Cleaning Do's and Don'ts: Green Cleaning
Green cleaning, or the cleaning with products that are natural, non-toxic and made with biodegradable ingredients, has been very popular in the last few years. While it’s important to be mindful of the environment, there are also some safety measures to take into consideration in order to protect yourself and your family.
Many green cleaning products promise that they contain natural, non-synthetic cleaning agents, but experts caution against using these products as the market is currently unregulated, and often times marketers use the term “green cleaning” only to gain customers. Unfortunately the terms “green” and “natural” are merely just marketing terms in which they have no relation to science and definitely do not equate to safety.
On average, Americans have anywhere between 3-10 gallons of toxic materials laying around their home. Anywhere from bathroom cleaners, to lawn fertilizer these products can cause eye irritation, respiratory problems, and even cancer. Many green chemicals contain natural ingredients, but ingredients nonetheless, that are harmful to humans such as petroleum distillates, which are known to cause cancer. Plant-based ingredients that are found in some green cleaners such as pine oil, limonene (citrus oil), and coconut diethanolamide can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
Is my Green Cleaner Safe?
It’s important to get into the habit of checking the label carefully as some packaging may claim to be safe, natural, and biodegradable, however that may not always be the case. Stray away from chemical products that contain petroleum distillates such as benzine or 1,4 dioxane, both of which are known to cause cancer among other issues.
Other dangerous ingredients to stay away from:
Phosphates: Causes algae proliferation in water
Nonylphenol Ethoxylates: Causes birth defects, liver and kidney damage
Phthalates: Reduces sperm count in males
Vilatile Organic Compounds: Causes nose and throat irritation and dizziness
List of Chemicals not to mix:
Vinegar & Bleach
Ammonia & Bleach
Rubbing Alchohol & Bleach
Hydrogen Peroxide & Vinegar
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Bleach & Vinegar
For the most part, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice will take care of most of your household cleaning. However, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Don’t use vinegar on stone counter tops
Don’t use laundry stain remover on carpets
Store chemicals in a location that is out of reach of children and pets, in a well ventilated area away from any HVAC intake vents in order to prevent the spreading of fumes.
Green cleaning is a great way to clean your home with keeping the environment in mind. When used properly, green cleaning chemicals can be relatively safe and a great way to protect your home. Taking everyday precautions such as paying attention to ingredient labels, knowing what is okay to mix and what isn’t, and doing your research beforehand can prevent harmful chemicals from even entering your home.