It isn’t difficult to see the effects that years of abusing our environment have created. Just turning on the news evokes images of hurricanes, droughts, and melting ice caps. A shift in thinking about our carbon footprint and how we can help heal our planet has taken over and people are now thinking about what impact the products they use are having on our surroundings.
Words like green, eco-friendly, and safe for the environment are not just terms relegated to the fringe population but are starting to become a regular part of everyday vocabulary. There are few products in the world that contain harsh chemicals other than cleaning products, so it only makes sense that families would switch to natural solutions to clean their homes.
What are eco-friendly cleaning products?
Eco-friendly cleaning products are cleaners that use natural ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and citric acid to clean surfaces without harsh chemicals or overpowering perfumes. The belief used to be that these products were expensive and not readily available but that is not the case. Some families make their own cleaning products from household items found in the cupboards like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Adding water to these products in specific measurements creates a safe, natural cleaning product that is just as effective in getting out tough stains, mold, and mildew. These products are generally produced by ethical companies so everything is biodegradable, recycled, and naturally sourced.
Why are eco-friendly cleaning products better than regular cleaning products?
Grab Green’s eco-friendly cleaning products are better for the environment and better for our health. Research shows the harsh chemicals found in traditional cleaning products can cause breathing problems like asthma, allergies, and certain other issues. Have you ever smelled a cleaning product and felt like you couldn’t breathe because the scent was so overpowering? Or took a whiff of perfume and started sneezing uncontrollably? Those reactions are caused by the ingredients in those products that are damaging to the air and those who breathe them in.
Another benefit of using environmentally friendly cleaning products is how much longer your clothes, furniture, and other items last. Using harsh chemicals can reduce the life of your fabrics and thin them out so they need to be replaced sooner. This is especially true of laundry detergent which can damage delicate materials and wash out bright colors faster. The next time you are doing some laundry, reach for the soap, some Epsom salts, and baking soda and mix them with some other natural products to create your own eco-friendly laundry detergent. You will be helping your planet, saving money, and getting your clothes clean safely.
Which ingredients should you look for in your products?
If you go the DIY route and make your own cleaning products at home, baking soda and vinegar are two popular choices for natural and healthy ingredients. Lemon, olive oil, and citric acid are also excellent products that will clean those dirty surfaces safely and effectively. If you are purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products, these ingredients are what you should be looking for. If it sounds like a chemical on the label, then chances are it is not eco-friendly. There are readily available DIY recipes that are easy to follow and a fraction of the price of traditional chemical cleaners.
There is no guarantee that the scent you choose for your laundry detergent or dish liquid is not going to cause a reaction in someone else in the home, especially for families with young children. This is especially true of the detergent used to clean children’s clothing. There is a reason why babies and toddlers have their own detergent available in traditional laundry soap. It is because, at that age, they are more susceptible to irritants in the air and on their skin.
Sensitivities to scent can develop into other health problems like asthma, allergies, or skin dermatitis. You can feel secure knowing that using eco-friendly products or making your own limits the possibilities of your family developing issues. Becoming more environmentally conscious also teaches the younger generations a lesson since they are the ones we need to depend on to fix the problem going forward. The more our children learn about how to use and make natural products, the more they can bring these skills into the future and teach their families. If future generations only use natural products to clean their homes and for other aspects of life, then maybe the damage done to the planet can be fixed.
Which ingredients should you avoid?
- Harmful Fragrance Chemicals – most cleaning products contain some kind of chemical to give them a pleasing scent. This odor can be caused by natural oils, which can cause allergic reactions, or through chemicals called phthalates that have been linked to health problems.
- Solvents – solvents are those chemicals in cleaners that enhance the cleaning capacity and remove stains without a lot of elbow grease. Recently, these chemicals have been listed as toxic substances in some countries and some manufacturers have removed them from their products. These solvents show up on the list of ingredients as Butyl Selosolve, Ethalene Glycol, and 2-BE
- Coal Tar Dyes – these are harsh chemicals used in synthetic dyes to create the different colors of soaps and detergents we use. These chemicals can seep into the skin and cause irritations or worse.
- DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), and MEA (monoethanolamine) – Ethanolamines are a family of chemicals that are used in emulsifiers in shampoos and lotions. These chemicals can cause asthma and in some cases tumors.
- Phosphates – this chemical is terrible for the environment because it drops oxygen levels in our lakes and rivers, killing fish and other wildlife. Phosphates will show up as sodium tripolyphosphate on the list of ingredients
There are many other harmful chemicals that you should avoid when purchasing cleaning products. It is a good idea to do some research into what these chemicals are called and what they do to our health and the health of the environment.