Eco Cleaning Products – What to Look For

If you are switching to Eco cleaning products chose wisely.  There is nothing to gain from assuming anything.  Manufacturers are marketing savvy experts in selling us what they think we want, whether or not it really is what we hope for.  Just because an item has natural ingredients, or fruit fragrances does not mean all the ingredients are safe.  Eco cleaners should be entirely safe for you and the environment.  If you are trying to make your cleaning Eco friendly chose your Eco cleaners with care.

The key points to look out for when choosing any Eco cleaners are:

  • Eco cleaners should state they are biodegradable
  • Eco cleaners should be phosphate free
  • Eco cleaners should be chlorine free
  • Eco cleaners should be bleach free
  • Eco cleaners should state they are scented with natural plant derived scents or essential oils
  • Eco cleaners should state they are non toxic

No matter how fantastic the credentials of the ingredients in your new green cleaning product, do not forget the packaging.  Check for:

  • 100% recyclable packaging, including bottle caps
  • Avoid aerosols
  • Look for concentrated products so you have to buy less packs and thus save on packaging
  • Look for vegetable based ‘plastics’ used in packaging more and more

Just because a brand is known as famous for making cleaning Eco friendly, do not assume everything in their range is a safe cleaning product.  Certain types of cleaner are very tough to really make safe and completely non-toxic.  Items to check more thoroughly are:

  • Drain cleaners
  • Tile cleaners
  • Toilet cleaners

All the above are still likely to contain lye or similar corrosive elements.  They will undoubtedly contain less than the standard alternatives.  But, do not be fooled into assuming they are 100% environmentally friendly.  Any cleaner you want to tackle really tough jobs has to be tough and so is likely to be toxic to some degree.

For a full list of ingredients to avoid check out which chemicals to avoid.

Some other key factors to consider are:

  • If possible chose all natural cleaning products, but beware that people can still be as sensitive to natural ingredients (especially perfumes) as they are to synthetic ingredients.
  • Always avoid petroleum derived detergents and instead switch to coconut or palm oil detergents or natural, vegetable based soaps.  This way you save oil and stop funding the petroleum industry with your housework.
  • Use less product.  To really make your cleaning Eco friendly, use less.  Even the most green cleaning product requires energy to produce, uses up natural resources and your money.  The more you use, the more water needed to rinse it away.
  • Sometimes you need no Eco cleaners at all.  Do not forget a good Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, simply dampened with water can clean an awful lot of surfaces.  Using no cleaner is the most environmentally way of cleaning your home of all.
  • Avoid the temptation to dry your cleaning efforts with paper towels.  These cause huge environmental impact in their production, transportation and disposal.  Many paper towels use bleaches in their production.  Even though many are now made from sustained forests the dry cloth will always beat them in the Eco friendly stakes.

Don’t forget about the simple green cleaners you already have in your kitchen.

  • A mild Eco friendly hand dish-washing liquid can be used as a general multi-purpose green cleaner throughout your home.
  • Vinegar and baking soda are both common household items which have a multitude of uses as Eco cleaners too.

Making your cleaning Eco friendly is more about a change in attitudes, than just buying your way to green cleaning.

Never assume anything, even the green cleaners are trying to sell themselves to you.  Check labels thoroughly and wherever possible do a little more research on the Internet.  Some green cleaning product manufacturers have really useful, open websites.  Here you should be able to find out exactly what each ingredient is and the possible risks associated with it.  If the manufacturer is not that forthcoming shop with one who is.

Good luck with making your cleaning Eco friendly!

2 thoughts on “Eco Cleaning Products – What to Look For”

  1. Thank you for this comprehensive explanation of environmentally friendly cleaners.

    Two additional thoughts:

    a) You mention companies marketing products as what “we want” but not necessarly as environmentally friendly as they imply. I recently came across the term “green washing” to describe this.

    As always, the buyer must be aware. Your article does a good job in helping.

    b) In addition to baking soda and vinegar, a couple of other natural cleaners that help in the right situations are lemon jucie and borax.

    Thanks again for the great article.

    David Mudie

Comments are closed.