The impact of cleaning products on our bodies & the environment

The impact of cleaning products on our bodies & the environment 

We all know the saying, 'Home is where the heart is'—the place where memories and family traditions are made. It is also where we nourish our loved ones from the inside out, and how we keep our home clean, fresh and healthy, impacts this. 

5 common conventional cleaning products ingredients that may cause health problems 

The average cleaning products on the supermarket shelf have ingredients that can cause health problems if consistently exposed to them over time. 

Most standard household cleaners can cause skin and eye irritation, headaches, respiratory issues and even more severe complications with prolonged exposure. 

Some of the most common ingredients used are as follows

  1. Formaldehyde - known carcinogen 
  2. 1,4-dioxane – known carcinogen 
  3. Chloroform – known carcinogen, primarily through fumes 
  4. Sodium borate – can disrupt the hormone system 
  5. "Quats" like benzalkonium chloride – known to cause asthma 

When sprucing up your Home, many of these chemicals are inhaled after you spray them onto surfaces or absorbed through your skin from touching them while cleaning. That is why it is advised to wear cleaning gloves when using these types of products. 

The list above is just the most common chemicals used in your average cleaning product, so for a full list of ingredients that are known to cause serious health effects, check out this link.

What can you do to limit your exposure to cleaning chemicals and substances? 

Choose eco-friendly and natural cleaning products. These will drastically cut down on any exposure to the harmful chemicals in common cleaners. 

Back to the Good Old Days 

The fastest and most effective way to go green in the home is by choosing natural cleaning products just like they did in the good old days! 

You can easily find the ingredients needed in most pantries or cupboards. Baking soda, vinegar, salt, citrus and essential oils can take you far in the eco-friendly cleaning products game. 

The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar can lift any stubborn stains and can be used to successfully scrub hard to clean grime away in your oven, microwave, shower and your windows. 

And don't forget, the homemade eco-friendly cleaning product option is also easy on the wallet. These common ingredients are all low-cost products available at your local store. 

Check out this article that puts these classic cleaning options to the test in almost every room of the house. It also tells you how to combine the ingredients for each clean. Sometimes you will premix, others you use in layers, and often you just directly spray on. 

A Few Words to the Wise 

If you want the convenience of ready-made cleaners, especially for laundry, your dishwasher, or toilet, make sure to keep the following in mind: 

  1. Not all products that claim to be green cleaning products are actually safer to use. It is essential to look at the labels to determine if they are worth the higher price. If any product, regardless of how it is advertised, is labelled with Danger, Warning or Caution, you may want to keep shopping. Non-toxic products would not have labels like this.
  2. Just because the product is labelled as an eco-friendly cleaner does not mean that they contain no chemicals. Yes, they might not be as harsh or cause severe side effects, but you should be aware that green cleaning products are not always what you think you are buying. 
  3. Do your research. This way, you know exactly what ingredients you want to avoid. Of course, it can take time to find the right product, but as we know, knowledge is power. The Think Dirty app is a great resource, allowing you to scan barcodes for ingredient analysis.
  4. Always choose products with plant-based ingredients and avoid petroleum-based chemicals. Simply making this switch and nothing else already helps you to avoid exposure to so many toxic elements. 

Think about our Environment 

How do the cleaning products that we use impact the environment? 

As the phrase goes ‘All rivers lead to the sea', and unfortunately, most cleaning fluids end up being washed down the drain after we use them and ending up in our oceans. 

Think toilet bowl cleaners, bathroom cleaning products, laundry detergent, dishwasher liquid, etc. The components of these products end up in our waterways, damaging marine life, and ecosystems. 

Another impact on the environment is eco-friendly cleaning products' packaging. Look for sustainable options like packaging that is made using recycled materials only, products sold in glass, or as a concentrate where you add it to a reusable bottle with the correct proportion of water. 

Reducing our dependency on plastics and petrochemicals matters and our choices when purchasing our cleaning products helps with that fight. 

Jumping on the Green Train 

Whatever reason resonates with you, whether it's stopping exposure to toxic ingredients for you and your family, helping the environment, or saving some cash, switching to eco-friendly cleaning products is an easy way to make a positive impact.

Whether you choose the homemade route or still get your products off the shelves, once you find the best eco-friendly products that fit you, it will become routine. 

Then sit back, relax and enjoy your truly clean Home.

We have lots of sustainable and natural cleaning options at Ode to Earth.  See some below and visit www.odetoearth.ie for the full Household collection. 

neat cleaning solution
laundry sheets
Natural Bleach

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