Whole Foods Eco-Scale

Whole Foods brought out a new way to sort through cleaning products.  It’s called the Eco-Scale (trademarked).  Basically, the scale consists of four colors – red, orange, yellow and green.  Red doesn’t meet their standards.  Green would be the most most environmentally-friendly.  Here’s the breakdown from their website:


  • Full transparency, disclosure of ingredients on packaging by April 2012
  • Independent 3rd party verified compliance to standards
  • No ingredients with significant environmental or safety concerns
  • No formaldehyde-donors, preservatives which have the potential to release formaldehyde
  • No phosphates, chlorine, or synthetic colors
  • No animal testing


  • All orange characteristics
  • natural fragrances
  • No ingredients with moderate environmental or safety concerns
  • No DEA, MEA or TEA—surfactants that have the potential to contain nitrosamines and other impurities
  • No synthetic, petroleum-derived thickeners made from nonrenewable sources


  • All yellow characteristics
  • Plant- and mineral-derived ingredients
  • No petroleum- derived ingredients

It’s placed by the price tags on the shelves of most of the products in the cleaning section. The Green Mission 365 products usually rate green.  I bought both the liquid laundry detergent and the all-purpose cleaner.  The laundry detergent contains saponified soap nuts as the main ingredient.  It doesn’t produce a lot of bubbles, I guess because it doesn’t contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate).  I’ve tried it once in a HE/front loader at the laundromat and it seemed to work well.  I also use it to handwash clothes in the sink along with the Alaffia African Black Soap.  The all-purpose cleaner smells sort of like vinegar and works well and produces a lot of fizzy bubbles.  In the last week, they’ve also added a Green Mission automatic dish detergent, a toilet bowl cleaner and those wet towel wipes.  The only two non-Green Mission products that I saw (May 17th, 2012) would be the Earth Friendly Toilet Kleener and the 7th Generation Non-chlorine bleach.

A lot of Ecover’s products were yellow and orange.  It seemed that Seventh Generation’s products had a few more that were orange (but still had a lot of yellows and the non-chlorine bleach that was green) but that may be because they have so many products so don’t take my word for it, please.  I hadn’t looked at the packaging of cleaning products for awhile and was surprised to find SLS as one of the key ingredients to a few of their products (Seventh Generation).  I’m not trying to make a judgement about SLS but maybe there might be better ingredients to use sometimes.  (By the way, I think SLS is what makes some food taste bitter if you eat, say an orange, right after brushing your teeth)  Anyways, I like Seventh Generation’s products and I am using their Lavender dishwasher soap.

Some folks may have issues with Whole Foods, but I like Whole Foods (truthfully a lot) and think this will help people make better decisions about cleaning products.  It may also help nudge manufacturers in a good way. (Remember you can always make your own cleaning products if you want to).  Here’s a list of all the Green and Yellow rated products in the Santa Fe store as of May 17th, 2012.  If there’s no scent specified, all the scents were that scale color, with exception of the Method Ginger Yuzu, which only had one scent on the shelves.


7th Generation non-chlorine bleach
Earth Friendly Toilet kleener


7th Generation all purpose cleaner
7th Generation glass cleaner
7th Generation natural dish liquid
7th Generation shower cleaner
7th Generation bathrom cleaner
7th Generation free and clear dish detergent
7th Generation laundry stain remover
7th Generation natural oxy stain remover
7th Generation laundry powder free and clear

20 Mule borax

Biokleen oxygen bleach
Biokleen laundry liquid
Biokleen all purpose cleaner
Biokleen premium laundry powd

Dish out unscented dish soap
Dishmate liquid cleaner

Earth Friendly autp dishwasher

Ecover cream scrub
Ecover liquid laundry ultra
Ecover delicate wash
Ecover auto dishwashing tabs
Ecover rinse aid
Ecover floor soap
Ecover lemon frag all purpose concentrated

Green Shield organic laundry detergent oncentrated
Green Shield surface wipes

Method all purpose ginger yuzu cleaner

Orange Plus all purpose cleaner