This brings us to one of the other eyebrow-raisers: Clorox cheerfully lists the ingredients for Green Works on the label — something it doesn’t do for its conventional cleaners — and also prominently displays the Clorox logo. They’re hoping that the equation of “trusted brand (and the proven efficacy that comes with it) + transparency = success,” and Joel Makower thinks it’ll be a pretty big deal: “This is a kind of watershed moment. We finally have major consumer companies taking the green marketplace seriously, and not as an afterthought.” (He also did some consulting on the project).
As for the products themselves, (which include a general purpose cleaner, window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, dilutable cleaner and bathroom cleaner): Clorox claims that each one of the five cleaners is at least 99% natural — that’s right, the ubiquitous, unregulated “n” word — a fact which can be verified with a glance at the ingredients. Here’s the list for the all-purpose cleaner: water, alkyl polyglucoside, ethanol SDA-3C, glycerine, lemon essential oil, preservative (Kathon) and colorant (Milliken Liquitint Blue HP dye and Bright Yellow dye X); the last two — preservative and colorant — make up the circa 1% of the non-”natural” petroleum-derived portion of the cleaners (though Clorox says Kathon will biodegrade within 28 days). With a few exceptions, like the addition of sodium lauryl sulfate and lauramine oxide, the ingredients for the rest of the cleaners are mostly similar.
[I get a lot of questions about greenwashing. This article discusses the Sierra Club's recent endorsement of the Clorox Green Works brand which raised some eyebrows. Clorox wants a piece of the green pie and they will get it since stores like Walmat (where a lot of people shop) do not offer many eco-friendly alternatives. These products are fairly OK and definitely better than the rest of the Clorox line. But I would rather not fund Clorox and save a bunch by DIY.]