Thursday, March 18, 2010

Secret to Eco-Friendly Cleaning - Getting the Blackest Stains Off White Carpet Without Harsh Chemicals Ecostore USA Citrus Spray Cleaner - PRODUCT REVIEW

by Janis Brett Elspas
If you didn't already read my other post on this topic, you might not know that  I hate spring cleaning .  It does have its rewards, though, believe it or not.  In addition to eventually ending up with a sparkling home, it has gotten me to try some new household cleaning products I might not have known about.  Something I might not have discovered -- for example -- is EcoStore USA had they not contacted me about doing some product reviews for them.

You see, recently I was asked to choose and review several products from this eco-friendly U.S. business that has its roots in New Zealand.  Of the two products I agreed to try EcoStore's Citrus Spray Cleaner was the first one I experimented with.

The Challenge
When it first arrived, I had not yet decided how to test the large 17 fluid ounce pump spray cleaner bottle shown in the photo at the top of this post, pictured with another EcoStore USA product I'll be reviewing in a separate post later focusing on their bath and body line.  As the story goes, I was sitting in our dining room one afternoon and glanced down at the rug.  At that moment I came up with the idea that I'd try removing an assortment of dirt, food, wine, and who knows what else stains and spots from the carpet.  

As you can see in the first photo of our carpet here, a red piece of tape divides the rug stains in half. It really looks filthy and you can hardly tell that it used to be a darkish white not that long ago.  What can I say, but you think that's bad?  The rest of our rug is a whole lot worse in some places --  thanks largely to our wonderful children.  But the kids are helping me spot the entire rug this weekend, so I guess I can't complain about them too much.

Now back on subject.  Interestingly, suggested uses on the back of the EcoStore cleaner bottle -- which is labeled on the front as "naturally antibacterial" and with "no nasty chemicals" -- indicate it may be used to wipe off surfaces such as bench tops, kitchens, and bathrooms.  Carpet stain removal isn't mentioned anywhere on the packaging.  However, I was feeling adventurous and also a bit desperate, so I decided to test it in a small area of the rug anyway to see if it would do a better job than what I've always used for this task in the past.  BTW, If you are thinking of doing this yourself, as with any household cleaning product, be sure you read the product's label completely and carefully and always test a very small amount first in a hidden area to avoid possible damage.

The Test: EcoStore Citrus-Based Spray Cleaner Against Simple Green
To run this homekeeper's test, I sprayed the EcoStore product on the right side of the red tape and the same amount of full strength Simple Green on the left.  Then I scrubbed (AKA agitated) the two areas individually for a few minutes with a household brush.  After leaving the cleaners to soak in to do the hard work, I returned one hour later to blog (I mean blot) each side of the carpet to remove excess liquid with a dry cloth.  If you're wondering, yes, the white cloth picked up some of the most pitch black grime you've ever seen on each side.

The Results of this Experiment
In Picture 2 at left, taken after cleaning products were sprayed on each side and are in the midst of drying, you'll notice that both cleaners are doing a good job of removing these deeply set stains in the small area tested.  It's hard to tell from the photo I took, but the Simple Green (used to the left of tape) did leave a very slight greenish residue, whereas the EcoStore product left behind no traces at all.  At this point, I think I should tell you that I thought BOTH products' smells were rather strong when they were applied. So, it's also appropriate to point out that each of the two companies recommend that you avoid inhaling fumes from their respective products.  Further warnings on both EcoStore and Simple Green bottles remind users about the potentials of eye irritation and accidental poisoning.

Finally, Picture 3 at right shows the same area of carpet after it has dried completely, with the red tape removed that was dividing the two separate testing areas. Note the black streak down the middle where the tape once was, to show how dirty this stained rug was before the experiment.

In conclusion, if I had to decide which is better based on performance alone in this MomBlogExpert test, I'd say that the EcoStore cleaner is overall better than Simple Green.  The fact that like all EcoStore products, the Citrus-Based Spray Cleaner is made from highly biodegradable and earth safe ingredients that are derived from sustainable resources is also a great asset.

One drawback is that, as is the case with so many eco-friendly products, the EcoStore brand is much more expensive ounce per ounce to buy when compared to Simple Green*. 

The good news is that EcoStore does have some other advantages to consumers that  the competing product tested with it does not.  Unique to EcoStore are these additional benefits:
  • No Toxic phosphates, benzene, nitrates, chlorine, EDTA
  • No synthetic dyes or perfumes**
  • Earth safe ingredients that mean disposal has no harmful effects on the environment
  • Eco-friendly spray bottle that's labeled 2 Recycle
  • Online orders are always shipped exclusively using recycled materials, including the products I received for this product  review.
* EcoStore Citrus Spray Cleaner retails for $9 plus shipping and is available on the company's website.  This contrasts with Simple Green which retails for $ 8.99 for a 1 Gallon Jug at Smart & Final, a large chain of non-membership warehouse stores open to the public. 

**Also, Simple Green claims that their product -- unlike EcoStore's -- does not contain citrus extracts such as D-Limonene which is on a list of suspected carcinogens.  Consumers should review the pros and cons of the various ingredients of both company's products before buying either.  For a balanced view, it is recommended that consumers look at EcoStore's explanation of What is Green, too. For more information about D-Limonene concerns, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health website is an excellent, non-biased source.

FTC Disclosure:  For this review MommyBlogExpert received a full size bottle of EcoStore Citrus Spray Cleaner as well as a $25 gift certificate to be giving away in a contest recently held by this blog.  The Simple Green product for this review's comparison test was a personal purchase of MommyBlogExpert's at Smart& Final.  MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post or any of the companies mentioned.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.     

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