Posted by: hepowers | January 1, 2010

Cleaner & Greener

Photo by Jeff Kubina

Happy New Year!  I’m starting 2010 in a very exciting way – catching up on laundry.  I bought a new brand of stain remover a few days ago because three logos promised environmental friendliness.  So while the washing machine chugs away, I’m researching those previously unheard of logos.  Here’s what I found:

Design for the Environment (a branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency):  According to their website, ‘When you see the DfE logo on a product it means that the DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that-based on currently available information, EPA predictive models, and expert judgment-the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.’  Through their ‘Formulator Program’ they estimate a reduction of 40 million pounds of chemicals of concern in 2005.

High Efficiency: Okay, I must have just missed this logo on my laundry detergent before today.  This logo represents laundry products with less water in their formulas.  The Soap and Detergent Association explains it well in this pdf.

Greenlist: This is a process developed by S.C. Johnson in 2001 ‘to help our scientists make choices that protect the planet and its people while maintaining the high performance of our products.’ Their website further explains, ‘The Greenlist™ process provides ratings for more than 95 percent of the raw materials we use, including solvents, propellants, insecticides, packaging and more. Read more on the Greenlist™ process in our Greenlist™ Fact Sheet. Through the Greenlist™ process, each raw material receives a rating from 3 to 0, which helps us go beyond regulatory requirements to continually make our products better.’

Like many people, I prefer to buy products with the smallest footprint possible.  The difficult thing is determining which products are truly responsible and which are green-washing in an attempt to get your business.  These logos led me to organizations previously unknown and in a future blog, I will explore this further since it is difficult to make decisions at the store where product labels provide minimal information.  Stay tuned!



  1. How did the stain removers work? I’m looking for something that’s better than spray ‘n wash, which I don’t always find very effective. Also looking for something that actually brightens whites…any suggestions?! The greener the better, of course!

  2. The new product I tried was the spray bottle version of Shout by SC Johnson and it worked really well. Re brightening whites, I rarely use bleach but a quick search for ‘green bleach’ led me to a blog called Cafe Mom. Their sponsor, Clorox, recently posted info on the environmental safety of bleach….here’s a link: The search also brought up Seventh Generation’s site and I’ve heard great things about their commitment to human and environmental health:
    Hope this helps!

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