Some traditional cleaning products are particularly bad for the environment and, if used incorrectly, can be damaging to our health.
Most cleaning agents contain poisons, carcinogens, and asthma instigators, and a recent study from EWG shows 53% of these products are being evaluated for lung-harming ingredients. In the past toxic chemicals like chloroform and formaldehyde were discovered in several disinfectants.
However, with all that bad news, there is good news too. There are cleaning agents out there that are better for the environment and our health. The drive for eco-friendly cleaning supplies is increasing, so always be informed and read product labels to spot misleading claims and information.
Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t need to fully disclose all ingredients which is which we’re here to show you the best eco-friendly cleaning products to help you clean green!
Worst Clean Products For The Environment
The average household is exposed to 62 toxic chemicals daily, like synthetic fragrances and noxious oven cleaners. Research has shown a link between these harmful materials and various diseases like cancer and neurotoxicity.
Some products cause instant reactions from acute exposure while more severe cases are possible with repeated contact.
Here is our top 5 list of worst cleaning supplies for the environment and our health.
- Phthalates are found in fragranced products like air fresheners and dish soap. They are endocrine disruptors and when applied to the skin, they are absorbed through the skin quickly and head for the blood and organs.
- Triclosan is found in dishwashing agents and hand soaps that are labelled as antibacterial. It’s an aggressive antibacterial agent that encourages the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Microbes develop resistance when overusing antibacterial products.
- Butoxyethanol is used in kitchen, bathroom, window, and multipurpose cleaners. A key ingredient in most window cleaners, this is part of the glycol ethers family – a powerful set of solvents. It can cause sore throats, pulmonary oedema, narcosis and severe kidney and liver damage.
- Ammonia is added to polishing products that clean jewellery, glass, bathrooms, fixtures and sinks. This is a potent irritant that affects you instantly with its sharp fumes and causes breathing and lung issues when exposed through inhalation.
- Sodium Hydroxide is a chemical used in oven and drain cleaners. It is extremely corrosive and can cause severe injury if inhaling or having direct skin contact.
Best Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
Unless we lived in an air-tight, sterile bubble, it’s not possible for an average family to completely avoid exposure to poisonous chemicals. However, it is possible to reduce exposure by opting for healthier, safer products.
Eco friendly products are environmentally sustainable as they minimise their impact on the environment. These products are never tested on animals and reduce the amount of nasty ingredients, using recyclable and biodegradable material and bottles.
Best Eco-friendly Cloths
These unique wood fibre cloths remove dirt and bacteria without the need for unpleasant chemicals.
They are super absorbent, durable, reusable and are made from eight layers of natural wood fibre – perfect for any clean up around the home.
They’ve been proven to remove 99% of bacteria, using only just water, so you can be germ-free with less chemicals around. Simply rinse under warm water to remove any residue or throw them into the washing machine to clean them up.
Absorbent, odour and stain resistant, Ecoegg’s cloths are great for use around the kitchen, bathroom, floors, and even suitable for cleaning, waxing, and polishing cars.
Environmentally Friendly All Purpose Wipes
These multi-surface eco-friendly wipes come in a re-sealable packet to ensure the wipes stay fresh and moist. There’s no need to use a dry cloth to wipe up afterwards as these all-purpose wipes have a fast-dry action formula that will guarantee your surfaces are left clean, shiny, and dry.
They are also 100% biodegradable meaning it will decompose safely and quickly into the soil and water.
Fast-acting, tough on grease and residues, and alcohol free, EcoZone’s All Purpose Wipes have proven to kill bad bacteria such as MRSA, E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.
Simply peel the opening back on the front and take out a wipe whenever you need one. Re-seal to avoid drying out the wipes.
Eco-friendly Anti-Bacterial Cleaning Spray
This surface cleaner is a non-toxic cleaning spray that utilises plant extracts to clean and rid surfaces of harmful bacteria. This anti-viral action doesn’t leave toxic residue and is safe for everyone in the family, even the cat. It’s suitable for hard surfaces to eliminate the grime and grease for a sparkling safe clean.
This cleaning spay is vegan certified and approved by the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) because it is free from animal testing under the Humane Household Products Standard.
It contains no petrochemical derived cleaning agents and the cool spray has a refreshing zesty scent and a triple action formula that leaves the house looking spick and span.
TIP: Keep the spray bottle for reuse or be sure to recycle it.
Best Eco-friendly Mop
This is the perfect mop for any floor cleaning tasks without the use of chemicals. All you need is water and the highly absorbent Deep Clean Mop cleans floor easily and quickly.
The Deep Clean Mop’s simple design and light aluminium base makes cleaning floors effortless. Made from a durable, lightweight aluminium, it has a height adjustable handle that extends from 1 – 1.5 metres.
The mop’s head has a special weave of long fibres that break up to lift grease and dirt. The head is attached with Velcro and is easily unattached to rinse or wash. Suitable for laminate, stone, tiles and wood, you can also try the Dry Mop Head, which is a separate product to remove dust and loose dirt.
This product has also been recommended by Allergy UK and approved by the Good Housekeeping Institute.
Degradable Bin Bags
As we all well know, traditional plastic bags are detrimental to our environment because they are made from non-renewable resources and destructive to the ocean as they don’t biodegrade and negatively impact marine life.
Degradable bin bag use additives instead of living organisms to assist in the decomposing process, which breaks down more rapidly than a normal plastic bag.
While it may not be the ultimate solution in waste management, it just another progressive step towards minimizing our own waste and living with greater environmental awareness.
These bin bags are available in all types of sizes ranging from 5 litre to 80 litres to suit most bins in the kitchen and around the home.
Top Eco-friendly Toilet Cleaner
Ecover’s clean, biodegradable, and renewable components use smart science to create products that use less energy, water and materials.
The fast-acting toilet cleaner gel attacks unpleasant stains without having to double the size of your bicep. With minimal scrubbing, you can rely on Ecover to effectively rid your toilet of risky bacteria with leaving a shine and fresh smell.
You’re on nature’s side using Ecover’s Toilet Cleaner, an effective and naturally-derived cleaning product. Manufactured in energy efficient locations, built for sustainably and clean running. A green product made in a green environment.
It’s super simple to use! Lift the seat and direct the nozzle under the toilet rim. Give the bottle a squeeze to get some liquid out and apply along the rim. Leave for about 10 minutes and give the toilet a quick flush!
Earth Friendly Furniture Polish
Cleaning a house without harsh chemicals can be a detoxifying experience. Earth Friendly Furniture Polish contains all-natural olive, orange oils, purified water, and wax emulsifiers that’s suitable for all types of surfaces, including Formica, vinyl and wood. In fact, it works for most hard surfaces.
The ingredients used in the Furniture Polish are plant-based, recycled, and animal-friendly, and are biodegradable and non-toxic as they are free of phosphates, chlorine, and petroleum.
This eco-friendly furniture polish will remove watermarks, hide minor scratches, restores and preserves all wood finishes, and fills the room with natural smelling fragrances.
For everyday cleaning, shake up the bottle and open the nozzle. Lightly spray and then wipe off immediately with microfibre cloth.
How Do Cleaning Supplies Harm The Environment?
Toxic chemicals used in many household cleaners are common pollutants contributing to smog, reducing the quality of drinking water and pose toxicity to animals.
#1 Toxic Chemicals
At the start of this century, most household cleaners contained toxic chemicals harmful to humans, animals and plants. These chemicals work their way into the ecosystem through drainage and sewage when harmful agents are used in sinks, toilets, and dishwashers. It enters water treatment facilities and then heads back to the seas and rivers. Not all toxins are removed during water treatment, that allow chemicals to settle in our environment.
#2 Greenhouse Gasses
Every item you use to clean your house has to made somewhere, with something, and then transported to be sold. Once that item is sold and used, it needs to be disposed of. The increase in greenhouse gasses can be attributed to sourcing materials, manufacturing, distribution, and disposal of non-biodegradable products. Using products that are natural and less harmful to the environment is a collaborative effort for the environmental good.
#3 Fuel Costs
Most, if not all, supermarket cleaning products are manufactured miles away from the actual store and have to be transported in. All the energy used to deliver products from door-to-door has an intensive impact on the environment’s resources. Transportation comes at an environmental cost; ships, trucks, rail, all use fossil fuels to distribute consumables. Locally sourced products have shown to reduce this impact.
Plastic is not biodegradable and most of the items we buy are wrapped in plastic and then put in a plastic bag. The average lifespan of plastic is 12 minutes and then takes decades to degenerate. Plastic occupies landfills and collects in mass quantities in our oceans, forests, water, and land, polluting everything it comes into contact with.