News 18 Investigates: Green cleaning products

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -  It’s a dirty world and many of us clean it up with the same products mom used to use, but a recent trend is getting rid of those chemical-laced cleaners and opting for more eco-friendly germ fighters.

“Take out some of your petrochemicals and other toxic elements and there’s likely to be a cleaning product of that nature,” said Derek Weaver with Sunspot Natural Market.

Green cleaning products can be bought at just about any supermarket or natural grocery store.

Weaver lives the natural lifestyle.

“That’s how you set the example,” Weaver said. “Be the change you want to see, and that’s really what I try to embody.”

Weaver has cut out the chemicals when it comes to cleaning.

“Residue off of your dishes from different cleaners accumulates in your body and can be troublesome down the road, so it’s almost like a type of preventative medicine in a sense,” said Weaver.

The dozens of products ranging from enzyme drain cleaners to non-chlorine bleach are popular items in the store, according to Weaver. Especially among parents who want to make their home cleaner for their children.

“That’s why a lot of people switch over to the natural thing,” Weaver said. “A lot of times it’s economics. A cleaner environment, less toxic environment is usually a healthier environment.”

Wabash River Enhancement Corporation’s Talia Tittelfitz said toliet bowl cleaners are extremely harmful.

“According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management toilet bowl cleaners are one of the most harmful household cleaners that you might have around,” said Tittelfitz. “For example, if they’ve got the blue dye in it that can have chromium which is toxic.”

Tittelfitz said toxins found in traditional cleaners impact life outside our homes too.

“If those cleaners get into an environmental system and out into the river and into our streams and it can have detrimental impacts on our plant life, fish and amphibians,” Tittelfitz said.

Tippecanoe County Natural Resources Solid Waste specialist Rick Parsons said it all comes down to educating yourself about what ingredients you’re using to clean.

“If you are well-educated about the item, you won’t make the mistake of poisoning our air, water or soil,” Parsons said.

But do green cleaners really work as well as old school ones?

News 18 put them to the test. We chose an all-purpose solution and an eco-friendly dish soap. The results? The all-purpose cleaner cut through the grease and left a great natural citrus smell behind. The natural soap didn’t suds as much as a traditional dish soap, but worked just as well.

They worked for us and Weaver said they work for him.

“I’m convinced. I think anybody who gives this a real chance will actually see results and be convinced themselves,” Weaver said.

To see the ingredients of the natural dish soap used in this story, click here.

To see the ingredients of a traditional dish soap, click here.

If you want to see how other household cleaners stack up, click here.

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