Most of the cleaning products used to clean the interior and exterior of a building as well as our homes (floor cleaners, dishwashing detergents, and soap window cleaners) contain allergens and harmful chemicals for the environment and our health. To be safe, we recommend using eco-friendly and safe household products.
Choosing Eco-friendly Household Products
- Find products without added scents or dyes
Even if some fragrances, additives and dyes are pleasant to the senses—the high content of familiar scents attracts us by playing to our emotions—you should know that they are concentrated chemicals that constitute a serious risk for human health. Furthermore, manufacturers simply indicating there is added fragrance is sufficient; they do not need to list the ingredients although we can often tell it contains phthalates. These are chemicals known to cause severe health issues, particularly with the endocrine system. As for chemical dyes, they usually contain petrochemical products, which are also very harmful. To avoid these toxins, look for products without added scents or dyes; you can replace the former with natural fragrances, such as one of many essential oils.
- Carefully read labels and lists of ingredients
By now, you know to avoid any household products with added dyes and scents. To do so, you should carefully read labels to verify the ingredients before buying it. Also, be aware that seeing detailed ingredient list is a good sign. It’s better to pass over products with minimal information; this could mean the company is trying to hide certain ingredients used. With household products, toxic ingredients to avoid are as follows:
- Quaternary ammonium compounds
- Sodium hydroxide
- Look for eco-friendly brands
Before shopping for household products, find out which brands are truly eco-friendly. In fact, a number of companies have started to sell such products, which means you can find effective, safe household products. To avoid falling for supposedly “green” products, however, refer to the various North American programs that oversee them:
- The Canadian certification program EcoLogo ensures products are environmentally friendly
- The independent organization Ecocert also certifies compliance with environmental standards for household products.
- Reduce the amount of household products used
Besides choosing green products, being eco-friendly also entails reducing the number of products used to clean your home. Cleaning with only one or two products for all surfaces is good for the environment by reducing packaging. It is often unnecessary to use a different product for each surface, unless you’re dealing with a very fragile surface, for example.
- Make your own eco-friendly household products
In the same vein as limiting usage and packaging, it’s possible to make your own green household products with just a few natural ingredients. The basic components of homemade household cleaners are almost always the same, and the recipes are relatively simple and quick. They also save you money, which you could put toward a having professionals do your spring cleaning, with eco-friendly products, of course!