Welcome to Safe Household Cleaning, where our mission is to transform the landscape of household cleaning products one review at a time.
We only review products with fully disclosed ingredient lists from the manufacturer; we check out the companies behind the products, the real-world performance of the products, and the safety and environmental impact of each of key ingredients.
There is currently little to no regulation mandating ingredient disclosure, but people everywhere are beginning to realize that a snazzy “green” or friendly looking package, or even manufacturer claims, are not enough to go on. A customer with no idea what’s in a product has absolutely no way of knowing what the effects or consequences of that product are.
Not every manufacturer gets the formulation right even when they do disclose, but so long as we know the ingredients we can begin making better-informed and just overall better decisions about what we put into our homes and the environment.
Today I’m reviewing Attitude Nature Technology Bathroom Cleaner in Citrus Zest scent.
This cleaner is ECOLOGO certified through Underwriters Laboratories for reduced environmental impact. According to the manufacturer, all their products are “powerful, natural, vegan, and sustainable,” cruelty-free, carbon neutral, septic tank safe, and “made with worry-free ingredients.”
Sounds like a great start, but remember to never go off manufacturer claims alone; in the cleaning product industry, talk is cheap.
About Attitude Nature Technology
Headquartered in both Montreal, Canada and Paris, Attitude offers over 200 products in at least 44 countries.
According to Attitude’s website, all of their products are
- 100% hypoallergenic
- Made with worry-free ingredients
- Environmentally sound
Those are fairly standard claims. None of the claims actually mean anything in legal terms, and they are often just marketing claims. I’ve seen hypoallergenic products contain ingredients that have been awarded Allergen of the Year by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. But Attitude actually backs up their talk with some impressive product credentials and certifications:
- UL ECOLOGO certification, the standards of which cover “criteria including materials, energy, manufacturing and operations, health and environment, product performance and use, and product stewardship and innovation”
- PETA’s “Beauty Without Bunnies” endorsement indicates the products are cruelty-free and vegan
- National Eczema Association seal of acceptance endorses a product as safe for individuals with eczema, following review of both ingredients and clinical trials by dermatologists
- EWG VERIFIED is a seal given out by the Environmental Working Group to indicate a product is free of health concerns
And we’ve reviewed their products before, and have been impressed every time.
I couldn’t wait for the product to arrive.
My First Impressions
Attitude’s Citrus Zest Bathroom Cleaner comes in a 27.1 fl. oz. (800 mL) recyclable bottle with a standard “on/off” sprayer top. The “on” setting sprays in a stream as opposed to a mist pattern.
I was not fond of the scent. It actually reminded me of certain mainstream bathroom cleaning products. Not to say that the product has toxic-smelling fumes, but the generic citrus odor is simultaneously unremarkable and quite strong.
I’d ideally prefer a fragrance-free version. Or even a fragrance more appealing and less reminiscent of other products I wish I’d never purchased in the first place.
The consistency of the product, when applied to a surface, is very foamy and sudsy, likely thanks to the saponins in the formulation. For a general purpose cleaner it would be overly foamy, but for a rinse-off heavy-duty bathroom cleaner, the suds are perfect.
Performance matters: how does it do in the real world?
The usage instructions are simple: spray and rinse. The packaging advises that for superior power, one may allow the product to stand for 5-10 minutes before wiping or rinsing. All tests were conducted using wet paper towels, except for the toilet bowl cleaning.
As a bathroom cleaner, the product is “specially designed to eliminate limescale, soap scum and grime from glazed tiles, tubs, vinyl curtains, shower doors and toilet bowls.”
My current residence was built in 1935 and has some very hard well water. Calcium and mineral deposits are the norm.
I began by testing the Bathroom Cleaner performance on a toilet bowl. I turned off the water line, flushed, sprayed the product, and left for 5-10 minutes. I was very pleased with the performance after a thorough scrubbing with a toilet brush.
Next up was the bathtub; soap scum and limescale are not sufficient words to describe the situation here. It was caked with grime and who-knows-what. (I just moved in and the previous residents were not the most diligent about keeping a clean house, it would seem.)
Rather than letting it stand, I decided to immediately wipe and rinse, just to change things up. To my pleasant surprise, the tub came clean. The job demanded vigorous wiping and extra water, but that’s to be expected with any grossly overdue cleaning task.
I also tested the product to good effect on a soiled linoleum surface, and on the hard-to-clean junction between the bathroom sink and faucet handles. No surprises: the performance was as good as any bathroom cleaner I’ve used.
One thing I never like to see is a company who’s trying to be green, doing the right thing by disclosing their ingredients, and somehow still letting some real nasties (like formaldehyde or ethanolamine) into their formulation.
Attitude’s commitment to worry-free ingredients is backed by their various items of certification, and for the most part it shows.
- Caprylyl glucoside and myristyl glucoside are nonionic surfactants. they are extremely gentle, readily biodegradable and skin irritation issues are not commonly associated with these surfactants. This is a win for Attitude Bathroom Cleaner.
- Saponins are a class of foaming plant-derived terpenoid glycosides commonly found in detergents. As I mentioned before, these probably contribute to the favorable soapy properties of the cleaner and its excellent efficacy (without harsh ingredients).
- Terpineol is a alcohol usually derived from pine oil or sometimes from other plant sources. It’s unclear whether Attitude included this as a solvent or a fragrant component. It’s an established contact allergen in humans and is it’s also associated with asthma and respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals.
- Decanal is a naturally-occurring aldehyde with fragrance and disinfectant properties. Unfortunately, the EPA has found, based on industry-submitted data, that it may not be environmentally friendly, and that bioaccumulation may create toxicity risks in humans and animals. At sufficiently low concentrations, however, these concerns may be a non-issue.
- Allyl heptanoate is a fruity-smelling ingredient typically used in scent and flavor formulas. It’s typically safe to use in low quantities.
The ingredients list is mostly benign, certainly from a cleaning perspective, but the various fragrances may turn off those who are sensitive to fragrances in products. This product isn’t short of them. And as I already mentioned, I did not like the aroma of this cleaner at all. I really think Attitude ought to do away with this particular fragrance formulation and work out something that’s more pleasant to the nose and truly worry-free.
Do I recommend this Bathroom Cleaner?
The fact I didn’t like their fragrance formulation is entirely subjective, and secondary to the cleaning power. The overall performance was excellent. Attitude’s credentials and certifications are impressive.
I still maintain the formula could be improved in multiple ways if certain ingredients were removed and suitably substituted. If you are particularly prone to contact allergies, or if you have asthma, you’ll probably want to find an alternative product for your bathroom cleaning needs (one option: Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural Bathroom Cleaner, which is a similar formula without the objectionable ingredients!).
Overall though, you could do a lot worse. Attitude is a company who by all indications believes in their mission and follows through in a meaningful way.