There are lots of products -- from garden supplies to cosmetics to house paints -- on store shelves that claim to be "green" or "eco-friendly." Most of the time they are, but at a cost that is often prohibitive. That seems to be changing, with the prices of some natural products coming down to earth lately.
I tried the new Vaska Strong & Pure line of laundry products recently, and at $9.99 for a 48-ounce bottle at Target, it's easier on the wallet than other natural lines. I washed a load of dark-colored clothes in the lavender-scented Herbatergent, a liquid detergent that uses real lavender and botanical cleaning agents to scent and clean without harmful chemicals.
The scent was light, but pleasant, and it doesn't contain any perfumes, dyes, optical brighteners or any of the usual chemicals found in conventional detergents. The listed ingredients include plant-based surfactants, a vegetable conditioner, a water-soluable degreasing agent, lavender extract and filtered water. There's also a scent-free detergent, Herbasoft liquid fabric softener, a natural chlorine-free Oxygenbleach and Spotoff, a natural stain remover in a pump spray bottle that uses botanical cleaning agents to remove things like wine without harming the fabrics in clothing, rugs or upholstery.
I was pleased with the scent and performance of the detergent, which is hypoallergenic. Besides Target stores, you can find it at Duane Reade, and online at Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and Alice.com.
Pictured: Vaska Herbatergent for laundry, hypoallergenic and made from botanical ingredients.