7 Crucial Benefits of Green Cleaning
Green cleaning can have many different definitions, but the ultimate goal is to use techniques and ingredients that keep both your home and the environment healthy.
Although it is easier and even tempting to just grab the cheapest supermarket version of your favourite products, using a green cleaning method reduces waste and is safer for you and your family.
What is Green Cleaning?
When you think of green cleaning, you might imagine using lemons, vinegar or baking soda to clean all types of surfaces in your home. You’re right in assuming that these are all-natural green cleaners and they’re what I started with in my green cleaning journey.
Since then several new green cleaning products have come onto the market. Many are made by ethical and sustainable brands that don’t test on animals and demonstrate a commitment to the environment too. Some brands use biodegradable ingredients, while others produce products using safe and sustainable farming techniques.
Whatever your preference, green cleaning involves using products which don’t include toxic chemicals like phthalates, sulphates, ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide artificial fragrances or artificial colours.
Here are some reasons to consider going green:
1. Better for the environment
Releasing harmful chemicals into the environment is not only damaging to you, but also to those around you forced to breathe them in. Chemicals such as ammonia can be especially irritating to people with asthma or breathing problems.
By contrast, adopting greener habits helps reduce pollution, minimises the impact on our global climate and creates fewer smog-producing chemicals. It’s also nice to know that you’re helping to ensure the next generations won’t suffer the consequences of our actions!
2. Safer to use
If you’ve ever wondered how chemical burns happen, you now have the answer. It’s not uncommon to see the skin or eyes of the cleaner being affected by chemicals used in conventional cleaning products. I couldn’t understand what was causing my eczema to flare up until I changed to more natural cleaning methods.
In comparison, green cleaners are not corrosive or damaging to the skin. They also meet strict safety standards. These standards relate to inhalation toxicity, combustibility and skin absorption.
Why expose yourself and your loved ones to unsafe, toxic cleaning products when there are safer options available?
3. Better Transparency of Ingredients
“Greenwashing” is the practice of marketing products as natural or environmentally friendly when in reality they’re not. One of the key reasons Green Foot Mama began was due to skin reactions to well known branded products, including those products that claimed to be ‘organic’ and ‘natural’. On closer investigation these products contained harmful ingredients that were not disclosed on the labels.
Most cleaning products don’t list all their ingredients due to a lack of stringent governmental regulations. Just as I want to know exactly what is in the food that I feed my family, I want to know what is in these everyday products I use in my home. Green cleaning products usually fully list their ingredients and most of the time, these are common natural ingredients we are all familiar with.
4. Doesn’t pollute water bodies
You might not be aware that traditional cleaning products can affect and contaminate your drinking water. In fact, you can accidentally contaminate your own drinking water if you forget to cover up your tap or drinking water supply. This is highly dangerous, especially in the long run. Additionally chemicals in wastewater from your washing machine, dishwasher, bath and shower can get into our water bodies via the drains and cause long-term damage to marine life.
On the other hand, you can use green cleaning products everywhere in the house, in a free and safe manner and not contribute to water pollution.
5. Cleaner, Fresher Air Quality
I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve always been really sensitive to the strong smell of chemical odours – including perfume! Fragranced household products like air freshener and scented soaps make my skin itch. They typically use phtalates, which are known irritants and hormone distruptors – and can even affect your fertility.
Green cleaning products use natural fragrances or essential oils for their many benefits and lovely smells. You can even enjoy an aromatherapy session of sorts!
6. Personal Property Lasts Longer
Conventional cleaning products for fabric are full of chemicals. Most of them we’ve never heard of, many of them are extremely harsh. These chemicals often shorten the useful life of your furniture or clothing and affect their texture, shape and shine.
In contrast, green cleaning products tend to be more gentle and that will help to preserve the life of your belongings.
7. Safer Antibacterials
People tend to favour products with the label ‘antibacterial’. Why? Because they think they’re more effective at preventing the spread of germs. Most ‘antibacterial’ products in Australia use triclosan which has been linked to allergies, skin irritation, breathing issues, hormone disruption and bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Triclosan was recently banned in the USA after studies showed washing with antibacterial soaps wasn’t any better than using regular soap and warm running water.
By contrast, green cleaning products use natural ingredients with inherent antibacterial properties such eucalyptus, tea tree and lemongrass.
Making Your Own Cleaning Products
Making your own green cleaning products is easy. Just take a look at this comprehensive infographic by Groom and Style for info on how to get started. And simply click on the infographic for 19 easy recipes for making your own cleaners.
Using Essential Oils for Cleaning
Including essential oils to your home-made cleaning recipes improves their cleaning properties and leaves a lovely smell in your home.
Pure essential oils are highly potent and can destroy bacteria, viruses and fungi naturally.
There are numerous cleaning recipes using essential oils you can try at home. Make your own toilet scrub cleaner, surface cleaner, glass cleaner and more.
Concern for the health of our families and the planet is quite rightly rising as conditions such as asthma and allergies are becoming more common in our children. Toxic chemicals in everyday products contribute to this and also to pollution of our water bodies. Consider moving away from the harsh effects of conventional cleaning products, going back to basics and trying green cleaning. The benefits speak for themselves.