A Guide to Green Cleaning Products

Going green — By Stephanie on April 6, 2010 at 6:03 am
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Green your cleaning routine

Are you washing petroleum down your drain?  Could you be responsible for chlorine ending up in your groundwater?

When it comes to green cleaning products, there is a lot at stake.  Not only do harsh chemicals negatively impact indoor air quality, but they can affect the environment outside as well.  Particularly with respect to water supplies.

These days, you can find a wide variety of green cleaning products.  You can even make your own household cleaners using common, non-toxic ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda.  Not only will you be able to breathe easier, but you’ll save a pretty penny as well.  Many commercial cleaning products cost between $4-10 each!

You might be amazed at how harmful popular items such as dishwashing soap, all-purpose cleaners and glass cleaners can be.  Although there may be warnings on the labels of a few products, they only reference the immediate irritation effects, and not the long-term problems the chemicals may cause after months or years of use.

Consider the fact that the harsh chemicals found in many cleaning agents are supposed to eat away at cells (mold, bacteria, etc.) and you have good grounds to be concerned about their overall safety.

2503059826 ec1be00bbf m A Guide to Green Cleaning ProductsToxic Conventional Cleaning Products:  What’s in Them?

  • Phthalates – found in fragrances to help them last longer.  They can disrupt the endocrine system.
  • Surfectants – found in surface cleaners; they lower the surface tension of water and aid cleaning.  They can impact aquatic organisms when they enter the environment.
  • Petroleum – found in dishwashing soap (as well as in the oil and gas you put in your vehicle).
  • Ammonia – found in glass cleaners.  Fumes can be toxic
  • Bleach – found in bathroom cleaners.  Fumes can be toxic – especially when products containing ammonia are used in the same space as those containing bleach; the two chemicals combine to create chloramine gas

3369749032 875531ac64 m A Guide to Green Cleaning ProductsGreen Cleaning Products for a Healthier Home and Environment

There are many eco-friendly cleaning products on the market, or you can make your own!  For pennies on the dollar – and just a bit more elbow grease – you can have a clean, fresh and safer living environment.

Here’s a guide to some of the best products on the market:

  • Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid – its non-toxic and biodegradable, includes plant-derived cleaning agents
  • Ecover’s Ecological Glass & Surface – includes plant-based surfectants with a limited impact on aquatic life
  • Biokleen’s Bac-Out Bathroom Cleaner – includes natural enzymes to clean surfaces
  • LifeTree’s Home Soap – includes essential oils and a biodegradable cleaning ingredient from coconuts
  • Earth Friendly Products’ Ecos All Natural Laundry Detergent – also includes coconut-based ingredients

If you have any questions about the “greenness” of your commercial green cleaning products, be sure check with Green Seal, the Green Goodhousekeeping Seal, or the EPA’s Design for the Environment Program.  These third-party certifiers review both ingredients and performance.

The Green Seal has been awarded to Simple Green Naturals, Office Depot Green and Sustainable Earth by Staples.

Have any tips or stories to share with respect to green cleaning?  Comments are welcome below!

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5 Comments

  1. Tara says:

    Chemicals and most cleaners really irritate my nose. I can’t stand the smell of chemicals. Even when they try to mask the smell, it still bothers me. Natural cleaners are so much better, both for my senses and for cleaning – nice, clean, natural scents. Also smart when you have kids in the house!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Tara, when I was growing up, we always made our own household cleaners. It was partly to save money, but also because they work! I’m with you on the irritation from chemical formulations – with asthma (let alone 4 kids and 3 pets), we keep things clean and green in my home!

  3. Amanda says:

    Great article!
    I switched to natural cleaning products a long time ago and have tried so many brands until I found my absolute favorite, Citra Solv. A clean house, a safe planet and a protected family, what else could I ask for? Everybody should start switching to green products and hopefully soon they will.

  4. I have switched to green cleaning as well, using water and antibacterial microfiber. It’s way healthier, as well as faster, cheaper, and easier.

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