Bio-friendly cleaners—they’re cleaning up!

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Move over Clorox and Procter & Gamble, the bio-friendly laundry and cleaning products are nudging you out of your comfort zone.

According to, global sales of household cleaners may reach $147 billion this year. Almost everyone uses some kind of kitchen and bath cleaner, laundry and dish soap, furniture wax, carpet deodorizer and stain neutralizer. It’s akin to toilet paper. Everyone needs it, uses it, and, even with copious competition, there’s hardly ever a downturn in the marketplace.

While the tried-and-true household cleaners of yesteryear are still riding high—it’s hard to challenge those products that have dominated television and print advertising since the early ‘50s—eco “green” cleaners are coming on fast.

A study from Packaged Facts, that was conducted a few years ago, reported sales of eco cleaners more than doubled from $303 million in 2007 to $640 million in 2011.

Still, that number represented only three percent of the total household and laundry cleaner retail market at the time. Since then, “green” has been gaining steadily, and just three years ago, “clean” upstarts were edging up to a 40% market share forcing the blue-chip products of the last decade to pour tons of money into environmentally-friendly R&D just to keep up with the competition.

We at GreenAcres believe in “green and clean” and provide our customers with a variety of user-friendly products that are easy on the environment, better for health and still do the job.

Apparently, it’s impassioned consumers like our GreenAcres customers that are driving the business.

According to Packaged Facts Publisher, a guy by the name of David Sprinkle, an impassioned consumer himself, is the fuel behind green cleaners’ impressive growth. “One of the most interesting things to watch with the green cleaning market is to what degree (and for which consumers) convictions about using green cleaning products trump price sensitivity,” he says.

We see that at GreenAcres every day. Customers are well aware of “dirty ingredients” and they don’t want them. Certain chemicals found in conventional cleaning products are known to or are suspected to cause major skin and environmental problems.

Organic compounds used to increase performance of a product can impair neurological functions, cause respiratory problems and sometimes cancer depending on the extent of the exposure, according to the National Environmental Trust, among other environment groups.

Phosphates can contaminate rivers, ponds and lakes, depleting oxygen and decreasing water quality.

There is little regulation of cleaning chemicals. Companies select ingredients for cleaning products to enhance their performance, but there are a whole lot of the chemicals, we simply don’t know anything about.

Phthalates, for example, are suspected to affect hormonal balance in a negative way, yet they are continually used to help distribute dyes and fragrances and act as plasticizers in cleaning agents. Other chemicals are used as preservatives, still others as glycols which can act like anti-freeze. Imagine cleaning your kitchen counters with anti-freeze!

The clean industry has not been lost on the “blue chippers.” “Clorox became the first major consumer-products firm to launch a line of environmentally-friendly cleaners, which was followed by the introduction of its first plant-based detergent and stain remover in 2009. Clorox’s green line also became the top selling line of natural cleaners in 2009 with a 42 percent share of the total market, generating more than $200 million in revenue annually.

“Clorox had historically built its $5.3 billion business on household products that were effective and affordable but not particularly green – things like bleach, Glad plastic wrap, and cleaning products sold under the brands of Formula 409, Liquid-Plumr, Pine-Sol and Tilex, as well as Clorox.”

But even in 2006, the company had moved into natural products in a big way. Clorox spent $913 million to acquire Burt’s Bees, which makes beeswax-based body care products which we sell at GreenAcres, and it also started promoting its line of Brita water filters as a greener alternative to bottled water.

With the advent of “Green Works,” Clorox launched a line of green cleaning products that moved in on turf previously occupied by firms such as Seventh Generation, which we sell at GreenAcres.

Once “green” was considered too expensive, but today, millennials and baby boomers alike are beating a path to their favorite health food/grocery store to buy those very products, and they don’t much care how much they cost. It’s just a new age all together.

The recession of 2009 actually got people thinking…back to a time when frugality wasn’t a bad word and the land and its yield were clean and healthy. Consumers embraced the new push toward “green technology” and responsible buying and spending, and they weren’t afraid to shell out more money for products that made them feel safe.  Small organic health food chains started to grow and create an even larger following. They put pressure on themselves to deliver the purest goods at the best possible price. The consumer gladly followed along.

GreenAcres is a case in point. Once content to enjoy a sound reputation in the founding store’s hometown, now a new vision appeared on the horizon. Today, where there was one, now there are eight stores, and the growth allows the family-owned chain to keep its customers happy with lower prices and a wider variety of products.

GreenAcres carries a variety of eco-friendly laundry and cleaning products. Here are a few:

  • Ecos, an earth-friendly laundry soap, provides better price performance than many of its competitors. Ecos, its website claims, “cleans a full laundry load with only 1.5 ounces of liquid. And, it has a built-in fabric softener. “The earth friendly product line is completely free of petrochemicals, bleach, ammonia, phosphates, formaldehyde, hormone-mimicking toxins, artificial fragrances and colors.” The company is careful to source sustainable ingredients and promises it does not test on animals—biggies with consumers who embrace recycling and purity of execution.
  • Biokleen has a Super Concentrated All Purpose Cleaner & Degreaser that really works and cuts through the toughest grease without toxic chemicals. It’s safe for almost any type of surface and works in cold as well as hot water, leaving no harmful fumes behind.
  • Seventh Generation has a wide variety products, but the one embraced by GreenAcres’ customers is Free & Clear Baby Wipes which the company bills as a “comfort and performance cloth in a handy, take-along package so you always have a fresh, clean wipe at hand when you need one.” The Free & Clear Baby Wipes are made of plant-derived ingredients, extra soft for delicate skin. The company touts that its wipes use 70% less plastic than its classic wipes thanks to the use of plant materials. They are free of fragrances, dyes, parabens and phtahalates; also hypoallergenic as well.

 Most of the new bio-friendly product companies have embraced the idea that the skin is the largest organ of the body and consumers don’t need to be exposing it to the ravages of toxins by wearing clothing laundered with chemical detergents or walking on floors and carpets cleaned with those same toxins.  After all, the liver can only detox so much in a lifetime.

We at GreenAcres couldn’t agree more!