When you hear about Earth Day you think about picking up trash, planting a tree or spending time outside. But one of the easiest ways to make a difference is to reach for eco-friendly cleaning products. Surface cleaners, wipes, bleach, bathroom cleaners, hand, dish and laundry soap are all the things that make our homes, hands and clothes safe from dirt, grime, germs and disease.
As these cleaners are washed down the drain, they pollute rivers, lakes and streams and leach into soil and groundwater. Also, wasted product and packaging is often disposed of improperly or made with non-biodegradable materials. Harsh chemicals can also be an air pollutant and lower the air quality in your home.
Some of the advantages of green cleaning products include:
- Plant-based ingredients
- Low toxicity
- No artificial fragrances or dyes
- Packaging that is minimal, recyclable and/or reusable
- Products produced with less energy
- Gentle ingredients safer for skin, eyes, respiratory organs, drains and septic systems
- Not tested on animals or produced with animal-derived ingredients
While the benefits are numerous, you may be wondering if they clean as well as traditional cleaning products? Studies have shown that if a product foams, it cleans. Sprays, wipes and cleaners that froth or foam – even in small amounts – have the power to eliminate dirt, grime, grease, leftover food and some germs. The bubbles trap particles and are rinsed away. Natural cleaners can be just as good as traditional cleaners and use little or no volatile organic compounds and harsh chemicals.
When it comes to sanitizing and disinfecting, that means something different when it comes to cleaning. Cleaners can remove germs, but that doesn’t mean they kill germs – regardless of whether you’re using a natural or traditional cleaning product. The USDA regulates the term “disinfect” so if a product is labeled as a disinfectant, that means it kills 99.99 percent of bacteria or viruses within 5 to 10 minutes of application. The EPA has a list of registered disinfectants on its website. Also, consult individual product labels to understand how that product cleans and if it is also capable of disinfecting and sanitizing.
At FRESH, look for some of the following eco-friendly brands on the household cleaners aisle:
ECOS: In 1953, ECOS founder Van Vlahakis arrived in NYC from Greece. His homeland and its pure, non-toxic approach to cleaning provided future inspiration for ECOS products. He began working as a chemist in the cleaning products industry and recognized the negative health
effects of the harsh chemical ingredients. He started his own safer, greener cleaning products in his garage.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day: Made with plant-derived ingredients, essential oils and other thoughtfully formulated ingredients. Inspired by Mrs. Thelma Meyer, an Iowa homemaker and mother of nine. One of her daughters was walking down a cleaning aisle, eyeing all the products and couldn’t help but notice the abundance of conventional ingredients and sterile smells. Right then and there, she had a brilliant idea: “Let’s make cleaners that smell nice, like a garden, but still work like the dickens on daily dirt and grime.” It’s no surprise that she named the product line after her very practical mom and rooted it in the values she passed along to her kids.
Rebel Green: Rebel Green offers a full line of natural cleaning products that are designed to create cleaner, healthier living spaces at better value, while using only the highest quality natural ingredients. Ali Florsheim and Melina Marcus created Rebel Green because they know that style has the power to change consumer habits and help ignite a change in thinking about products we buy every day. Rebel Green was born out of that determination to make highly effective, natural cleaners at a better value with the chic and rebellious flair that defines their products.
Charlie’s Soap: It all started in 1976 when founder, Charlie Sutherland Sr. made his living selling yarn lubricant to textile mills in North Carolina. When Charlie’s customers began asking about a cleaner for their machines, he could think of only one solution – his son, Charlie Jr. With a background in chemistry, Charlie Jr. invented a cleaner so good that the textile employees started sneaking it home for personal use. Soon enough, people began asking for the cleaner by name – Charlie’s Soap.
Grab Green: Represents cleaning products that are convenient, non-toxic and sustainable. They work closely with a team of organic chemists to innovate their products and formulas. They responsibly source the highest quality ingredients and practice advanced green chemistry to achieve the right balance of plant and mineral-based formulas. We adhere to standards developed by consumer-focused governing bodies such as EWG.org and EPA’s Safer Choice Certification in order to deliver products that are safer, without sacrificing efficacy.