Between all the different labels and claims around ‘green’ or ‘natural cleaning products, determining what to purchase for your household can be confusing. It’s important to know the difference between a safe cleaning product and the everyday cleaners that use harsh chemicals. How do you know what buzz works like organic, all-natural, or eco-friendly really mean? Why do some products market themselves as a natural product, but still contain unsafe ingredients? Follow along as we debunk the differences between natural and regular cleaning products.
Read the Label
Did you know that there is little federal regulation about what makes a cleaner safer or less-toxic? Terms are typically misleading, because they can call their product whatever they want without being held to a certain set of standards.
The Environmental Protection Agency has created a program to help consumers make better choices. They’ve developed a Safer Choice label to help buyers identify products with safer ingredients. The presence of the label on the bottle tell consumers that the manufacturer met EPA standards and their product was reviewed by EPA scientists. So the best way to figure out if a product is a good choice for your household? Read the label.
Unregulated cleaning products were made to do one thing: get the job done. However, that can come at a cost for our skin and respiratory system. The Organic Consumers Association details just how toxic our household cleaning supplies are. Most regular cleaning products boast warnings that the contents can cause rash, burns, or even long term effects like cancer. Some of the more harsh ingredients to watch out for are chlorine bleach, ammonia, or chemicals like alkylphenolethooxylates, or surfactants. Again, reading the label can save you a lot of heartache. Watch for words like hazardous, poison, or danger, plus warnings of serious side effects.
Make a Safer Choice
Choosing to forgo unsafe cleaners and purchasing a Safer Choice labeled bottle or making your own natural cleaners can have positive side effects on your whole family and the environment.
Look for brands that replace toxic surfactants to break up dirt and using less phthalates that add fragrance to cleaners. Most experts say these less harmful formulas work just as well as traditional cleaners.
If you’re still iffy about store bought cleaning products, try making your own at home, like this citrus spray by HGTV.
Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice have almost magical cleaning powers and can be used on multiple surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. If there’s no way around using a potentially dangerous cleaner, make sure to shield your eyes and skin and use it in a space with plenty of ventilation.