News reports tell of the dangers lurking within our households, yet people still appear unaware. Open up almost any cabinet under a sink or in a laundry room, and you will find toxic chemicals readily able to harm members of the household and the planet. So why aren’t more people insisting on eco-cleaning being the standard? Simple. Lack of awareness.
What is Eco-Cleaning?
Eco-cleaning, or green cleaning, is utilizing sustainable cleaning products, which means that they can conserve an ecological balance by not depleting natural resources. Additionally, they do not use toxic chemicals. Growing consumer demand for these products has made leading brands of cleaning products sit up and take notice – to the tune of $3.9 billion in sales in 2019. Market forecasters believe sales in the United States may be up to $11.6 billion by 2029. It is clear that people want their homes clean without the dangers of chemicals.
Green cleaning can mean different things to different people, too. For some, green cleaning can mean they only use baking soda, vinegar, and lemons to clean. Items such as these are considered natural green cleaners. You can also go to the store and buy manufactured green cleaners.
When buying manufactured green cleaners, look for:
- No phosphates
- No chlorine
- No artificial fragrances
- No artificial colors
- Biodegradable/recyclable packaging
When purchasing your green cleaning products, you may notice that some certify that their items are Fair Trade.
What is Fair Trade, and is it Important?
Fair Trade is a trading partnership that seeks equity in all international trade. It is an integral part of sustainable development because it offers marginalized workers and producers better trade conditions. Many Fair-Trade organizations are backed by consumers who are actively engaged in raising awareness and campaigning for change in the practice of continuing with international trade as usual.
Why is Eco-Cleaning So Important?
There are several reasons why eco-cleaning is so essential and why many cleaning services are turning to it:
Avoiding Air Pollution from VOCs
Most standard cleaning products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air upon use. When these VOCs come into contact with other air pollutants, they contribute substantially to air pollution. Air pollutants are one of the primary contributors to global warming and climate change. Switching to green cleaning products can help counteract this!
The chemicals found in standard cleaning products can also contribute to water pollution. When washing the chemicals down your drain, they eventually end up in the water system and harm local aquatic life. One of the greatest dangers of this is that it can stop marine life from reproducing. Choosing to utilize eco-cleaning products can mitigate this impact.
Utilize Sustainable Packaging
While we often focus on what’s in our green cleaning products, it’s also vital to concentrate on the container. With many cleaning products manufactured and delivered to the market in single-use plastics, those containers must be recyclable. Additionally, many eco-cleaning products offer refills, allowing you to utilize the same product container, thereby preventing loads of containers from polluting the environment.
Harsh Cleaning Products Can Make Allergies Worse
While we hear how important it is to keep our homes clean to keep allergies at bay, several everyday cleaning products are known to worsen your allergies.
These are some of the top culprits:
- Sodium laureth sulfate
It is a much wiser choice to utilize green cleaning products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Safer Choice program where you can look up safer products for you and the planet.
9 Reasons to Start Eco-Cleaning Today
Now that you’re aware of what Eco-cleaning is, here are nine reasons to become a green-cleaning ambassador today!
- Fewer toxic chemicals
- Better health
- Improved indoor air
- Good for the environment
- Simplifies your cleaning
- Protects community
- Ingredient transparency
- Be a trendsetter
Keep Your Loved Ones Safe
When you see labels screaming, “Warning! Toxic!” on your cleaning supplies, it doesn’t take a giant leap to know they aren’t safe. Some cleaning products, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia, can even be life-threatening when mixed.
When you have small children or pets in your home, they are at risk of higher exposure levels due to their size. In the United States, cleaning supplies are the second-leading cause of poisoning for children. However, green cleaning supplies dramatically mitigate the risk.
Reduce Exposure To Toxins
Using conventional cleaning supplies can cause various symptoms that you may have been attributing to other causes. For example, issues such as coughing, sneezing, headaches, and topical skin rashes may result from cleaning products containing toxic chemicals. These chemicals may be known carcinogens, neurotoxins, mutagens, teratogens, or even endocrine disruptors.
When you commit to eco-cleaning or utilize a cleaning service that is committed to green cleaning, you negate these dangers. Green cleaning only uses products that are safe for you and your household.
Cleanse Your Indoor Air
A fact that needs to be more widely disseminated is that utilizing traditional cleaning supplies can contribute to higher indoor air pollution than the pollution we encounter outdoors. VOCs are associated with many serious health issues, such as liver damage, kidney damage, and issues with the central nervous system. VOCs are released when these cleaning products are stored and used and are also known to linger in the air long after use. When you utilize green cleaning products, you can rest easy, knowing that dangerous chemicals are not part of their makeup.
Protect the Environment
We all live on this planet together, and we should each take our responsibility as stewards seriously. When you utilize green cleaning products, you show how much you care about our environment. Most eco-cleaning products are made using sustainable manufacturing products, which assures you that they are naturally derived and won’t negatively impact the planet. Additionally, many also use biodegradable ingredients and packaging, further negating any impact on our environment.
Going Green Can Save You Green
While the initial cost of green cleaning products may seem pricey, the ability to use one product for multiple purposes allows you to cut costs. Also, as eco-cleaning becomes more widespread, competitive pricing has hit the market, making it a more economical choice at the cash register. You can also find many DIY recipes to make your green cleaning products yourself. When you hire an eco-cleaning house cleaning service, they will supply their own.
Streamline Your Cleaning Routine
Your green cleaning products can often pull double or triple duty and work in more than one area. Vinegar, for example, can easily be used as a mold and mildew remover, window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, and an all-around, all-purpose cleaner. When you aren’t busy fumbling with four different cleaners, cleaning takes much less time! This also saves you from accidentally causing a bleach stain on your clothing or mixing a toxic chemical reaction while trying to rush through your chores.
Sense of Social Responsibility
As if protecting you and the environment wasn’t enough, the manufacturers of many green cleaning products take their sense of social responsibility even further and allot a portion of their profits to non-profit organizations dedicated to furthering social, environmental, and educational change. So, when you purchase these eco-cleaning products, you are supporting these companies’ commitment to change, locally or globally.
Transparency With Ingredients
The United States government does not require traditional cleaning products to list all their ingredients on their packaging. Because of this, many manufacturers will avoid listing the chemicals within or only include a partial list. On the other hand, the manufacturers of green cleaning products want you to know what is in their items. And, if you choose to make your own eco-cleaning items, you will know exactly what went into them!
Become an Eco-Cleaning Role Model
When was the last time you were a trendsetter? Choose to become a green cleaning role model and an ambassador for a healthier way of living and a vibrant planet. The more you use green cleaning methods, the more you learn and can share with your neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Only by working together can we guarantee a more radiant future for us, our children, and the earth.
Are Green Cleaning Products as Effective as Traditional Cleaning Products?
With all the discussion about doing away with the myriad chemicals in traditional cleaning products and replacing them with natural ingredients, one might wonder if the gentler products will produce the same results. Method and Seventh Generation, two companies specializing in green cleaning products, have been working on their products’ performance to ensure that they do precisely that.
“We’re not going to ask the consumer to make a trade-off in terms of performance results to be green,” said Nick Mahan, Method’s director of formulations. Although you may need to use a little extra elbow grease, you can reach the same level of cleanliness and hygiene as you do with traditional cleaners.
Baking soda and vinegar can be your two mainstays for the most basic of green cleaning. For example, take a little vinegar and rub it onto a glass with a wad of newsprint crumpled up. This will give you a streak-free shine on your windowpane without using any glass-specific cleanser. Of course, you may need to use a bit more elbow grease, and you won’t have the fake manufactured scent that traditional cleaners have, but you’ll be confident that you know exactly what you just used to clean your windows!
What About Disinfectants?
It has been discovered that America’s obsession with germaphobia may be causing more issues than it is helping. Advertisements promoting disinfecting cleaners push the idea that we need to eradicate all bacteria to keep our family safe. This just isn’t true. Experts say all we need to do is get them off our table.
Disinfectants, it has been found, may do more harm than good for all of us. For example, the National Environmental Trust tested one popular disinfectant spray and discovered that it contained a chemical known to damage the reproductive systems in the offspring of pregnant rats, even when they have only been exposed to it in small amounts.
5 Quick Tips for Finding an Eco-Cleaning Cleaning Service
Due to the rising popularity of green cleaning, many cleaning services may be trying to jump on the bandwagon without actually being a green cleaning service. But how can you tell if you are speaking to a cleaning service that is truly green or falsely claiming to be a green cleaning service?
Here are 5 quick ways to determine one that is truly green:
- Beware greenwashing
- No harsh scents
Check for Certification
In 2009, Green Seal’s GS-49 Standard certification was implemented. This standard establishes criteria for professional green cleaning services. For a green cleaning service to get and maintain its GS-49 certification, the company owners and employees must undergo eight hours of training on an annual basis. This training highlights healthy types of products, tools, processes, and techniques.
Make Sure It’s Not Greenwashing
Greenwashing is a term for cleaning services falsely claiming to be eco-cleaners. If you want to determine if a cleaning service is genuinely green cleaning, ask about its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). All cleaning services are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to have MSDS information on all the products they utilize.
Review these sheets and understand that a Green Seal certificate does not guarantee that a cleaning service will only use non-toxic cleaning agents. You will need to review the MSDS sheet to see all the ingredients to guarantee that everything the cleaning service use are green cleaning products. Additionally, you can go to Consumer Reports’ Eco-Label website. Check their green report card function for further research on eco-labels.
You Don’t Smell Air Fresheners or Strong Fragrances
We have been trained that smelling the intense citrus or pine scents means clean, but we are really just smelling products containing phthalates, carcinogens, and allergens. When you smell these scents left behind after cleaning by other cleaning services, it’s most likely that they cover up other smells instead of getting to the root of the problem.
When a cleaning service uses green products, they generally opt for enzyme-based solutions that depend upon good bacteria to clean and deodorize your home. So, you get a thorough clean without heavy scents covering up an inadequate job!
Verify the Cleaning Service is Bonded and Insured
This is not exclusive to eco-cleaning cleaning services. You always want to look for cleaning services that are bonded and insured, so if something goes awry, its insurance company will be responsible rather than you.
Its Commitment to Being Green
When you initially interview the cleaning service and review their website, look for answers and content that support it being dedicated to green cleaning. In addition, they should be willing to discuss their methodology and products and how they meet criteria consistent with being green.
If being committed to eco-cleaning is the right move for you, and you would like to sign on with a cleaning service as devoted to green cleaning as you are, give us a call to discuss the next steps. Pure House Cleaning serves communities in and around Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland to help keep your home looking and feeling its best, whether you’re looking for a deep clean or regular cleaning to augment your daily speed cleans. Visit our website to discover more about our green cleaning process, prices for cleaning in Seattle and other coverage areas, and more.