Why You Really Should Listen to All the Hype About Eco Cleaning Products

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I know, I know, we’re basically all on green overload these days. As soon as corporations, and marketing companies, realized that people actually cared about the environment, everything became “eco-friendly” and “green” and “environmentally safe.”

With such an over-saturation of information, it suddenly became easy to convince ourselves that we were actually saving the planet by driving around in our hybrid cars, rather than what we’re really doing—less damage. And in reality, there isn’t a lot any of us can do individually to turn back the damage we’re inflicting on our planet until we make sweeping changes in our society.

Ingredients that Damage Our Bodies and Our Environment

I have faith that that day is coming, but until we’re collectively living in a world that’s sustainable, there actually is one change we can all make that will have a pretty major impact on our environment. We can use green cleaning products.

According to a guide put out by the EPA, many of the ingredients that are commonly found in standard cleaning products are having a harmful impact on our environment. They are showing up in groundwater, polluting our air, and impacting wildlife.

Even more, these same ingredients aren’t just harmful to plants and wildlife. They’re harmful to us as well. According to the EPA, a lot of our go-to cleaners “may contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues.” To put that in plainer terms, the very cleaners we are using in order to have a clean and healthy home are actually making our homes less healthy.

Using Alternative Products

Fortunately, there are a lot of products these days available for sale that are made from natural, sustainable, biodegradable products and that allow consumers to keep their homes clean without dirtying up the environment.

What you want to look for are plant-based cleaners. Don’t just grab the package marked “natural” or “environmentally friendly,” as we all know, not everything in nature is healthy—I’m looking at you, strychnine—and just because a product claims to be environmentally friendly, it doesn’t mean that it is.

Instead, check the label for natural products like sodium borate, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, vinegar, citrus oils, pine oil, and soy. All of these ingredients occur naturally and aren’t harmful for humans. They also biodegrade quickly, which means they won’t have the same long-term effects on water tables, air quality, and wildlife.

Avoid products that include a lot of the hard-to-pronounce ingredients. More specifically, skip any product that contains ingredients described as chlorides, ammoniums, hydrochloric acid, chlorides, sodium acid sulfate, or compounds with “glycol,” “oxynol” or “ethoxy” as a prefix or suffix. All of these ingredients are both hard on the environment and can be harmful if inhaled or if they come into contact with skin.

If you’re really motivated, it’s also quite easy to make cleaners out of common household products you probably already have sitting around the house. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide can all be used for effectual cleaning that’s also truly environmentally friendly. Here are a few websites that offer some handy tips on making your own cleaners.

While there’s a lot of hype coming our way about “buying green” and being “eco-friendly,” it’s nice to know that there’s at least one were making a tiny change in our lifestyles can actually have a significant impact on the environment.

Adria Saracino is a marketer and blogger. When not consulting on the business strategy you can find her writing about green living on Care2.

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