Eco-Friendly/Green Natural Household Products

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes & Dishwasher Detergent Review

seventh generation

Most of my readers know I’m pretty into couponing, sale shopping and general deal wrangling. I haven’t paid more than a few pennies for household and personal care products for about the past 4 years. So, my attempts to “go green” have been tough on the old pocketbook. I know lots of people use nothing but baking soda and vinegar for anything and everything, and maybe someday I will be there too…I’m not there yet! I’ve been trying to make slightly better choices in products as I can, in the hopes that I can make it to that point in baby steps!! I had a few coupons for $1 off any 7th Generation product earlier this year, so I figured I might as well give them a try.

I usually use either Lysol or Clorox Wipes, and Cascade or Electrasol/Finish powder…whatever is free or nearly free. I know some people feel strongly about not using any “disinfecting” products, but I like to have the wipes on hand for the toilet seats, wiping the little potty and cleaning up really yucky stuff.

The 7th Generation disinfecting wipes were $3.37 for a 35 count canister at my grocery store. That isn’t too much higher than the Lysol or Clorox wipes brand, which seem to sell in the $2.19-$2.99 range where I shop, depending on where I’m shopping and what brand I’m buying. Of course, I don’t buy them unless I’m combining store & manufacturer coupons, sales and/or buy this many items get 20 cents off gas etc. deals!

The 7th Generation wipes are botanical, and the ingredients are: Thymol (component of thyme oil), Sodium lauryl sulfate (palm kernel or coconut-derived cleaning agent), copper sulfate pentahydrate (bluestone) (mineral derived water mineralizer), citric acid and sodium citrate (cornstarch derived water softeners), essential oils and botanical extracts* (origanum vulgare (oregano) oil, cedrus atlantica (blue atlas cedar) bark oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass) oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) fruit extract, mentha citrata (orange bergamot mint) leaf extract, aqua (water). Wipe substrate: polyester, rayon.

Clorox wipes ingredients: Water, Substrate, Isopropyl alcohol, Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride, Alkyl polyglucoside, Fragrance, Preservative, Propylene glycol propyl ether

Lysol Wipes ingredients: I haven’t been able to find more than what’s on the package. Akykl Dimethl Benzyl Ammonium Chlorides….0.26%, “other ingredients”…99.74%. Well that’s helpful…not.

All claim to kill 99.99% of household germs, including cold & flu viruses. I’m no scientist, so I will take their word for it. As far as I know, the 7th generation wipes are available only in Lemongrass & Thyme scent. It smells fine, a little odd for a cleaning product (I like to eat lemongrass, LOL.) However…I used these wipes when we passed around a stomach bug (twice) in February, so the scent now makes me kind of gaggy since I associate it with that!

The Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Powder was $4.17 for 45 ounces. Compare that to the $3.75 regular price for 75 ounces of Finish, and it seems awfully high! However, I’ve only bought dishwasher detergent twice this year. The 7th Generation in January, and Finish in May (which is maybe half empty.) I wash dishes every day, but we have pretty soft water, so I only fill about half of the dispenser! So really, even if the price is double (which it nearly is) it really wouldn’t make much difference in my budget…except that I can’t get the deals on 7th Generation like I can with the other stuff. Maybe if CVS starts selling it!

The ingredients in the 7th Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwasher Powder are: Sodium carbonate (water softener and alkalinity builder), sodium sulfate and sodium chloride (promote flowability), citric acid (water softener), sodium silicate (protection agent and alkalinity builder), polyaspartic acid (water softener and anti-filming agent), ppg-10-laureth-7 (anti-spotting agent), sodium percarbonate (removes stains and water softener), protease and amylase (enzyme soil removers).

It uses plant-derived enzymes remove food debris and stains from dishes, is a biodegradable formula and is phosphate and chlorine free.

Cascade dishwasher detergent ingredients (to the best of my knowledge): Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Sodium chloride, Cocamide DEA, Triclosan, Aloe barbadensis, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Glycerine, Parfum, Citric acid, Benzoic acid, Benzyl alcohol, Benzyl salicylate, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Methyparaben, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Magnesium nitrate, Magnesium chloride, Propylene glycol, Triethylene glycol, Cl 42090, Cl 19140, AAlu OOH2pCO2, Pks

Finish ingredients: Beats me. I had a heck of a time finding the Cascade ingredients. They don’t exactly make it easy to find. I imagine Finish is fairly similar. I could probably find the ingredients if I spent even more time, but they are clearly going to be way ickier (technical term) than the 7th generation.

I didn’t notice any difference in my dishes. They were as clean as they always are. No matter how little detergent I use, or what additives I use, I still have to hand wash our glasses every few months because they get a cloudy buildup on them.

I haven’t tried any other brands, but I know my organic store has at least 2 or 3 other dishwasher detergent brands, and I’m definitely going to try a few more.

Do you have a favorite brand of “natural” cleaners? Are you the make-it-yourself/use baking soda type? Or are you still taking baby steps like me?

FTC compliance: I purchased the above products myself at normal prices. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • Delora
    September 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    My favorite eco-friendly dishwasher detergent is called Grabgreen and you can find it on Amazon. The price is slightly less than full-price 7th Generation or Finish, but you can’t get discounts except for Subscribe & Save.

  • September 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Seventh Generation is the best for EVERYTHING!!

  • September 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I’ve never tried either of those. I’m trying to use more green products, but, you’re right, they’re much more expensive. I’ve used seventh generation glass cleaner and LOVED it. It was less streaky than other cleaners and didn’t smell like ammonia. When your glasses start to get the cloudy buildup try pouring a cup of white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and running a high temp cycle. This will clean your dishwasher and remove any hard water build up (if you have hard water, not sure if you do :).

    • September 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      We actually don’t have hard water (we have mountain spring well water plus a softener.) The build up seems to be more detergent buildup, even though I use very little!

      I’ll have to check out their glass cleaner!

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