Green cleaning is all the rave right now. More and more people are turning away from store-bought products and looking for more eco-friendly ways to clean their homes. If you’ve been wondering if this is the right path for you, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll share 14 benefits of green cleaning to let you know all the ways making this switch can help you, your family, and the planet.
Plus, we’ll give you some stellar tips on choosing green products, especially if you don’t know where to start. We’re known to opt for green cleaning wherever possible, so we can help you fill you in on everything you need to know.
14 Benefits of Green Cleaning
Let’s take a look at all the advantages of switching to green cleaning.
1. Say Goodbye to Irritants
One study found that 75 percent of cleaning products contain irritants, 64 percent contain harmful substances, and 28 percent contain corrosive ingredients (1). When you switch to green, you can say goodbye to all of that. In turn, you’ll experience less eye, skin, and ingestion irritation. You could also experience less wheezing and asthma-like symptoms.
2. Reduces Asthma Attacks
Speaking of asthma, switching to green cleaning products can significantly reduce your asthma attacks since harsh chemicals can trigger these attacks (2).
When you opt for green cleaning products, you’re waving goodbye to many harmful ingredients and triggers. Instead, the cleaner will contain some nice and natural ingredients that make it easier for people living with asthma to be around.
3. Better for the Planet
Many people switch to green cleaning for the protection of our planet. Cleaning products are a huge source of urban air pollution (3). When you make the switch, you’re increasing indoor and outdoor air quality, which is better for both the planet and your lungs.
4. Better for the Fish
Making the switch to green products is also better for aquatic species and waterways (4).
The hazardous chemicals in traditional cleaning products, such as alkylphenol ethoxylates, have serious adverse effects on water. It pollutes it, which in turn harms the wildlife. Green products tend not to contain chemicals and ingredients that harm waterways or wildlife.
5. You May Save Money
We use green products, or homemade cleaners, in our home, and it actually saves us a ton of money. You may notice an initial up-front cost that seems like a lot, but the cost really breaks down over time.
You can actually make a lot of cleaning solutions using products you already have. This includes white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, even lemons. This stuff is cheap and can be bought in bulk.
Other green cleaners have a “subscribe and save” option when shopping, allowing you to even out the cost over a year. Keep a spreadsheet and see how much you’ll save, if you’re curious!
6. More Sustainable Packaging
If a company is making a green cleaner, it’s because they care about the environment. Therefore, you’ll notice the packaging is a lot more sustainable. Sometimes the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.
Other companies will use packaging made from recycled materials. You’ll also find cardboard packaging, such as Seventh Generation’s laundry detergents.
Glass packaging is also growing in popularity.
Another thing brands are loving is concentrated formulas. This may be a concentrated liquid that you dilute or a tablet that cuts down on packaging immensely.
7. Your Home Becomes Safer
If you have kids and pets, they may be more affected by the toxic cleaners from off the shelf (5). By making the switch, you’re protecting them from hazardous chemicals and negative side effects. Of course, you’re safer too! In general, the whole home will be a more safe place, which is great for hosting guests, too.
Also, many chemicals are toxic when mixed together. For instance, you should never mix chlorine bleach with any other cleaner (6). This is actually an easier mistake than you may think, so it’s best to try and avoid chlorine bleach altogether.
8. You Know the Ingredients
When you use a green or DIY cleaner, you know the ingredients. Therefore, you’re in a better place to make more educated decisions on what’s right for you and your family. For instance, you can quickly rule out if something is causing an allergic reaction, such as baking soda, and do your best to avoid cleaners that contain that.
You also learn what you should avoid, making it easier to know what cleaners to choose and avoid when shopping. Soon, words like carcinogenic, quarterly compounds, and neurotoxins will be part of your vocabulary, which can arm you against dangerous toxins.
Where To Start
The main ingredients you should avoid include phosphates, fragrances, dyes, VOCs, chlorine, ammonia, phthalates, and quarterly ammonia compounds.
9. Biodegradable Formulas
Brands should make green cleaners or homemade cleaners with biodegradable ingredients. This means that the product, in the right conditions, can break down into basic components and go back into the earth (7). The best biodegradable products will leave absolutely no toxins behind, making it a much more eco-friendly choice.
10. Less Clutter
One big bonus I’ve found in green cleaning is that I use fewer products, leading to less clutter. We have a big bucket of baking soda and a big carton of distilled white vinegar, which we use for most of our cleaning. That doesn’t take up much space compared to dozens of different surface cleaners we used to have.
We also have various cleaning sprays, either purchased or homemade, which come with little tablets that dissolve in the water. Keeping these tablets is much easier than buying more bottles in bulk and storing them.
Lastly, there are many different recipes you can make on the spot for things like removing stains and cleaning grout. You don’t need to store these in a cabinet. Just make them as you need them.
11. Cleaning Becomes Easier
When you use green products, you have less to worry about.
Firstly, there’s no concern over toxic chemicals. You can clean with your little ones and pets in the room without a care in the world.
True, you still should wear gloves when cleaning. However, you shouldn’t need to concern yourself with vapor masks, extractor fans, or airing a room out.
Lastly, you’ll find products that are versatile enough to tackle many jobs, taking the guesswork out of looking for a specific cleaner. You can use things like white vinegar for a variety of dirt. This includes mold, mildew, stains, odors, surfaces, clothes, and much more.
12. Protect Your Stuff
Green cleaning products are gentler, therefore, making your products and stuff last longer. For instance, it’s much more gentle to use baking soda to whiten clothes than bleach. In return, your clothes will remain in better condition, last longer, and save you money in the long run!
13. No Bad Fragrances
Green cleaners are still scented, even though there are many fragrance-free options. However, the fragrances are usually all-natural made with real botanicals or essential oils. This is opposed to synthetic fragrances, which are very bad for numerous reasons. This includes, but isn’t limited to, triggering asthma attacks, polluting the air, containing carcinogenic ingredients, and more (8).
The other upside to true fragrances is that they just smell better! They have a more natural scent, and you can get some really unique and lovely combinations. Plus, when you knock off bleach or ammonia-based cleaners from your shopping list, your house won’t have that icky after smell that those cleaners bring.
14. Support Small Businesses
While there are some big-name brands in the green cleaning industry, there are many smaller, up-and-coming businesses. Choosing to shop green will encourage you to seek out various businesses, and you might end up supporting somebody’s dream.
In some cases, you may love creating your own green cleaners so much that you end up starting your own business! Even making cleaners for friends and family can have a great knock-on effect and play a big part in protecting the environment.
How to Choose Greener Cleaning Products
If you’re keen on making the green switch, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and what is a good, eco-friendly choice. We’re here to help.
Are Green Cleaning Products As Effective?
In our experience, yes. We have found some awesome green products that work just as well, if not better, than traditional cleaners. This includes surface or floor cleaners, stain removers, laundry detergents, and more.
While there are definitely fewer heavy-duty options, good green cleaning products are still made with powerful cleaners that will leave your home spotless and sparkling.
How Do You Tell If a Cleaning Product is Green?
This is probably the hardest part when making the switch. How can you tell the difference between a truly green product and a product that has been greenwashed?
Greenwashing is when a brand markets its product to appear green, even when it really isn’t. At the moment, there are no laws in place to prevent this from happening. Many brands will put on their packaging something like “made from plant-derived ingredients,” even if that only includes a few plant-derived ingredients, and the rest are still toxic and dangerous.
Here are some tips for choosing products that are genuinely green and not just greenwashed:
- Look for watchdog organizations: Check the packaging to see if the ingredient list has been certified by a watchdog organization. Some to note include The Environmental Working Group, Ecocert, and Safer Choice.
- Download an app: Some apps allow you to scan a product’s QR code to check how safe it is. Such apps include Think Dirty, Good Guide, EWG Healthy Living, and Detox Me.
- Learn your ingredients: Spend a few hours researching green ingredients and toxic ingredients. Once you start to become familiar with ingredient types, it’ll be much easier to read ingredient lists and decide for yourself whether a product is green.
- Safety data sheets: As well as checking the ingredients, also look up the safety data sheet. These will tell you what each ingredient does and any negative side effects.
- Look at the no-no list: Green products should have a list of things they don’t include. Check the packaging for this list. This will include no phosphates, artificial fragrances, dyes, VOCs, and chlorine. This is just a starting point, but it’s always good to know.
As well as those no-nos, here are some more ingredients to avoid:
- Sodium hydroxide.
- Perchloroethylene (PERC, PCE).
- Quarterly ammonium compounds.
What Is the Best Natural Disinfectant?
If you want to be completely natural when disinfecting, steam is going to be your best friend. Steam cleaners can naturally disinfect and sanitize a huge range of surfaces, killing up to 99.9 percent of common household germs (9). Unfortunately, you can’t use steam on every surface. So another great option is vodka.
Vodka can be used as a disinfectant, stain remover, shiner, and it can also refresh clothes. When shopping for vodka to use as an antibacterial product, look for 100-proof vodka. You can mix this with water and vinegar to create a multi-purpose disinfectant.
Go Green Today
There you have it! 14 amazing benefits to going green in your cleaning routine. It might seem daunting making the switch, but if you change one product at a time, you’ll have a whole new cleaning routine in a few months. Trust us — you’ll never look back.