You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your health for a clean home. The cleaning products we use to clean our homes or prepare for guests should be safe to use, especially since these are products encountered in everyday life. How do we clean wisely? Luckily, there are many organizations using research to change the standards. You don’t need toxic chemicals to have a clean home.
Get ready, it’s time to clean up your cleaning products.
Did you know?
Many cleaning products claim to be “green” or “natural,” but not all of them are actually organic or natural. Additionally, terms such as “natural,” “green,” or “non-toxic” are not federally regulated. Greenwashing is a term describing misleading information about a companies green policies.
Cleaning products may contain harsh chemicals that can cause eye, skin, or respiratory irritation. Since cleaning products consist of concentrated forms of chemicals, they are considered hazardous.
Furthermore, there are no federal regulations that require manufacturers to disclose every ingredient used in their cleaning products on their packaging.
How to Find “Cleaner” Cleaning Products
Don’t pollute your home! Thankfully, there are a few organizations that help us find products that are truly clean and eco-friendly:
1. EPA Safer Choice Program
EPA Safer Choice Program has invested time and research into reviewing ingredients used in cleaning products and other household items. They also inspect product performance, pH, and packaging.
To help you make safer choices, this non-profit created the “Safer Choice” label, which companies can put on their products to indicate the EPA safety standard.
However, products have to meet Safer Choice Standard. Before a product can use this label, EPA reviews every ingredient, which must meet strict criteria, such as “carcinogenicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment” (EPA). You can search for products that meet the Safer Choice standard here.
2. Environmental Working Group (EWG)
The Environmental Working Group grades products, using letter grades, on their toxicity. A is the best score, while an F is the lowest score. EWG is a non-profit organization lead by scientists that use research to advocate for healthier and safer choices.
You can visit EWG’s website, where you can search for healthy cleaning products. EWG graded each product and listed all of the grading criteria.
EWG has an app where users can easily browse more than 200,000 personal care, cleaning, and food products rated for health and safety by EWG scientists.
3. Made Safe
Made Safe is another non-profit organization devoted to eliminating toxic chemicals and making it easier for us to find non-toxic products.
They have created the “MADE SAFE” seal, which consumers can find on products with safe ingredients. MADE SAFE verified products have passed intensive ingredient screenings to ensure safety. Look for this seal when choosing household cleaning products at the grocery store.
Best Products and Brands for a Clean Home
1. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Not only are microfiber cleaning cloths better for the environment, but they will also save you money! Opting for microfiber can help you reduce the use of paper towels. Once dirty, you can wash and reuse them.
2. Seventh Generation
Seventh Generation offers an extensive range of household cleaning products from laundry detergent, dish cleaners, disinfectants, hand wash, bathroom cleaners, and even body wash. You can find their products at Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, and Amazon.
Ecos is a natural and organic family-owned cleaning brand. The company is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and they even use carbon and water neutral practices.
4. Meliora Cleaning Products
Meliora offers gentle cleaning products for multiple surfaces, such as stove tops, ceramic tiles, stainless steel. Additionally, this brand’s products are Made Safe certified.
Attitude uses plant and mineral-based ingredients in its cleaning products. They offer a wide range of household cleaning products, and they even offer environmentally friendly refill containers.
6. Aspen Clean
Aspen Clean has the most EWG verified products. This brand offers a wide range of cleaning products from glass cleaners, dish cleaners, floor cleaners, laundry detergents, bathroom cleaners, and more.
7. Common Good
Common Good is a natural and organic cleaning brand that offers surface, laundry, dish, and hand cleaners. They use biodegradable ingredients, which are great for the environment. Additionally, they use 100 percent essential oils as an all-natural fragrance.
All of the Common Goods products listed on EWG have received A’s, which is the best rating.
8. Dr. Bonner’s
Dr. Bonner’s is an organic and non-toxic soap brand that uses fair-trade ingredients. Their 100 percent Pure Castile Soap can be used as a body wash, shampoo, detergent, dish wash, or multi-surface cleaner. Their soap truly is an all-in-one product.
9. Babyganics All Purpose Surface Wipes
These all-purpose surface wipes are fragrance-free and do not contain ammonia, bleach, phthalates, or sulfates.
Ingredients to Avoid in Your Home
Ammonia or Chlorine Bleach
Avoid cleaners that contain ammonia or chlorine bleach. These products are very toxic, and when combined, they create a dangerous gas called chloramine.
Hydrochloric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium or Potassium Hydroxide, or Ethanolamines
These products are in toilet cleaners, oven cleaners, and degreasers. However, they can cause blindness, skin burns, and lung irritation.
Fragrance is a broad term that can include a mixture of chemicals. Avoid cleaning products and air fresheners that do not state what is included in their fragrances. These products can cause respiratory problems and offset allergies. Instead, look for products that are fragrance-free or use essential oils.
Avoid products that use “quats.” These chemicals can lead to asthma and reduced fertility, and birth defects in animals. Alternatively, you can use steam or UV light to disinfect surfaces instead of products that contain quats.
Antimicrobial and Triclosan
These chemicals can cause a disruption in thyroid function and an increase in allergies. It is best to avoid products containing these chemicals and opt for benzalkonium chloride or benzethonium chloride.
Now that you have the sources and knowledge to make healthier and safer choices implement these into your home. Whether you are cleaning your own home or preparing for guests at one of your rentals, be sure to use products that are not harmful. You shouldn’t have to choose between your health and a clean home.
Keeping safe cleaning products stored in your vacation rental properties is a plus for you and your guests.
To further enhance your cleaning routine check out this Cleaning Checklist 101.