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There was once a time people had just a few options for cleaning products. Now you can walk down aisles upon aisles and see hundreds of cleaning supplies.
Options are a great thing of course but sadly most of the products on the market aren’t very natural. Somewhere through the years, we’ve concerned ourselves with how nice a product smells or how efficient a product works and completely ignored the safety of the ingredients.
Now there was once a time when I thought that ingredients in cleaning products were no big deal. I mean it’s not like I’m pouring the cleaning products on my body or drinking them!
I’m not even really leaving them on surfaces; they get wiped up with a rag. How could something that I’m exposed to for so short of a time have any effect on me?
The truth is just breathing in the fumes of cleaning products can effect you. I’ve already mentioned how the air in our home can be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air in my post about cleaning indoor air.
There’s a reason why they tell pregnant women to not clean with bleach. There are reasons why most cleaning products say to only use in a well ventilated area (not that anyone follows that rule!) or why even some disinfectants tell you that you need to actually wash of the disinfectant after so many minutes.
They might not seem like it but cleaning products most definitely can effect us.
So what are the benefits to green cleaning? Why take what seems like a step backwards and opt for simple products and sometimes a bit more elbow grease?
Benefits of Green Cleaning
Better for the Environment
Whether it’s the fact that these chemicals are being made in factories and thus the factories are pumping fumes and product into the environment or just the fact that what we use personally at home will end up in the air, water, and eventually ground… most of the ingredients used in commercial cleaning products are hazardous to our environment.
Better for You
Let’s just take a look at some of the more common cleaning ingredients and the health concerns that impose. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and can cause reproductive problems and birth defects.
Sodium Hypochlorite can cause skin damage and allergies as well as cause asthma issues. There are hundreds of other ingredients and most have very similar concerns.
If you really want to dig into what is in your commercial cleaning products than I recommend taking a look at the EWG’s guide that lists products ingredients and even gives them a toxicity rating!
Creates a Safer Home
Most cleaning products come with warning labels. Sometimes they say to not drink the product (obvious for adults but not for kids), sometimes it’s that the product flammable!
Now I’m not going to sit here and say that if your child decides to eat a boxful of baking soda that they will be alright. Natural or not, eating that much baking soda can do things to you (it’s very high in sodium) but I will say that with natural products you minimize the risk especially since natural products are generally less toxic than commercial products.
Saves You Money
I’ll be honest, the frugal aspect is what made me begin using natural cleaners. I’m a penny pincher so when I ran out of our commercial window cleaner, I looked around saw the vinegar and went with it. Vinegar is a popular natural cleaner and it costs just pennies! The same goes for baking soda; a box of baking soda costs under a dollar and it makes a great scrubber!
Cleaning is Easier
I have two cleaners under my kitchen sink; vinegar and baking soda. The baking soda really only comes out when I’m scrubbing a sink or tub. The vinegar does pretty much everything else! Sinks, windows, mirrors, tables, dusting… vinegar has me covered as an all-purpose cleaner.
No more carrying a cleaning caddy around or running back and forth to get the right cleaning product. I like simple.
Did you know that cleaning products are not required to list all their ingredients? How scary is that? Anything could be lurking in those cleaning products but you’ll never know because companies do not have to tell you!
I don’t know about you but I like to know just what I am using. If I’m buying something then I should be able to know exactly what is in it.
When you clean green, you often are using one ingredient cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, or castile soap. One ingredient and you know what you are using.
The good news is that cleaning green is not a difficult change to make. In fact, it’s one of the easiest natural changes to make!