Welcome to Safe Household Cleaning, where we only review cleaning products with a fully disclosed ingredients list from the manufacturer. If they don’t list the ingredients on the bottle, we won’t review it.
As environmentally friendly lifestyles continue growing in popularity, people are realizing that not all cleaning products are created equal. And while many manufacturers brand their products as green or safe for you and the environment, there’s no way to tell without an ingredients list.
Unlike foods or medicines, most countries don’t require cleaning products list their ingredients. But consumer demand is driving a movement towards ingredients transparency. Without the ingredients listed, there’s no way to tell if a product is truly safe for your family, your home, and the earth.
Today we’re taking a look at Eco-Me All Purpose Plant Cleaner in Herbal Mint scent.
According to the manufacturer, it’s an all-purpose cleaner based on family safe, earth-friendly natural plant extract ingredients. We’ve never reviewed an Eco-Me product before but I already like who they are and what they stand for.
Read on to see how the ingredient quality and cleaning performance stack up against these claims.
Who is Eco-Me?
Eco-Me was founded in 2006 by Robin Kay Levine and Jennifer Mihaljov. The ladies say they began the company out of need and concern — the need to remove harmful chemicals from their home, and the concern that toxins in everyday products lead to disease.
As a result of personal experience with health conditions that may have been caused by environmental health factors, Robin and Jennifer decided to create products that focus on family health and wellness, with premium-quality ingredients.
Personally, I like to support a small company that wants to make a difference. There’s something more meaningful about a personal backstory. Big corporations are beginning to offer green cleaning products, too, but it’s difficult to buy their concern for the environment because they keep making just as much junk as ever, too.
Eco-Me offers a whole line of household cleaning products including a carpet freshener, a scrubbing cleanser, dish soap, floor cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, and wood polish. All of their products are made with food-grade and plant-based ingredients.
Eco-Me uses the GreenSeal.org ECO SCALE certification, a nonprofit certification that factors in everything from ingredient toxicity to packaging materials.
The Eco-Me Natural Plant Extracts All Purpose Plant Cleaner is also certified by PETA as cruelty-free, with no animal testing or animal by-products used at any point in the formulation process.
Eco-Me stack up First Impressions
The Herbal Mint All-Purpose Cleaner comes in a 32 fluid ounce (946 ml) recyclable sprayer bottle.
The packaging directions advise to shake this cleaner well, then use it in your kitchen or bathroom, but it should work fine for lighter jobs too. It’s not for use on marble or granite, and like most cleaners, it’s best to spot-test the cleaner before you use it on a new surface.
The sprayer nozzle offers both “spray” and “stream” options, which I prefer over one or the other. The spray is a fine mist with excellent coverage, and the stream is powerful and consistent.
My first impression of this cleaner after spraying it was: vinegar. In fact, there’s enough vinegar smell to serve as a second and third impression, too. Vinegar (acetic acid) is a safe and effective natural cleaner. You’ll often find it in bathroom or kitchen cleaners as it’s an all-round performer – it’s excellent at dissolving minerals and cleaning dirt/oil/grease and also makes for a great smear free window cleaner. Plus it’s safe for those with sensitivities.
On the downside, it smells of vinegar.
This particular cleaner is a Herbal Mint scented formulation. I tried to sniff out the herbal mint notes, but they really aren’t detectable to my nose. Even after the cleaner dries, there’s no real herb or mint smell that I can detect. This spray really smells of vinegar. If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, this probably isn’t the cleaner for you.
I personally use fragrance-free where I can, but I can understand why the smell of vinegar is off-putting for some.
How does it clean?
I used paper towels for all these cleaning tasks because it’s an easy, standard way to assess performance.
I began in the bathroom because I had some major cleaning tasks to tackle there. The sink and toilet body came clean with minimal scrubbing.
Thanks to mud from gardening, the shower took some extra elbow grease. When I left the All Purpose Cleaner to sit for 10 minutes, it made the job much easier. The bathroom smelled very fresh after the vinegar smell dissipated — vinegar has excellent deodorizing properties.
Next, I moved on to the kitchen, where I cleaned the sink and counters. The performance here was more than adequate, and it’s nice knowing that no harsh solvents or other unsavory chemicals will be lurking on the food prep surfaces.
In my kitchen, the counter next to the stove needed to be cleared off, organized, and deep-cleaned.
As you can see from the “after” photo above, the Eco-Me spray cleaner did a great job of dissolving the grit and the grime. I let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes, then it came clean after two passes with paper towels.
This product isn’t designed for glass cleaning, technically, but I tested some windows and it worked very well. The real key with any glass cleaning job is to continue wiping until the glass is dry (I find newsprint works best). I wouldn’t clean a large mirror with this product, but it will do just fine cleaning some windows in a pinch.
It cleans well, what ingredients does it contain?
There’s only a few ingredients in this formulation:
- Acetic acid (vinegar) is an effective, sustainably produced, natural hydrophilic polar protic solvent with some excellent cleaning and disinfecting properties (more on that in the next section).
- Caprylyl capryl glucoside is a nonionic surfactant. It’s plant-derived, gentle, biodegrades rapidly, and rarely causes skin irritation. Another winning ingredient choice.
- An undisclosed listing of Natural Plant Essential Oils. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much or what essential oils have been added. This is disappointing.
All in all, the well-chosen ingredients list. The only real disappointment is the lack of disclosure on what essential oils they company have added. I can only assume they are there for fragrance, but its impossible to tell.
How Well Does Acetic Acid (Vinegar) Clean, Really?
Acetic acid is the name for the concentrated form of vinegar. Vinegar is a byproduct of ethanol (grain alcohol) made by acetic acid-producing bacteria. Vinegar contains at least 5% acetic acid, and a 5% acetic acid solution is sufficient to kill most microbes.
Acetic acid is a type of solvent. It dissolves compounds like inorganic salts and sugars as well as oils. It mixes readily with water and alcohols
Compared to bleach, which kills 99% of pathogens, vinegar kills about 90% of bacteria and 80% of viruses and mold. The upshot is that vinegar is far less harmful to work with and breathe than bleach. I actually prefer vinegar over bleach for most cleaning jobs, because bleach is overkill.
We aren’t cleaning up crime scenes around here.
Studies show that obsessively killing all pathogens around the house can compromise our immune systems, increasing issues like allergies, especially in kids. Therefore, for routine household cleaning jobs, you should use a milder, natural disinfectant like vinegar.
The bottom line is that a vinegar-based cleaner works well and deserves the label “all purpose.”
Do I Recommend It?
Yes, I recommend Eco-Me Natural Plant Extracts All Purpose Plant Cleaner in herbal mint. I am not particularly sensitive to fragrances, least of all natural fragrances found in essential oils. Not at these concentrations anyway.
When I smelled the vinegar it did cross my mind that I could always whip up a homemade vinegar cleaner, but the added essential oils and the caprylyl capryl glucoside offer a performance boost over anything I could make at home.
It’s a solid, effective cleaner from a small company that appears to be on a genuine mission to do good.
The only real disappointment is the lack of disclosure in what essential oils have been added. The fact the cleaner still smells of vinegar indicates the dosages are low. I hope Eco-Me are more forthcoming in the future.
If you’re not sensitive to fragrances then, give it a try. Its a versatile, well formulated, simple all-purpose spray cleaner with just the right amount of disinfectant properties.