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How To Choose The Best Eco-Cleaning Products For You
As the green cleaning movement sweeps across the world (no pun intended) choosing the right products for you and your family can seem daunting.
Which eco-products work best?
How do you weed out thegreen washers?
What are some of the keyelements of a good natural cleaner?
Let’s start with a scenario.
You’ve just finished cleaning your family bathroom. After popping the kettle on for a much deserved cuppa, you wander back into the room to admire your handy work. As you enter –a waft of ‘clean’ smells hit you. Bleach. Fragranced toilet cleaner. Chemicals.
It smells kind of nice but you kind of can’t breathe.
You open the window toilet the fresh air in, and leave.
Those “clean” scents traditional cleaning products emit contribute to your indoor air pollution in your home. They are called VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds.
Many cleaning products seem harmless, but they are often formulated with hazardous VOCs —but sorting the less-toxic cleaners from the more-toxic ones is easier said than done.
A 2018 study showed that standard household cleaning supplies can potentially emit as many VOCs as cars, and while using natural cleaners, green cleaning products, or cleaning products labelled eco-friendly feels like a simple solution, it isn’t as easy a fix as you would think.
The government has no standards or regulations when it comes to labelling any kind of product as natural, so natural cleaning products and all the other buzzwords associated with the term are essentially meaningless when it comes to the actual safety or formulation of household products.
So how do you know what’s really natural and safe to use? Read on.
Know what’s in your products.
Unlike food packaging, cleaning products don’t have to disclose the ingredients on the bottle. It’s common not to know what’s in your traditional cleaner.
You’ll notice that true and trustworthy eco-cleaning manufacturers make a point of listing all of their ingredients. This gives the product and you full transparency and peace of mind in what you’re spraying on your surfaces.
But the key to finding natural cleaning products is more than just reading the label: You need to know what makes a formulation safe or unsafe.
Start by scanning the label for terms such as plant-based, organic, clean, biodegradable, chemical-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, synthetic fragrance-free, preservative-free, or hypoallergenic.
Most safe products will have at least one or two of these listed.
Top Tip: If you find the word Non-Toxic used - that’s a red flag, because there is no such thing as nontoxic.
Watch out for greenwashing.
As the green cleaning market is growing and many non-eco brands are hankering for a piece of the green pie.
Labels can be misleading –for example “planet loving” could just mean they have changed their packaging to contain recycled paper. It doesn’t necessarily meant it is not stuffed with harmful, toxic ingredients.
If you can’t find a full ingredient list disclosed or it’s written in a way that is not easy to look up, odds are the manufacturer is trying to hide something from you.
Consider your personal cleaning needs.
Finding the right natural cleaning product is also a matter of keeping your needs in mind.
If your skin is highly sensitive, try to find hypoallergenic cleaning products. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves when you clean to limit exposure.
Another tip: If you find fragrances irritating, choose products labelled fragrance-free or fragrance from essential oils if you know your skin responds well to natural products in your skincare routine
How to know who to trust.
If a brand is willing to put a face to its name, there’s a good chance they’re trustworthy.
New Zealand beauty brand, Ethique, is a great example of transparency and sustainable business. Founder, Brianne West, personally fronts the brand at events, online and across social media.
Why does she do this?
Because she has nothing to hide, and lots of wisdom to share.
Other things to look out for:
Awards. Has the brand you are considering won or come close to winning any reputable SustainableBusiness Awards in their industry?
Reviews. Check individual products and overall brand commentary.
Level of detail on the website. Do they make finding the ingredients or information about their manufacturing difficult to find? If so – there’s probably a reason for it.
Our promise to you.
At Good Change, we aim to be completely transparent and disclose raw materials and ingredients used in all our products. If there is information you can’t find on our website – our team is readily available and eager to disclose any details you may need.
Our brand is built on a genuine passion and vision to eliminate single-use plastic and chemical ridden items from all cleaning cupboards across New Zealand, Australia and the world.
Find out more about ourFounders, Kristy and Stine, and what drove them to start Good Change.