Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products—Are They Right for You?
Every one of us has used traditional cleaning products at some point, whether it’s a bathroom spray, a synthetic dish sponge, or a dishwasher tab. They’re readily available, well-advertised, and often quite inexpensive.
However, as more people become environmentally conscious and look for ways to make differences in their day-to-day lives, green cleaning products are at an all-time high in popularity.
But are eco-friendly cleaners better than the mainstream cleaning products? This question is coming up more and more. There are many varying green cleaning products, from products with all natural ingredients, to biodegradable product packaging, to products made with only vegan materials.
Just like with any new product, there are going to be advantages and disadvantages. Read along to find out if eco-friendly cleaning products are the right choice for keeping your home clean.
What Does Green Cleaning Mean?
The idea of green cleaning has become increasingly popular over the last several years, but what exactly does it mean for a product to be “green”?
Green cleaning refers to the use of products that are low in, or completely free of, potentially toxic chemicals that can typically be found in traditional cleaning products. This includes things like chlorine, bleach, or ammonia.
Green cleaning also works to reduce waste using glass spray bottles, biodegradable packaging, and increased longevity in products. Traditional products typically come in various plastic containers and need to be replenished regularly, which can have a negative impact on the environment.
What’s Wrong With Traditional Cleaning Products?
When directions have been read and followed correctly, traditional cleaning products are still considered safe to use in your home. The issue is that many people have pets and children that have a chance at getting into cabinets and drawers that they shouldn’t, and this can put them at risk.
Many traditional cleaning products have ingredients and additives that can be potentially harmful if ingested or applied to the skin in large amounts. Because of this, some people would rather keep the products in their home all-natural, ensuring that even if these sorts of incidents occur, the risk would be minimized.
Another concern is that some cleaners can become potentially fatal if incorrectly mixed. Some examples of this are:
- Bleach + Rubbing Alcohol = Chloroform: Highly toxic and can be damaging to the eyes, skin, and lungs.
- Bleach + Vinegar = Chlorine Gas: Can cause coughing, breathing issues, and eye irritation.
- Bleach + Ammonia = Chloramine: Can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
- Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar = Peroxyacetic Acid: Highly corrosive and potentially damaging to the skin and eyes.
It’s important that if you choose to use any of the products that you always read the caution labels and instructions before use and keep them safely put away and out of reach from children and animals.
Can You Make Your Own Green Products At Home?
The answer is: yes! Many people make their own green products at home which can also be economically beneficial.
There are various recipes all over the internet that detail how to make different cleaners for your household appliances. The ingredients you need to make dish soap aren’t going to be the same as the ingredients you need to make an oven cleaner, so these guides can be super helpful.
If this feels a little too complicated for your lifestyle, there are also plenty of companies that ship the materials you need to get started with green cleaning. This involves items like reusable spray bottles, naturally grown sponges, natural soaps, and biodegradable cleaning brushes and wipes. These kits can typically be purchased online and delivered directly to your home.
The Pros and Cons of Green Cleaning Products
There are some things to consider if you want to make the switch over to green cleaning products. As with everything, there are both advantages and disadvantages.
- Safety – As previously discussed, the main draw for a lot of people when it comes to green cleaning products is that they are all natural, and typically very safe to use and keep in the household. Many people have their kids involved with cleaning and feel safer letting them use products that are non-toxic.
- Biodegradability – Green products contribute a lot less to pollution due to their ability to break down naturally in the environment. Many eco-friendly companies that create these green products have also committed themselves to creating a greener, healthier earth and use only materials that can degrade naturally.
- Less Irritable- Green cleaning products are typically less irritable to the skin than traditional products, assuming you don’t have any allergies. Eco-friendly products are also less likely to trigger headaches, asthma, or skin reactions which are common with other cleaning products.
- Cost – Because green products are not as widely manufactured, and all the materials have to be naturally harvested, they cost more to make. This means that you as a consumer have to pay higher prices to get your hands on them. That said, there are many green products out there that are purposefully created to last a long time. This means that while you may be paying a higher price in one purchase, the longevity of the products might lead to a lower cost over time.
- Effectiveness – Many people find that the chemicals in traditional cleaning products can cut through grime and grease a lot faster and easier than natural cleaning products do. This doesn’t mean that green products are ineffective, but they often require more effort and more routine cleaning. Some people choose to use chemical cleaners when deep cleaning and green products for everyday use.
When weighing these pros and cons it’s important to note that you don’t have to make any huge changes all at once. For many people, switching all your routine cleaning products to eco-friendly ones would be a monumental expense, and that’s just not feasible.
If being environmentally-conscious is important to you, then remember that any kind of green cleaning is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, as we continue to move forward and make advancements in production, these cons will lessen, and people can feel safer cleaning in their homes.
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