Food Crops & EdiblesOrganic Growing

Understanding Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a new term that refers to the marketing practice by companies trying to position their products as eco-friendly simply because they look “green” or environmentally friendly. This practice can include the simple addition of the word “natural,” which is currently not defined or regulated by the FDA. This is sneaky but not illegal. The best way to learn about a product is to actually read the label. This will help you avoid common dangerous ingredients and learn more about what you are will be using in your greenhouse or garden.

Try these products and ideas to be environmentally friendly with in your greenhouse and garden:

Dish-washing Liquid Gone Green

Choose vegetable-based detergents whenever possible. When reading the label on dish-washing liquid, try to avoid ingredients such as:

  • Fragrance
  • Sulphates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Color added
Use Borax

A great trick to getting cleaning products like dish-soap to be more effective – without using chemicals, is to add a little borax to the water before you use. Borax, or sodium borate, is a naturally occurring alkaline mineral first discovered over 4,000 years ago. Here are some other little-known benefits of borax:

  • Cleans
  • Deodorizes
  • Disinfects
  • Softens water
  • Repels bugs
Wear Gloves

If you are still using some of traditional products, be sure to also wear gloves. This will help prevent skin irritation and prevent absorption of harmful ingredients such as dioxins, dyes and perfumes.

Dilute, Dilute, Dilute

Most brands of cleaning products on the market today, including the natural choices, are very concentrated. Most of us tend to use too much product when we clean. As a way to make your products last longer, dilute your dish-washing liquid with water. This will not lessen the effectiveness by very much. You can add a bit of salt and pour the mixture into a spray bottle to make it last longer and use less with each spray.


Vinegar may not smell the best but it is an effective alternative to conventional cleaning products and is especially effective on greenhouse windows. A great addition to any cleaning arsenal is a dash of vinegar to the cleaning liquid. It is an effective grease cutter and if the smell bothers you try adding a bit of your favorite essential oil.

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