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Green cleaners. Are all of them safe?
Do you use green cleaners for the environmental impact? How about your health?
You’re not alone.
The demand is growing for safe, accessible and effective cleaning products because at the moment, evidence linking certain chemicals (in cleaners) to different health issues is increasing. Including studies that show links to long-term degradation of our lungs, hormone disruption, skin issues and allergies. Then there’s the serious environmental impact of chemical cleaners and their packaging on our ecosystem.
Green cleaning products are definitely safer - they’re better for the environment and contain less harmful chemicals than traditional cleaning products.
However, there are chemicals to look out for in natural cleaners which could harm your health.
Here are the chemicals found in some green cleaners you should avoid:
Also known as cocamidopropyl betaine or cocamide DEA, which is a lung, eye and skin irritant. Many green cleaners or cleaners labelled as ‘natural’ contain this compound, which was voted ‘allergen of the year’ by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2004!
Safe alternatives include detergents such as alkyl polyglucosides used in Abode products.
This is used as a solvent for removing oils and an air freshener. Usually found in citrus-based cleaning products that have lemon or orange on the label. It’s marked as a natural flavour but is a volatile organic compound, and when oxidised has shown to cause of skin rashes and may contribute to allergies in children.
According to the environmental working group (EWG), eugenol is derived from clove oil and is also a known allergen. Depending on how sensitive you are, you may want to avoid this ingredient.
One way to reduce the effect of lesser-known allergens is to open the windows and doors while cleaning and after for thirty minutes to an hour.
While most of these chemicals are less abrasive than typical chemical cleaners, they are still a cause for concern. In particular, coco-betaine and d-Limonene, which are easy to avoid using our recommendations.
Which ones are safe?
There are a select number of brands that are particularly safe and effective. Abode, is one of the best. It was founded by a naturopath and home safety expert, so none of the products contain the aforementioned chemicals. Ecostore is a close second, with only their citrus products containing d-Limonene.
If you opt for alternative brands read the labels. As a general rule, it’s best to go with products that reveal their ingredient lists because unfortunately, unlike food products, cleaning products are not required to list all of their ingredients. If they don’t, you can visit their site and download Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) and cross-reference them via the EWC website.