwasher detergents that rate high:

 

There are longer lists of products that have scored C - meaning, average.  A "C" could indicate lack of scientific data on a product's ingredients or that EWG has some concerns about the product. 

Looking for all-purpose cleaners for your counters? Laundry soap?  More?

You can research them here: http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners

In the video, Laura shows me how to make homemade drain cleaner with vinegar, baking soda and boiling water.  If you like the idea of making your own, EWG has a DIY Cleaning Guide full of recipes and easy tips on how to make your own non-toxic cleaners at home. The booklet is available for a donation of $30 or more.