3 Nov 2023
Employing natural, non-toxic cleansers improves indoor air quality while preventing harmful substances in water and soils.
One of the best ways for you to minimize your household pollution is going for “green” cleaning. Employing natural, non-toxic cleansers improves indoor air quality while preventing harmful substances in water and soils. Moreover, green cleaners are as efficient as their regular counterparts.
Nevertheless, the world of green cleaning is a bit murky at first plunge. Consumers who are environmentally conscious can be targeted by marketers using words such as natural or green. However, not all the products justify these claims. A start-up business in the crowded greens market easily makes errors during the initial stages.
Fortunately, with some knowledge of what to look out for, one can dodge the traps. The key here is to know what you have to do so that you will be able to clean your entire house safely and sustainably. Some of the most frequent green cleaning errors include the following, with an explanation for each.
Using Too Much Product
When you switch to green cleaning products, you may be tempted to use more than you need to feel like you're getting your house as clean as before. But most natural cleaning products are highly concentrated and effective even in small amounts. Using too much can lead to build-up and residue.
The fix: Carefully follow the dosage instructions on any new green cleaning product. Start with the smallest recommended amount and only increase if you don't get the cleaning results you want.
Not Checking for Certifications
Not all products marketed as "green," "natural," or "eco-friendly" actually are. Some contain harmful chemicals but use vague labelling to appeal to green consumers.
The fix: Look for trusted third-party certifications on any cleaner you buy. Good options include EPA Safer Choice, EWG Verified, USDA Organic, and Green Seal. This ensures products are truly non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
Combining Cleaners Randomly
It's tempting to think any combination of natural cleaning products is safe. But some ingredients don't mix well and can produce toxic fumes or neutralize each other.
The fix: Never combine cleaners unless specifically stated on their labels. Stick to using one product at a time.
Over-Disinfecting Your Home
Many conventional cleaners boast about killing 99.9% of germs. But completely sterilizing your home daily isn't necessary and can breed resistant bacteria.
The fix: Focus on removing dirt and grime more than disinfecting. Save disinfectants for kitchens, bathrooms, and high-touch areas when someone is sick. For daily cleaning, hot water and friction easily remove most germs.
Forgetting About Your Cleaning Tools
Reusable cleaning tools like sponges and mop heads quickly accumulate bacteria and dirt. This negates your green cleaning efforts by spreading contaminants around your home.
The fix: Designate towels and sponges for different areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Replace or disinfect them weekly. Rinse mops and scrub brushes thoroughly after each use and allow to fully dry.
Not Ventilating Enough
Green cleaners often use plant oils, essential oils, and other natural scented ingredients. However, breathing in too many cleaning product fumes can cause issues for sensitive people.
The fix: Always open windows or turn on fans while cleaning and allow fresh air to circulate for a while before occupying the space again. Try unscented or fragrance-free products if air quality is a concern.
Using Too Much Packaging
Some green cleaning products come in disposable pouches, pods, or single-use packaging for added convenience. But this waste offsets the ecological benefits of the cleaner ingredients.
The fix: Seek out concentrates and bulk options with minimal, recyclable packaging. Or look for products that come in compostable or biodegradable pouches when possible. Reuse any bottles or containers.
Relying on DIY Recipes Alone
Homemade cleaners from vinegar, baking soda and other basic ingredients are great for easy cleaning jobs. However, they have limitations for deep-cleaning and sanitizing compared to more advanced green cleaners.
The fix: Use DIY cleaners to supplement your green cleaning toolkit. Turn to commercial eco-friendly cleaners for a periodic deep clean or a serious grimy mess.
Not Maintaining Your Tools
Reusable mops, brooms, buckets, and other tools still need periodic maintenance to keep them hygienic and working efficiently. Dirty tools directly impact your results.
The fix: Give brushes and broom heads an occasional deep clean. Disinfect buckets and rinse out mops with bleach or other sanitizers monthly. Let all tools fully air dry after use. Sharpen any blades or replace them when worn.
Forgetting Entryways and HVAC Systems
It's easy to focus green cleaning only on living spaces. But neglecting entryways means dirt gets tracked inside. And dirty vents circulate dust and allergens.
The fix: Add doormats and leave shoes at the door to prevent dirt. Vacuum vents and change HVAC filters regularly. Also dust ceiling fan blades, clean under appliances and keep carpets professionally cleaned.
Not Wearing Gloves
Many natural cleaners use plant oils that can irritate the skin if you have constant contact during cleaning. Gloves also help prevent your skin from absorbing any chemical residues.
The fix: Wear reusable gloves made of rubber, neoprene or other impermeable material when using any cleaning products. Make sure to rinse gloves between uses.
Forgetting Proper Storage
How you store your products matters for both safety and maintaining their effectiveness. Risks include spills, mixing chemicals accidentally and UV damage.
The fix: Keep cleaners tightly sealed in opaque containers stored up high and separate from food. Make sure to label each clearly.
By being aware of these common green cleaning pitfalls, you can avoid them in your home. With the right practices, you can clean your house effectively while protecting indoor air quality, family health and the environment.