In this guide to eco-friendly cleaning products, you’ll learn about the negative impact regular cleaning products have on the environment and how to find truly sustainable, healthy cleaning products and tools for your home.
Read next: the general guidelines we go by when choosing eco-friendly products
Eco-friendly cleaning products definition
What’s the definition of eco-friendly cleaning products? These are products with minimal to no environmental impact.
According to the EPA Eco-friendly cleaning products are products with the following features:
🟢 Products with a minimal amount of harmful chemicals
Examples of harmful chemicals and substances: chemicals that cause Ozone-depleting, substances that are skin Irritating, substances classified as human carcinogens and substances classified as hazardous waste.
🟢 Products made of renewable resources
For example, products made of biobased solvents from plants, seeds, oils and so on.
🟢 Products with a low VOC content
VOCs are small particles released into the air when the cleaning product is applied. These particles may have a serious impact on our health.
🟢 Biodegradable products
As defined by the OECD in the right terms, the product will disappear from the environment rather fast.
🟢 Low toxicity to marine life
Minimum harm to fishes and aquatic invertebrates, e.g. LC50 or EC50>10 mg/L
🟢 Low flammability
The product is not a fire hazard and has a flashpoint higher than 200 degrees F.
🟢 Coldwater use
The product does not require hot water and can be used with room temperature water in order to conserve energy.
Environment-friendly packaging of cleaning products
The packaging of eco-friendly products has an environmental impact by itself. It’s definitely a factor to consider when buying a new cleaner.
Generally, it’s better to go with concentrated formulas that you can add water to. They take less space, less packaging and are easier to use. A big portion of most cleaners is water anyway, so why not save that?
When buying a new product try to also find out whether or not the packaging can be recycled. If it doesn’t say, and the product doesn’t have proper labeling and information on use and disposal, it’s probably not recyclable. Consider buying a different brand with clear instructions for your personal safety.When it comes to sprayed cleaners, choose pump sprays over aerosols. Researches found that aerosols contribute to climate change. Moreover, they have high VOCs that are bad for your health.
Non-ecological cleaning products
Non-eco-friendly cleaning products can be defined as the opposite of the above. Products that contain harmful chemicals to the human body, to the environment, and to marine life. These are the products that:
🟠 Contain chemicals that might be harmful to the human body, to the environment or to marine life
🟠 Have high VOC and cause a negative effect on indoor air quality and contribute to global warming
🟠 Contain non-biodegradable substances that will take ages to disappear from the environment
🟠 Products that do not conserve energy and require the use of hot water to be efficient
🟠 Products packed in non-recyclable packages or non-concentrated formulas with excessive packaging. Also, products inside aerosols are not considered eco-friendly as they have high VOC levels.
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