There’s no doubt that now we’re all taking note and deciding to be more green. After all, the need to protect our planet for future generations has never been more important. But, aside from thinking about the chemicals in our food and skincare, have you considered the nasty ingredients inside your cleaning cupboard? So I look at the best eco-cleaning products, which care about the environment and your health.
Cleaning products: The facts
After you spritz your home to keep it clean, a fog of chemicals simply lingers in the air. In fact, the truth is that cleaning products are packed full with toxic components. However, all of these products can have a disturbing impact on your health. So, chemicals such as phthalates, which add fragrance to your ‘cleaners’, can be absorbed through your skin. Many dishwasher detergents contain Triclosan, which is thought to encourage drug resistant bacteria growth. In addition, chlorine is also now thought to be a respiratory irritant, which can cause chronic health problems. So, this is especially worrying for anyone, such as my sister, suffering with asthma. In fact, new scientific research has revealed that regular use of cleaning spray is as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. With scientists advising that we replace our cleaning products with microfibre cloths and water, I think it’s now time to take note.
Effect on the environment
But what about the detrimental effects cleaning products have on the environment too? Lots of mass-produced cleaning products contain compounds like phosphorous, nitrogen and ammonia. However, the problem is these are harmful if you consume them. So, when you clean toilets, sinks, baths and dishwashers using these products, the dangerous residue washes down the drain. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to remove all the contamination from the water before it makes its way back to the rivers and lakes. So, over time, this has a hugely negative impact on both wildlife and natural vegetation.
I’ve found mass produced cleaning brands also tend to produce plastic packaging, which isn’t biodegradable. In 2016, less than half of all plastic bottles were collected for recycling and only 7% were turned into new bottles. Once thrown away, we store our old plastic cleaning products in landfill sites indefinitely. Or, rather horrifyingly, they will join the 12.7 million tonnes of single-use plastic, which ends up in our oceans every year. Another consideration is the huge fuel costs a manufacturer spends putting a product on the shelves in your local supermarket. Planes, ships and lorries all use fossil fuels to globally transport their products and this has a big environmental impact, too.
All of this can sound quite overwhelming and many of us are left wondering where to begin. Luckily, the organic cleaning market is steadily growing and there is a huge choice of eco-brands which take pride in their carbon footprint. They all promise to use organic ingredients to get your house sparkling clean without spraying nasty toxins into the air and our lungs. And I think that’s a pretty good place to start.
Cleaning the kitchen
After an affordable antibacterial spray for the kitchen? Made from natural plant sources, and a gorgeous blend of lavender and rosemary, I recommend Kinn Living Kitchen Cleaner. A mother and daughter duo founded this brand and they make all products in Britain. They are also free from petrochemicals, phosphates and synthetic chemicals. In fact, I’ve used it for cleaning kitchen surfaces, taps and handles with great results. And it doesn’t leave any streaks either – genius!
If you want to try refillable products, I really like Ecover. They have a broad range of eco-products you can top up at their refill stations. In our kitchen a bottle of Ecover Zero Washing Up Liquid is always on standby because it’s free from parabens and preservatives. Their plant-based All in One Dishwasher Tablets are also a monthly staple on my shopping list.
When it comes to keeping on top of any stainless steel, I always rely on Alkimi Shiny Surface Cleaner. It’s really handy to keep your ceramics (including sanitaryware) and white goods looking pristine, too. With ingredients like bergamot oil and lemongrass extract, you can feel happy that it’s free from parabens, phthalates, chlorine and formaldehyde.
Blitzing the bathroom
If you’re looking for a bathroom cleaner with a pleasant scent, try Earth Friendly Products Shower Cleaner. With a plant-based formula which includes aloe vera, tea tree and lavender, this makes easy work of hard-water stains. You can also use it on the bath, sink, toilet and mirror, meaning you can ditch all your other bathroom products. Best of all, it’s made from 100% renewable energy and it’s cruelty and vegan-free.
Just because you’re going eco, doesn’t mean you can forget to buy a toilet cleaner. The Seventh Generation Cypress Toilet Cleaner consists of a 97% biodegradable formula which tackles stains without leaving any harsh fumes. I think the mix of emerald cypress and fir essential oils leaves a lovely aroma too.
Microfibre cloths, where would I be without them? In my opinion, one of the only things better than a microfibre cloth, is the E-cloth Deep Clean Mop. Using machine washable pads this mop removes 99% of bacteria, dirt and grease by just using water. Suitable for wood, laminate, tiles, ceramic and vinyl floors, I’ve found it produces brilliant results on shower doors and tiled walls, too.
Housework needn’t be a chore with Green Scents Creamy Polish, which is available in a lavender or citrus scent. Made with organic olive and jojoba oils, this luxury polish leaves a gorgeous sheen over your furniture. Made in their Somerset workshop, Green Scents is Soil Association certified. It’s one of the most ethical brands in the UK for producing laundry, washing up liquid and multi-surface sprays. And, for that reason alone, I think you should consider buying it!