In choosing a standard cleaner versus a green cleaner, sometimes it seems as if you have to make a sacrifice. Choose a green cleaner, and it seems to not be quite as effective and often cost more off the shelf. Choose a standard cleaner, and you confront the hazards of harsh chemicals in your home and the headaches that the cleaning agents and scents bring. How are you supposed to choose what’s best for your child with all these opposing benefits and risks?
There are a few things you should know.
First: standard cleaners with ammonia and chlorine are irritating to the lungs and can cause common ailments such as asthma. Many standard cleaners also contain ingredients that burn the skin, are flammable, and can cause severe tissue damage or death if swallowed (see previous link). Using these cleaners on a daily or weekly basis contaminates indoor air and can effect long term health with risks such as cancer and lung problems.
Second: you can make your own. Baking soda and vinegar do the trick. Little known fact? Vinegar is actually effective against germs because of its high acidity. Breathe easy; your child will be safe!
Third: if you decide to buy a green cleaner off the shelf, buyer beware. Check the label. Green cleaners should not have any petroleum based ingredients because they take a long time to break down in the environment. The cleaners that are truly green will have plant based ingredients that you can recognize, and won’t have ammonia or chlorine bleach.
Fourth: There’s one more thing to think about: recycling. If a cleaner is truly green, the packaging should be recycled or at the very least recyclable. Method, which makes eco hand soaps and dish soaps, makes their plastic from ocean plastic – that trash that floats around the Pacific! Then, the packaging can be recycled through TerraCycle’s Brigade collection program. Dropps, which makes eco laundry detergent, also recycles their packaging with TerraCycle. Both of these companies make sure their product is entirely green – not just the ingredients.
Green cleaners are just as effective as standard cleaners, and not as harsh. Dangerous chemicals and harmful side effects don’t necessarily mean the product is better With kids and pets, the less chemicals, the better. You won’t need to worry about little hands finding the bottles under the kitchen sink or in a cleaning cabinet. Not to mention that without the danger of harsh ingredients burning the skin or eyes, the kids can learn to help you clean!