As much of a fan I am of making my own cleaning supplies, I am a big fan of Seventh Generation's line of disinfecting and cleaning supplies because they are effective and powered by essential oils!
I stopped buying cleaning and disinfecting supplies almost a year ago, once a good friend gave me the book, “[amazon_link id=”0671535951″ target=”_blank” ]Clean House, Clean Planet[/amazon_link]” and I learned all about how terribly dangerous commercial cleaning supplies are. I set out to make my own and love how my cleaning cabinet is no longer poisonous for my family.
So, when Seventh Generation sent me their cleaning supplies to review, I was excited, but very skeptical. Are they as safe as my own homemade concoctions? As always, I turn to the trusty and reliable EWG (Environmental Working Group) database and we'll see what they have to say!
EWG Ratings – from 0 to 10 with 10 being the most toxic and poisonous
Purifying Hand Wash
EWG's Rating: 2 with limited to no data
So, EWG gives it a very good, low toxicity rating – great! But they have very limited data on quite a few of the ingredients, so this rating could change with the addition of data. This comes in two scents – mandarin and lavender, both of which are derived from essential oils. My favorite is the mandarin and it really smells wonderful! I have found that the soap is pretty gentle on my hands, even after I have been using my own homemade hand soap with the very gentle Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, so that impressed me. The main reason it is gentle is because it doesn't contain ANY harsh synthetic detergents like sodium laureth sulfate! Yay! This product is Kosher, 97% USDA Biobased, is not tested on animals, and the bottle is made from 96% post-consumer recycled plastic. More thumbs up!
Overall, I give this product a 9 (would get a 10 if the rating stays at 2 after more data is added) and will buy it if I ever get tired of making my own (smile). See all of the information on this product from Seventh Generation here, where you can also download the Material Safety Data Sheets to get a very scientific evaluation of the ingredients!
[amazon_image id=”B008R0DBB0″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Seventh Generation Purifying Hand Wash, Mandarin, 12 Ounce (Pack of 3)[/amazon_image]
Free and Clear Natural All Purpose Cleaner
So, this product does not receive as stellar of a rating as the hand soap. However, what I do love about Seventh Generation is they promise full ingredient disclosure, and on this cleaner, they certainly do. You can also see each ingredient listed at the link above and see the toxicity concerns for each one. One ingredient on the list gets a D grade for toxicity to aquatic life, which is pretty toxic. The rest fair pretty well.
What I love about this cleaner is that is has no scent – which is more than I can even say about my homemade formula that smells strongly of tea tree oil. It is effective in cleaning my bathroom, although not as effective without baking soda in removing scum from the shower and bathtub. It is also Kosher and not tested on animals. Also, I love the warning – “If swallowed, drink a glassful of water.” It doesn't even mention poison control or the emergency room!
Overall, I'd give this product a 6 or 7 out of 10, because it is slightly toxic but much better than its highly toxic competitors and I love that is has no scent. See all of the information on this product from Seventh Generation here, where you can also download the Material Safety Data Sheets to get a very scientific evaluation of the ingredients!
[amazon_image id=”B0004JKPN4″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Seventh Generation, Free & Clear All-Purpose Cleaner 32 Ounces[/amazon_image]
Free and Clear Disinfecting Wipes
I am disappointed to report that the wipes, although so extremely convenient and wonderfully scented with thyme oil, do get a poor rating for toxicity at the EWG. I had high hopes that this product was safe and would love to use it, but won't without rubber gloves. Plus, throwing away each wipe is just not green or eco-friendly.
What I think is interesting is the ingredients that get the worst ratings on the wipes are the thyme and lemon oils, all for acute aquatic toxicity and skin irritation. This really surprised me that the natural part of this cleaner would get a poor rating. Since I'm not an expert on the issue, I don't know what conclusions to draw from that. It is effective at killing 99.9% of bacteria, including the cold and flu viruses.
Overall, I'd give this product a 5 out of 10, due to its poor EWG grade and the fact that wipes just aren't eco-friendly, however extremely convenient and sometimes almost necessary! I do LOVE the thyme and lemon oil scent is has. See all of the information on this product from Seventh Generation here, where you can also download the Material Safety Data Sheets to get a very scientific evaluation of the ingredients!
[amazon_image id=”B0033WT4ZO” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes, 70-count Tubs (Pack of 6)[/amazon_image]
Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner
I am also disappointed with EWG's grade of this product, as I have really enjoyed using it as the disinfecting power and scent is powered by essential oils! And again, those are the ingredients that get the lowest rating for acute aquatic toxicity and skin irritation and allergies. I have been using it to wipe down our countertops, the toilet and bathroom sinks. On the bottle, it is written that there is no wiping up necessary, even on food prep surfaces. I love the lemongrass and thyme oil scent, and it has really helped to make our diaper pail smell better.
I'm very surprised that it's the essential oils that plummet the grades of this and the all purpose cleaner. I will have to do more research on why that is, but for now, it looks like it should be used with caution. It is effective at killing 99.9% of bacteria, including the cold and flu viruses, but just not as safe as good ole' vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, like I use in my disinfecting spray.
Overall, I'd give this product a 7 out of 10, due to its poor EWG grade and the fact that I love the scent which is effective in removing odor and not just masking it. See all of the information on this product from Seventh Generation here, where you can also download the Material Safety Data Sheets to get a very scientific evaluation of the ingredients!
[amazon_image id=”B0033UJ5QO” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lemongrass & Thyme 26 fl oz (786 ml)[/amazon_image]
Recycled Facial Tissues
I was also sent several boxes of recycled facial tissues to try, but they aren't picture above. I was very excited that they are made from 100% recycled paper, however, they are fairly rough. Normally, for tissues, we try to use cut-up bed sheets and wash them to be as green as possible. They're soft and absorbent, but it is also nice to have paper tissues lying around for guests who prefer paper. If these were softer, I'd be really happy with them. I'll probably still buy them when I need paper tissues, simply because they are 100% recycled and come in recycled packaging with safe, vegetable dyes and are chlorine-free.
I did like this little tidbit from Seventh Generation's information page on the tissues:
If every household in the US replaced just one box of 175-count virgin fiber facial tissue with our 100% recycled product we could save:
140 million gallons of water, a year's supply for over 1,100 families of four, and
990,000 cubic feet of landfill space, equal to over 1,500 full garbage trucks. Learn more.
[amazon_image id=”B004RSX5BW” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Seventh Generation Facial Tissues Cube, 2 Ply-85ct (Pack of 9)[/amazon_image]