With increasing awareness around the environmental impact of many household detergents, more consumers are making the switch to green cleaning products. These cleansers use environmentally-friendly ingredients instead of harmful or unsustainable substances. Natural alternatives replace human-made chemicals that can be toxic to people, plants and animals.
Some may choose to make their own mixtures using common items from around the house, but many companies have also begun to offer options that are better for the planet. Some manufacturers even use recyclable or biodegradable packaging to reduce waste further.
Whichever you choose, these natural cleaners can have some great long- and short-term benefits for the environment, your health and your furniture. Here are six reasons to go green when you shop for cleaning supplies:
Less Harsh on Skin
Many people experience physical irritations caused by cleaning products. This can be especially true for children who have sensitive skin. Both kids and adults can develop bumps and redness from touching surfaces covered in chemical residue from the sprays or wipes used to disinfect them.
A few rash-causing culprits are furniture polish and detergents. You probably use these cleaners on sofa upholstery and coffee tables in the living room, or to sanitize toys and surfaces in your children's playroom or bedroom. However, these harsh products may cause inflammation or itchiness on delicate skin.
To avoid these troublesome symptoms, consider converting to eco-friendly products. Disinfect your child's things with cleansers that contain citric acid, peroxide or lactic acid rather than ammonia or other abrasive chemicals. Likewise, you can swap your old furniture cleaners with baking soda and white vinegar.
Don’t Affect Allergies
Some detergents can also cause allergic reactions. These conditions are similar to the skin irritations above, but they can be even more severe. The synthetic fragrances and dyes used in many products can prompt uncomfortable symptoms such as rashes, blisters, itching, burning and swelling.
Natural alternatives to these products are hypoallergenic. The list of ingredients is short and free from substances that cause negative reactions. Instead of using artificial scents to make your laundry and fabrics smell nice, many green choices are odorless or use essential oils.
A misconception associated with eco-friendly products is that they're more expensive. You might think that green cleaners are pricier than your ordinary brands because of their natural ingredients. While this may have been so in the past, the modern market offers more affordable options.
The prices of many green cleaning products are comparable to those of your longtime favorites. As the demand for environmentally conscious alternatives has risen, the companies that produce them have become competitive with those that use chemical-based formulas.
In some ways, choosing eco-friendly cleaning products might save you money. Sometimes, you can buy green solutions in a concentrated form that you then dilute at home. One bottle may be the equivalent of several refills. Plus, this allows you to reuse the same container multiple times, reducing waste.
Natural options are also typically less harsh on furniture and surfaces, which can protect your investment and save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Gentler cleaning methods such as these help preserve the integrity of home furnishings, so they last longer and look better.
Eliminate Indoor Pollution
Indoor air pollution comes from substances that release small particles. Those tiny fragments lower the quality of the air, making it harder to breathe and possibly harming internal organs. Polluters include fuel-burning appliances, heating and cooling systems, building materials and more.
People can experience various health problems from exposure to contaminated air. Some short-term symptoms are headaches, dizziness and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat. If a person breathes in polluted air frequently and for long periods, they may develop respiratory diseases, heart trouble or even cancer.
Cleaning products are also a common source of indoor air pollution. Many contain chemicals that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which are dangerous to humans. Formaldehyde is another popular component of household cleaners that can pose health risks. These can irritate the lungs and organs of those who inhale them.
Eco-friendly alternatives do not contain VOCs. Instead of mixing chemicals that create harmful gases, their ingredients only consist of natural substances. Switching to green cleaning products can help eliminate one potential producer of indoor air pollution in your home.
Helps Items Last Longer
Another perk of purchasing natural cleaning products is the way they can preserve furniture and surfaces. Chemical concoctions can break down the finishes and dyes that make your furnishings beautiful. They can also cause wear that affects texture and durability.
Leather sofas can be challenging to maintain with ordinary products. It's best to clean your couch at least a few times a year, but the wrong detergents can cause damage. Similarly, harsh cleaners can strip the lacquers off of dining room tables and other wood items.
Green options are normally less corrosive than these damaging solutions. In this way, natural cleaning products can help your furniture last longer. They won't wear away the materials and help add luster and shine. Eco-friendly options can both clean and improve your pieces with regular use.
The smells of bleach and ammonia can be offensive. This is particularly true for those with sensitivities, like pregnant women, children or those with lung conditions. Many mainstream cleaning products contain these agents, which cause them to give off a sharp scent.
For a odorless or more pleasant-smelling option, you might want to convert to natural cleaning products. These don't contain the chemicals mentioned above that are often bothersome to people who are sensitive to smells. Additionally, you can find green alternatives that have pleasant scents such as lavender or lemon from natural sources.
Change Is Good
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to take the leap and swap to eco-friendly products. In addition to being better for the environment, these cleansers are safer for your health and your furniture. With a few simple changes to your habits and lifestyle, you can make a big difference.