So, Consumer Reports' Shop Smart magazine took a closer look to see how "green" they really are -- and how well they get stains out!
Consumer Reports senior editor Mandy Walker stopped by The Early Show Friday with the results.
Sales of green household cleaners grew to roughly $4.3 billion in 2005, the latest year for which such data is available, up 11 percent from 2004.
The number of green alternatives continues to rise, as more and more people choose them over non-green offerings.
Green home cleaning products are typically made from natural ingredients, designed to reduce consumers' exposure to harsh chemicals, and are generally environmentally-friendly.
But buyer beware: Terms such as "natural" and "environmentally-friendly," and other claims that appear on product labels, aren't regulated or verified by Washington. In other words, there are no solid definitions to determining is and isn't green.
You may remember when organic food was once the same way; it took some time for the government to decide what makes an apple or a chicken legitimately organic.
In its testing, Consumer Reports came across some cleaning products that aren't as green as they might seem.
For example, Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Gel claims to break down in the environment, but Consumer Reports found that the product contains a petroleum-derived agent that doesn't biodegrade easily.
So, how do you know you're buying a truly green cleaning product? Check the label for the following:
Green products tend to cost more than non-green cleansers. According to Consumer Reports, the difference can be anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent.
For example, check out these prices from a local Target:
That may make you wonder: Is it worth paying more to clean green?
That, says Walker, is totally subjective. Many conventional cleaners contain toxic chemicals. Some people believe it's better for their health, and particularly for their children's health, to not be exposed to these chemicals. The chemicals can also be worrisome for those with asthma or breathing problems.
Other consumers are mainly concerned with the products' impact on the environment, and feel it's worthwhile to pay more for earth-friendly items.
Of course, nobody would want to use the products if they didn't perform well.
Reviews on the effectiveness of green products compared to non-green are mixed. Some people feel they're great, while others disagree.
Consumer Reports recently tested dishwashing powders and gels, and found four green products that matched or beat their conventional competition. Consumer Reports hasn't released results on other home cleansers recently; the product category is growing so fast, it's hard to keep up!
To read the Consumer Reports article on the effectiveness and environmental friendliness of green cleaners, click here.