Snapshot & Benefits:
Since World War II, over 75,000 different chemicals have been added to consumer
products. Of these, less than 5% are tested for environmental and human health
Many household cleaning products contain these chemicals and can, therefore, be
a danger to your health if used improperly. Their harmful chemicals enter the
waste system and water supply, presenting a danger to wildlife and decreasing
the air quality both in your home and around the planet. To avoid any
environmental and health dangers associated with chemical cleaners, opt for
eco-friendly alternatives. Look for products labeled with the
EPA's Design for the Environment Label,
or other indicators of environmental friendly composition. In addition to being
friendlier for the environment, labeled products can help reduce the amount of
energy used to process the chemicals often found in cleaners. It is estimated
that if every household in America swapped out a 100 oz. bottle of
petroleum-based laundry detergent for one of equal size made using plant-derived
products, we could save 466,000 barrels of oil, which is roughly enough to heat
and cool 26,800 homes for an entire year (Seventh Generation).
Eco-friendly cleaners are much safer for human health than standard chemical
cleaners. About 15% of all asthma cases can be traced back to exposure to
unsafe cleaning products in homes. Many household cleaners contain chemicals
that are carcinogenic, contain neurotoxins that can cause liver and kidney
damage, are detrimental to mammal health, and can hinder reproduction and
development. To avoid these health issues, choose eco-friendly cleaners that
are made from plants or renewable resources. These organic sources are not
nearly as toxic or harmful as chemically-produced solutions.
When purchasing cleaners, look for products labeled as biodegradable, highly
concentrated, and made from plants or other renewable resources. Avoid products
that contain petroleum as they are not only toxic, but represent a direct drain
on our natural resources. Use natural and reusable cleaning accessories such as
mops, dust clothes, and brooms. Look for supplies made using organic fibers
instead of plastics or other non-renewable materials. Do not keep your cleaning
supplies in or near your kitchen as the gases emitted from cleaning supplies can
contaminate food. Never pour extra cleaning products down the drain.
for information on how to properly dispose of excess products. Look for
detergent that does not contain chlorine or phosphate as these chemicals can be
absorbed into your clothes and cause health issues. Open windows instead of
spraying an air freshener. Opt for regular soap instead of antibacterial as
they kill almost the same amount of germs, yet regular soap does not contain the
environmentally harmful chemicals of antibacterial soap.
Estimated Cost Savings:
Eco-friendly cleaners are competitively priced with standard products. They are
easily accessible at local grocery stores and will cost you little to no more
than regular cleaners. Though they provide no financial incentives, choosing
eco-friendly products helps minimize the threat to the environment and improve
your health by minimizing the use of harmful toxins and chemicals.
Instead of purchasing cleaners, consider making your own using common household
items. Baking soda, borax, liquid soaps, washing soda (sodium carbonate), white
vinegar, lemon juice, cloves, lavender, grapefruit seed extract and other common
kitchen ingredients can be used to make safe, effective cleaners for a variety
of uses. Club soda can be used to remove light stains on carpet and fabric and a
combination of cornstarch and baking soda will remove any odors. Vinegar is a
great multi-purpose cleaner that can be used in the bathroom to keep surfaces
clean. Try mixing baking soda, salt, and water to clean your carpet and oven
instead of using chemical cleaners.
for more recipes for safe, non-toxic cleaners that you can make yourself.
More Information on This Topic:
Five Basics for Non-Toxic Cleaning
Fox News - How Green Are Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products?
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Household Products
EPA's Design for the Environment Label
Seventh Generation - Go Green As You Clean
Earth911 - Proper Disposal of Cleaning Products