Posts Tagged green products

September Test Product: Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Gel and The Great Liquid Dishwashing Soap Theory

Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Gel

Can it really stand up to my crappy dishwasher?

Usually I try to choose my test products after consulting with friends, family, and perusing product reviews. But I chose this month’s test product in a fit of selfishness, after a bout of extreme frustration with a recalcitrant appliance.

Namely, I had had enough of our absolutely awful dishwasher and I felt that there just had to be a better solution out there.

Our kitchen is an older one, and the dishwasher we have is challenging, to say the least. Small and noisy, it’s really good at baking food onto dishes, but absolutely horrible at washing the food off. In fact, lately I feel that whenever I empty the dishwasher, I have to hand wash about half the dishes because there’s layers of grime, baked-on crap, and food particles left over them (that a certain someone does not believe in rinsing dishes before he puts them in the dishwasher only adds to my ire).

I can’t really say what all is wrong with the dishwasher (poor water pressure and inadequate washing mechanism comes to mind). But the biggest problem that I could identify (without an in-depth knowledge of product design) is the soap dispenser. Contrary to its name, it doesn’t actually “dispense” the soap on a regular basis. Instead, after doing a load of dishes, I’d find a big chunk of calcified powdered dishwashing soap sitting in the little dispenser. It looked like the dispenser was opening most of the time, but the soap powder stubbornly refused to, well, dispense.

So last week, fed up with yet another load of washed-but-not-actually-washed dishes, I decided to try a new tactic. I wondered if I could ameliorate the problem with a new product: liquid automatic dishwasher soap. Theoretically, the liquid soap could just ooze out of the little compartment, bypassing the inadequate dispenser. It was so simple, and yet, so brilliant.

But does the great liquid dishwashing soap theory hold water?


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August Test Product of the Month: Homemade Vinegar Window Cleaner

Window Cleaning Solutions

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Window Spray vs. Homemade Vinegar-Water Window Cleaner

Since people seemed to get a kick out of last month’s Test Product (baking soda and vinegar), I decided to see what other homemade cleaning products I could test around the apartment. In my online research, I came across this web site that recommends using a solution of equal parts vinegar and water to clean windows and glass. Intrigued, I decided to test it against Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Window Spray, which I mostly bought for the retro packaging, claim that it only uses “naturally occurring” ingredients, and promised lemon-verbena scent.

I tested both products on our bathroom mirror, which hasn’t been cleaned for the last week, and our bedroom mirror, which hasn’t been cleaned since god-knows-when and was covered in a film of gray dust.
How did the vinegar-water solution hold up?

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Test Product of the Month: Good Ol’ Fashioned Baking Soda and Vinegar

Since many of us are overwhelmed and, perhaps, in awe of the huge number of cleaning products that are regularly introduced on the market, I’d like to take away some of the pain by testing the products that intrigue you, yet you’re not quite ready to shell out for. So, each month, I’ll be testing a new (or, in this case, old) household cleaning product, and give a verdict about its potential to revolutionize your cleaning routine. Read on for this month’s product: Good Ol’ Fashioned Baking Soda and Vinegar.

By now, I’m sure that you’ve read so many terrifying reports on the toxic effects of common household cleaners that you wake up with nightmares about being chased around by giant Windex bottles, getting cancer because you smelled some oven cleaner, or crippling your children with asthma because you febrezed their cribs too often.

In response to the Great Household Cleaner Fear that has gripped the nation, there has been a slate of articles appearing in the press extolling the virtues of homemade cleaning products. According to these reports, creating your own cleaning products is a safer, less toxic, cheaper, and just as effective alternative to using toxic and harsh cleaning products that may or may not hurt the environment and your health. And while I’m definitely down with using cleaning products that are cheaper and won’t give me a rash if my skin happens to come into contact with them, I’ve always wondered if they actually work.

So this month’s test product is an old standard that often crops up in these little “make your own fabulous cleaning products” articles: baking soda and vinegar.

Yes, that’s right, that crummy little box of baking soda that you keep in the fridge to keep your roommate’s leftovers from growing eyeballs is the solution to all your cleaning woes. I decided to use the baking soda on our kitchen sink and the bathroom sink/countertops, since they both haven’t been cleaned in a bit (really, the kitchen sink really doesn’t get cleaned nearly as much as it should and the garbage disposal really smells a lot of the time). I found the recipe for my baking soda cleaning solution on an online baking soda book by way of The Simple Dollar, which often has little features on frugal homemaking tips.

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