Book Review: Seventh Generation's "Naturally Clean"
We decided to mix it up a bit with this latest book review. Because we love Seventh Generation so much (as we are pretty sure you do too) we thought that maybe we'd give you some thoughts from two TreeHuggers this time around instead of just our usual one. It seems we both had the same positive opinions about "Naturally Clean: The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy Non-Toxic Cleaning." The book is written by Seventh Generation's President Jeffrey Hollender with his daughter Meika Hollender and Geoff Davis, Editor of Seventh Generation's Non-Toxic Times newsletter. We think you'll enjoy reading not only the book, but also our reviews:Kara DiCamillo's Review from Newport, RI
The EPA has ranked indoor air pollution as one of the top 5 environmental risks to public health. So how clean is your home? No, really, you'd be quite surprised. I thought my house was pretty darn clean until I read Naturally Clean. For me, I'm an asthma sufferer so I found this book to be not only interesting but extremely eye-opening. Did you know that the air inside our homes is most likely more polluted than the air outside? "How can that be possible?" I asked myself. Not only do I clean, vacuum and continually wash laundry, but I make sure my dog is clean and that my kitchen and bathroom is spotless. Plus, I use all-natural products. After reading compelling statistics, there was clearly more that I needed to learn.
The book begins by explaining that so many cleaning products that are on the market today are composed of many unknowns, therefore turning our homes into giant test tubes. The outcome of our exposure to these substances is largely unknown because scientists are just starting to delve into the mysteries that surround cleaning products. They do believe, however, that continuous exposure to these substances is responsible for our epidemic rates of cancer, asthma, hormone disruption and chemical sensitivities that we are all now experiencing more and more. Naturally Clean does discuss a bit of chemistry as to what makes certain household cleaners toxic, but what's even more interesting is the way that manufacturers cover this up. Who would've thought that cleaning products, used to sterilize your home, would be hazardous to your health? Have you really read the label and ingredients of your cleaning products? The truth is, cleaning products are unregulated, untested and ingredients aren't fully disclosed. "Naturally Clean" lets you in on a few secrets surrounding the industry, even those products that claim to be "all natural."
While I really enjoyed reading the entire book, the section I clearly liked the most is entitled "A Better, Healthier Way to Clean." It gives recipes for making your own household cleaners and discusses a more productive way to clean, vacuum and wash laundry. As I stated above, I thought I did a pretty good job at keeping my home clean. What I realized is that not only do I need to think about the health inside my home, but also where my cleaning products are going after I've used them. Whether it's down the toilet or into my carpets, my oven, my floors and my lungs, it became clear to me that I need to rely a little more on Mother Nature.
This book has something for everyone because, let's face it, no one's household is 100% clean. It's nearly impossible. Maybe on one hand you use all-natural cleaning products but what you might not realize is the other sources of serious indoor air contaminants. Naturally Clean can guide you to healing indoor air pollution by zeroing in on what may be affecting it.
With a glossary of terms that you need to know, a resource guide to find additional information and recommendations for products in your home, Naturally Clean is one book you'll want to reference over and over again.
Sean Fisher's Review from Cincinnati, Ohio
In Naturally Clean, Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollender and his crew of writers tell you everything you should already know about household cleaners but were never told. Naturally Clean goes far beyond a warning about traditional chemical based cleaners, it tells you how they work and why some can harbor harmful long-term effects. Somehow, Hollender manages to give quick lessons in chemistry without making it boring or hard to read (and that is quite a feat!) The thought of reading a book that deals so heavily with the chemistry and biology behind toxins might send you back to you high school science class, but rest assured this is nothing like that. This time, you will actually pay attention.
About halfway through Naturally Clean, you will most likely try to exorcise your house from most chemical cleaners and replace them with healthier alternatives. Most companies would have used this opportunity to peddle their product, but to their credit, Seventh Generation did not. The last section of the book contains a reference guide of cleaners that pass Hollender's toxicity test. You would expect Seventh Generation to dominate these lists, and although they certainly do appear, the reference gives you many different healthy commercial alternatives, including some of Seventh Generation's eco-minded competitors and one or two names that most anyone would recognize. What's even more shocking though is the plethora of DIY natural cleaning alternatives found within the book. It is clear that Hollender isn't here to sell, he writes to ensure that you have the knowledge to make your home happier, healthier, and a little greener.