Many everyday household care products are dangerously toxic. This is why more and more consumers are starting to realize the importance of researching and understanding the ingredients in these products – many of which have been linked to conditions such as asthma, cancer, and neurotoxicity.
In response, there is a growing movement of personal care ingredients suppliers who create products that are clean and non-toxic. These companies prioritize the health of their customers and the quality of their ingredients, as well as the process through which they are sourced and utilized.
If you are looking to switch to non-toxic products in your home, read on for the five considerations you need to make before purchasing household care products.
1. What does the label say?
Before purchasing household care products, the most important thing you need to do is read through all the information on the label.
By doing this, hopefully, you will be able to see all of the ingredients. In fact, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not all the ingredients are listed clearly on the label. Generally, products should have a statement that signifies that there is full ingredient disclosure. Keep in mind that products that only have a partial listing should be avoided.
Similarly, household care products that list their ingredients by category, rather than specific names should also be avoided. Think of it this way, companies that are proud of the cleaning agent’s ingredients that they use will have no problem clearly listing them by name.
Of course, if you see something along the lines of “poison,” or “danger,” you don’t want to bring that product into your home as it most likely contains toxic ingredients. However, the word “caution” is often used on products that aren’t necessarily toxic.
Therefore, if a household care product has this word on it, you need to decide whether it refers to ingredients and chemical hazards or is merely a precautionary statement for usage.
2. Are any of these ingredients present?
While every product is different, there are some ingredients that you want to make sure to avoid. Taking the time to understand the chemical names on product labels is essential to understanding product toxicity. While it may be confusing at the beginning, over time, you will get more comfortable understanding these ingredient lists, and it will become second-nature.
Generally, if an ingredient has “chlor” in it, you want to avoid it as this indicates a chlorinated chemical. Similarly, ingredients ending in “-ene” or “ol” usually signifies a petroleum-based solvent, while “glycol” refers to a petroleum-based polyol or ether.
Other ingredients you want to avoid include:
- Phthalates: Found in many fragranced household products, these are known endocrine disruptors. To avoid, look for all-natural organic fragrances.
- Perchloroethylene (“PERC”): Found in carpet and upholstery cleaners and spot removers, this chemical is a neurotoxin and possible carcinogen. To avoid, look for a non-toxic brand.
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (“QUATS”): Found in fabric softener liquids and sheets and other household cleaners marked “antibacterial.” To avoid, use chemical disinfectant alternatives such as antibacterial, antifungal tea-tree oil, which can be combined with tea tree oil, vinegar, and essential oils for a safe, germ-killing cleaner.
Keep in mind that even natural ingredients can have chemical names, so you want to do your own research regarding particular product ingredients.
3. Where do the ingredients come from?
In addition to what the ingredients are, you also want to look at where they come from. Again, the product label should provide you with this information as it should list the source of each of the ingredients. The last thing you want is to purchase products that simply offer a chemical name and nothing more.
You want your household cleaning products to smell good and be healthy for you and your family. After all, scent plays a crucial role in making chores a more enjoyable experience.
Luckily, there are options for having lovely scents that aren’t harmful. One of the best ways to ensure you are reducing the amount of toxicity in your cleaning products is to look for items made with organic botanical extracts that are sustainably sourced.
Several personal care ingredients suppliers utilize environmentally friendly extracts such as cocoa shells and chamomile. These extracts are not just high-quality, but they are also produced in the most resource-efficient manner possible. Thus, these products are ideal for consumers who want to be using clean and sustainable household care items.
4. Is the packaging sustainable?
Besides the botanicals and other ingredients being sustainable, you may also want to consider the packaging. Around the world, sustainable packaging is growing into a higher priority for both brands and consumers.
For the most part, this means reducing the amount of single-use plastic that you have and opting for products that come in different packaging. When thinking about packaging, keep in mind the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The best packaging is minimal and can be reused or easily recycled.
5. Is this company “greenwashing”?
Last but not least, before you make any purchases, you want to ensure that the company isn’t “greenwashing,” which is the term used to describe when companies communicate a misleading impression about their environmental and ethical practices.
For this reason, it is crucial that you investigate any claims that companies make regarding the statements they make concerning their ingredients, their sustainability practices, and their ethics.
Generally, the more specific a claim is, the more likely it is to be true. Don’t merely look at the branding or slogans; instead, read the label and look for proof of clean and green practices throughout the company. While it may require additional time researching, it will be worth it when you have healthy and effective products with beautiful fragrances in your home.
Have you started using clean and sustainable household cleaning products? Or, is it something that you are considering? If so, what are you finding is the hardest part about making the switch? Have you found products that are clean, effective, and smell good?
Let us know your thoughts and any additional insights in the comments below!