What are Green Cleaning Products?

Tuesday December 09, 2008
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Green cleaning products are increasing in popularity as more people are becoming aware of the health and environmental impacts of most household products. Levels of indoor pollutants can actually be higher than those outdoors, mainly because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are outgassed from floor cleaning products. So when we think that we are safe from harmful toxins inside our clean homes, we may actually be better off living outside.

Eco-friendly cleaning is the new trend. But with all the different products that claim to be environmentally-friendly, it's hard to distinguish between the actual safe cleaning products from the green imposters.

There are a few things to consider when purchasing or making your own green cleaning products. First, it is best to know which products to avoid. Here is some information on common floor products and their harmful ingredients:

  • Mild detergents are usually recommended for most flooring types. However, many of them are made with petroleum, a nonrenewable source. Other harmful chemicals in detergents have been known to do some damage on the body's nervous, reproductive and immune system (some even causing cancer). Also, when these products are disposed of, they can have an impact on the natural environment. Note: All-purpose cleaners contain a lot of the same hazardous ingredients that can be found in detergents.
  • Chlorine bleach is a common disinfectant found in many cleaning solutions. Although chlorine bleach is a powerful ingredient it can create organochlorines, a carcinogen that can be harmful to the human body. Plus, when chlorine bleach is mixed with ammonia, this produces a highly toxic gas.
  • The ingredients found in polishes (i.e. for hardwood) may cause eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation. They also contain carcinogens like petroleum distillates and formaldehyde.
  • Floor cleaning products with added perfumes can be nerve-damaging and cause allergic reactions.

Here are some alternative green cleaning ingredients:

  • Buy green floor cleaning products that contain the following ingredients: grain alcohol, coconut or other plant oils, eucalyptus, rosemary, and sage.
  • Simple and money-saving floor cleansers include baking soda, washing soda (sodium carbonate), lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and borax.
  • Look for floor detergents and other products labeled "fragrance-free."
  • All-purpose cleaners should be plant-based (i.e. corn; palm kernel; coconut oil).
  • Buy non-chlorine bleach made from sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate.
  • Add dry flowers to your home-made floor cleaning solution for a pleasant scent, or look for products scented with essential plant oils such as lemon, verbena, or lavender.

Most of these green floor cleaning products can be found in local supermarkets. Some may already be underneath your kitchen sink! Remember: What goes in your home stays in your home, so be sure to always clean green.



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Floor Care-Be carefule with your Mixtures
Be careful with making your own at home mixtures. Sometimes mixing certain things together can cause damage to your eyes from vapors, lungs from inhaling the fumes etc. I saw a study on it this morning on Good Morning America! Even though it may be right out of your pantry make sure the cleaning solution you mix together isn't hazardous to your health!
April 30 2009
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