Eco-friendly cleaning products provide a viable alternative to the many standard products on the market. These products differ from standard products in terms of ingredients, biodegradability, and safety. When used properly with the adequate precautions, standard cleaning products are safe. But, they can be of greater concern with pets and small children who could accidentally come into contact with them. Safety issues alone make eco-friendly products a better choice, but there are other pros as well, like biodegradability. However, like any product, eco-friendly cleaning products also have their downfalls too.
Advantages of Eco-Friendly Products
A disadvantage for standard cleaning products for household surfaces is that they often include toxic ingredients like ammonia, nonoxynols, methyl chloride, and more.
While these ingredients have been studied and deemed safe to the public when used appropriately, long-term contact with these products, especially when used inappropriately, can have lasting side effects. What’s even more frightening is that cleaning-product companies do not have to disclose the ingredients in their products on their packaging.
Eco-friendly cleaning products, by contrast, include ingredients that are mostly natural in origin. Some of these ingredients include lactic acid, citric acid, and enzymes.
Homemade cleaning products like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, and castile soap also share the pros of being environmentally friendly and relatively harmless.
In addition to being safe to use around young children and pets, eco-friendly cleaning products are also biodegradable. Chemicals found in standard products are not. These chemicals eventually find their way into sewer runoff or can be inhaled or unintentionally absorbed into the skin. However, most natural products are less harmful to the ecosystem, leaving less of a trace in the water and soil.
Cleaners with eco-friendly ingredients do not irritate the senses, skin, or respiratory system as much as chemical-laden cleaners. In fact, many natural cleaning products feature essential oils and other safe aromatic substances that make cleaning a pleasant experience. Eco-friendly products are also less likely to aggravate allergies and respiratory conditions like asthma or cause skin reactions, unless you’re allergic to certain plants and oils that might be found in the ingredients.
There are a couple of notable disadvantages to using eco-friendly products for cleaning. Of these, cost is probably the biggest reason people continue to stick with the standard products. Products that utilize safe, natural ingredients sometimes cost more than those featuring mass-produced chemicals. Still, prices are gradually coming down as new manufacturers spring up to fill the demand consumers have for safer cleaning agents. Another way to cut costs is to make your own cleaning products. They are easy to mix and provide many of the same antiseptic, sterilizing, and grease-cutting properties as chemical-filled products.
Anyone who's experienced a clogged tub drain will probably agree that chemical drain cleaners typically work better than unclogging a drain with baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. As toxic as chemicals are, they are designed to cut through stains, grease, clogs, and other substances befouling a home, and they generally do a great job. However, routine preventative cleaning with natural products nets a greater benefit than periodic use of chemical cleaners.
While using an environmentally friendly cleaner may require more elbow grease, it’s hard to not see all of the advantages using an environmentally friendly cleaner brings.