You clean and disinfect your home to keep your family safe. But what if the products you’re using are putting them at even greater risk? Choosing green cleaners made with all natural ingredients is not only better for the environment; it protects you from the dangers of the hazardous chemicals found in commercial cleaners.
The Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan nonprofit group dedicated to informing consumers about making healthier choices, has identified a number of cleaners it has dubbed the “Hall of Shame.” Among these are cleaners that have been labeled nontoxic but actually include numerous dangerous solvents, EPA-identified carcinogens like formaldehyde and dioxane, and chemicals like 2-butoxyethanol, di-limonene, nonylphenol ethoxylate, DEGBE or butoxydiglycol, and DEGME or methoxydiglycol. These chemicals can cause respiratory irritation, poisoning, blindness, chemical burns, and hormone disruption in adults, along with damage to the environment and wildlife and harm to unborn children. Detergents on the EWG’s list include those containing phosphates, which have contributed to “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay upon their release into the waterways.
Some of these cleaners are even guilty of “green washing,” being labeled green and nontoxic despite containing hazardous chemicals. Unfortunately, there currently are no laws against claiming cleaners are nontoxic despite containing hazardous ingredients, so it is important to be vigilant in choosing truly green, safe cleaners.
The EWG recommends choosing products that are not labeled as poison, or “fatal if swallowed or inhaled.” GreenPeace also encourages using natural cleaners made from ingredients found in grocery stores, like vinegar, cornstarch, eucalyptus oil, and baking soda. For store bought cleaners, choosing options with the fewest possible ingredients that are naturally scented and made from things found on earth. Truly natural cleaners, like our line of Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaners, are transparent about what is in their products. Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaners’ website features a full glossary of all their ingredients, where they come from, and what purpose they serve in each product. In addition to protecting you from hazardous chemicals, using cleaners that are made from products of the Earth means that when they return to the Earth they will do no harm.
Cleaning can be a part of the cycle of the planet, harvesting natural ingredients grown responsibly, utilizing their properties, and leaving no negative impact from unnecessary waste or dangerous, polluting chemicals. A little research and attention to the labels on your cleaners can make all the difference for you, your family, and the environment.