Green Washing

We need to pay attention

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By Sue Crothers


Have you noticed how many ‘green’ products are now available in Target these days?  I was shopping there the other day and it occurred to me how far this store has come over the last few years.  Not so long ago one could not find a single product  that was considered environmentally friendly and now there is broad choice from home care and cleaning products to organic foods! 

I am happy to see that these products are being made available to the mainstream shopper and we will no doubt see even more choices creep onto the shelves as consumers become more aware, not only of the positive environmental impact of eco friendly products, but also that they are a healthier choice for our families.

With all that said, it got me thinking also about ‘green washing’.  That’s the new term for products that make claims to be ‘green’ or ‘eco friendly’ when in fact there are extending the truth.  I recently heard about a study conducted by TerraChoice, an environmental marketing and consulting firm, together with Underwriters Laboratories, one of the world’s largest independent testing and certification organizations.  They investigated 5296 home and family products that made a total of 12,061 ‘green claims’ and found that over 95% of the greener products commit one or more of the six sins of ‘green washing’ What are the six sins?  They range from vagueness, fibbing, no proof, lesser of two evils, irrelevance and trade-off.  Click here to visit the website and view the full report.

 There is also fun game to play called “Name that sin” where you can test your understanding of labeling.  Even a well informed consumer would be hard pressed to get 10 out of 10!


I still very much believe that purchasing ‘green’ products is by far a better choice both for our health and the health of our planet, however we as consumers must be savvy and know what we are buying and using.  At the end of the day, I also think that those old recipes for cleaning that our grandparents used are just as good, if not better than anything I can buy and they are certainly a lot cheaper.  Here are a couple of my favorites and if you have any tried and true natural remedies for cleaning, please do share!




½ cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water.  It’s cheap, it’s easy and it works

To spot clean you can add and equal part of linseed oil to vinegar and use a rag.  You can also add a few drops of clove oil or lavender for a pleasant smell.




To help eliminate the need for harmful caustic drain cleaners (like Drano) why not try spooning baking soda down the drain and then pouring vinegar into the drain and watch the chemical reaction foam up dramatically while cleaning out the drain in a safe eco friendly manner (from my own experience, your kids will think it’s pretty cool too).

 Click here to find a load of natural, homemade cleaning options

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Posted: November 22nd, 2010 9:33 PM

I Love this G! Thanks for sharing. How easy and inexpensive is using selzter water compared to buying stainless steal cleaning products!I also use baby oil for my stainless and it comes up beautifully. Just dab a small amount on a cloth. It smell nice as well.

G from River Forest  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 10:53 AM

For cleaning stainless steel, lightly dampen clean cloth with plain selzter water. Shines without streaks.


Posted: November 19th, 2010 3:38 PM

This sounds great, thanks Melissa.I have to ask, what does the heating do? I am curious.Thanks Sue.


Posted: November 15th, 2010 9:12 PM

Thanks for the tips! You mentioned vinegar. .. . You can mix the vinegar and water in spray bottle, heat it in the microwave to warm and then spray on windows to clean and showers to get rid of soap scrum. Works great!

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