We’re all keen to go green, and cleaning green is a great way to do that. Of course, there are natural ways to clean, and they include unexpected items that you can find at home. Bio-friendly home cleaning products include olive oil. It can be used for cooking, moisturising skin, conditioning hair, none if which has anything to do with cleaning. But it can also be used to give wooden furniture a nice, clean, dust-free sheen.
For mildly abrasive cleaning, you can use salt or baking soda. Salt is good for cleaning stained iron boxes, pots, and pans. It’s also great for cleaning teeth if you unexpectedly run out of toothpaste. For nasty, smelly, clogged drains, a mixture or baking soda and vinegar or hydrogen peroxide can leave your sinks sparkling, clear, and fresh. External drains can be unclogged this way too.
If you’d prefer to use concentrated chemical cleaning agents, you can check their labels to see if they are friendly towards the environment. Before you dig into the details of constituent chemicals, study the language used on the label. Three common terms on detergent labels are ‘warning’, ‘caution’, and ‘danger’. The difference in these three words doesn’t seem significant, but their shades of meaning contain a lot of information.
Warning labels and caution labels suggest mildly harmful substances that can cause damage if you accidentally consume a few tablespoons. However, if the pack is marked danger or poison, a single drop or grain of the detergent is enough to kill.
Some home cleaning products can dissolve safely, but others aren’t biodegradable and do a lot of damage to the environment. It’s not always clear whether cleaning products are green or not. Some products claim to be socially responsible when they are not, so it’s important to check the list of ingredients and evaluate them individually.
Some common cleaning ingredients are carcinogens that can cause harmful gene mutations in human beings. Others don’t decompose, so if they are carelessly discarded, they can present choking hazards to wildlife and water creatures.
Phosphates are a good example of harmful cleaning ingredients. They are found in many detergents and dishwashing liquids, which means they end up in the sewer as waste water. Phosphates don’t decompose, so when they leave the sewage pipes and get into natural water sources, they increase the amount of nitrogen in that water.
This excess nitrification makes algae inside the water grow faster. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing since many fish and sea creatures feed on algae. Unfortunately, algae are plants, so they need oxygen to grow. As the algae increases, it competes with the fish for this oxygen and the fish can’t eat them fast enough to balance out the population.
Now that there is too many algae, extra nitrogen, and not enough oxygen, the fish end up dying. The loss of fish is a tragedy in itself, but as you might have noticed, shifts in eco-balance tend to have cascading effects. Non-biodegradable phosphates lead to excess nitrogen which leads to an algae overgrowth.
This causes massive numbers of dead fish which will decompose and pollute the water with harmful toxins. Meanwhile, birds and other animals that feed on fish will now have their food source compromised and the effects will go on and on. All because we washed our clothes and dishes using soap that wasn’t green.
Another potentially harmful cleaning product is ammonia. Ammonia exists within the human body, but it is usually a by-product of bodily processes that is expelled as urine. When you’re excessively exposed to raw ammonia, it can cause skin damage and breathing problems. If ammonia mixes with bleach (which is definitely not green), the toxic fumes can cause death.
A third cleaning substance that is often overlooked is chlorine. In controlled amounts, it can make water safe to drink, and keep swimming pools free from harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, the amount of chlorine used in cleaning materials is quite concentrated. It can irritate eyes, skin, and airways.
If you’d like to confirm whether the detergent you’re using is green, carefully read the ingredients on the label to see if it contains any of these chemicals. There are many other chemicals to be wary of, such as lye, silica, phenol, xylene, and naphthalene.
Fortunately, there are brands that produce genuinely green cleaners. These include Ecover, Biokleen, Full Circle, and Seventh Generation. As much as possible, try to use biodegradable cleaning agents that protect and conserve the environment. It’s better for the earth, and it benefits everyone.
This Article is provided by House Proud Cleaning Company.