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How Green is Green?
According to the Green Works website (greenworkscleaners.com), all Green Works products must meet three standards to be considered "natural". The ingredients must come from renewable resources, be biodegradable and free of petrochemicals. Reading the site's definition of each of these standards, one finds that the product line is 99% petrochemical-free and that "much of the ingredients used in Green Works natural cleaners are biodegradable."
By putting the Clorox name behind a line of eco-friendly household cleaners the company hopes to win over consumers wanting to make small changes to green their lives. Though eco-friendly companies like Seventh Generation have long offered green cleaning alternatives, Green Works cleaners are carried by nationwide stores like Walmart and priced comparably to conventional cleaning products.
Before buying Green Works the green consumer should consider whether supporting a small green company like Seventh Generation means more than giving their money to a chemical giant like Clorox. However, because the Green Works line is sure to appeal to the masses fewer bottles of toxic cleaners may end up contaminating the environment. The Sierra Club endorses Green Works for this reason and granted the use of their logo on Green Works products.
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Green Works Natural All-Purpose CleanerRating
Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner comes in a large 1-quart size and is tinted a light shade of grass-green. The retail price was $3.99. The cleaner is 99% natural (the colorant is not naturally-derived) and all ingredients are disclosed on the container. A coconut-based cleaning agent, corn-based ethanol, and glycerine are the leading effective ingredients. It has a light lemon scent.
I used the All-Purpose Cleaner to clean my stainless steel kitchen sink, my formica countertops, and my bathroom sink. I was very pleased at the results. My kitchen sink was left shiny and bright after I sprayed on the cleaner, gently scrubbed with a cleaning rag, and rinsed. I felt good using the cleaner on my countertops - which I know will come in contact with food. My bathroom sink was also cleaned with ease.
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Green Works Natural Bathroom CleanerRating
Green Works Natural Bathroom Cleaner comes in a 24-ounce size and costs about $3.99 retail. It is 99% natural, containing a coconut-based cleaning agent, glycolic acid, essential lemon oil, and filtered water. According to the package, the Natural Bathroom Cleaner is safe for multiple bathroom surfaces and can be effective on stains like soap scum, hard water, and rust.
I sprayed my bathtub with the cleaner and left it to sit while I cleaned the kitchen. When I came back to the bathroom after about 5 minutes I didn't like the smell. Something about the cleaner smelled harsh to my nose, unlike the light lemon scent of the All-Purpose Cleaner. I gently scrubbed the bathtub with a cleaning rag. The tub was easy to clean, though there wasn't too much of a soap scum build-up. I also sprayed the cleaner on my bathroom sink and immediately wiped it clean.
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Green Works Natural Glass & Surface CleanerRating
Green Works Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner comes in a 1-quart bottle and costs about $3.99. It is recommended for cleaning glass, mirrors, appliances, stainless steel, and sealed granite. The cleaner is 99% natural and made of filtered water, coconut-based cleaning agents, soda ash, corn-based ethanol, glycerine, and fragrance with essential lemon oil.
Cleaning my bathroom mirror with the cleaner was easy and streak-free. I also used the Glass & Surface Cleaner to shine up the sides of my stainless steel toaster and clean a few windows. In each case the cleaner was effective, though a simple vinegar-and-water solution would probably produce the same results. This cleaner worked great - but to me vinegar is a greener choice.