…next to goddessness

I’m not going to go into why using chemical- and toxin-laden products to clean your home is an oxymoron, but if you need some background you can find it here. These days even the EPA is pushing alternatives to conventional cleaning products.

Anything that has the number of poison control on the back doesn’t belong in my house. If it kills you in large doses, it’ll kill you slowly is smaller ones. Not to mention the damage it does to the environment after you’ve washed it down the drain.

Even among Eco Chicks, one of the biggest complaints about ecofriendly products is that they don’t work as well as conventional ones. Clean freaks have become addicted to all the goops, unguents, degreasers, sprays and other heavily advertised products and have grown up with them. For some of us, the smell of clean IS the smell of bleach. 

It’s time for a new smell. Here are a few that I’ve found work as well– or better than– conventional products. Your body, which has to clean out all the toxins you throw at it, and the ducks in the pond will thank you for making the change.

A&H 7th Gen

Nothing beats baking soda for scrubbing kitchen and bathroom sinks (in fact nothing gets my kitchen sink as shiny). It’s also good for enhancing laundry soap’s cleaning power, deodorizing cat litter boxes and fridges, and for throwing in the trash can when you don’t feel like cleaning the questionable stuff collecting in the bottom.

I use Seventh Generation’s automatic dishwasher liquid because I’ve tried a bunch of them and it works the best. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s worth it to me not to have to pre-rinse. With this detergent, I just throw the dirty dishes in and fire up the dishwasher.


I use Citra-Solv (I buy it super-concentrated) diluted with a bunch of water to clean my floors and cabinets, and throw a bunch in a spray bottle (also very diluted) to use for general cleaning of the stovetop, countertops, etc. It smells citrusy and clean.

ABC Carpet and Home’s spray cleaner smells like fresh grapefruit, and is a splurge at $12 for one bottle, but it’s like aromatherapy, and I will reuse the bottle (it has a very nifty spray device), so I bought it and use it sparingly.

I love Heather’s products, because they really, really work. And their packaging is ridiculously cute. Not pictured here (because I used it all) is a scrubbing powder that works BETTER than Comet– I use it in my bathroom tub. Their window cleaner is as good as (but smells better than) Windex.


Ecover makes the strongest dishwashing soap (not for dishwashers). It cuts grease, and works just like Palmolive does on pots and pans.

Happy (and healthy!) Spring Cleaning!

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.