08 August 2010

A Cleaner (i.e., Greener) Clean

Sometimes, being environmentally friendly can be frustrating because it seems like we have to rethink even the most basic things we do. For example, when our clothes are dirty, we just want to wash them. Does what we use to wash them have to become an environmental debate? Yes and no.

Using a laundry detergent is an environmental issue because resources are required to produce it and because it mixes with water as it does its dirty work. Therefore, what the detergent is made out of has an impact on the environment. Many detergents are oil-based products, and some contain phosphates that negatively impact water quality.

Yet finding effective alternatives that are better for the environment is easier than you might think. I have been using Seventh Generation laundry detergent for almost three years, and I am very happy with the results and with knowing that I am using a detergent that is not oil-based or full of phosphates.

When I was researching environmentally friendly detergents, I found claims by Seventh Generation that its product was about 90 percent as effective as Tide. For tough jobs, that may be true. However, for general washing, I have found very little difference between the two. For a tough job, I might use Tide, but nearly all of my washing is done with Seventh Generation.

Seventh Generation detergents can be used in both high efficiency and regular washing machines.

You can buy Seventh Generation detergents at Amazon.com. Target also sells them, or you can check your local grocery store. If the store doesn't currently carry them, ask the manager to think about doing so.

Seventh Generation also makes other products such as bathroom cleaners, dishwashing detergents, and toilet paper if you are interested. You can visit the Seventh Generation Web site by clicking here.

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