New to this, looking for a Green, Eco-friendly, cleaning solution

Hello all. My girlfriend and I operate a small Green, Eco-friendly house cleaning business, and we’re looking to expand to window cleaning. I’ve been experimenting with various mixes, but nothing works the way dawn+vinegar works. Dawn’s got a laundry list of dubious chemicals inside, so I’d prefer not to use it. I considered maybe Castille Soap + Vinegar, but it just turns to curdled white mush. Alcohol and ammonia both have respiratory effects, (I have asthma) but I find alcohol more tolerable. Does anyone have any ideas as to what I could use that is eco-friendly, biodegradable, safe to breathe, and will lubricate the rubber enough to not constantly warp it, as well as being streak free? (And I know WFP would, but that’ll be a ways down the road, as well as still needing something for inside the clients homes). I would really appreciate any feedback!

I had a cousin that would eat Dawn. Seems pretty safe.


Most natural biodegradable dish soap’s seems to work just fine. I’ve used Ecover and 7th Generation in the past. I usually just get the free and clear versions with no fragrance.

Alot of things that “seem safe” just aren’t. Think of the ‘Doctors Recommend So and So Brand of Cigarettes’ line of marketing. Hey, it’s not like you got cancer or died on the spot, right?

Dawn Inactive Ingredients: water, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laurethsulfate, c12-14-16 dimethyl amine oxide, SD alcohol, sodium chloride,PPG-26, pei-14 PEG-10/PPG-7 copolymer, cyclohexanediamine,phenoxyethanol, magnesium chloride, methylisothiazolinone, fragrance,yellow 5, blue 1.

10 Reasons to Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate | Smartklean's Blog

“Fragrance” is codeword for “whatever we want to put in here”, most likely benzene and formaldehyde-laden chemical crap. I really like to avoid contibuting to the continuing, systematic poisoning of the air, water, and land whenever possible.

Edit: Another good resource:

We use fragrance free 7th Gen.

You could also look into EBC. A lot of people liked Ecover for awhile.

I’ve never mixed vinegar in, however, so I can’t speak to what effect that would have.


Well, I don’t know about the “laundry list” of toxicity. It does contain some questionable ingredients - if you were to INGEST it.

Most people just use a small amount mixed with a gallon or more of water.
Don’t drink it, don’t splash your eyes with it, don’t lick your fingers after cleaning with it…Actually, don’t do that with ANY cleaning agents. Well, vinegar, you can drink vinegar.

Sorry - I just think the risk of “exposure” from Dawn is so minimal if used as directed.

Scrub on!

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Thanks! EBC looks intriguing. Ecover and 7th Gen aren’t perfect, (I think they both have the Sodium Coco or Lauryl Sulfate), but there a step in the right direction. Risk Minimization is sometimes the best you can do.

Garry, It also has to do with aquatic toxicity. Cleaning outside windows and you’ll end up polluting the groundwater. This water finds its way into hydrologic cycle, multiply this by so many millions of people cleaning their homes, (combined with all the other vectors of pollution) and you have the situation we’re in right now, where the ocean is basically a toxic waste dump where increasingly fewer fish are able to survive, and you can find dozens of industrial toxins in the snowpacks at the tops of any mountain in the world.

But, you may be right that the risk is comparitively minimal with the small amounts being used. But life is a numbers game, like a sieve of statistics and chance and cumulative effects, multiplied over time. I am just trying to minimize the risk to myself, my clients, and the Earth to as little as possible.

You’ll pollute the environment and yourself more by driving to the clients location, then using a few drops of dawn daily.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


I have done research, for a green bid on this. I would find vinegar more harmful than Dawn dish soap. It really depends if vinegar is brewed or fermented, @Henry may provide the chemistry side good or bad but there are many half truths in regards to vinegar being completely green.

I get the wanting to be green and a drop won’t ruin the world but a million drops will if placed in the same spot at the same time will, if possible.

Dawn was used to clean birds in the oil spill and is used daily to shine plant and tree leaves by the plant people who are paid to water and maintain living plants and trees in office buildings.

The trouble you may find it is getting the same results from the so-called toxic solutions and finding the green product thats gives the same results. You may have to give a little to get what you want meaning you might not find something that’s the easiest to work with but it meets your expectations of being green.

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Especially if you’re driving an electric coal fired vehicle like a prius.


Mrs Meyers dish soap is good …

My advice… Use dawn and bike… 1/50th of the carbon foot print as a truck.


Just use the same brand of soap you wash your dishes with.

This is a subject I have always wanted to explore. Surfactant chemistry has always been fascinating to me. If this is something that is really important to enough people you need to let the manufacturers and distributors know. I have had some VERY positive discussions regarding product development with Steve Blythe and Mike Draper who work with JRC. Please voice more of your thoughts here and I will send them a link to this thread. Then I can start to work with them on a product. We can send it out for field testing and see where it goes. So help me help you!

One more thing. Dawn has a residue of dioxane which is a left over chemical from manufacturing the two main surfactants. That is the main problem with this product. The reason why it cuts grease so well is that it is based on not more than 1 percent sodium hydroxide or lye.


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You seem to be very concerned about little things that don’t really have too much of an impact on our lives. Dawn is safe enough to use. I get it if you’re using it as a marketing tool by saying all of your equipment and supplies are completely eco friendly but just find your weariness of simple things to be kind of funny. Crossing the street can kill you. Getting into a car on a hot day can give you cancer, the heat melts the plastic and releases fumes that are linked to cancer. Driving a car everyday could kill you. Heck even walking down the stairs has a chance to kill you. I personally think you are taking things too seriously. Don’t mean to offend you or anything but just my 2 cents.


It’s all about risk minimization, not complete elimination of risk, (which is obviously impossible). I THINK about these things ahead of time so I don’t have to WORRY about them. Some people smoke cigarettes because that’s a risk profile they are willing to accept. I don’t, because I’d prefer to not have lung cancer. Dawn has alot of ingredients that in the grand scheme of history, are new to this planet (and there’s already been quite a bit of research showing Dawn and the chemicals its composed of are not comparitively safe and totally harmless. Check: . History is chock full of human error. I mean, putting Asbestos and lead in basically everything is totally safe! Err… woops? And WE KEEP ON MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES. If you want to live your life with an inherent trust that there is some ‘wisdom in the Status Quo’, by all means. I think the Status Quo, in American society is absolutely insane. I live my life with an inherent distrust in the old “Well, everybody’s doing it, so it’s probably okay”. The way we farm in monocropped, pesticide, herbicide-laden crops, the things we eat, the energy resources we use, the things we are taught in our public “education”, the way government is ran, the pharmaceutical drugs we all gladly shove into our bodies, the way the media is owned by corporate interests, our entire value system, as a society, is totally upside down and ass-backwards. And corporations are putting untested, not-properly-researched (or even knowingly poisonouse) chemicals in everything they can to maximize profits. And 95% of the media is a propaganda machine designed to obfuscate, distract, and not inform. Read the book “The Toxin Solution” by Dr. Joseph Pizzorno if you’re actually interested in the subject. The supermarket shelves are stuffed with poison, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty, (instead of the much stronger ‘Precautionary Principle’ practiced by most European countries), and nearly across the board, regulatory agencies have been captured by the industries they are supposed to be controlling. But mostly, since there are safer and more biologically friendly alternatives, why not choose the safer option?

Anyways, I went out today and got some materials to try. 50/50 Vinegar and Water, with enough Simple Truth Dish Soap to foam on the glass. Works great. Detailing with a small spray bottle of alcohol to hit the occasional spot.

I also tried Club Soda and Dish Soap, really great results. You could go up to 50/50 Club Soda and Water, too. The Club Soda functions as a good vinegar replacement. I wonder if it might prolong the life of the rubber squeegee by not being exposed to vinegar.

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Not to mention we’re paranoid.

But you got to love that tasty red dye number 9. Dang that’s good stuff.


I get where you’re coming from. I respect your enthusiasm on the topic. Atleast you’re thinking. Even though I disagree with your stance. To each his own. I just try to live as stress free as possible. I can’t be worrying about every little thing that might harm me in some way, just gotta go out and live life. Glad you found a solution that works for you though.