Eco-friendly cleaning solutions reduce risks associated with indoor cleaning products. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial cleaning products pose a risk of eye, skin and respiratory irritation and many concentrated formulas are classified as hazardous materials that pose risks with handling, storage or disposal. (See References 1)
Purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products can be confusing. Labels such as "environmentally friendly" and "eco-safe" may be misleading. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends reading labels carefully and asking clarifying questions if you are unsure about the claims on the packaging. (See References 1) According to The Federal Trade Commission's policy statements, any party that makes a claim about the environmental attributes of a products must possess reliable scientific evidence of the fact (see References 2, section 260.5).
Eco-friendly products are free of toxins and hazardous materials, making them safe for use in the home or around children and small pets. They do not release harmful fumes into air, thereby eliminating the risk of respiratory symptoms associated with airborne chemicals. Most are mild on the hands, eliminating the danger of burns or injury from harsh chemicals. (See References 1)
Eco-friendly cleaning products do not pose a risk to the ground water. Refillable or recyclable containers and biodegradable packaging help eliminate overfilling of landfills. Because many such cleaners are effective in cold water, energy is saved, eliminating environmental pollutants from fossil fuels used to heat water. That can mean using less oil or gas in your water heater or using less electricity, which is often generated using coal, oil and gas.(See References 1)
Many household products make effective eco-friendly cleaning products. Baking soda removes stains and can be used as a mild abrasive to clean counter tops, cooking pans, household appliances and bathroom fixtures. White vinegar and lemon juice cut through greasy or waxy buildup, leaving the home smelling fresh and clean. Both borax and castile soap remove laundry stains and can be used as a cleaning solution. (See References 3)
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide for Federal Purchasers
- The Federal Trade Commission: Part 260 --- Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Green Building: Bedroom --- Using Environmentally Preferable Cleaners
Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.
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