No one would argue that there’s a growing consciousness about the impact that we, as humans, have on the environment. While much of the media’s focus has been on greenhouse gas emissions and the ways we can lessen our carbon footprint, less attention has been paid to the impact that conventional cleaning products and methods have on our health and on the environment. Although chlorofluorocarbons have long been recognized as contributing to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, and have been largely eliminated from consumer products, conventional cleaning products continue to have a detrimental effect on the environment. To that end, there has been a wave of “green cleaning” products entering the marketplace.
Traditional Cleaning Products
Most traditional cleaning products contain a variety of potentially harmful chemicals, in part because they are largely unregulated and in part because there are few labeling requirements. For example, many cleaning products contain phosphates (which are also a primary component of many fertilizers), which can contaminate water and rob lakes and rivers of oxygen. Likewise, many cleaning products with dyes and fragrances contain phosphates, and most incorporate other organic compounds into their formulas. Together, these chemicals can have adverse effects on the neurological functions, respiration, and reproductive organs of humans and wildlife. Our use of several different cleaning agents at once (a window cleaner, a basin cleanser, and a toilet bowl cleaner, for example) can exacerbate the products’ effects on our health.
Green Cleaning Products
In response to the growing concern about the chemicals in cleaning products and their adverse effects on our health and on the health of our planet, green cleaning products are being touted. Some companies that make green products ban certain chemicals, and others make it a point to fully disclose all ingredients on labels. What they don’t tell you, though, is that it’s absolutely possible to have a clean home without using any cleaning products at all. Cleaning without products may take a bit more elbow grease, but water alone will do the trick.
Why Water and a Cloth Works Just as Well
For the environmentally conscious, one of the best cleaning tools is a cloth – some would say the ultimate cloth – that uses microfiber to produce a streak free, spot free, lint free, and dust free finish. Using this type of cloth means that you don’t have to use paper towels, which add to the waste that negatively impacts the environment. Moreover, this ultimate cloth is usually guaranteed to last five years, making it decidedly Eco-friendly. Because it’s washable and bleach-able, it can be used over and over again on virtually any surface, from windows and glass to stainless steel and Corina. Basically, you just wet it, wring it, wipe your surface, and walk away. This ultimate cloth saves time, saves money, and, most importantly, helps save the earth.