New commercial cleaner concerns

For those of us who use natural cleaners such as baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide there aren’t too many things we need to worry about.  If my grand children were here the only thing I would worry about them getting into would be the peroxide, so it stays up where they can’t get to it.  But if you are buying commercial cleaners the news out isn’t good.

Consumer Reports has compared the top brands of all-purpose cleaners and found Pine Sol to be the best over all performer, ranking the green brands such as Seventh Generation, Green Works, and Whip-it Friendly cleaners as being lacking in overall performance.

When they talk about performance they look to see if a product will clean food stains, soap scum and whether or not it leaves streaks.  Seventh Generation received the best ranking of the green cleaners, with the only complaint being that it took more elbow grease to clean the same stains that Pine Sol did with ease.

Here’s the list of ingredients reported by The Clorox Company which makes Pine Sol:  (in order from most used to least)  concerns listed are from the Environmental Working Group

  • water
  • pine essential oil
  • sodium C14-17 Sec-Alkyl sulfonate – Sodium salts, some concern for the environment
  • C10-12 Alcohols Ethoxylated 8EO – health concerns include: asthma and respiratory problems, skin allergies and irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer
  • caramel
  • Isopropanol – asthma and respiratory concerns
  • Xanthan gum

Are you willing to use this product around your family, guests, and pets after reading this. There were many Pine Sol varieties to choose from I decided to use the original Pine scented one to list the ingredients here.  Taking a look at the other versions the lists are longer, and you should see the pages and pages of chemicals listed for making up the fragrances used in Pine Sol

I would have liked to read how well these cleaners both “green” and Pine sol fared up against the old stand-bys many of us use regularly as I mentioned above.  How does vinegar and baking soda rank when compared to Pine Sol?  What about salt or peroxide when used on a tough stain?

Even if my homemade cleaners would need a little more elbow grease, it’s worth it to me for the environment and the health of those who visit me.  Anyway, I’m sure I can use a little extra exercise 🙂  When did we start wanting everything to be as easy as possible with no other concern when it comes to the products we use.


The CDC has called Tide pods (for laundry) a emerging public health hazard.  The CDC has reported that 48% of all detergent-related poison control calls involved the Tide Pods.

With this kind of news, is there a reason why we shouldn’t move toward safe products for our home and outdoor living spaces?

What is your favorite all purpose cleaner?  Why did you choose it?



    • Thank you Stacey, when reports come out by some thing as important as Consumer Reports and it doesn’t compare the natural cleaners to the commercial cleaners, or it doesn’t even list the dangers of the products it tests to people and/or the environment it boils my blood.


  1. I just sat down to read your blog, having just spent 30 mins scrubbing my shower recess with bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and elbow grease. (Its a very large double shower cubicle, with 2 showers).
    I have not used commercial cleaners for years, and I am happy to get a workout cleaning the shower in a way that doesn’t harm myself and my family.
    I used to had the fumes from using a commercial cleaner in the”before” days. I couldn’t wait to get out of the cubicle. Now I just put on some Gwen Stefani, and scrub away to my hearts content.


    • I’m like you, some of the commercial cleaners I used in the past caused me breathing problems. Bleach is especially bothersome for me, I have to leave the house when they are used, even if just added to the laundry in another part of the house, it brings on an asthma attack. I also put on some music when I clean, it helps the time go, my go-to these days is Pandora radio where I can mix it up some.


  2. It’s not only the toxic chemicals in your home, but think of all the money that is spent on removing the phosphates etc. from the public water supply! And who’s paying for that?…

    I do occasionally use commercial biological washing powder (or sometimes a small amount of bleach) in my machine for hot washes with my white laundry, for the hygiene of my machine. A mouldy washing machine is also not very good for you.

    The “chemical-free” cleaners you can buy are more expensive than the typical brands, but ultimately it’s the convenience of not mixing them up yourself that you’re paying for. When I started making my own cleaners, I really questioned how the companies can justify charging €5 for 500g of washing granules. And then there’s all the plastic packaging which you have to dispose of…

    I am happy not to be supporting these big chemical companies and have been recycling my two glass bottles for my laundry detergent and two plastic spray bottles since May 🙂


    • You are so right, I didn’t want my post to be too long so I didn’t mentioned the water supply, that’s for another day. But we don’t think about the medicines we take and how they end up in the water supply. What’s worse is that those can’t at this time be removed by the treatment plants currently. Then we have to look at not only the safety of the water for us to drink, but for marine life as well which gets the untreated water.

      There are some “chemical-free” cleaners that are equally priced as the commercial brands and some even cheaper if you can find them. Before I made my own washing detergent I would buy a vegetable based liquid from the whole foods co-op in my area. When empty you just took the bottle back and refilled it, it was the best compromise at that time for me.

      I’m with you, very happy I’m not supporting these companies who only care about their bottom line.


  3. Products, their ingredients, and their effects on the environment, are something we should all be concerned about with both commercial and homemade ones. Don’t forget that homemade products are chemicals too and can have their own concerns. Be an educated consumer in all areas.

    Now, more specifically, I don’t like Pinesol because that is what they cleaned up vomit with when I was in grade school. Not fond memories. Also, if you are disciplined enough to clean something frequently, like every day, very little dirt builds up and you use less elbow grease, cleaner, and time. I’m still working on that discipline.


    • Oh that is gross. What a combination of smells that would be, Pine sol and vomit yuck!

      I agree, we do need to be careful of what we use in our homes, even if something we make. But I rarely use anything other than baking soda and/or white vinegar. Blood and such I can take out with hydrogen peroxide. So I feel pretty comfortable that I’m not doing much harm with these. The one I have trouble cleaning due to my disability is the tub, it’s just hard to do without losing my balance, but it would be easier if I took care of it daily, I wouldn’t need to scrub as much to be happy with the result.


  4. For me, it’s the fragrance of many of these products. I get sick just smelling them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who this happens to. I use commercial products sparingly, and I agree with what live and learn said, that if you just wipe up daily, the need for the deep cleaning products is greatly reduced.


    • I too have trouble with fragrances, whether that’s in colognes or cleaning products. I also have trouble with any aerosol sprays. When I took a look at the Clorox site where they list the chemicals used to make their fragrances I was amazed by the pages involved, no wonder so many of us have reactions to them.


  5. I’ve found that cleaning with vinegar doesn’t leave a smell. I use white vinegar and when I’m using it yes, you can smell it</I., but then it goes away quickly. I think it's more what we're used to when we think of "clean smells". For some people it's the smell of disinfectant, some it's chlorine bleach, etc. It's a matter of re-training ourselves if the smell is an issue (which it isn't for me).

    Great post, I know you and I are following along the same path, although I've just started. Right now the only things I have bought for cleaning are white vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, rubbing alcohol (for glass cleaner recipe)… um I can't think if there is anything else. I read somewhere that once you get the initial build-up of toxins off your things (like a build-up on your windows), you can go with things like just vinegar/water mixture. I guess those products I bought can build up over time and it takes a bit of cleaning to get rid of them. Yuck!


    • I agree, the smell of white vinegar does dissipate rather quickly and it’s something that doesn’t bother me while using. I think you are right, many people associate the chemical smell to cleanliness.

      You are off to a great start with your cleaning supplies. Isn’t it amazing how much cheaper they are? Yes, it’s true that once you get the build-up off it’s easier to maintain with just a little vinegar/water mixture. I got used to cleaning this way then moved and had to start all over in getting the build-up gone, but now I’m back to just my vinegar to keep things clean.


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