With an increased level of awareness when it comes to toxic chemicals and other harmful ingredients in products, you may be questioning the use of harsh chemical cleaners in your home or office, especially when reading warning labels on packaging.
Here are some best practices for guidance in greening your cleaning processes:
- Purchase “green” cleaners, specifically the ones that are endorsed by a third-party group, such as Green Seal (greenseal.org), which certifies household cleaners that meet certain health and eco standards. Manufacturers are not required to disclose ingredients, but Green Seal-certified cleaners cannot contain ingredients that are known to cause cancer or skin sensitivity. Green Seal-certified cleaners cannot include phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) and the manufacturer must disclose the use of added fragrances.
- Check to see how your favorite cleaning products measure up by going to Green Seal’s website. Check to see if it provides a full ingredient list. If the answer is yes, that is a good sign. Scan for the word “fragrance.” Synthetic fragrance indicates that the product may contain phthalates, which are chemicals added to make scents last longer. If safer cleaners are scented at all, they are typically scented with essential oils, which should be listed by name. A phrase like “fragrance containing essential oils” is not the same thing as the exclusive use of essential oils to give the product a scent. The manufacturer should also give detailed information about ingredients’ safety.
- Create your own cleaners. You can use a combination of baking soda and lemon, for example, to clean a white sink or tub, or also use a combination of baking soda and white vinegar to remove soap scum from the tub. These mixtures will clean surfaces but don’t necessarily kill bacteria, however, so if you want something stronger, you can use hydrogen peroxide.
Additional tips regarding labels:
When a label says nontoxic, it usually means the product won’t cause personal injury when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. It doesn’t mean the product is free of chemicals.
When a label says biodegradable, it simply means the product decomposes. It doesn’t mean the product is healthy for us or for the planet.
We offer green cleaning services for your home and/or office. Take the guesswork out of cleaning your home or office space with products that do not contain chemicals or other ingredients that can be harmful to your health, the health of your loved ones or the health of the planet – call us today to discuss your needs.